There are many good Linux distributions out there so how can you know which is the best? I have personally pondered over this a lot, trying what I feel to be the 3 main distributions, Redhat, Mandrake and SuSE and I have finally decided that SuSE is the best for me, however you may not agree.

Below is a simple outline of each distribution.

Redhat: This is probably the best-known distribution especially in the US and Europe. You can get Redhat for free online or if you need the support or more advanced features you can purchase it. Depending on the package you buy will depend on the amount of support you use. Redhat is best used on servers especially web servers, it isn?t the easiest distribution and isn't well known for its desktop use however version 8 tries to bring that gap closer with its new GUI.

SuSE: SuSE is aimed more at the desktop market and is by far the easiest to install and configure which is why it is my personal favourite. I would recommend SuSE to any first time users because of its simplicity and easy of use. SuSE also does a power pc version for anyone wanting to install on a Mac. Because of the way SuSE is you cannot download ISO images from the web however you can download the individual files.

Linux-Mandrake: Mandrake is probably the easiest distribution for new users in the way that it is easy to learn. It has little features that add to the usability of the operating system. You can download mandrake from the web but the package is more then good value to buy. Mandrake was the first distribution to offer a games package that includes games like The Sims.

Slackware: Slackware boasts to be the ?original Linux?. It?s not easy to install or configure and is defiantly not for the noobie. Slackware is great if you want to learn the inner workings of Linux especially if you want to become a Linux system administrator. Slackware is probably the ?geekiest? of all the distributions and it will be very hard to get to use, but in the end you will have a more personalised operating system.

Debian Linux:Debian Linux is one of the only fully free Linux distributions; there is no company behind Debian just a lot of dedicated open source programmers. Debian is very good for development purposes and many people use Debian to learn programming. In my view Debian is behind the rest of the distributions however it is still very popular.

There are many other good distributions including Caldera, Gentoo and Turbo Linux however I find it best to stick to the more popular distributions, as you are more likely to be able to find any support needed. I find the hardest thing when it comes to Linux is choosing your distribution, as there is such a large choice and things are constantly being improved from hundreds of different projects through out the world.