What’s the best linux distribution?

Lots of people ask me what’s the best Linux distro, some say what’s the best for a newbie others want to setup a home server and some others want to build a gatekeeper. So what’s the best distro to accomplish all this?

To be sincere I like OpenSuSE a lot and I use it for all my personal things and my work laptops, but I wouldn’t recommend  it for server usage, I don’t recommend any of the desktops distros (aka distribution) for that matter due to a simple issue. The  desktop distros like OpenSuSE, Fedora, Ubuntu , etc have a small support cycle. This means that if you want to have security upgrades you’ll need to be constantly updating your server install.

For usage in a server environment I like to use SLES, RedHat and CentOS. The support cycle is great (at least 5 years), the stability and endurance of the OS is great in any of them.

Once again I prefer SLES, this is due to the great tools and support they provide.However I don’t say the same about RedHat support, whenever I need them I  had to find the solution on my own.

These are the two main scopes of Linux distros out there, the desktop and server, but they aren’t the only scopes where you have Linux. For instance if you want to have a firewall, proxy, content filter, qos, and traffic shaping I would recomend the excellent Endian FW (www.endian.it).

If you want to have your linksys/asus and other router working with linux, you may use dd-wrt, would you like to have an older computer as a

media center look at Geex-Box. A hacker distribution so you can test your systems security just download BackTrack. The list can continue and you will be able to find a distribution suited to your needs. Some may need just a live cd or dvd system, other a complete server suite like SME server (that will give you the same offer as Windows small business).

To conclude I don’t think there’s a better distro, there are differences and those differences make some people like one distro over the other.

Personally I like OpenSuSE and SLES.


Pedro Oliveira

Linux support?

From sometime now I’ve been working on debugging  software, I don’ mind using betas (with all the inherent pain), as a matter of fact I like it a lot. But recently I had a problem with my MERLIN U740 PCMCIA card (it’s a 3G modem). This card emulates two USB ports and in one there’s the modem. This as been working for year without problems but since the kernel 2.6.24 it stopped working in x86_64. I didn’t care that much as i was working out of the country and didn’t use the card. But now I need to use it so I posted a bug report in OpenSuSE (the distro i use) and I’ve been testing their output on this bug. Finally its solved in the kernel 2.6.31 (from the release candidate 3) and it will be included in the main stream OpenSuSE distribution 11.2 (it’s already included in the factory version).

The bug I’m talking about is described in:


and it’s about the following kernel messages:

USB HC takeover failed!  (BIOS/SMM bug)

So in the end i can say I’m pretty happy with Linux support, and this kind of support is available to open source distros, not only to enterprise level distributions such as SLES or RHE. Just keep on filling those bugs reports when you find one.
Pedro Oliveira

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