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Sunday, 25 May 2014 17:26

Keep current with what's new in Linux distributions

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On the one-hand "Linux" is well-understood; on the other, there is a rich variety of Linux distributions available. How do they differ and what's new in each release?

The term Linux is understood to be a popular open-source operating system. Technically, Linux is the kernel - the heart of the operating system which provides boot capabilities, interacts with hardware and makes a file system and applications available. It is the accompanying wide suite of similarly free and open source software that turns the kernel into something that home and business users alike can use as a productivity or entertainment platform. It is these combinations of kernel, bundled applications and configuration defaults that make up what we know as Linux distributions or distros.

Theoretically, Linux is Linux, with any Linux distribution equally able to run the same applications and be reconfigured. However, each Linux distribution has its own r'aison d'etre, its own purpose for existing, its own target market.

Which Linux distribution is right for you then? Indeed, what's new in the latest iteration of the Linux distribution of your choice?

Here is where Distro Watch comes in handy; this site professes to put the fun back in computing by advocating Linux (or BSD) use. The site provides detailed information on each Linux distro with links to respective communities.

Open the front page of this site to see news in chronological order, most recent sorted to the top. Each news item is bite-sized, yet with sufficient detail to list key features of each distro release, along with download information and other meaningful links. The expected candidates are here - Debian, Ubuntu, Suse, Mint, Red Hat and so on - along with new and interesting Linux distributions that may otherwise go unknown.

News items include an expected timeline of coming releases - such as Ubuntu 14.10 on 16th October 2014 - as well as details of newly updated packages themselves.

News can be filtered to specific distributions or releases or dates, and you can also look up random distributions if the fancy takes you.

For Linux enthusiasts, power-users and implementors alike DistroWatch is definitely a page to bookmark and visit regularly.

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David M Williams

David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. David subsequently worked as a UNIX Systems Manager, Asia-Pacific technical specialist for an international software company, Business Analyst, IT Manager, and other roles. David has been the Chief Information Officer for national public companies since 2007, delivering IT knowledge and business acumen, seeking to transform the industries within which he works. David is also involved in the user group community, the Australian Computer Society technical advisory boards, and education.

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