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The ease of choosing a distro

July 7, 2013 17 comments

If you’ll permit me a “get off my lawn” moment, I just have to wonder where this particular tool has been all this time.

You see, I’ve said ad nauseum that choice is good, and the fact that there are more than 300 Linux/BSD-based distros is a good thing. In fact, I’ll keep saying that until I die, hopefully several decades from now, but not before creating an OGG file to repeat this statement for the, ahem, “benefit” of others once I’m gone.

One of the complaints that sometimes flies against this position is that there are too many distros. This argument is made by those who can’t easily enter a Baskin-Robbins without breaking into cold sweat — 31 different flavors? Too many! — or have a hard time with choosing what color socks to wear. In many cases, the “too many distros” argument stems from this premise: “There are too many distros, so you and everyone else should use my distro,” and my distro, wait for it, always seems to be the vowel-laden one which goes light-years out of its way to say it’s not a Linux-based distro.

Meanwhile, back at the original point: Distro-hoppers know first hand that trying out a vast range of distros is a time consuming task, and that there must be an easier way to find that special distro.

Leave it to TuxRadar to provide you with a tool to help you out there. TuxRadar’s Linux Distro Picker can help you if you just can’t decide which distro you want to run.

Using a few different ratings systems, whether it’s ranking desktop environments or using a slide bar to enter your preferences, the Distro Picker helps you choose your ideal distro, and offers several other options below ranked by the TuxRadar Match Score in percentages.

So, I keep all the desktop environment settings at 1 (not important at all), slide the Desktop/Server choice to Desktop 99, Server 1; leave “Stability or Bleeding Edge” (because you can’t have both) in the middle, slide the “New or Old” slightly toward the old (no new hardware for me, sadly) and Package Manager set to “don’t care.” Press the button and . . . .

Debian. Hmmm. Not bad. Also falling in the 90th percentile and higher are SalixOS, Porteus, CentOS, Crux, PureOS, Frugalware, Foresight and Damn Small Linux.

Changing the settings, of course, provides you with different results, complete with a helpful description of the distros as a guide.

Give it a shot if you’re not doing anything at the moment. You may find a new distro.

Well played, TuxRadar.

Meanwhile, I still have Schrodinger’s Cat out of the box and I’m still putting it through its paces. A report is forthcoming.

See you next Sunday, if not sooner.

(Make a few changes, push the button . . . What? Slackware? Let’s slide this over and . . . CentOS?)

This blog, and all other blogs by Larry the Free Software Guy, Larry the CrunchBang Guy and Larry Cafiero, are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND license. In short, this license allows others to download this work and share it with others as long as they credit me as the author, but others can’t change it in any way or use it commercially.

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and develops business software at Redwood Digital Research, a consultancy that provides FOSS solutions in the small business and home office environment.)

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