10 Linux Distros Perfect For Holiday Gift-Giving - InformationWeek

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12/6/2015
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10 Linux Distros Perfect For Holiday Gift-Giving

This holiday season, why not give the gift of Linux? It's fun, practical, and free. Here are 10 Linux distros perfect for nearly everyone on your list.
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It's time for the end-of-year holidays, when so many busy IT professionals struggle to find the right gift for family, friends, and colleagues. If you're still searching for the perfect present, the answer could be as close as the Internet -- Linux makes a great gift for the special people in your life.

Some might ask, "Why Linux?" when it comes to gift-giving. It's the perfect gift for several reasons. It's not likely that a person will end up with a stack of Linux distributions to return the day after the holiday party. Linux is practical and fun, allowing the recipient to learn new skills and join in a huge community while preparing for a life without ties to either Microsoft or Apple. Finally, Linux is free, and who doesn't need a few good gifts that come in below every company's limit on gifts to fellow employees?

[See 10 Great Tech Gifts For Under $100.]

Once you recognize what a great gift Linux makes, the question becomes which Linux distribution to give. Fortunately, the proliferation and forking of Linux versions means that there is a distribution for everyone, from buttoned-down business IT folks, to experimenters living outside the normal computing box, to kids dipping their toes into the deep-flowing waters of Linux.

Choosing a Linux distro can seem a daunting task given the sheer number of options from which to choose. According to the web site DistroWatch, there are more than 100 distributions available, some intended for a wide variety of uses, some designed for very specific applications. To help you figure out which distro would be perfect for the people on your gift list, we've winnowed the candidates down to 10.

[See a guide to choosing the right Linux distro for your organization.]

Most of the Linux distros on this list will be familiar to you, but there might be a few that are too specialized to have caught your eye. Those niche distros might be just the ticket for that hard to buy for co-worker, and could be the perfect gift to make sure that you "win" the office gift exchange.

There's no getting around the fact that choosing a Linux distro is a personal decision. If you know your gift recipient, and know the possible Linux distributions, then you have the best chance of ending up with a happy friend, relative, or co-worker at the end of the holiday gift exchange. Do you have a favorite distro? Do you think our suggestions mean we deserve a giant lump of proprietary coal in our stockings this year? Let us know what you think -- and which Linux you would like to receive this holiday season -- in the comments section below.

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Curtis Franklin Jr. is Senior Editor at Dark Reading. In this role he focuses on product and technology coverage for the publication. In addition he works on audio and video programming for Dark Reading and contributes to activities at Interop ITX, Black Hat, INsecurity, and ... View Full Bio

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kstaron
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kstaron,
User Rank: Ninja
12/21/2015 | 10:32:00 AM
Sugar
I love the idea of giving Sugar to kids interested in computers. Of course I'd need to source them a computer first. If I knw more about Linux so I could help them It might be an option. Of course there's always next year. I can learn something about just about anything given a year.
Li Tan
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Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
12/13/2015 | 10:35:27 PM
Re: Ubuntu based smartphones
Why not have a try? Now smartphone OS is becoming heavier and heavier. If Ubuntu based OS can bring something light-weight, it's worth of trying.
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
12/10/2015 | 12:32:07 PM
Re: 10 Linux Distros Perfect For Holiday Gift-Gaving
I would certainly give a child the gift of a reasonable computer and the right Linux distro. There's much to be learned, though you have to choose carefully to make sure they're intrigued and inspired rather than frustrated. And I would add that this is the perfect sort of gift for providing an excuse for a child to spend a lot of great quality time with an encouraging adult. And that's really the best gift of all.
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
12/9/2015 | 11:31:27 PM
Re: Ubuntu based smartphones
"When I talked to some of the Ubuntu members last month they were sharing information on new builds and tests being done. It's definitely a project that's moving forward, but I think they're discovering (as have so many before them) that making a successful smart phone is harder than it looks."

Curt, thanks for the update. So that's means still they are working for that and haven't released any Smartphones with ubuntu OS.
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
12/9/2015 | 11:29:23 PM
Re: Ubuntu based smartphones
"I have an old, super-cheap laptop with Ubuntu on it, and I love it. maybe the best thing about it is a large, enthusiastic user community that loves to pitch in with GOOD Advice every time I run into difficulty. And, it is Totally Free."

Gary, good. Am eager to know about Smartphones; whether any for your friends or known circle peoples are using?
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
12/9/2015 | 11:29:09 PM
Re: Ubuntu based smartphones
"I have an old, super-cheap laptop with Ubuntu on it, and I love it. maybe the best thing about it is a large, enthusiastic user community that loves to pitch in with GOOD Advice every time I run into difficulty. And, it is Totally Free."

Gary, good.am eager to know about Smartphones; whether any for your friends or known circle peoples are using?
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
12/9/2015 | 11:27:11 PM
Re: Ubuntu based smartphones
Technocrati, in my knowledge and known circle, no one is using ubuntu based Smartphones. So the question is now back to community for updates.
Michelle
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Michelle,
User Rank: Ninja
12/9/2015 | 11:47:47 AM
New to me
Great list. I would have picked many of the distros mentioned. I haven't seen Elementary OS before today. I thought of downloading to install on an old machine but it's much too old to run Elementary (not enough RAM).
PedroGonzales
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PedroGonzales,
User Rank: Ninja
12/8/2015 | 12:19:23 PM
Re: gift
I think Linux flash drives are great.  I have a lot of extra flash drives. I have installed Linux and gave it a new life. Make sure you place the thumb drive in a nice box.  I'm sure they will appreciate the great gift you are getting, if they are future computer science students, even better.
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
12/8/2015 | 11:32:32 AM
Re: Ubuntu based smartphones
When I talked to some of the Ubuntu members last month they were sharing information on new builds and tests being done. It's definitely a project that's moving forward, but I think they're discovering (as have so many before them) that making a successful smart phone is harder than it looks.
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