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Examining Alternative Linux Distributions

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Have you tried the major Linux distributions such as Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora/RHEL, and OpenSUSE/SLED? Were they not quite right for your needs? The major distros are not the only game in town. Find out the good, the bad, and the ugly about three of the best-known alternatives to the "big" user distros.

Have you tried the major Linux distributions such as Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora/RHEL, and OpenSUSE/SLED and found that none of them are quite right for your needs? The major distros are not the only game in town.

This review discusses lesser-known (but still popular) Linux alternatives. Perhaps one of them will give you what you want from Linux.

About Reviewed Distributions

Modern distros handle finding and connecting to the network automatically. Like networking, scanner support can be considered a solved problem for supported scanners on any modern Linux distro. I'll discuss this only where there's a problem. At most, you should need to do an automated repository-based installation of xsane. If a distro has problems with either networking or scanning, you probably don't want it for a primary SOHO environment.

You verify downloaded .iso files with the md5sum checksum utility. You usually get the md5sum checksum for the current version of whatever you're downloading from a file in the same directory you will download the .iso from or posted on the download page. It's usually a test document with md5sum in the filename, either the filename of the .iso you are downloading combined with md5sum, or a single md5sum document with the md5sum checksums for every .iso in the directory.

Use it like this:

$ md5sum filename.iso 

If the md5sum checksum generated by the utility doesn't match the checksum in the md5sum document, something went wrong with the download.

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