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50

If you want to know what's different so you can use the system more efficiently, here is a commonly referenced introduction to BSD to people coming from a Linux background. If you want more of the historical context for this decision, I'll just take a guess as to why they chose FreeBSD. Around the time of the first dot-com bubble, FreeBSD 4 was extremely ...


30

In practice the distros all use much the same development tool chain, so they don't really differ significantly as a platform for general development work. Some do, however, have specific advantages that may be relevant to certain types of development work: The commercial distros (RHEL, SLES) have the best support from third-party closed source vendors. ...


30

I don't think I will provide you and everyone with the perfect answer, however, using a BSD system everyday for work, I am sure I can give you a useful insight in the BSD world. I didn't ever use NetBSD, I won't talk a lot about it. Do they use the same kernel? No, although there are similarities due to the historic forks. Each project evolved ...


22

Debian has some features that you could consider "advantages" depending on your needs and use cases. Stability. The Debian Stable branch has been tested extensively, generally for at least a year, as the Testing branch. The only updates Stable get are mission critical bug fixes and security fixes. This makes it an extremely stable platform (i.e., ...


19

I started to make this as a joking comment, but I'm actually going to go ahead and make it a serious suggestion. Check out Linux From Scratch, which isn't a distro per se, but rather a book and toolkit for building your own running Linux system from source, without a distro. If you were new to computers in general, this clearly would be jumping right off ...


17

FreeBSD has a reputation for a more robust network stack. From professional experience at a previous company, we had a proxy server that was falling over from the load. When we threw FreeBSD on it, the server handled the load with ease for well over a year (I moved on - could still be working). NetBSD has a reputation for running on a ton of different ...


15

For a computer with those specs you really don't need to worry about size. You can run Linux on far smaller machines just fine. A simple option would be Ubuntu - it does most things right out of the box, so while not quite as lean as some other Linuxes, it is an easy one to try out if you have never used one before. If you want, you can even run it off a CD ...


14

Highly recommend ubuntu server. The server mode will not put much that you don't really need, if anything. I run ubuntu on several servers and have always been happy with it. You'll also find tons of online support that is relevant to your distro. Linux advice generally translates from one distro to the next, but directory paths are often different. ...


14

In Larry Wall's original Perl v1.0 posting to the comp.sources.misc newsgroup on December 18, 1987, he said: If you have a problem that would ordinarily use sed or awk or sh, but it exceeds their capabilities or must run a little faster, and you don't want to write the silly thing in C, then perl may be for you. In a much later ...


13

One distro I can think of that was made to be a teaching system is Linux From Scratch. Its aim though is to show you how to build (from source code) the entire GNU/Linux system from scratch, rather than just to teach you how it works. By the time you've finished, your understanding and appreciation of building an OS will be higher than at the moment. You ...


13

There are several small distributions of linux, like Damn Small Linux or Puppy Linux. But with those machine specs, you don't need such a light-weight distribution. You can install any, like Debian or Ubuntu... you can check many of them to see which one fits better in the idea you have for that machine at Distrowatch. Update: Just discovered Tiny Core ...


13

Oh you will notice the differences... a git pull is way faster than the rsync one :) the automated kernel build is a real nice feature, you will see ebuilds that are maintained by CoreTeam have a cleaner structure, not so much usage of external modules but inline the ebuild so a build gets clean... GPT/GUID support is also very nice, cleaner structure of ...


13

The answer is/isn't sexy, depending on your point of view. Perl is very useful. Lots of the system utilities are written in or depend on perl. Most systems won't operate properly if Perl is uninstalled. A few years ago FreeBSD went through a lot of effort to remove Perl as a dependency for the base system. It wasn't an easy task.


12

You should definitely give a second try to Archlinux... It's slogan is: "A simple, lightweight distribution". You may object but in my opinion the installation of Arch is very simple and basic (just don't forget about the great and rich documentation available on wiki: https://wiki.archlinux.org/). I can install the whole system in less then half an hour ...


11

You'd have to further distinguish between Debian stable and testing/unstable, and between following all Ubuntu releases or only LTS releases. Debian stable and Ubuntu LTS release only every couple of years. Pro: you're not upgrading all the time. Con: the software and especially the drivers may get updated. Ubuntu has a few more things that work out of the ...


11

(I can't give a complete answer, but I also can't turn away from this question, so...I'll just address some points...FreeBSD was the most used BSD (in 2005), so I try to offer some clues regarding "the others".) First of all, you're right to dismiss the one-line explanations, OpenBSD's motto is "free, functional and secure" and the NetBSD developers also ...


11

I don't think you'd find a general standard answer to this question. The truth is only you know the answer to it. Some random points to take into consideration: Avoid exotic distributions There are solid distros around (debian, centos, opensuse, ubuntu, fedora, ...) to chose from. No need to consider getting your own LFS or something like Gobolinux. Not ...


10

I prefer the license philosophy of BSD license vs GPL license. To me, free means do pretty much whatever you want with the code. It's so free you can make it not free like apple did. Practically it probably has no impact on me, but I prefer it on principle and was one of the reasons I chose to use FreeBSD over Linux. Another reason is I wanted to tinker, ...


10

Many distributions have some facility for a minimal install; essentially where you manually select only those packages that you explicitly wish to install. Debian has this ability and would be a better choice, in your situation, than the other obvious minimal contender, Arch Linux. Arch's rolling release status may provide a level of ongoing complexity ...


10

Well, here you find some information, I don't know if accurate or not, I suspect not too much. Anyway, each major Linux distribution has almost everything one can ever need. What is missing are essentially niche applications, or applications that in some way cannot be packaged.


10

You can afford to run a GUI without problems, but I would advise against the more recent "desktop environments". For a 133Mhz machine, I also advise against a standard installation of any recent "consumer friendly" distribution, as they tend to have a lot of background services running. Installing Debian, ArchLinux, Gentoo, BSD should be no problem. Get a ...


9

Ubuntu is a good choice for a first distribution, if you want something you can get up-and-running quickly and easily. You might also consider fedora as well. You can certainly theme an Ubuntu installation. See this thread for a good starting point - HowTo: theme your desktop


9

Linux Mint is, for me, the most user-friendly Linux Distribution, the UI is almost the same as Windows, on the contrary of Ubuntu's Unity. Plus, for me, it's much more stable and "better", in my opinion than Ubuntu. You may also want to take a look at Mageia, a fork of Mandriva, the old Mandrake Linux.


9

The primary advantage of Backtrack is that someone else did all the work a recent broad-selection of tools into a single distribution, and it makes them all available by default without you having to install them or search for them. You could certainly acquire the source and compile/backport/install everything present on the Backtrack disk onto any ...


8

DSL would be your best bet, but you might try out a minimal Arch installation. Since with arch you build up the system from base. Arch provides a minimal environment upon installation, (no GUI), compiled for i686/x86-64 architectures. Arch is lightweight, flexible, simple and aims to be very UNIX-like. Its design philosophy and implementation ...


8

If you are coming from Linux, you might give PCBSD a try. It is FreeBSD but with a focus on desktop polish and ease-of-use. FreeBSD has historically been a server OS. The PCBSD installer can also install FreeBSD. Many people find it easier to install FreeBSD using the PCBSD installer. Linux and BSD are pretty similar in that they share the bulk of the ...


8

Advantages of Ubuntu: LTS releases are supported for 5 years for the server seed. Ubuntu has been certified to work on certain hardware For those wanting more up-to-date packages & are willing to use a non-LTS release, the 6 month release cycle means that a new stable release happens more frequently than with Debian Ubuntu has some better integration ...


8

Any distribution that avoids installing a heavyweight window manager will do nicely. For maximum choice, Debian will be fine on an older system. Your real decision is which window manager to use. I was using FVWM on a laptop made in 1996 and it was plenty fast enough. More modern "lightweight" window managers are probably also appropriate.


8

This is in principle an objective question (count the number of packages available out there), but difficult to answer for lack of comparable figures. If you count only packages that come with the distribution, then the table in Wikipedia (thanks to enzotib for the link) gives the answer. Or rather it goes some way towards an answer: different distributions ...



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