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Author Topic: Linux Distro features matrix?  (Read 3738 times)

superboyac

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Linux Distro features matrix?
« on: October 07, 2012, 04:44:47 PM »
Everytime I want to dig into Linux, I run into the issue of which distro I want to play around with today.  And to answer that takes a lot of legwork for me.  Is there anything like a features matrix for several of the popular linux distros?  That way, I can look at the different features of each one and figure out which is the one that will be the best for a particular task.

ewemoa

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Re: Linux Distro features matrix?
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2012, 05:01:59 PM »
Too...many...features...

Sorry for the useless post :)

rgdot

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Re: Linux Distro features matrix?
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2012, 05:06:50 PM »

Rover

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Re: Linux Distro features matrix?
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2012, 05:59:58 PM »
Umm... www.distrowatch.com?

It doesn't do a grid comparison (that I know of) but it does list major packages in each distro description.

Insert Brilliant Sig line here

zridling

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Re: Linux Distro features matrix?
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2012, 10:19:53 PM »
Perhaps what you're looking for is a features (and apps) list of the major desktop environments, such as KDE, Gnome, Xfce, Unity, etc. What each distribution chooses to include within the respected environment is their choice, but the user is almost always given the option to add as much as they want to their own distro. (And yes, distrowatch.com does about the best job of that.)

mahesh2k

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Re: Linux Distro features matrix?
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2012, 12:58:13 AM »
Other than distrowatch matrix. I don't know if there is feature specific comparison. If you can get anything to work on say fedora, you can get it on debian, ubuntu or any other distro. Just need to compile it from source or use the software that does the compiling from source for you. (For example gdebi etc). Ubuntu, elementary, Suse and Fedora are trying to compete with mainstream OS like Win and Mac so maybe you should checkout what these linux distros offer, If you're looking for comparison on that front.

justice

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Re: Linux Distro features matrix?
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2012, 03:37:27 AM »
Look at the distros with the largest community as you will find the most help with any problems, unless you have a particular need that you are already aware off.
Community > features.

superboyac

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Re: Linux Distro features matrix?
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2012, 08:46:51 AM »
oh Yeah...I keep forgetting that I don't know the difference between a desktop environment and a distro.  Time to look that up...

justice

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Re: Linux Distro features matrix?
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2012, 08:48:36 AM »
desktop environment is the environment your desktop loads in (unity, gnome, kde). Distro is the distribution which is everything that is distributed towards you when you install an OS.

superboyac

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Re: Linux Distro features matrix?
« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2012, 09:59:22 AM »
First, after reading a few things on distrowatch, I'm leaning towards trying out Debian.  I like its description the best.

I still have a little misunderstanding:
when it comes to software, what determines if it's ready to go for a certain distro?  the distro itself, or the desktop environment?  I'm confused because desktop environments to me sound like they are just "skins" for the OS.  But there seems to be more to it than that...like the desktop environment determines to a degree which software you can run or something, which I always thought was completely a distro dependant issue.  Basically, if there's anything more to a desktop environment other than it just being a skin, please point that out.

superboyac

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Re: Linux Distro features matrix?
« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2012, 10:17:38 AM »
I mean, the other confusing thing it that a lot of these distros are built upon other distros.  So there's a lot of layers of things and terminology for me to get used to.  We have these "original level" distros, then we have the distros built on top of those distros.  Then you have Linux Mint, which has a regular flavor and a Debian flavor (I don't get that yet).  Then you have the desktop environments which sound like you can put it on any distro, but I don't know if that's true.

Linux is the way of the future though, I'm beginning to see that better.  I know Windows and apple will still always be around, but the linux community is strong.  I'm not angry at linux anymore.  I think I used to be angry at them because I felt they were needlessly complicated things on the computer.  But that's not the case.  It's complex because of the true freedom of the beast.  Everyone is doing whatever they want with it and I like that.  it's like when I complain about windows, people can say "If you don't like it, go make your own OS!" and that's exactly what the Linux crowd does!  The balls!  The defiance!   :Thmbsup:

mahesh2k

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Re: Linux Distro features matrix?
« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2012, 11:39:18 AM »
Here's how most of the software selection works.

Step 1) Desktop environment > Default softwares (environment specific like Gedit with gnome and KATE with KDE etc) >Final DE.

Step 2) Final Desktop environment (edited as per Distro)  > Custom kernel and custom default software > Repository > FInal distro

All the distros branch out after the step 1. So gnome flavor changes when step 2 happens. Same goes for other DE as well.

It is more than a skin. Each has it's own way of managing the UI, File systems and file operations, and many other things.

jgpaiva

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Re: Linux Distro features matrix?
« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2012, 11:53:46 AM »
when it comes to software, what determines if it's ready to go for a certain distro?  the distro itself, or the desktop environment?  I'm confused because desktop environments to me sound like they are just "skins" for the OS.
It's really a mix :)
What really determines if a software can run on some distro is if the OS has the dependencies and can compile the software, than it can run on that OS.
Sometimes, the dependencies are 1) at the OS level (a certain version of a library), or 2)at the desktop environment level (a version of KDE or Gnome) (or both? :P ).

If 1), and the OS does not have the dependencies pre-installed, there are two options: you either install the dependencies from some repository (this is what package managers do automatically when you ask them to install something -hence why when you ask it to install something it may say "will install 100 other packages"), or if it's not compiled in any repository, you can install it from source.

From my experience, the DE doesn't actually limit your choices in software. If some software depends on a DE that you do not have installed, any package manager will install your software and the whole DE along with it. You'll be able to use that software on your regular DE, it will only look different from the rest of the stuff you're running. However, if it's something tied with the look of the OS (for example a taskbar clock), it will only show up if you start the correct DE.

40hz

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Re: Linux Distro features matrix?
« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2012, 03:53:23 PM »
There isn't really any such thing as a feature matrix since everything in a Linux distro - including the kernal itself - can be (and often is) modified and repackaged to suit the goals of each distro maintainer. Unlike BSD, there is no one single "Linux" all others are based on. None. Nada. Zip.

This in turn leads to op-ed pieces like this one running in the most current issue of Distrowatch Weekly.

Quote
What Linux needs is an operating system

Anyone who has spent any significant amount of time in the Linux community has heard the questions raised: "Why are there so many distributions? Why can't the various projects get together and make one unified distribution?" Of course this is never going to happen, nor should it. One of the greatest benefits of open source software is that it gives people the ability to use their computers the way they wish to and modify their systems to work they way they want. This has given the Linux community a great degree of flexibility, letting it run anywhere, from extremely low-resource systems to super computers, from stable servers to cutting-edge desktops to niche administration tools like Clonezilla and KNOPPIX. The ideal of one unified distribution sounds nice to newcomers overwhelmed by choice and to third-party developers, but it won't fly in a community where freedom, empowerment and flexibility are priorities. One might as well ask why the human race has so many languages when having one would seem so much more simple.

Another phrase that comes up frequently on technical forums is "Linux is a kernel, not an operating system," and this is true. Linux, on its own, is a kernel. That kernel gets combined with various other pieces of software, usually the GNU userland tools, a package manager and a desktop environment in order to make a Linux (or GNU/Linux) distribution. And herein lies the real issue for newcomers to the Linux scene and for developers: each Linux distribution is, in effect, a separate operating system. Software built and packaged for one distribution often will not run on another, even if the two projects are closely related. This leads us to some ridiculous situations where not only will software packaged for Ubuntu not necessarily work on Fedora, but software built for Linux Mint's main edition may not work properly on Linux Mint Debian edition. It can be increasingly frustrating for developers and packagers because sometimes software which builds and runs fine on a handful of the major distributions will not even compile on another due to library incompatibilities. So, what is the solution?
.
.
.

Read the rest of the article here.

 :)




superboyac

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Re: Linux Distro features matrix?
« Reply #14 on: October 09, 2012, 04:56:02 PM »
Good info in previous posts, thanks.

A cool website would be one where you can pick your distro and DE from a drop down list, then choose the software binaries (whatever) that may not be easily available for your situation, and the website would output the proper installer package for your setup.

Or I can just learn how to do it myself...

40hz

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Re: Linux Distro features matrix?
« Reply #15 on: October 09, 2012, 05:14:07 PM »
There are sites that let you assemble your own distro out of parts. Easier than rolling your own from scratch - but you still need to know a bit before it makes sense to go that way.

The people who do SUSE Linux have a site called SUSE Studio that lets you create your own Linux appliances. You'll need to register and set up a free account to use it. But it works as advertised if that's what you want. And SUSE is a fine distro to base your own on.