Debian--there has never been any other Linux distro quite like
it. Long a favorite of the geek elite, there is no doubt that
Debian is popular. Sign up for the Debian-user mailing list, and
you can expect to receive about 300 messages a day. Perhaps (just
perhaps) there are more people using Redhat, Mandrake or SuSE.
However, if bigger means better, then Debian is the undisputed
champion--Debian's 'stable' branch boasts 8710 'packages' (packages
= precompiled software bundled up in a nice format for easy
installation). In Debian's 'unstable' branch there are about 13,000
packages (more than six gigabytes worth). If software was sold by
the kilogram, then Debian would fetch top dollar. However, this
massive collection of excellent software is free, the work of
hundreds (or thousands) of unpaid volunteers. Put that in your pipe
and smoke it.
"Now, dear reader, if you think this is going to be Yet Another
Gushing Review (YAGR) by a Debian cult follower, you are mistaken.
Yes, I use Debian (though not exclusively). But if the truth be
told, my zealotry for Debian is tempered by certain shortcomings in
the distro. Yes, if an election for 'best distro' was held today,
Debian would almost certainly get my vote. But much like any
candidate for political office, Debian has some skeletons in the
closet. However, before I get into all that, first a little
background for the benefit of those who are new to this whole