Sunday, July 20, 2008

Ubuntu VS Other Linux Distributions

If you log into the command line of both an Ubuntu system and a Red Hat Enterprise
Linux or Fedora system, very little will look different. There are common directories and utilities between the two, and functionality is fundamentally the same. So what makes Ubuntu different from other Linux distributions? One difference is the installer.

The complexity of booting and installing Ubuntu has been narrowed down to a handful of mouse clicks, making many of the install decisions automatic based on assumptions as to what the average user may need and want. In contrast, a Red Hat system presents the user with many install options, such as setting up a workstation or server, individually selecting packages to install, and setting administrative options.

Another major difference among Linux distributions is in software management tools.
The aim of the utilities and packaging systems is the same for Debian as for other Linux distributions, however the operation and implementations are significantly different. Ubuntu and most other Debian-based systems use the APT (Advanced Package Tool) family of utilities for managing software. You use APT to install, remove, query, and update Debian (deb) packages. Red Hat uses an RPM packaging system to handle the same tasks with its rpm packages.

Another big difference is the way the systems look in regards to initialization, login screen, default desktop, wallpaper, icon set, and more. From this look-and-feel perspective, there are a lot of differences. Although Red Hat and Ubuntu both use the GNOME desktop as the default Window Manager, the GUI tools used for administering the system and their locations on the drop-down menus are entirely different.

The login screen and autumn-colored theme of a default Ubuntu system set it apart from other distributions as well. When you drop down the menus of an Ubuntu desktop, you are not presented with a huge list of applications and utilities. What you get is a rather simple and elegant mixture of some of the best and most functional applications available for the Linux desktop. This approach is characteristic of Ubuntu and is done with the intent of keeping the user from feeling overwhelmed.

Another unique characteristic of a Ubuntu system is the intentional practice of locking the root user account, and instead implementing the use of sudo (www.gratisoft
.us/sudo/intro.html), which allows you to run one command with root permissions, for system administration tasks.

The root login on a Linux system has privileges that allow unrestrained access to nearly every component of the system. It would be trivial to remove an entire file system as the root user, so Ubuntu tries to limit use of this account to only times when it is prudent.

Most Linux distributions require the user to log in or su to root to perform administration tasks, however a user on a Ubuntu does this through sudo using their own login password, and not a separate one for the root user.

Ubuntu has unique features that have their advantages and disadvantages, but they are far from limiting. Ubuntu has the tools in place to allow you to customize, modify, experiment, and hack to your heart’s content if that is what you want to do. Otherwise, the idea is to be an easily maintainable, secure system with a clear and concise application set which is neither limiting nor overwhelming. This makes Ubuntu a very fluid system so you can jump right in and become familiar with it very quickly.

Source of Information : Wiley Ubuntu Linux Toolbox 1000 plus Commands for Ubuntu and Debian Power Users

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