Friday Linux.com published their list of "what might well be
the best Linux distributions to be found from the ever-expanding crop of possibilities... according to task." Here's their winners (as chosen by Jack Wallen), along with a short excerpt of his analysis.
Best distro for sysadmins : Parrot Linux. "Based on Debian and offers nearly every penetration testing tool you could possibly want. You will also find tools for cryptography, cloud, anonymity, digital forensics, programming, and even productivity."
Best lightweight distribution: LXLE. "Manages to combine a perfect blend of small footprint with large productivity."
Best desktop distribution: Elementary OS "I'm certain Elementary OS Loki will do the impossible and usurp Linux Mint from the coveted 'best desktop distribution' for 2017."
Best Linux for IoT: Snappy Ubuntu Core "Can already be found in the likes of various hacker boards (such as the Raspberry Pi) as well as Erle-Copter drones, Dell Edge Gateways, Nextcloud Box, and LimeSDR."
Best non-enterprise server distribution: CentOS. "Since 2004, CentOS has enjoyed a massive community-driven support system."
Best enterprise server distribution: SUSE. "Don't be surprised if, by the end of 2017, SUSE further chips away at the current Red Hat market share."
Wallen also chose Gentoo for "Best distribution for those with something to prove," saying "This is for those who know Linux better than most and want a distribution built specifically to their needs... a source-based Linux distribution that starts out as a live instance and requires you to then build everything you need from source." And surprisingly, he didn't mention his own favorite Linux distro, Bodhi Linux, which he describes elsewhere as "a melding of Ubuntu and Enlightenment".
Re:Eye of the Beholder
• Score: 4
These types of lists are always biased in a "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" kind of way. I've been using linux for 20 years now and don't really agree with most of their choices. These lists might get someone new started with Linux, but people eventually gravitate towards what works for them once they get their sea legs.
Most people gravitate towards what they already know, whether or not it is longer the best choice. I've used outdated or sub-optimal tools many times because I know exactly what the workflow, limitations and quirks are and if you avoid the pitfalls it works, even though I know newer versions or other software does it better. You can waste a lot of time chasing a better solution, switching distros fixes one problem and gives you two new ones. To be honest I don't like that being used as a suggestion very often, pick one roughly right for you and unless it turns consistantly sour or is a real deal breaker for you most of the time you're better off trying to fix it or live with it than jumping ship.
Funtoo and ArchLinux
• Score: 3
I really, really like Funtoo Linux. I've posted about it in the past.
It's a lot like Gentoo, as its based on Gentoo, built by the original founder of Gentoo. But it has a few subtle differences: - Portage uses git to sync the portage tree instead of rsync (though I think Gentoo back ported this feature).
- boot-update. Gentoo lacks this program. It handles updating grub2 and lilo configuration based on the presence of kernels and initrd files in /boot. No mucking about with grub2-mkconfig.
- systemd is unsupported, though its there if you want to use it. If it breaks, its on you.
I find myself using ArchLinux's wiki more and more these days. It seems like it is almost a binary version of Gentoo/Funtoo in many ways. I've been trying it out in a VM. Not having to compile everything is nice, but lacks tuning dependencies that I am so used to with Funtoo/Gentoo.
Elementary OS Performance?
• Score: 3
I've seen Elementary OS mentioned several times in discussions among unhappy Apple users as a good bail-out option. Those of us who moved from Linux to OS X in the early 2000s, back when OS X did indeed "just work" (particularly compared to the Linux desktop) are now tired of rushed/botched software upgrades and increasingly poor HW offerings. I want a system I can depend on rather than one I can (or have to) fiddle with so I can focus on the things I want/need to be doing with the computer. That's why I'm not looking at a hackintosh solution. Any Elementary OS users want to comment on how this distro is working for them? I'll probably want to install Gnome, which I think is not the out-of-the-box configuration.
Korora / Fedora
• Score: 4, Funny
Started with Gentoo - awesome learning experience. Harder to maintain in a production environment especially if you're lazy like me.
On the desktop went thru various distros - Ubuntu, SolydXK, Mint, Manjaro/Arch and am now using Korora/Fedora. Have been very surprised at how well Korora works - always avoided Fedora for whatever reason.
Tried Elementary OS a few years ago and liked the look but the packages just weren't there and some things were broken. No doubt things are better but I've moved on.
LXLE looks cool especially for older tech - I like the LXDE and LXQT DEs a lot - simple and old school windows-like.
CentOS seems a little outdated for my tastes but it works well enough especially in environments that are fragile. Using Ubuntu LTS for most of my server stuff - for me it has been the easiest to maintain and keep current with a great range of compatible devices and packages.
Haven't tried Parrot Linux yet but will check it out - have used Kali & BackBox.
What? No Mint?
• Score: 3
Mint with Cinnamon is arguable the best Linux Desktop distro.