2022-11-26 :: What Linux distributions to recommend to computer scientists
Here is my recommendation about what kind of Linux distribution to choose for computer scientists wanting to use Linux professionally or for learning purposes, on their desktops. (Not specifically for contributing to free software).
My suggestion is to go for:
- one of the mainstream distributions;
- and one that has great documentation to learn a lot about system administration.
To have great and enough documentation, a distribution like Fedora or a non-LTS Ubuntu version is not what I recommend. They are released every 6 months approximately, so their system administration guide is often outdated or lacks a lot of information. These versions of distributions are more appropriate for contributors (including testers, etc).
So here is my list, in alphabetical order:
- Debian stable :: documentation
- Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) :: documentation
- SUSE Linux Enterprise (SLE) and openSUSE Leap :: documentation
- Ubuntu LTS :: documentation
I especially recommend an enterprise distribution simply because the documentation is more complete. An "LTS" version of a distribution also has the benefit to be more stable (less bugs).
Under the documentation angle, you may give a different choice than simply comparing the graphical differences (for the installer, the default desktop and how to install packages, mainly).
Footnote: for the story, I'm now using openSUSE and I'm quite happy with the SLE / SLED documentation. In the past I've also used CentOS for certain installations, and the RHEL docs were helpful. Although I've used Debian and Ubuntu during several years each, I haven't read much of their documentation, but I suppose it's good too.
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