And the Best Linux Desktop Is…

Opinion: There is no single answer. It really depends on what you want to do, but here are three of my favorites and the jobs they're most suited for.

About five minutes after Linus Torvalds first let the world know about Linux 0.01 back in the dawn of time, aka Aug. 25, 1991, the first fight over which was the best Linux distribution began.

I kid. The never-ending fight over which is the best Linux distribution didnt begin in earnest, as I recall it, until 1994, with the arrival of Red Hat Linux. Then, as now, theres just something about Red Hat Linux thats like waving a red flag at a bull. Folks just seem to love it or hate it.

Ever since then, its been a knock-down, drag-out fight between the various Linux distribution fans. Im not going to join that fuss. Id rather get work done than fight over which handles file systems marginally better than the other.

So, before walking into the "Whats the best Linux distribution?" firefight, let me open by saying that the right way, the real way, to ask the question is, "Whats the best Linux distribution for me to do what?"

For example, I like Red Hat Fedora Core 4, but lets get real; Ive been running Unix systems since the big interface debate was C shell vs. Korn shell (Korn is the right answer by the way).

No, a somewhat better question is: "Whats the best Linux distribution for the desktop?" And, as Ive indicated, the answer depends on what youre looking for. Below, I give my three answers depending on whos asking: a Windows user wanting to use Linux; a computer enthusiast wanting to learn Linux but ready to dive into the deep end of Fedora; and a CIO looking for the biggest bang for the desktop buck.

Next Page: The top three Linux desktops.