RE: Is there a best distro? (LinuxJournal)
LinuxJournal is asking for the best Linux Distro, first I thought
It's actually quite easy to answer (especially to someone who will understand the implications):
There is no "best Linux"
Just asko what's the best commercial Unix out there. One could say: "They all start at the same point" it's a kernel and some toolset you can then use and (re)script to your needs.
The best ist actually the one that meets your requirements best.
"All of the distributions start from the same point"
I think that's just plain wrong. Yes they do have the same kernel (do they really? - Debian GNU/kFreeBSD). But even switching from Ubuntu to Debian or vice versa has a lot of hurdles to take ("/etc/inittab" on Ubuntu?) - Upstart in Debian/Stable?
I'd rather suggest FreeBSD or OpenBSD (4.6 is just out, I suggest everyone to give it a try) - or is crucial because choosing between the 2 is (IMHO) even wider apart than choosing between RHEL and Debian. Note: I suggest this iff[sic] you want to stay in an enviroment that stays mostly the same thruought all servers and desktops
FreeBSD is FreeBSD is FreeBSD - on every box.
Linux is not "just Linux" from that point there's just too much diversity among the distros. Even with a single Distro you can have large differences, of course you can take any BSD apart so that it won't look like the original distribution anymore, but staying within the universe of best practices you won't have as much diversity between FreeBSD installations as between Linux installations within a single distribution.
Selection of rich applications
The key word here is Selection. Compare RHELs selection to Debians selection. You wouldn't think that an enterprise grade distro doesn't even have Nagios in the repositories - aren't the enterprise people monitoring their servers too?
Simple, give me the problem description and I'll have a look which of the distributions (or even non-Linux - read BSDs, or even non-FOSS) solutions will suit best. It doesn't help to get RHEL if they don't support the software you need, but it's neither helpful to stay with Debian if you need proven Enterprise grade support contrancts with 4 hours of maximum time to react. (Btw: OpenSolaris does have the option to buy support from Sun)
Of course that would be only the start of a discussion with someone who already knows enough about *NIX to discuss on such a Level. As you said dear LinuxJournal:
This was not someone who is unfamiliar with technology, or UNIX for that matter, but someone who is one of us