Linux Distributions [ Edit ]

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  • Debian - Best overall choice in most cases (server, dekstop use; new, experienced users)
    • good track-record for 27 years
    • friendly enough for new users (nice, graphical installer), but still flexible enough for custom builds (deboostrap/multistrap)
    • choice betwen stable release (rock-solid, well-tested packages) and testing/unstable (newer, less tested packages; despite it's name, even Unstable is more stable that most other distro's "stable")
    • non-free packages are kept in a separate "nonfree" repos

  • Arch Linux - flexible, bleeding-edge, rolling distro - I wouldn't use it on the server, but it's a pretty good choice for a desktop
    • if you're new to linux, or have a little experience, ArchLinux and it's wiki is a great way to learn more about how everything fits together
    • no clear separation of free and nonfree packages
  • Gentoo - similar to Arch, but source-based (more control over how packages are built); Gentoo and it's wiki is another great way to learn more (a bit less newbie-friendly than Arch, but the documentation is still very approachable)
    • no clear separation of free and nonfree packages

  • Fedora/CentOS - considering the recent IBM's (the company with a terrible history) acquisition of RedHat and their decision to effectively kill CentOS, I'd avoid them whenever it's possible
  • Ubuntu - Canonical doesn't have a good track-record for respecting user's, use only if you want absolutely the easiest way to start with linux, then switch to something else

Virtualized:

  • Qubes OS - rasonably secure&privacy-friendly out-of-the-box distro. It uses XEN virtualization. Beside Fedora VM, it also has good support for Debian and Whonix VMs. From a practical standpoint, it still can be a crumbersome to use and slow, dom0 is using an outdated fedora desktop (hopefully, that'll change), but it's getting better.
    • Qubes website and Joanna's blog are a great source of informations
    • Whonix (Debian-based security&anonymity-focused distro) VMs fit very nicely into Qubes architecture - More Info

Live:

  • Tails (The Amnesic Incognito Live System) - Debian-based live distribution, all connections are by default routed through TOR and persistence is optional.