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Comparison of Top 7 Linux Distributions

Ubuntu vs. CentOS vs. Fedora vs. Debian vs. Mint vs. OpenSuse vs. Red Hat 2017

June 15, 2017 by

Ubuntu is the most user-friendly Linux distribution, offering strong community-based support and a consistent release cycle. It has also a reputation for security. Ubuntu updates the latest software versions on a regular schedule. The disadvantage of frequent updates is that it's hard to keep bugs from slipping into the system. In fact, Ubuntu is not intended to be updated with all the latest software as time goes on. It is designed for the opposite, to be stocked with long-tested software and only upgrading them with critical and security-related fixes. Ubuntu is the best choice for newbies.

CentOS is perfect for those looking for a highly stable version of Linux that offers enterprise-level reliability. The price of stability is that the software versions included with CentOS are rarely the latest. It comes with the same set of well-tested and stable Linux kernel and software packages that form the basis of its parent, Red Hat Enterprise Linux. CentOS is supported with a minimum of 5 years of security updates. Security features include an excellent firewall and SELinux, a policy enforcement mechanism that prevents wayward applications from ever causing security problems.


Fedora focuses on including cutting-edge software. They continually update to newer software packages. Since Fedora's priorities tend to lean towards enterprise features, rather than server usability; some bleeding edge features occasionally alienate some users. On the other hand, since Fedora is not as popular as Ubuntu and CentOS, it may sometimes be harder to find the app users are looking for. They will be stuck building from source instead of just installing it from the repositories. Building from source isn't all that hard, but it won't allow users to automatically update that program. Fedora is recommended for advanced Linux administrators.


Debian is a "rolling" distribution which doesn't jump from release to release and its packages are continuously updated. With a moving base of packages, each new change can potentially introduce some problems. Some users consider Debian as one of the stable distributions, as users are quick to report broken features and developers are quick to fix them. Overall, it  provides an "unstable" repository. Debian is a usable and responsive distribution, but it isnt one wed recommend for complete beginners.


Mint is light and faster than other Linux distributions. It is a Linux distribution for desktop computers, based on either Ubuntu or Debian. New versions of Mint are released every six months. There are two releases per year, generally timed one month after Ubuntu releases.


openSUSE package management is slower than Debian-based APT. It is rather bug-free and comes with a rich selection of programs. openSUSE is a little more difficult to setup by newbies.


Red Hat can be the best choice when a user needs the maximum level of enterprise software compatibility, but it costs an additional license fee. Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) is for enterprise-level servers. RHEL requires an extra license fee to Red Hat to access their non-free software components. RHEL is stable and handles heavy loads well. The main reason to use RHEL would be if a user is running a software that has RHEL in its list of supported operating systems. This means it aims at larger businesses. If a user is not running software that requires RHEL but want to take advantage of its reliability they can choose Ubuntu or CentOS instead.


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