A typical ``Linux'' installation is built from hundreds of software products.
It makes sense to install an integrated collection of these products.
These collections are called ``Linux distributions.''
The very useful Distro watch keeps track of them.
You can buy them on CD,
in a box, with tech support (by phone or email) included. Or just buy the CDs from
an independent dealer and rely on the web sites and user communities. My favorites:
Ubuntu came from nowhere to #1 most popular distro
in less than four years. Very friendly, designed to be usable and maintainable
by "non geeks." Derived from Debian but now maintained in parallel.
CentOS. Installs a complete office workstation,
simply and reliably. It's an unbranded Red Hat Enterprise.
General purpose for home or office.
Huge, carefully maintained system, from a
community of developers organized around
a nonprofit consortium. Relatively complex installation,
but much easier to maintain than Red Hat or Microsoft.
(Debian Planet weblog/portal site)
The Debian users newsgroup is also
available as a
mailing list but the traffic is overwhelming.
Try it with Google
There are lots of distros derived from Debian. Besides Ubuntu,
- Xandros Xandros
- linspire designed to be distributed with generic PCs
- PCLinuxOS is popular with the Cnet reviewers