Linux Format 162 On Sale Last Week - Best Distro 2012


Best distro 2012: we put the top contenders head to head.

Complete with 2 distro packed DVDs; 15 top distros, 14 of which are bootable!

Mint takes on Ubuntu in the classic battle between father and son. OpenSUSE Tumbleweed takes on the most popular rolling distro, Arch. Gnome desktops compete for dominance when we pit Fedora against Sabayon, and we fulfill our KDE obligations by looking at both Mageia 2 and Rosa - two closely related distributions that have yet to make their mark. It’s not close to being an exact science as there will be as many opinions as there are distributions. But it will be fun. Let the games commence!

When you've decided what distro you want occupying your hard disk you might want to check out our guide to getting involved in flame wars, build a virtual CPU with 4 bits of RAM, improve your passwords, find the best licence for your best project or read all about how free software is making it easier to find a cheap bottle of Budweiser. All this and more in Linux Format!

For a complete issue overview, and subscriber PDFs, take a look at our archives:

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Your comments

Will grab!

Will grab!

I'm confused...

I find it interesting that one of the 8 that are regarded of the best of the best didn't make the disk and many who were regarded as less superior did...

It better be Mint...

..with Cinnamon. Yummiest Linux this year imho.

The best?

With the disaster that is the Linux Desktop, now that Gnome appears to have contracted BSE (Mad Cow Disease), except for a few lonely cries from the likes of SolusOS and maybe Cinnamon, it is rather like watching a headless chicken running around in the world of Linux. Just because Microsoft want to commit commercial suicide with Metro (or whatever it is called now) doesn't mean we all have to follow them!

These desktop UIs that are designed for touch screen tablets may be great for over large mobile phones and tablets but not for traditional laptops and desktops. Hey guys, haven't you noticed what trouble Microsoft have been having to get their users to dump XP?

If you want Linux to capitalize upon the launch of Windows 8 we are going to dump Gnome 3 and their shell and return to the sanity of a traditional desktop, be it like xfce or a Gnome 2 clone.

More Posters

Love the mag, I run kubuntu 12.04 and alot of my clients do to (i Am a techie in Western Australia) and would like to see more posters in the linux format mag as in like the TUX Poster 4 pages in total all in one folded poster.

Ray Woods has it right.

Running after the money mongers show how low we've become. We couldn't compete with XP, let alone Microsoft and the others. The general desktop user wants error free installation, whether it is the OS or an application. We were getting there with Ubuntu in the early days, but they've jumped off the cliff. And the rest are like lemmings - dump the "good" desktops and join everyone else trying to emulate a phone! BFD.

Lets have a good desktop (like Gnome, KDE, etc) that WORKS.

An example was the two articles in the mail bag (at the back of issue 162. Both those "problems" shouldn't take a geek or guru to solve. It should have been solved at the software level. We've got too many "DEVELOPERS" throwing together applications and then moving on to something else. Quit making excuses and make the Linux environment "just work".

not sure it's fair to blame ubuntu

for switching to unity. Mark shuttleworth said very early on he wasn't happy with the way gnome 3 was heading - with the lack of customizability ubuntu was clearly going to have to dump all the work it had put into making 10.04 and 10.10 such functional and aesthetic distros.

I guess their choices were - dump gnome and go for xfce or lxde or kde, or work on a new take of gtk3. I don't think gnome 2 was an option, unless they could persuade someone to maintain it.

That doesn't mean that unity works for me, but I find it slightly more useable than gnome 3 - albeit slower, and neither are as useable or as fast as gnome 2.

Why go yellow, Linux Format?

"OpenSUSE Tumbleweed takes on the most popular rolling distro, Arch."

openSUSE (BTW, the 'o' is lowercase) rolling-release Tumbleweed repo applies _ONLY_ to userland software, not core packages -read: kernel and the rest of core packages- and is intended to let users keep their day-to-day applications updated (KDE SC, LibreOffice, GIMP, etc.) while at the same the the base system frozen until next openSUSE release.

In contrast, Arch Linux is a *FULL* rolling-release distro that constantly receives updates for both it's core components and the rest of the software available in it's repositories.

Please LF, don't go yellow.

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