The Most Well-Known and Commonly Used Linux Distributions

Daftar Isi

Linux is a free and open-source operating system kernel that serves as the core component of many Unix-like operating systems, commonly referred to as Linux distributions or “distros.” It was created by Linus Torvalds in 1991 and has since become one of the most popular and widely used operating system kernels in the world.

Key characteristics and concepts of Linux include:

  1. Open Source: Linux is released under an open-source license, primarily the GNU General Public License (GPL). This means that its source code is freely available to the public, and anyone can view, modify, and distribute it, subject to certain licensing conditions.
  2. Modularity: The Linux kernel is designed to be modular, allowing it to support a wide range of hardware architectures and devices. This modularity also enables developers to customize the kernel to meet specific requirements.
  3. Multitasking and Multiuser: Linux is a multitasking and multiuser operating system, which means it can run multiple processes simultaneously and supports multiple users with their own accounts and permissions.
  4. Stability and Reliability: Linux is known for its stability and reliability. Many Linux distributions are used for critical server environments where uptime is crucial.
  5. Security: Linux provides robust security features, including user and group permissions, access control lists, and mandatory access control (SELinux and AppArmor) to help protect against unauthorized access and malware.
  6. Networking: Linux has powerful networking capabilities, making it well-suited for network servers, routers, and other network-related tasks. It includes support for various network protocols and services.
  7. Command-Line Interface (CLI): Linux systems typically provide a command-line interface (shell), which allows users to interact with the system using text-based commands. The command line is a powerful tool for system administration and scripting.
  8. Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs): While Linux is often associated with the command line, it also offers various graphical desktop environments, such as GNOME, KDE, and Xfce, making it accessible to users who prefer GUIs.
  9. Software Ecosystem: Linux has a vast and diverse ecosystem of open-source software applications and utilities, covering a wide range of purposes, from office productivity and web browsing to development tools and multimedia applications.
  10. Community and Distributions: The Linux community is vast and active, with developers and users worldwide collaborating on various Linux distributions. Each distribution combines the Linux kernel with a selection of software packages and tools to create a complete operating system tailored for specific use cases.

Popular Linux distributions include Ubuntu, Debian, CentOS, Fedora, openSUSE, and Arch Linux, among many others. Linux is used on a wide range of devices, from servers and desktop computers to embedded systems, smartphones (Android is built on a Linux kernel), and even supercomputers. Its flexibility, performance, and open-source nature make Linux a compelling choice for a variety of computing needs.

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The most well-known and commonly used Linux distributions

There are numerous Linux distributions (often referred to as “distros”) available, each with its own characteristics, goals, and target audiences.

Popular Linux Distributions

These distributions are based on the Linux kernel and include various software packages, system tools, and desktop environments. Here are some of the most well-known and commonly used Linux distributions, categorized by their primary use cases:

  1. General-Purpose Desktop Distributions:
    • Ubuntu: Known for its user-friendly interface, regular release schedule, and extensive community support. It has both a standard version with GNOME as the default desktop and variants like Kubuntu (KDE), Xubuntu (Xfce), and Lubuntu (LXQt) with different desktop environments.
    • Fedora: Known for its focus on providing cutting-edge software and technologies. Fedora Workstation uses GNOME as its default desktop environment.
  2. Stable and Reliable Server Distributions:
    • CentOS: A community-supported distribution that aims to provide server stability and reliability. It is often used in enterprise environments.
    • Debian: Known for its commitment to free and open-source software principles, Debian is used as a desktop and server distribution.
    • openSUSE: Offers a stable server version called openSUSE Leap and openSUSE Tumbleweed for those who want the latest software updates.
  3. Rolling Release Distributions:
    • Arch Linux: A highly customizable distribution following a rolling release model, meaning software updates are continuously released. Arch Linux is known for its minimalistic approach, requiring users to configure many aspects.
    • Manjaro: Based on Arch Linux, Manjaro aims to provide a more user-friendly and accessible experience while benefiting from Arch’s rolling release model.
  4. Security and Privacy Distributions:
    • Tails: Designed for privacy and anonymity, Tails is a live operating system that can be booted from a USB drive or DVD. It routes internet traffic through the Tor network by default.
    • Kali Linux: Focused on penetration testing and ethical hacking, Kali Linux provides a comprehensive suite of tools for security professionals.
  5. Minimalist and Lightweight Distributions:
    • Puppy Linux: Designed to be very lightweight and run on older hardware.
    • Tiny Core Linux: An extremely minimalistic distribution that can be customized to fit specific requirements.
  6. Education and Learning Distributions:
    • Edubuntu: Designed for educational environments, Edubuntu includes educational software and tools for teachers and students.
    • Raspberry Pi OS: Optimized for the Raspberry Pi single-board computer, it provides a user-friendly interface and extensive software support for educational and DIY projects.
  7. Specialized Distributions:
    • Slackware: Known for its simplicity and adherence to Unix-like principles, Slackware is one of the oldest Linux distributions.
    • Gentoo: A source-based distribution that allows users to compile and customize their entire system. It is known for its flexibility and performance optimization.
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These are just a few examples, and many more Linux distributions are available, each serving different purposes and user preferences.

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Steps to get Linux

Obtaining a Linux distribution is relatively straightforward, and there are several ways to get Linux on your computer. Here’s a general overview of the steps to get Linux:

  1. Choose a Linux Distribution:
    • Select a Linux distribution that best suits your needs. You can choose from various distributions based on factors such as your experience level, the purpose of your usage (desktop, server, specialized tasks), and your hardware specifications.
  2. Download the Linux ISO File:
    • Visit the official website of the Linux distribution you’ve chosen.
    • Look for a “Download” or “Get” section on the website, and locate the ISO file for your chosen distribution. The ISO file is an image of the installation media.
    • Download the ISO file to your computer. Choose the correct version (e.g., 64-bit or 32-bit) and edition (e.g., desktop, server) that matches your system and requirements.
  3. Create Installation Media:
    • You must create installation media to install Linux on a computer, typically a bootable USB flash drive or a DVD.
    • Use a tool like “Rufus” (Windows), “Balena Etcher” (cross-platform), or the “dd” command (Linux/macOS) to write the Linux ISO file to the USB drive or DVD. This process creates a bootable installation medium.
  4. Boot from Installation Media:
    • Insert the bootable USB drive or DVD into the computer where you want to install Linux.
    • Restart or power on the computer.
    • Access the computer’s BIOS or UEFI settings to change the boot order, ensuring the system boots from the installation media. This process varies by computer, so consult your computer’s documentation for instructions on accessing the BIOS or UEFI settings.
    • Save the changes and exit the BIOS/UEFI settings.
  5. Install Linux:
    • The computer should boot from the installation media, presenting you with the Linux distribution’s installation wizard.
    • Follow the on-screen instructions to select your language, time zone, keyboard layout, and disk partitioning options.
    • Create or choose a username and password for your Linux user account.
    • Begin the installation process, and the Linux distribution will be installed on your computer.
  6. Complete the Installation:
    • After the installation, you may need to remove the installation media (USB or DVD) and restart your computer.
    • Linux should now be installed and ready to use.

Remember to back up any important data on your computer before installing Linux, as the installation process may involve formatting and repartitioning the hard drive.

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General hardware specifications to install Linux

  1. Processor (CPU):
    • A modern x86-64 (64-bit) CPU should be sufficient for a basic desktop installation of a Linux distribution. Most Linux distributions support both 32-bit and 64-bit processors, but 64-bit is recommended for better performance and compatibility with modern software.
    • The CPU requirements will depend on the specific server workload for server installations. Many Linux distributions support a variety of server architectures, including x86-64, ARM, and others.
  2. Memory (RAM):
    • The minimum RAM requirements for a lightweight desktop environment typically start at around 1-2 GB. However, for a smoother and more responsive experience, it’s recommended to have 4 GB or more.
    • Server installations may have varying RAM requirements depending on the server’s intended use. Servers with high workloads may require significantly more RAM.
  3. Storage (Hard Drive/SSD):
    • A typical Linux desktop installation may require as little as 10-20 GB of storage space, but it’s recommended to have at least 30-40 GB for the operating system and additional software.
    • Servers, especially those hosting databases or large datasets, will have higher storage requirements. Plan accordingly based on your server’s needs.
  4. Graphics and Display:
    • Most Linux distributions can work with a wide range of graphics cards and integrated graphics solutions. For standard desktop use, basic graphics support is usually sufficient.
    • If you plan to use Linux for gaming or graphics-intensive tasks, a dedicated graphics card with good driver support may be beneficial.
  5. Network Connectivity:
    • Linux supports a wide variety of network adapters and wireless cards. Basic wired and wireless networking should work out of the box on most systems.
    • For server installations, ensure your hardware has compatible network adapters and consider redundancy and network capacity requirements.
  6. Input Devices:
    • Linux supports standard keyboard and mouse input devices. Most modern laptops and desktops have compatible input devices.
    • For specialized input devices or peripherals, check for Linux driver support.
  7. Optical Drive (if necessary):
    • You’ll need an optical drive to install Linux from a DVD. Alternatively, you can use a bootable USB drive for installation, which is often more convenient.
  8. UEFI or Legacy BIOS:
    • Ensure your computer uses UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) or Legacy BIOS as the boot method, depending on your Linux distribution and installation media. Most modern systems use UEFI.

Ultimately, the specific hardware requirements for Linux will vary based on the distribution and your intended use. Check the official documentation or website of the Linux distribution you plan to use for detailed hardware requirements and compatibility information.

The choice of a Linux distribution often depends on user expertise, hardware, intended use, and personal preferences regarding software and desktop environments.