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September 15, 2012

2012 Best Linux Distributions

Filed under: Linux Desktops — admin @ 4:12 pm

SoftwareInReview covered what we believed to be the top Linux distributions in 2011. Clearly it’s time to review our findings. A lot of people did not agree with the choices, and, to be fair, it is hard to name a “best” version of Linux because the distributions are developed for many different purposes.

  • Want an easy-to-use desktop?

Maybe Mint or Ubuntu are the choices for you.

  • Want an enterprise server?

Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLESE) have a lot of great features.

  • Want a Linux distribution that lives in memory?

Puppy is a small distribution , ( with a live-CD around 85MB) that can load completely into RAM.  This distribution is very fast and now makes the top ten list of visited Linux distribution sites.

  • Want a Linux distribution for gaming?

SuperGamer, based on VectorLinux, is a live DVD this is written for gaming on Linux.  linuX-gamers Live DVD, based on Arch Linux, is another choice.

Our list of the best Linux distributions of 2011 was the most commented-on post we have had and it stirred up a lot of debate.
Probably the most glaring omission from the original post was Linux Mint, which now tops the list of most visited Linux distributions.  We still like Ubuntu as a very usable Linux distribution, but Mint has a lot of admirers too.

While we are tempted to “rate” Linux distributions,  it is probably just as relevant to list the most visited Linux distribution sites. It should be noted that two of the top ten distributions have a more than casual relation to Red Hat.

According to Distrowatch, The top ten Linux distributions, according to page hit ranking are:

  1. Linux Mint 13  http://linuxmint.com/
  2. Mageia  2     http://www.mageia.org/en/  ( a fork from Mandriva in 2010)
  3. Ubuntu 12.04.1   http://www.ubuntu.com/
  4. Fedora   17  http://fedoraproject.org/   “A Red Hat-Sponsored Community Project”
  5. OpenSUSE  11.4   www.opensuse.org
  6. Debian 6.0   http://www.debian.org/
  7. Arch Linux   http://www.archlinux.org/
  8. CentOS  5.8      http://www.centos.org/  “derived entirely from the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) distribution”
  9. PCLinuxOS       http://www.pclinuxos.com/
  10. Puppy   http://www.puppylinux.com/about.htm

Linux distributions have the trait of raising and dropping in popularity very fast.  In 2011, Puppy would not have likely even been mentioned in this post.  Mandriva, Gentoo, and FreeBSD are versions that were mentioned in 2011 and do not make this top ten  list today.  No one would argue the significance of any of these distributions.

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