Best for Beginners - Ubuntu
If you are just starting with Linux Ubuntu is the place to start. The first reason for this is the scalability of the product. As it is suitable for beginners, intermediate and advanced users. It is simple to use yet it the depth in Ubuntu is amazing.
The desktop, called Unity, may appear unfamiliar at first as it is a step away from the standard windows based desktop look. However we found it extremely simple to adapt to and easy to figure out how everything works.
The next reason why Ubuntu has won this crown is simply because of the amount of people that use it. It is easily the best used Linux distro and because of that you can almost guarantee that if you have a question about it a simple search on the Internet will already have the answer.
The last reason the suggesting this distro as the best for beginners is the ease of install and driver compatibility. The install is a very easy to understand process of mostly just clicking continue. The hardware is extremely well supported and the majority of things will be installed out of the box either during install or shortly after the install has finished.
Best server Distro - Centos
This is our distro of choice on our servers. Although we do not have the GUI installed it is an amazingly adaptable and versatile OS. Centos runs concurrent to Red hat enterprise Linux (RHEL). When RHEL release a new version the source code is made available by Redhat and this is what Centos is built upon. This means that it shares the same binaries and packages and really only differs from RHEL in the support aspect of it. The support for Centos is done through usergroups and community support as a pose to the paid subscription that you would have from RHEL.
Updates and patches occur less frequently on Centos compared to other distros as they to stick with what works which means no costly downtime when doing updates/patches.
Centos also has an extremely simple setup and is extremely easy to use out of the box.
Where Centos suffers is that it isn't as cutting edge as other distros such as Ubuntu. There are not as many packages available and some which are available are older such as Sendmail.
Best laptop Distro - OpenSUSE
OpenSUSE benefits from a lot of things needed on a laptop.
Faster boot time, due to systemd you no longer have to start every single service in boot and instead choose the services you want to start
Cloud technology, OpenSUSE has bought heavily into the cloud sharing market with the integration of owncloud. Early concerns about privacy and security have now been addressed and it is now generally thought that this is an excellent addition to this OS.
Great out of the box driver support. Many instances of everything simply working and not having the niggly wireless issues you may see on other OS.
We installed OpenSUSE on a 2 year old laptop and didn't have any issues at all. It ran extremely smoothly and all components installed without a hitch. There are alternitives to this and many people will champion Ubuntu for the best laptop distro. However we thing that OpenSUSE just shaves it in terms of performance, compatibility out of the box and ease of use. Speed of shut down and boot up
Best Linux Live CD - Knoppix
Knoppix was the original successful live distro. However since then every major distro has brought out a version although none of which have toppled Knoppix just yet.
Where Knoppix has always done very well is the hardware detection and driver support. Seemlessly it is able to pick up the devices physically installed on your pc/laptop and install a driver to enable it to work.
If you are a complete newby then Knoppix is a great way to test out Linux as it is definitely one of the easier distro's understand and make use of without needing any prior knowledge of Linux.
A lot of people use Knoppix for a recovery tool and for this it has an amazingly simple interface and options. Easily being able to mount the disk and copy data from it to an external source.
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