In this video Grant discusses what a Linux distribution is and outlines the two major branches: Redhat and Debian. He then discusses the differences to simplify choosing one.
- [Narrator] A Linux Distribution is a Linux Kernel, with supporting drivers, tools and applications combined to make a working operating system in a distributable format. These days most distributions come on an ISO image designed to be burned to an optical disc or loaded on a flash drive. One place to find out more about various Linux distributions is DistroWatch.com. DistroWatch.com lists several hundred different distributions of Linux. If you scroll down a bit, on the right-hand side you'll see a box labelled Page Hit Ranking with a list of distributions and their popularity.
To save development time, most of these distributions are based on other distributions. You might be wondering how to choose a distribution. My recommendation is to check the most popular distributions here on DistroWatch and install them in virtual machines. Because they are free, the only thing you're out is some disc space and the time to download them. However, seven of the top 10 Linux distributions are either based on Debian or Red Hat Linux. For this video, we'll focus on these two. Popular distributions based on Debian include Ubuntu, Linux Mint, and Kali, a security-focused distribution.
Debian was one of the earliest distributions and was created by Ian Murdock. His wife's name was Debra, so he combined their names and released Debian in December of 1993. Debian is maintained by a community and isn't associated with any corporation. The Debian maintainers practice a democratic social structure and project leaders are elected. Debian has one of the largest online software compilations known, with around 50,000 software packages comprised of about 320 million lines of code.
Debian stresses the importance of freedom, and officially only includes free software, although you can download non-free software and install it yourself. Non-free software being software with licenses that don't comply with the Debian free software guidelines. Debian is the first distribution that resolved dependencies when installing software. For instance, if a piece of software needs another piece of software, the installer would notify the user and attempt to resolve the issue. The software package management system used by Debian-based distributions is APT, or Advanced Package Tool.
Popular distributions based on Red Hat are CentOS, Fedora, and Mandriva. Red Hat Linux was one of the earliest commercial distributions and was released in November of 1994. In 1999, Red Hat went public, achieving the eighth biggest first-day gain in the history of Wall Street. In 2012, Red Hat became the first open-source company to break 1 billion dollars in revenue, and they've done very well ever since. The package management system used by Red Hat is RPM, or Red Hat Package Manager.
Red Hat has the majority of the commercial Linux server market. There are also nonstandard versions of Linux. These are technically Linux distributions, but are not easy to install. If you want to experience these, you might try installing the Software Development K, or SDKs, to see how they work. But we won't be covering them in this course. Red Hat Linux has the majority of corporate Linux server installations, thus the majority of Linux server jobs require Red Hat Linux knowledge. Since Red Hat is so popular amongst employers, we'll use the free version of it, CentOS, for this course, as it's nearly identical.
CentOS is stable and secure, and it's free to download. According to the founder of CentOS Linux, it is pronounced Centos, but you may also hear it as Centos, or Cent O-S, as well. They all refer to the same thing. For this course, we will be focusing on CentOS, but I encourage you to explore some of the other amazing distributions on your own.
- Choosing a Linux distribution
- Installing VirtualBox
- Installing CentOS
- Configuring basic Linux settings
- Exploring GNOME 3