[kwlug-disc] What's the best desktop distribution?

Oksana Goertzen ogoertzen at gmail.com
Tue Feb 2 14:38:05 EST 2010

I think it depends on where you want to use it and who will use it
and how many machines you are talking about.

If it's for business then you probably want someone to call if you
have a problem.. so maybe Novell's SuSE (SuSE Linux Enterprise Server)
& SLED (SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop) or RedHat's RHEL [Red Hat
Enterprise Linux] (server) or Ubuntu (Ubuntu Server Edition or Ubuntu
desktop).  Both SuSE/SLED and RedHat have good support with
hardware vendors like IBM.  I'm not as clear on Ubuntu's formal support
offerings and hardware support.  These distro's also have tools for
you might want to use in an organization and documentation to go
along with that... for automated installs, patching and so on and they
generally aim for stability and performance over "shiny" and "new".
They also have training channels and you can look for local support
where people are certified on that distro.  These distro's probably are
also certified to work with third-party software and hardware devices/
solutions.  You will also need to pay for a maintenance contract for

If you are talking for home use or personal use in a business setting
and you plan on supporting things yourself, then I think whatever you
enjoy working with the best and how well that meshes with the sort
of hardware you're running it on will determine what you use.

I have used many distro's and I went with openSuSE for quite a while
but after 10.2 - I found that patching was simply too unstable and wireless
was an issue.  Then I used Debian for a while but on a newer laptop
I had problems with wireless and sound and a number of other "small"
things.  ;)  I have settled on Ubuntu.  At work I use SuSE on IBM
hardware, most notably running Tivoli and tape libraries.  Debian for
servers is also probably another very sound choice .. depending on
what you are doing with it... say, if you're connecting it to a SAN or
a newer storage array or some other specialized hardware.. maybe not,
but if you're running it on older hardware and running standard programs
it's likely a great solution.  However, if you have a number of machines in
production that require say, RedHat, then probably you want to support
only one distro and make everything in your shop RedHat if possible.

:)  Oksana


On Mon, Feb 1, 2010 at 1:57 PM, Insurance Squared Inc. <
gcooke at insurancesquared.com> wrote:

> It's 2010.  You're starting fresh, with no preconceptions, and picking a
> distro for your home or office desktop.
> What distro would you pick?
> I'm using Mandriva, but I do so because my ISP Mandrake on my webserver
> back 10+ years ago and I've stuck with it ever since.  But I keep hearing
> about all these other distros.
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