Over the last couple of years, operating system Linux has emerged as a significant player in the software space. What makes Linux so popular is its open-source software licensing model. It is free to use. This means users can download Linux from the internet and redistribute it under GNU licensing. Additionally, it offers advantages over other operating systems in terms of security, flexibility and scalability. A Linux distribution, often referred to as Linux distro, is an open-source Linux operating system packaged with components including installation programmes, management tools and additional softwares.
Distributions based on Linux kernel are user-friendly and usually easier to deploy than the traditional open-source versions. At present, there are hundreds of Linux distros available, targeting specific users and systems. Some of these are ready to use, while others are packaged as source code that has to be compiled during installation.
Sign up for your weekly dose of what's up in emerging technology.
Today, we list a couple of the best Linux distros for machine learning:
The open-source operating system on Linux, Ubuntu, was developed by Canonical and first released in 2004. Built on Debian’s architecture and infrastructure, Ubuntu comes in handy for beginners. It is meant for enterprise servers, desktops, cloud and IoT.
Ubuntu releases every six months and with long-term support (LTS) every two years. Its default installation includes the softwares – LibreOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird, and Transmission, besides games including Sudoku and Chess. Ubuntu is a popular choice of an operating system for cloud computing, with support from OpenStack.
Owing to its ease of use, it is a popular Linux distribution choice for data professionals.
To know about Ubuntu’s community, click here.
Developed by Levente Polyak, Arch Linux is focused on simplicity, modernity, pragmatism, versatility and user-centrality. It was initially released in 2002 and has since then become a go-to choice for developers. Arch Linux’s community believes in keeping it simple. Additionally, its DIY (Do It Yourself) approach enables one to handle everything — from installing to managing. That is, the user decides the components and services they wish to install.
Interestingly, Arch Linux has a rolling release distribution feature, which means it allows new kernel and application versions to be rolled out as soon as they are released. If you are not familiar with Arch Linux or want to know more about the features and its community, check Arch Wiki.
Sponsored by Red Hat (an IBM subsidiary), the Fedora operating system contains software distributed under free and open-source licenses. Its primary focus is to provide the latest version of the software. In addition, fedora creates a platform for hardware, clouds, and containers and enables developers to build tailored solutions for their users.
At present, Fedora offers five different versions — Workstation for personal computers, Server for servers, CoreOS for cloud computing, Silverblue for desktop specialisation, and IoT for IoT devices. Know more about its features here.
Community-driven Linux distro Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu. Free and open-source, Linux Mint was created to produce a modern, comfortable, powerful yet easy to use operating system. Developed by Clement Lefebvre, Linux Mint was first released in 2006. The community-driven Linux distro provides about 30,000 packages and requires minimum maintenance.
Its latest version — Linux Mint 20.2, was released in July this year and will be supported until 2025. It is beginner-friendly, and its software manager is lighter and quicker. In addition, Linux Mint is available for a variety of desktop environments to select from — Cinnamon desktop, MATE and Xfce. To get hold of the download link, click here.
CentOS is a community-driven free open source ecosystem for Linux. It is derived from Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) sources and was initially launched in 2004.
Since it is derived from the Red Hat Linux distro, whenever Red Hat publishes security updates, CentOS turns those updates around and presents them to the community within 24-hours. CentOS thus offers the same stability, interoperability, security and consistency as Red Hat.
Its latest versions, CentOS 8 and CentOS 8-Stream, offer virtualisation, security details, installation and image creation, infrastructure services, and networking. In 2019, Red Hat announced that CentOS Stream would replace CentOS. Know more about the features and developments here.
Choosing the right Linux Distro can be tricky and mostly depends on why one is using it. While Ubuntu offers ease-of-use, Arch Linux is more suitable for users looking for an advanced-level operating system, and CentOS offers Red Hat’s features without its trademark. If you are starting with Linux distros, you can select one from this list, or if you are looking for stability, these are the 10 most stable Linux Distros. To build your own Linux distros, these tools can be helpful.