Beginners who are interested in Linux often get stuck at choosing which version of Linux should they install. There are so many different flavours of the software that it can sometimes be overwhelming to new users.
Well this guide takes a look at some of the most common Linux systems to use. Most often, these versions of Linux are offered for installation from VPS such as DigitalOcean, allowing you to install them freshly and out of the box. If you’re just interested in playing around with Linux, it might be a good idea to setup an account and create your own VPS with Linux installed so you can practise the commands.
You might also be interested in installing Linux on a partition of your harddisk and dual-boot. Whilst doing this is beyond this guide, you might find it useful to search on how to do this as it’ll allow you to really get a feel for each different version of Linux.
Ubuntu is a debian-based Linux operating system. It’s currently one of the most commonly installed versions of Linux, often being the default setup for most Linux setups. It’s also hugely popular with VPS due to its ease of access.
Ubuntu is great for beginners because there are thousands of resources for learning about it. The Ubuntu community, a dedicated forum, allows users of the system to post their beginner questions as well as complex ones for those with the technical know-how.
Ubuntu is also very easy to install and setup; as of writing this article the latest version is Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and can be download for free from their website: http://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop
We mentioned Ubuntu, which is based off Debian Linux Operating system. This is my personal favourite, but the difference between Debian and Ubuntu is quite minimal. They both use the similar apt-get commands for installing and managing packages and both have great vibrant communities.
If you’re setting up a VPS, DigitalOcean offer the latest Debian version (Jesse) to install out the box. You can also download Debian from their official website: debian.org
The Debian community also provides lots of tutorials and tips, which you can find on their website.
One other version of Linux I like is Fedora. It is based on innovating and keeping the list of packages up-to-date (unlike other versions where you often have months out-of-date software listed). Fedora versions have short-life spans, with newer versions always being added and support for older ones discontinued.
One thing that makes Fedora great is its approach to Security: it uses something called security-enhanced-linux (also known as Sellinux) which aims to keep the system as secure as possible.
If you want to know more about Fedora, check out their Wikipedia page.
Ultimately, what version of Linux you decide to use is up to you; each version has its own benefits so I suggest trying out a few and seeing which one you like best. If you’re just learning to use Linux via the command terminal or SSH, learning the different commands for each system can sometimes be overwhelming, but once you get a grasp on the basics like (ls, cd, mkdir etc) you’ll find it much easier.