A Treasure Chest of Choices

Getting a copy of Linux is obviously an important part of the install. Technically, Linux is the kernel, so it isn’t all that big. You can download the latest kernel from many sites. However, if you want all the programs and utilities that go along with Linux, you will probably spend days downloading everything.

The alternative is to buy a copy. A dozen different versions are available in many more different configurations. Some are sold as a single CD-ROM, others come with CD-ROMs full of shareware or demos, still others are bundled with commercial products.

One argument that I frequently encounter against UNIX in general compared to Windows NT is that so many different versions compete with each other. With Windows NT, there is only one product. For me, that is an argument in favor of UNIX. No matter what your needs, no matter what your tastes, there is a UNIX version to suit you.

You need WWW Server and Web development tools? No problem. Development system? No problem. So, you really want to pay for all this? No problem. If you want, you could get it all for free even if Linux wasn’t what you wanted.

In the next few sections, we will take a quick look at a few of these distributions. This list is far from complete and represents only those versions I have installed. For more information on these distributions and the others that I didn’t install, the Linux Distribution HOWTO contains, among other things, contact and pricing information. There is also information on companies that provide other Linux-related products.

To be honest the best place to look at most all(?) of the distribrutions at once is Disto Watch.