You want Linux on your computer, because it’s the neighbor’s little cousin who told you it was better. But everything is not as simple as it seems.

What is Linux?

Linux is an operating system kernel. An operating system is the set of computer programs that serve the basic operation of a computer. Linux is the heart of many very different operating systems.

Linux is for example present in mobile phones, washing machines, computer servers, supercomputers, cars, televisions …

Here, we will look at Linux for conventional computers, called PCs.

Linux on PC, but still?

Linux is available on PC, but all alone, you could not do much.

To be able to do anything with your computer, it is better to have a complete operating system.

Only, there are a multitude of complete operating systems. These systems meet different needs.

The uses of computers are not identical, between an individual who manages his digital photos, and the management of accounting data of a company, there is a world.

I do not care, I want Linux on my PC

Operating systems using Linux on PC are numerous. If you want to spend some time studying them, you have a list of these systems here: Distribution-Linux .

If you do not care, which is not abnormal, some distributions will be advised.

To please Richard Stallman who argues for it to speak, know that these are GNU-Linux distributions , ie it is Linux with the basic tools of the GNU project .

Okay, what GNU / Linux for me?

I do not care about computers, I just want Linux on my computer, mess!

Use Ubuntu , this is THE best known Linux system. You can easily find help, as his French-speaking community produces a lot of documentation in French. An equally easy alternative is the Mageia distribution .

I would like to have a reputable system, and quality.

Debian is an excellent operating system. It allows you to choose several levels of freshness and use of technologies, which allows to measure the relationship between stability and the new features that you want on servers or desktops. You can opt for the stable version (with software that is often several years late, alas), the testing version (more up-to-date, but not finalized), or the unstable version (if everything works is your day luck).
For the record, Ubuntu is based on Debian, so you can easily switch from one to the other, or even one of the many other Debian-based distributions.

Debian uses an update policy for: it comes out when it’s ready. This ensures that all critical bugs are corrected at the time of release of a new version. In return, the latest software updates are only available in Debian when their stability has been proven.

You can choose to use CentOS distributions also for environments that require a certain level of stability. It is the perfect clone of RHEL free, modulo its name and its logo. Its long-term support of 10 years is also an asset for those who can be content with older technologies, especially on servers.

Conversely, Fedora offers the latest in Free Software. With its development cycle and short support (about 13 months of support on average), it is a more oriented distribution for developers, hackers or wanting to test what the LL can offer modern. Most of the technologies found in other distributions like NetworkManager, firewalld, SELinux, PulseAudio, systemd or Wayland have been tested by Fedora before.

OpenSUSE can be an intermediate solution to all this, offering a continuous updated version and another with stable versions, it seeks to adapt to the needs of each one on this point. His YaST home utility is also well known for configuring his system in a complete and simple way.

I want to have the latest news every ten minutes.

An unversioned operating system that constantly evolves may be a good solution. Arch-Linux is in fashion. Know that you have to use computers to use these systems. So do not put that on your grandmother’s computer.

I am a pro, I want to customize the applications in every detail.

If you have time and patience, Gentoo and Slackware are solutions to study.

I am a librist and I do not want any private program on my machine

Here are some free equivalents to the proposed distributions:

A more complete list is available on this site .

I know what I want, I’m a pro, I do not want maintainers to make settings or change them with every update

In this case, a small FreeBSD or OpenBSD would be fine. But it has nothing to do with Linux …

It’s all too easy, and I still have free time.

Linux from scratch ( LFS ) is a book that will teach you how to build your operating system from scratch .