Operating Systems/Programming

Flavors of Linux

Explain your experiences with the different “flavors” of Linux. What are the similarities and differences between them? 

Similar to the many editions of Windows, Linux is comprised of numerous distributions- yet unlike Windows, each distribution is an entirely different animal (not just an updated version, such as with Windows). One of the most significant differences between Linux “flavors’ is the desktop environment in which they utilize. For example, Ubuntu offers Xubuntu (Xfce), Ubuntu MATE (classic desktop), Kubuntu (KDE), and Ubuntu (main GNOME desktop). GNOME is one of the more popular desktop environments and comes standard with both Ubuntu and Fedora (Crawley, 2020).

Linux flavors also differ in the software that they include, like package managers and other technologies. In digital forensics, one might need access to multiple Linux flavors to ensure they can effectively process a wide-range of file-types and storage devices. Furthermore, even display servers can vary per Linux distribution. For example, the X.Org Server is widely used; however, Surface Flinger (Android) is another option that still uses the Linux kernel (Crawley, 2020).

The reason there are so many flavors of Linux is due to the need to satisfy a specific purpose. For example, Linux Mint is an excellent beginning OS for new users to become familiarized with the system. Other Linux distributions might be geared more towards gaming or multimedia purposes. Linux’s open-source capabilities do not apply to all distributions. In digital forensics, using a proprietary OS instead of open-source can limit the customization one can enjoy when trying to connect to a wide range of products, software, and data-retrieval processes. While I have had little real-world experience with Linux besides school, I found the OS to be quite the welcoming change when compared to my years-long love/hate relationship with Microsoft’s OS.

References

Nelson, B., Phillips, A., & Steuart, C. (2019). Guide to Computer Forensics and Investigations. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Crawley, Christian. (2020). What’s the Difference Between Linux Distributions If They’re All Linux?. Retrieved June 29, 2020, from https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/whats-the-difference-between-linux-distributions-if-theyre-all-linux-makeuseof-explains/.

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