What is SUSE on Linux

Recommended Linux distributions for desktops

There are a lot of Linux variations for the desktop in different forms. In this context, open source is both a blessing and a curse. The freedom to build a system according to your own preferences sometimes creates an opaque jungle of offers.

Not every distribution is suitable for all users. But that's a good thing. Many distributions have their own strengths and weaknesses. On the other hand, finding the right distribution is much more complicated.

What you should think about before making a decision is the purpose of the system. Will the machine serve more for multimedia purposes or function as a simple workstation system? For the use of a Linux distribution in a company, a fee-based variant with professional support may be preferred.

Experienced Linux users certainly approach the selection differently than those who more or less dare to make the first contact. In the following you will find detailed information on various recommended Linux distributions from very different areas. TecChannel also points out the strengths and weaknesses of the individual operating systems.

Ubuntu Linux - meanwhile a fixture

The first Ubuntu version was released on October 20, 2004 and thus became a teenager in 2014 with the release of version 14.10. At the moment, however, the version Ubuntu 14.04 LTS "Trusty Tahr" equipped with long-term support is up to date. If you want a stable system that receives five years of support, you should stick to Ubuntu's LTS versions.

The operating system itself is based on code from Debian GNU / Linux. In the past few years, Ubuntu has become one of the most popular and well-known Linux distributions for desktop use. The philosophy of the developers and the company boss of Canonical and founder Mark Shuttleworth is to create an operating system that is as easy to use as possible for the user. In addition, this should always be freely available.

  1. Ubuntu 14.04 LTS
    Trusty Tahr is currently the current version with long-term support.
  2. The Dash
    Here you can not only search for documents and programs, but also get results from the Internet.
  3. System settings
    This is Ubuntu's command center.
  4. privacy
    Here you set whether online results should be included in Dash searches.
  5. Software center
    In Ubuntu's repositories there are several thousand other software packages that you can easily import.

For the business world, Ubuntu is also interesting with the so-called LTS versions (Long Term Support). These appear in April of the even year numbers. In addition to Ubuntu 14.04 LTS "Trusty Tahr", Ubuntu 12.04 "Precise Pangolin" and Ubutnu 10.04 "Lucid Lynx" are currently actively supported. With the latter, however, this only applies to the server version.

Non-LTS versions used to be maintained for 18 months. However, this has been reduced to nine months. With this move, Canonical has freed up more resources for LTS development and, above all, for Ubuntu Touch. The latter is Canonical's drive to get Ubuntu on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. In terms of the desktop, that's interesting. Because you are working on a so-called convergence. With the help of a docking station, the smartphone should turn out to be a fully-fledged work computer. However, this is still a long way off and will definitely not be ready for language before Ubuntu 14.10. In this context, 2015 is probably even more realistic. Canonical also offers commercial support and training for the LTS versions.

The current edition sticks to the usual simple installation mechanisms. Furthermore, modern Ubuntu versions, such as 14.04, can also be installed on computers with activated UEFI Secure Boot. Users can import proprietary third-party software during installation. All you need is an active internet connection. If you choose this option, you can play MP3, Flash and other media, for example.

Another advantage of Ubuntu is the now huge global communities. Support and discussion forums are available in almost all languages. In addition, Ubuntu provides different flavors. If you prefer to use KDE, Xfce or GNOME instead of Unity as a desktop manager, install Kubuntu, Xubuntu or Ubuntu GNOME. Further offshoots are Mythbuntu, Edubuntu and Lubuntu. At the moment it also looks like Ubuntu MATE will become an official offshoot. MATE is the further development of the GNOME2 desktop environment.

However, not all is peace, joy, pancakes in the Ubuntu warehouse. The open source community has already been split with proprietary projects such as the in-house cloud service Ubuntu One. Many users have made friends with Unity in the meantime or have switched to alternatives.

The biggest upset, however, is the Shopping Lense introduced in Ubuntu 12.10. Suitable products from Amazon are displayed here when you search the Dash. You can deactivate this behavior, but not during, but only after the installation. In the meantime, search queries are routed via Canonical's own server and thus anonymized to third parties. For many, however, that's not enough; they would like an opt-in instead of an opt-out procedure. Richard Stallman of the FSF (Free Software Foundation) has even gone so far as to label Ubuntu as spyware. Mark Shuttleworth received the Big Brother Award in Austria in 2013.

Apart from these quarrels, Ubuntu is ideal for beginners to switchers. The users are immediately taken by the hand and accompanied through the installation process. The distribution also brings many useful applications with it, almost all of which are prominent in the open source scene. We're talking about Mozilla Firefox and LibreOffice, for example.