Friday, August 1, 2008

How to select Ubuntu Linux Distribution

Ubuntu is a Linux distribution based on Debian Linux. Different Linux distributions target different functional niches. The goal of Ubuntu is to bring Linux into the desktop workspace. To do this, it needs to provide a stable user interface, plenty of office tools, drivers for a myriad of peripherals, and still be user-friendly. Although different groups manage nearly every open source project, Canonical Ltd. provides a central point for development and support. Canonical, along with the Ubuntu community, can answer most of your technical (and not so technical) questions.

Different Linux distributions fill specific needs. For example, although RedHat started life as a unifying distribution, it primarily supported English applications. SuSE was a popular internationalized distribution. Many distributions were maintained by modifying other distributions. For example, Kheops is a French version of RedHat, and the Beowulf clustered computing environment is based on RedHat.

Although RedHat has seeded many different distributions, it is not alone. Debian Linux is another distribution with a significant following. As with RedHat, Debian has been used to spawn many different niche distributions. Although Ubuntu is based on Debian, it is also seeding other distributions.

Different distributions of the Linux operating system are sometimes called flavors. There are over 370 different supported flavors of Linux, each with a different focus. You can see the listing of official distributions at

Ubuntu is the basis for a variety of Linux distributions-most only differ in the user interface, although some do include specific software configurations. The basic Ubuntu distribution uses the Gnome desktop and is geared toward desktop or server systems. Other distributions based on Ubuntu include:

• Kubuntu-a variation of Ubuntu with the K Desktop Environment (KDE).

• Xubuntu-a variation of Ubuntu with the Xfce Desktop Environment.

• Edubuntu-a modified version of Ubuntu that is loaded with educational applications.

• nUbuntu-a modified version of Ubuntu with a security-testing focus.

In all cases, it is possible to switch from one installed version to another. For example, you can install Ubuntu, add in KDE, and remove Gnome and you'll have an environment that looks like Kubuntu. To convert an Ubuntu installation to Kubuntu requires changing the desktop, office applications (OpenOffice to KOffice), and swapping other tools. Instead of modifying one distribution to look like another, you should just start with the right distribution.

To give you an example of the complexity, here's how to change from Gnome to KDE:
1. Install KDE.
sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop kde-core

This requires about 360 MB of disk space. The installation will ask if you want Gnome (gdm) or KDE (kdm) as the default desktop.

2. Log out. This gets you out of the active Gnome desktop.

3. On the login page, click Options (bottom left corner).

4. Select the Sessions menu item.

5. Select KDE from the Sessions menu and use Change Session to accept it

6. Log in using KDE.

7. If you no longer need Gnome, you have the option to remove it by removing every Gnome package on the system.
dpkg --get-selections '*gnome*' | awk '{print $1}' | \
xargs sudo apt-get remove

Many Gnome applications only need the Gnome libraries to run. If you keep both desktops on the same system, then you can use many of the applications under the same desktop.

Source of Information : Hacking Ubuntu Serious Hacks Mods and Customizations

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