Talk:Comparison of Linux distributions/Archive 2

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Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3

Gentoo: Default file system

Given (even remotely approximately) the following...

  • a "default file system" is either something setup without user choice, or something specifically referred to as "the default", or something selected (by an installer, let's say) by default
  • a "default file system" is evident if the distro's install media either provides support for only one, or it has an installer to automatically choose one, or its documentation specifically dictates only one, etc.
  • Gentoo install media provides support for more than one file system
  • Gentoo does not have an installer (and therefore INTRINSICALLY cannot have a default by normal definitions)
  • the Gentoo Handbook, which is followed to install, does not dictate choices, instead providing examples that are referred to as examples
  • Lunar Linux, for example, is listed as having a default file system that is "User Determined"
  • Lunar Linux probably doesn't use examples in their documentation because it uses a GUI and most people can understand hitting arrow keys
  • Gentoo's having approximately 50 more pages of installation documention primarily full of example data does not constitute a default file system

...I submit that Gentoo's "Default file system" should be "User Determined".

Pursuant to Wikipedia policies and guidelines, I would like any near-future changes to the data in question carried out only if there is some sort of community consensus. ¦ Reisio 08:59, 2005 August 28 (UTC)

Is this enough?
Changed to mention ext3 (--jkt)

I've changed the default FS to ext3 as is suggested by our Handbook.

Are you really sure about that? -, Gentoo Documentation Project reverted my change, reverting back...

Damn Small Linux name

Why do you absolutely want to call damn small linux Damn Small which is a name never employed and you refuse either the actual name Damn Small Linux either the commonly used abbreviation ?

I don't absolutely, you'll just notice (if you take the time) that at present there is a convention of dropping any " Linux" in names...because it's obvious they are Linux distributions (because that's the subject of the article). I think abbreviating any down to an acronym (if it's not the primary name) will only lead to confusion. ¦ Reisio 18:56, 9 October 2005 (UTC)
didn't notice that convention, sorry. But should that convention always apply ? Some distributions (like Gentoo Linux, Mandriva or Ubuntu) are often referred to by their name without Linux, while others (like Arch Linux or Damn Small Linux) are most often referred to by their full names. Aren't there more risks of confusion ?
I don't think so - I think an average person that would look at "Arch" and think "Huh? Arch what?" would within a few seconds realize that all the first items refer to Linux distributions. I certainly don't see any harm in keeping the " Linux" in the names, it just seems redundant to me. How 'bout we give it a bit and let some of the other editors voice their opinions so we can form a consensus? ¦ Reisio 20:27, 9 October 2005 (UTC)
Ok, I understand your point of view. Let's ask other contributors opinion

Do we really need "⇠"?

What's the reasoning behind adding "⇠" to all the Metacity and kwin entries for default wm? It's very distracting and meaningless to me since it's so small; it looks like a +- symbol on one of my machines and a grey speck on another. Surely people who want to know what window manager is default for a particular distribution wont really need the arrow. -- Striker 20:24, 27 October 2005 (UTC)

The point is to indicate that those window managers are defaults that come with the desktop environment to the left, and are therefore not especially notable.
As for being small - it can be any size you want, here's a selection:
⇠ ← ⇦ ⇽
⇠ ← ⇦ ⇽
⇠ ← ⇦ ⇽
¦ Reisio 21:50, 27 October 2005 (UTC)
It's not just the size, but also I feel it's rather superfluous. People that want to know what the window manager is probably already know that kwin and Metacity are used by kde and gnome. Likewise, someone who does not know what a window manager is will not know what the arrow means anyway. Perhaps a different method should be used, like merging the two columns together for gnome+Metacity and kde+kwin. -- Striker 13:42, 28 October 2005 (UTC)
First it's one thing then it's another, eh? :p This is a wiki, so be bold and change it if you think you can make it better. If what you does sucks, I'm sure someone else will be bold and change it. ¦ Reisio 17:23, 28 October 2005 (UTC)
Seeing what's happened before, I do not want to start an edit war with you. I would love to be bold and reformat some things, but it seems you have taken this entire article as your own and some changes people have made seem to offend you. -- Striker 16:26, 31 October 2005 (UTC)
Sometimes I question my sanity, but I'd like to think if I suggest a course of action to you, it wouldn't cause not only you but also me to waste time. Whether you remove the arrows or not I'll give it a while and hopefully someone else will chime in here. ¦ Reisio 19:03, 31 October 2005 (UTC)


Why no mention of Red Hat Enterprise Linux? Quite a significant distro. Massysett 04:05, 2 November 2005 (UTC) add it. ¦ Reisio 13:16, 2 November 2005 (UTC)
Provided of course that it wasn't purposefully removed by somebody. I was wondering the same thing. It should most definately be there. Might want to check through the edit history.—Kbolino 07:03, 18 November 2005 (UTC)

I added RHEL in all the tables where it was not. Riaanvn 18:49, 13 August 2006 (UTC)

This page is pointless

This whole page is so irrelevant and pointless. I mean, the only thing I'd keep is maybe the first table, for a quick insight into the story of most popular distros. The rest is utterly useless. Every feature or default kernel/file system/whatever mentioned there is a moving target. Like the default linux kernel. come on... we're gonna update it with every revision ? It is useless to the reader, and way too much work for the editors (for nothing). Same for the number of packages. Now, default file system: does it matter ? it's just a guideline from most distros, it is not important on a general comparison page. Same for "supported" file systems, default GUI styling, file manager, DE, WM, default office suite (!!! that's the best) etc. IMO, the only thing this page does is give false thoughts to readers trying to find a suitable distribution for themselves by telling them "this one as these features, but not these". Linux is linux, and you add whatever features you damn well please. I would keep only the bits about creator, first release, predecessor, target audience, installer, and package manager. The things that really make a distro unique (the package manager being the most important one) -- 13:47, 4 December 2005 (UTC)

That's the thing though, many of the binary distros change very little — Striker 21:09, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
What is a binary distro? --Yath 21:48, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
One whose base and packages are distributed in binary form instead of by source. ¦ Reisio 23:00, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
It doesn't seem like a very useful term, except possibly to Gentoo users. --Yath 23:21, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
Not my fault you're ignorant. :p ¦ Reisio 01:20, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
Sigh. I was trying to be polite. To use the term "binary distro" sounds like a sophomoric attempt to imply that source-only distribution ought to be the norm. Sort of like a kit car enthusiast talking about "pre-assembled autos" and then giggling at the resultant raised eyebrows. --Yath 04:26, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
I think Striker was just covering his ass (on purpose or just being accurate) in case of someone stopping by and saying "Oh yeah? I build everything from SOURCE, buddy, so nothing on this table is accurate.". I don't think he was implying that source-based distros are better, just that including them in a comparison table doesn't make as much sense as including binary-based. ¦ Reisio 05:46, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
I was just pointing out that binary distros tend to be a bit more static and less chaotic than source distributions. Binary distros are made for convenience, and typically have much more rigorous testing than some source distros when a particular piece of software is upgraded, and in turn, lengthen the time at which the new version is released. This is the same reason why some contend that binary distributions are more stable than source based distros. I was not saying source or binary is better for anything, I was suggesting that the changes needed to be made on the comparison page don't change that much for binary distros and are therefore easier to keep track of. Even for source distros, many of the parameters do not change much either; including kernel version.
Also, binary distro is not a sophomoric term; it's merely used to categorize distribution types (with source distro being its opposite) and there is nothing derogatory or contemptuous about it. There are probably an equal amount of binary and source distros, so neither one is more "the norm" than the other. Some people may not have the time or patience to deal with compiling from source, and may prefer a binary distro. Still others may prefer to tailor their software to have as few dependencies as possible, tweak every ounce of speed out, or just have a very small footprint (memory or filesize) with a source distro.
Now, going back to the original question of why this page is here, it's meant to be a guide for users to compare and contrast the differences between a distribution one uses to another that perhaps they may want to look at or replace their current preference. It is also for new users who are technically minded and wish to seek out which distribution may be more suited to their tastes, wants, and needs. I'm sure there are some other possible uses I missed, but those two seem the most likely to me. — Striker 15:44, 6 December 2005 (UTC)
"Linux is linux, and you add whatever features you damn well please." - This page gives readers of Wikipedia general information about specific distribution's features. Some peolpe use it with default settings, but others like to customize and add more features. In short, this page in not inteded for actual Linux-HOWTO; basically served as Encyclopedia.
"Every feature or default kernel/file system/whatever mentioned there is a moving target. Like the default linux kernel." - Not exactly: many popular distributios does not ask major updates to users. For example, RHEL, Debian, Mandriva and SUSE release mainly security fixes, so usually there is no substential upgrades of packages. User-green 11:41, 20 January 2006 (UTC)

Distros that need to be added

Uhm...I understand that more information is better, but adding every single obscure distro to the list will end up with a bloated, hard to read, excessive article. Of the few listed here, I've only heard of kubuntu and corel -- I'd be for adding corel, but against adding kubuntu since it's basically ubuntu with KDE as the default desktop environment -- but the rest...never heard of them... — Striker 23:03, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
I agree that we should only include major linux distributions, however I think tha Kubuntu should be added. At the moment, from the Ubuntu row, it shows that Ubuntu is only GNOME and not KDE at all. That could be a major turn off for most people. There must either be a footnote in the Ubuntu row saying that KDE is available, or Kubuntu should be added as a row --Deemo 17:59, 28 December 2005 (UTC) by:RUBEN M. Paddula taga c.I.T.E!!!
Perhaps we should add Kubuntu/Xubuntu/(Edubuntu?) as subcomponents of Ubuntu. For example,
Ubuntu Canonical Ltd. 2004-October Debian 5.10 (2005-10-13) Free GPL Beginners, Desktop, Workstation, Enthusiast, Server Isle of Man
could become
Ubuntu/Kubuntu/Xubuntu Canonical Ltd. 2004-October Debian 5.10 (2005-10-13) Free GPL Beginners, Desktop, Workstation, Enthusiast, Server Isle of Man
Then, under the tech specs, we could note that Ubuntu and Xubuntu use Synaptic while Kubuntu uses Adept. The Features section could go from
Ubuntu 3180 by default[1], maximally 16271 Yes[2] Nautilus* GNOME *Metacity Human theme, GNOME Office
Ubuntu 3180 by default[3], maximally 16271 Yes[2] Nautilus* GNOME *Metacity Human theme, GNOME Office
Kubuntu 3180 by default[4], maximally 16271 Yes[2] Konqueror* KDE *kwin Lipstik Theme, KOffice
3180 by default[5], maximally 16271 Yes[2] Rox-Filer* XFCE *XFWM (This has yet to be Decided)
Lengau 23:46, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

SabayonLinux needs to be added as well. -- 22:11, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

Select Distros for Comparision

There are now so many distros in the charts of this page it is hard to compair the few a person is interested in. Is it possible to create some way of selecting only a few distros for compairson. zorkerz 20:28, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

I wonder if we could do something where each distro entry is moved to a separate page, and this page is split up into various lists. Each list would then just include the desired entries. For example, a list for desktop distros would be called Comparison of Desktop-oriented Linux distributions, and includes Linspire , Xandros, MEPIS, etc. The page markup would be something like
Then for the Server comparison page...
Each separate page is a table row. I agree though, there are getting to be too many entries, and it's extremely hard to compare specific types of distros. I don't think many people want to compare server-only and desktop distros.--SirNuke 04:38, 6 March 2006 (UTC)
You would need to do some server scripting for such a thing. However we could get rid of the table format, make a couple of lists that show different distro's in different categories that link a a full description later in the page. We'd probably need a template for each comparison which I could easily take care of, I have a basic one located at Template:Distro_Item if you want to take a look. netkid91 03:42, 21 March 2006 (UTC)

Cleanup needed

This article needs to be cleaned up. It lacks information of the encyclopedic importance of the data presented; just as an example, why is it important whether Kurumin uses KDE or Gnome by default, and what does it mean for a distribution to be "LSB compatible"? Why is country of origin at all important? —donhalcon 21:34, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

The default desktop environment seems like a notable point of comparison--it is a common and noticeable point of difference. The LSB compatible column has a link to LSB, which states that it dictates "standard libraries, a number of commands and utilities that extend the POSIX standard, the layout of the file system hierarchy, run levels, and several extensions to the X Window System." I think this is clear enough, but feel free to add a footnote if you think people won't click on LSB to see what it means. I agree that the country of origin can probably be omitted. --Karnesky 23:45, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
I agree this article could use some cleanup also. I think we need to trash the table approach with this one. netkid91 03:39, 21 March 2006 (UTC)


Whether a distribution requires compiling is important information for most users - many will not want to leave their machine standing for a day to compile KDE, for instance.

Do we have any benchmarks for performance? I know that some distributions don't seem to get their compile flags quite right for the typical setup, so an i386-compiled may actually run faster than a i686-compiled distro with bad compile flags (assuming an i686 compatible machine here!) - Samsara (talkcontribs) 13:11, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

the rule is to do only small and well known changes:
  • Use flags for gentoo
  • march=
  • pipe
  • O2 because there isn't too much difference with O3
another factor that isn't took into acount but that is VERY important is the recompilation of the kernel,in fact people that use source
 :districution such as gentoo usualy(you have also an automatic kernel) recompile/compile their kernel

00 tux 00:45, 29 April 2006 (UTC) by the way i use gentoo so feel free to ask some question about the obtimisations,their real impact and the cause of the speed

i don't think wikipedia is the place to make benchmark comparisons
but there are some others wiki that can,such as
in order to be usefull(in this article) you can simply add a link to the specific page from wikipedia

This article is an absolute mess

It desperately needs cleanup/corrections


  • The "Target Audience" listed for Fedora Core is "Workstation, Server, Enthusiast"
  • The "Target Audience" listed for Ubuntu/Kubuntu etc. is "Beginner, Desktop, Workstation, Enthusiast, Server

Having used both distros (I was running Ubuntu/Kubuntu 6.06 as I wrote this) I can honestly say that Fedora Core should show the same "target market" as Ubuntu. Granted it's a 5 CD/1 DVD Default installation process, but the Anaconda GUI is very user friendly (much more so than the console-baaed Debian Installer that K/X/E/Ubuntu uses). And why wouldn't Fedora Core target "Desktop" users as well? They've have always had a very polished Desktop and this is especially true of Fedora Core 5. If they went to all that trouble to make it nice looking and easy to use, then I'd say it's also targeted at the "Desktop Market"

Mandriva's "Target Audience" is shown as "Desktop, Workstation, Server". For years, Mandrake (Mandriva's Predecessor) was known as a "newbie friendly" distro. I last used it in 1999. From what I remember the installer was friendlier than either Fedora or Ubuntu is today.

So Mandriva is missing "beginner" (Unless their installer has gone to pot in recent years).

Mepis: again, "Desktop, Workstation, Server"? It's another newbie friendly distro. Not only that it's installed from a LiveCD. How much simpler can you get? I've used it myself.

PCLinuxOS. Same as Mepis, if not more so. I've used it.

Xandros. "Workstation, Server" WTF? Another "user friendly" distro. Heck the commercial version mimics the functionality of Windows as much as possible (almost as much as Linspire does). They only recently got into the server market.


Mandriva - Package Manger listed is "Rpmdrake". Nothing else. What do you suppose "RPMdrake" is a front-end for?


Ubuntu - Default Office suite: " & Gnome Office"

Ubuntu goes out of it's way to only give you one piece of software per use in it's default install. In the case of an Office Suite, that would be Gnome Office is NOT part of the default installation.

Is the "Default GUI Styling" really necessary? Oh wait, somebody asked the same question already....

Why not default icons too? ;-)

Somebody correctly pointed out (quite some time ago - see above) that if you do a "desktop" installation with Debian, you will get GNOME (and only GNOME). Therefore "none" is incorrect.

If that doesn't change soon, I may take the liberty to do so myself (and possibly a few other changes that I've mentioned as well).

I'm sure there are plenty of items that I've missed. These are just the ones that I'm personally aware of...

There. I feel better now. ;-)

--angrykeyboarder 05:45, 10 May 2006 (UTC)

Yeah, it's amazing, isn't it, how a little rant can make you feel better, even though you haven't contributed anything. Be bold! - Samsara (talkcontribs) 11:25, 10 May 2006 (UTC)
I have removed the disputed tag from the article. You talk about small errors and possible changes to the articles at several places but don't show that the factual accuracy of this article is disputed. Yes, there might be mistakes in the article, but you can correct them. The only things that might be disputed are things like whether the default GUI should be listed (IMHO it should), but this is not about factual accuracy. Deleteme42 10:34, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

PPC support of Fedora Core, Ubuntu etc.

Since the same set of CDs is used for PPC and PPC64, I would reason that they are really PPC compiled versions that by grace of the architecture will run on PPC64 machines, too. Compare with Mac OS X#Mac OS X v10.4 (Tiger). Can anyone comment? - Samsara (talkcontribs) 18:18, 3 June 2006 (UTC)

  • ppc userspace runs on ppc64, sparc32 userspace runs on sparc64, x86 userspace runs on amd64. But there could also be separate ppc64/sparc64/amd64 ports of distributions. Deleteme42 19:03, 3 June 2006 (UTC)
But that's exactly what I'm saying. However, Fedora etc. are reported in the table as being available as a ppc64 port, which I'm arguing is technically incorrect, as those are not REAL ppc64 ports. It just happens that the 32 bit port will also run on 64. A footnote would suffice to point this out. Can we agree on this? - Samsara (talkcontribs) 20:02, 3 June 2006 (UTC)
Okay, I've just seen you already made those changes. Thanks! - Samsara (talkcontribs) 20:05, 3 June 2006 (UTC)

Architecture support

Is there really any need for the Architecture support section, since that info is already in the Technical section? (And the two don't agree, BTW -- see, for example, Gentoo.) - dcljr (talk) 19:56, 27 June 2006 (UTC)

This could be used to add finer graned info on e.g. x86 processor optimisation e.g. kernel >= 586, binaries >= 386 . --Widefox 11:01, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

Altough it will take up a lot space I think it's more persentable.Mike92591 17:57, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

Symphony OS

Latest Stable Version: 2006-05 Beta (2005-05-18)?

Should this be ??? and the "first public Release" be 2005-05-08?

Proprietary software

I think there should be a section "Proprietary software included" in the Features comparison. This is often the difference between a distro aimed toward general users and those aimed more at people familiar with Linux. Theshibboleth 08:36, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

Yes, we should. This is the most important criterion for me. -- mms 01:56, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

Live CD distros

Shouldn't most of these be listed with UnionFS as their primary filesystem? --Jonnty (talk) 14:10, 26 July 2006 (UTC)

General table, first general release (date) column

the column header and footer don't match in terms of date format.

System requirements

I think that system requirement is one of the important info to be added to the comparaison so one can select the distribution that fit his/her needs and the computer ability.

I think that could be done in the target audience column.Mike92591 17:57, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

Should we delete Default office suite?

It seems like its only making the article more cluttered.Mike92591 17:54, 29 August 2006 (UTC)


Why do some of the items in the chart have a "*"? This should be labelled for readers to understand. 14:01, 24 September 2006 (UTC)

I'm not entirely sure, but I think it has something to do with it being included in the desktop environment.Mike92591 15:00, 24 September 2006 (UTC)


Support for different languages should be noted since the developing world needs computers, Linux could really gain market share from those developing countries, since it's free and in their own language. -- 22:20, 9 December 2006 (UTC)


There is one area on the page at the end where the Nautilus link takes you to the fish-crustacean Nautilus instead of the file manager. Someone edit it - i am too lazy to find it.

-- 19:36, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

Hehe, you're right. I'll sort it. --Jonnty (talk) 18:02, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

Language support

How should we organize it? Originally I just used this but think that may not be a good way. Mike92591 22:46, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

I'm going moving this part to talk (below) for now. We shouldn't have tables in the article that are completely blank. Either only put the rows where we have info (and gradually expand), or fill it somewhere else (like on talk) then move it on. Also, Mike, please use edit summaries, besides just the section name. Superm401 - Talk 01:07, 29 January 2007 (UTC)
Oh, as for design, we should just use all the languages included in any distro. This might entail adding columns occasionally, but that's okay. Superm401 - Talk 01:08, 29 January 2007 (UTC)
On second thought (looking at that will get pretty ridiculous fast. Let's stick with the most widely spoken ones for now. Superm401 - Talk 01:14, 29 January 2007 (UTC)
Okay, I'll try to remember to put summaries when I do a lot of stuff. Also, your last post gave me an idea: lets give the links to the specific destro's full list in another column so we don't have to list every obscure language supported but still provide the info. Mike92591 20:37, 29 January 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. We should have either <ref> tags or a separate link column, but not both. I think your ways better, so I'll remove the refs unless you say otherwise. Superm401 - Talk 06:37, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

Could we make a[n article called] "List of Linux Distribution specific Documentations links" or would that be out of the question? It would certainly make this a lot easier.Mike92591 21:40, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

  1. ^ By default main and restricted repositories are enabled. Universe and multiverse repositories can be added.
  2. ^ a b c d Cite error: The named reference ncurses-install was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  3. ^ By default main and restricted repositories are enabled. Universe and multiverse repositories can be added.
  4. ^ By default main and restricted repositories are enabled. Universe and multiverse repositories can be added.
  5. ^ By default main and restricted repositories are enabled. Universe and multiverse repositories can be added.