What is the best distro for my business manager?

Kyle kyle4jesus at gmail.com
Sat Nov 24 03:42:49 UTC 2012

Please don't try running Linux in a virtual machine under Windows, 
unless you are only using it for experimentation with different Linux 
distributions before making a final switch. It would be much better for 
productivity and stability to run an older version of windows, say xp, 
inside a virtual machine under Linux, for the rare occasions when you 
feel you need to use a Windows application.

Rationale: Windows can easily become quite unstable, especially when 
installing new software or hardware, and if Windows crashes, your 
virtual machine will suffer an unclean shutdown and may not boot, in 
which case, you could mess up both your Windows installation and your 
Linux virtual machine. Yes, this is a worst-case scenario but it can and 
does happen. Also, if Windows becomes infected with a virus, it will 
destroy your Linux virtual machine configuration files and hard disk 
images, just as easily as any other files on your Windows system, so you 
will effectively lose two computers at once. On the other hand, if you 
run Windows inside a virtual machine under Linux and Windows crashes or 
becomes infected with a virus, only your Windows virtual machine is 
lost, and you will still have full access to everything that Linux has 
to offer. Worst case is that you will need to delete the Windows virtual 
machine and reinstall Windows, but then you have only effectively lost 
one computer rather than two at once.

I will agree that VirtualBox is one of the best applications for running 
virtual machines, and it's the one I use every day to test distros and 
even experiment on a virtual copy of the distro I normally use. However, 
in order to run two or more operating systems simultaneously on a single 
machine, you need a solid foundation, and Linux is the most solid 
foundation available to date, with the possible exception of *BSD, but 
*BSD doesn't support as broad a range of PC hardware as Linux from what 
I've read. Of course I'd love to be corrected if I'm wrong on this point.

As for which Linux distribution to choose, my best advice is to do some 
experimentation and find the one you like the best. I am a major 
supporter of Arch Linux, which works very well once you get it 
installed. You have all the same choices of major desktop environments 
and applications you have with Ubuntu or its derivatives, and you can 
also gain access to the user repository, which is a searchable database 
for many more packages that aren't in the official repositories for one 
reason or another. In addition, you will get the newest versions of most 
applications almost as soon as they are released, rather than having to 
wait for a 6-month or longer release cycle. The developers also do their 
best to minimize any breakage that can occur as the system is kept 
up-to-date. On the other hand, I am thinking that an LTS (long-term 
support) Ubuntu release such as 12.04 is better for increased 
productivity that is guaranteed to be stable and supported for 5 years, 
both commercially and by the community. Ubuntu 12.04 is certainly one of 
the best available distros for out-of-the-box hardware support with 
little fus and long-term stability. There is also something to be said 
for the ability to purchase commercial support for your primary OS if 
you feel you need it. Of course, there is also something to be said for 
the freedom to choose not to purchase commercial support or a 
restrictive license, even when using the OS in a corporate environment, 
which is the major case for nearly any distribution of Linux with no 
Windows at all, if you feel you can take the plunge.

Hopefully some of this information will help you make the best decision 
for your needs.

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