I have analyzed over 50 Linux distributions both qualitatively and quantitatively and following is a summary according to points scored of the top 10.
Rest are listed according to the points awarded without a comment.
1. Debian scoring 3005 points
Coming to IT industry where there are very few heroes Debian is the clear winner which gyrate and spins at the correct orbit.
It was no surprise.
Score of above 3000 and well above the Gold Standard of 2500 for the standard CD/DVD.
For the heavy weight category it is within the Gold Mark where no other distribution has all the components at disposal with over 30,000 package well-tested and stable.
It has gParted which is around 100 MiB with partition tool and security features.
It has Blender, Scribus and Inkscape.
Only missing component was O.E.M. component.
Ranking Second with 2620 points is Untimate Linux
2. Ultimate Linux
This is taking whopping 2620 points, simply because it’s a games DVD based on Ubuntu and it has graphic features including Inkscape and Blender.
Apart from that it is basically a Ubuntu distribution.
Even though it gets a lot of points due to inclusion of many packages it should be used as a games DVD rather than a general purpose distribution.
This warning is due to the changes in Ubuntu Unity and the attendant repository changes that may come as a result of that change.
Rank Number 3
3. UberStudent with 2610 points
This is one of the very good Ubuntu derivative packed with utilities and only utilities I could not find were gparted and blender.
It’s on the fat side with a 2.7 GiB image.
This is one of the Linux distributions I could not download due to download problem but with some difficulty I managed to download both the CD and the DVD versions.
There were not enough seeders but I used point to point download.
It’s Ubuntu based and excellent for students in the higher grades and in the University. It has many utilities that student would like to use in literature search albeit web-based.
I have no hesitation in recommending it.
It has almost everything one needs.
Why blender was not included is a bit of a mystery.
4. Knoppix fourth with 2410
Knoppix stands tall and scores 2410 which is well above Ubuntu and Unity on the threshold of becoming a Gold Standard on its own.
It is 4th in the my list of 50 and only three others above.
Debian comes first.
Ultimate Linux comes second.
UberStudent comes third. Packed with utilities except Blender and gParted..
Good old days when it was difficult to find a distribution and DEMO CDs were hard to come by Knoppix started the revolution of Live CDs.
I have used it from its 3.1 versions and up and it was available even in Sri-Lanka.
It’s significant features apart from Live CD running on RAM are
1. Good hardware detection
2. Sound configuration and unique start up with sound effects.
3. Ability to compress lot of programs into a CD/DVD.
4. Enormous number of packages
5. Partition tool and many more
6. ORCAs that is fun for visually handicapped user and is as good as Vinux.
It was way ahead until Puppy Linux came into the scene and took another twist by making Live CD under 100 MiB.
Soon I became a convert of Puppy that comes inherently for my love of the canine species. Its weakness was it could not be installed into the hard disk and I found a way to mount it on a FAT partition. I always had a copy mounted on my hard disk when the LXDE came into the scene. Then came the 10th anniversary release which was big hit by itself both CD and DVD versions.
Now it can be installed and administrative right can be restored after installing.
There is Knoppix for Kids and Games DVD which was something lacking in 95% of the Linux Distributions.
If you do not use any other Linux distributions this is the one one should always have.
I cannot find anything wrong with this distribution when I format my hard disk once a year towards December, it is the first one that goes into the hard disk as the flag bearer of Linux and other distributions are installed afterward.
5. Poseidon with 2390 points comes fifth
Poseidon Linux not Scientific Linux (actually this name is misleading and does not have any scientific packages in this distribution) takes a big spot in my scale by a wide margin for packaging productive utilities for scientific (including statistics) and business purposes and for schools.
Its score is 2390 which is close to PCLinux but have more packages than PCLinux.
They are inkscape, blender, statistic and plotting packages but it is on the heavyweight category and downloading is slow mainly due to not having a torrent facility.
But it has CD version too and again it is a Debian/Ubuntu derivative.
In spite of its FATTY layer I like it very much and one has almost everything one needs in one shoe.
6. Pinguy/Pin Eee comes sixth with 2385
Pinguy and Ping Eee
For the time being Pinguy and Ping Eee are the best innovative Ubuntu derivative which is in the market and the score is 2385 which is very close to the Gold Standard and well above Unity.
Out of the Ubuntu derivatives this is the most eye catching feature filled derivative to entice Linux newbies as well as savvy guys / girls.
It has Cloud Utilities, Light Scribe and it almost look like apple Mac for one who has never seen a Apple Mac.
I have the feeling Ubuntu’s Unity has taken a leaf out of Pinguy and Ping Eee for netbooks and laptops.
Its grub file could not figure out my other distributions and that was why it was not in my box up till now.
The new version has now ironed out this minor glitch and I have installed it with 5 other distributions in my laptop which I upgraded to 500 GiB recently.
Interestingly enough this is the one I boot first since I am getting attached to it day by day.
It now does a good job with GRUB and recognize all the other Linux derivatives. It will certainly take the tablets not by surprise but by its own imagination.
7. Dynabolic comes seventh with 2290
Dynabolic 3.0.0 beta is currently available at http://www.linuxtracker.com.org torrent and this was one of the oldest Linux music distributions. It was created by Denis Rogo an Italian musician. It was in hibernation (version 2) but lately has created the version 3 for download.
I call him the Bob Marley of computer music.
It is feature packed but cannot be installed as yet.
It scores thumping 2290 points was not a surprise for me.
PCLinux comes 8th with 2255
My favorite distribution gets 2255 points which is well below the 2500 points which I have for my Hypothetical Gold Standard but a future candidate for that award. It has promised to introduce bit 64 from the current version onward.
Even though it has no special features it sticks to Linux base with administrative functions and very stable once properly configured. It gets a lot of points for it’s web site and the digital magazine which it maintains. The package management is excellent and lets you install all the packages easily from repository. To be on record this is the only distribution which has a usable Skype (except perhaps Linvo). It also does not bother one with updates unlike Suse. It is a KDE desktop and has two Mini versions, one LXDE and the standard KDE. Once installed there is very little maintenance if firewall is correctly configured and easy with downloads and remove redundant files at boot time and if it is run on 24/7 schedule it does a good cron job too.
No wonder it is my favorite and may be so for others too (once 64 bit version is introduced it will become more popular).
Ubuntu’s departure from traditional base would be another reason. It is bit slow at boot time and K-torrent is good (it may be bit slow because of my heavy daily work and downloads) and if one is using it for light work, one may not find the slow boot up a problem. Even one is a light user of the computer it is a good practice for the distribution to run 24 hours at least once a week for maintenance which it does automatically well past midnight.
My reason for choosing it
It is very stable and stands 8th in the ranks.
9. Puppy comes 9th with 1910
It is Small and Beautiful size ~100MB!
It is Live booting from CD and USB flash drive.
It runs from RAM, making it unusually fast even in old PCs and in netbooks with solid state storage media.
Includes a wide range of applications: word processors, spreadsheets, Internet browsers, games, image editors and many utilities.
Puppy is easy to use and little technical knowledge is assumed. Most hardware is automatically detected.
Who is the founder?
Barry Kauler from Australia.
10. Ubuntu Dream Studio comes 10th with 1775
Ubuntu’s Unity-Dream Studio
Is it a dream come true for newbies?
I think so and thumbs up for this distribution which I could download overnight with 2.1 GiB.
There were only four seeders but it was pretty fast. Go and download it and increase the number of seeders in proportion to leechers and enjoy the Unity experience.
It is a new experience for old hand of Linux like me who never used Ubuntu on regular basis except for demonstrations.
Regular Ubuntu users will grumble but I will tell you what to do. Go ahead and have both old version and new version in the same box and enjoy the difference.
Sinhala capability was there which I did not test but probably needs some smooth ironing out which is another plus point.
It has Libre Office and Blender a new version (Maya replacement).
Please do not call it Apple like but call it this is Unity Linux Desktop.
Sure it is a winner at the time of debt and cash crisis.
For good effects find a good compatible graphic card. That may be the only thing one may have to change in one’s computer.
My old computer’s graphic card was not enough to take advantage of Unity.
The few glitches I had with the Unity CD with workplaces has been reasonably taken care of and I could load all the workplaces with a running program and with a mouse click it goes into full screen image.
Play with it and enjoy the experience.
I do not know how far one can configure it to one’s own needs but it is good as it is why configure and make a mess out of it?
It score is 1775.
Rest with Only points scored.
11. Simply Mepis 1755
12. Trisquel 1660
13. Suse 1560
14. Swift Linux 1515
15. Sabayon 1430
16. Ubuntu-Unity 1405
17. PureOs 1385
18. Salix 1380
19. Kubuntu 1355
20. Fedora 1325
21. Berry 1275
22. Linux Mint 1260
23. CloudUSB 1240
24. Apodio 1165
25. Vinux 1130 Incognito comes 26th and it for anonymous web browsing and cannot be installed.
I have missed ArtistX which would score almost around 2600 and could be in place of Ultimate Linux (If you do not like games Linux DVD).
It is also Ubuntu derivative and for Audio/Video and artistic work.
Other versions not included was the result of inability to download or incompatibility with my old graphic cards.