Although Linux is perhaps best known as the basis for the Android mobile operating system, it’s also a popular platform for desktop and laptop computers. For the first time last year, its share of the global operating system market passed 2%. This is an impressive achievement for an open source software platform, especially one that’s competing against the pre-installed titans of Windows and OS X.
One Distro To Rule Them All
However, Linux’s greatest asset – its flexible open source architecture – has also led to one of its biggest drawbacks. Those proprietary alternatives from Microsoft and Apple only come in one flavor, with subtle changes between generations but minimal compatibility issues.
However, Linux has fragmented into numerous different versions (known as distros), each of which has enough unique characteristics to cause compatibility issues with other distros. There are ongoing arguments about the rival merits of each platform, and particularly the three versions that have come to dominate the Linux market in recent years.
Here, we outline the key benefits of each one:
Ubuntu. Market share: 35.2%*
It can be argued that Ubuntu represents the best of all worlds, blending the community-oriented ethos of Debian with the more commercialized CentOS. Ubuntu’s market dominance can also be attributed to its all-things-to-all-people ethos, with paid technical support and an attractive Desktop edition appealing to IT experts.
At the same time, Ubuntu has the same enthusiastic army of amateur advocates as other distros. Twice-yearly updates keep the platform contemporary without requiring comprehensive re-installation, and there’s little evidence of the sudden glitches often associated with rolling release Linux updates.