Linux Operating Systems, Flavors, Evolution

Linux is a general term that refers to a set of various operating systems that are similar to Unix. What makes these operating systems unique is that it is based on what is known as the Linux kernel.

The development of Linux is due mainly to the rise of collaborative efforts in developing open-source software. It has a variety of flavors (also known as distributions) because it is open-source and can therefore be modified and distributed freely.

The most popular and best-rated Linux flavors are (a) CentOS; (b) Gentoo Linux; (c) Slackware Linux; (d) PCLinuxOS; (e) Linux Mint; (f) Mandriva Linux; (g) Debian GNU/Linux; (h) openSUSE; (i) Fedora; and (j) Ubuntu.


CentOS is a flavor that is very similar to the old Linux flavor known as Red Hat. CentOS is one of the best flavors because it is highly reliable and has been extensively tested for stability and security. As in the case of many other Linux systems, CentOS is free for everyone to use.

In addition, CentOS comes with free updates for its security for a period of five years. However, CentOS does not come as the top Linux flavor because, at the time of its development, the developers were focused on using existing or old Linux technologies and were not flexible enough to accommodate new and emerging technologies.

CentOS is considered by some critics to be quite outdated, especially because, at the time of its release, new Linux technologies became available and these new technologies made the CentOS technologies outdated. CentOS is best for use as server OS for business needs.

Gentoo Linux

Gentoo Linux is a system that is characterized by the availability of tools and functionality that is useful in software management. This means that Gentoo Linux can be used as the platform for creating software management infrastructure that can be used by business organizations, especially software development companies.

Gentoo Linux supports extensive customization, such that users of this flavor are provided with a wide variety of options that can be used to accommodate the various user needs. Moreover, Gentoo Linux is extensively documented and the users can view the documentation online. This flavor, however, has relatively high risk of breakdown and instability in special cases. Thus, Gentoo Linux is good for personal or home use, but not for business needs.

Slackware Linux

Slackware Linux has high stability and has been known to be resistant to viruses and other malicious software. This flavor is also highly compliant to UNIX standards, which makes Slackware Linux really stable. However, it is not as flexible or as customizable as the other flavors. Slackware Linux is best for business needs that do not require high flexibility and customization.


PCLinuxOS has relatively high degree of support for graphics, as well as plugins and codecs. PCLinuxOS is also quite light and can be booted relatively fast. It can also be updated easily. However, it does not support 64-bit systems. Thus, PCLinuxOS is best for personal needs only.

Linux Mint

Linux Mint is a very customizable system that offers a wide variety of options that can be used to change the look and feel of the system to accommodate the needs of the users. Linux Mint is quite flexible to adjust to new and emerging user needs. However, this flavor has poor security features. Thus, Linux Mint is best for personal or home use only.

Mandriva Linux

Mandriva Linux is very user-friendly. It also has a commercial version that can be customized to accommodate the needs of commercial users. However, it does not offer support for new updates and is not flexible. Therefore, Mandriva Linux is best for addressing the needs of small businesses and personal/ home users.

Debian GNU/Linux

Debian GNU/Linux has high degree of stability and is highly compatible with a variety of processors. However, Debian GNU/Linux is limited in that it is not flexible in accommodating the customization needs of users. Debian GNU/Linux is best for home users or for small business that do not require complex systems.


openSUSE is best for online use because it offers functions and tools that can be used for web-based applications. openSUSE has extensive documentation that can be accessed by users online. However, it consumes a lot of computer resources, thereby making it best for small business needs only.


Fedora is cutting-edge in terms of design. Fedora has a very high degree of security and can therefore withstand a variety of viruses and other malicious software. Fedora does not accommodate personal needs but is best for business needs because is has features that accommodate organizational needs rather than simplistic personal needs.


Ubuntu is good for beginners in the Linux systems. However, some Ubuntu systems are commercial. Also, it has low compatibility. It is best for addressing personal needs only.

Final Note

An organization’s or user’s selection of a Linux flavor (or distribution) should be based on advantages and disadvantages, as well as the uses, tools and functions available to address computing needs.

  • Anderson, T., & Dahlin, M. (2012). Operating Systems: Principles and Practice. Recursive books.
  • Tanenbaum, A. S., & Bos, H. (2014). Modern operating systems. Prentice Hall Press.
  • Tsichritzis, D. C., & Bernstein, P. A. (2014). Operating systems. Academic Press

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