As we, all know that Windows is not the only OS that is into the mainstream. Yet it’s a fact that Windows powers 93% of the total pc market, it’s not always your OS of choice, considering you have to do more sophisticated and not so common tasks like kernel level programming, editing your OS to its core and all other things that follow. And this is where comes Linux to rescue you from all that sort of limitations and bounding. Linux is an open source Unix-like Operating System, actually “The Linux Kernel” to be specific, which drives your system. Since it’s licensed under GNU licence, Linux has been ported to a variety of different systems and architectures.
As already mentioned, Linux has an open source model. This means one is free to use Linux on his/her system in any way he wants. Whether he wants a particular component to be removed or needs some additional features to be built right into the core of OS, he/she can do so by building his/her own custom OS. Now here comes the interesting part. Not everyone bothers to make changes manually to the Linux source code. Rather he/she can select among a variety of custom Linux builds that are already available to the General Public. These custom OS builds are called Linux distributions or simply distros. Since these distros are merely derivatives of the original Linux Kernel, they also need to be open source in nature. Users, rather than modifying the actual Linux Source, simply make few changes to his/her distro and use it. Some of the most popular Linux Distributions are: -Ubuntu, Kali Linux, CentOS, Fedora, Red Hat Linux and a whole bunch of other options available. Let’s have a quick look about what these distros are, and for whom are they targeted.
If you are new to Linux, chances are that you might have shifted just now from Windows. In that case your best bet is to pick Ubuntu. Ubuntu is based on Fedora, another famous old-school Linux Distro, which focuses mainly on ease of use. Initially, Ubuntu used the GNOME 2 desktop engine, but now uses its own Unity Desktop Environment (which is again based on GNOME). Ubuntu is maintained by Canonical, which provides you a very good customer support. At the time of this writing, the latest version is 16.04(LTS) or 16.10(non-LTS). You can grab Ubuntu from here.
Kali Linux is a Linux distro, targeting Users who are more into network and security of systems (a.k.a Hackers). Kali Linux provides a bunch of important network and security tools related to proxy, network shielding, penetration and all that stuff under one hood, built right into its system. Kali Linux is developed under the guidance of Offensive Security, an organisation which supports the belief that the only real way to be digitally secure is through offensive mind-set and approach. You can download Kali Linux from its official site here.
Linux Mint is yet another popular Linux distribution available, which claims to be both user friendly and powerful enough to create a robust system. Linux Mint is derived from the sources of Ubuntu and Debian OS, making it a great combination for both robust users and new users. One of the best things about Linux Mint is that it provides full out-of-box multimedia support, including some proprietary software/extensions as well as open source applications. You can download the latest version of Linux Mint from here.
Debian is one of the most aged Linux distro out there, tracing its history as back as 1993. As compared to recent Distros like Ubuntu and Linux Mint, the updates are released less frequently and at much slower. This ideology actually makes Debian much more stable and robust, which is a necessity in some systems. Ubuntu itself was derived from Debian to overcome the problems of slower an lesser update frequencies. You can read more Debian and download the latest version from here.
There are many other popular Linux disros out there. I know that I have missed out many popular distros like RHEL, Cent OS etc. I will try to make this post in two parts. The other part (may be next one) will discuss other distros. Do mention your opinions and suggestions by your valuable comments down below.