"In theory, any computer running Linux can be custom-built and
tweaked down to the very last bit. In reality, a first-time Linux
user wants to grab an install CD, get a working desktop, and do
their own thing from there. Lots of Linux distributions make claims
about being easy to use, fast, or stable, but what does that mean
for a non-programmer trying out a Linux system for the first time?
Today we're taking a look at the real differences between three
popular distributions of open-source software, and offering our
readers their chance to weigh in on why they like their own
particular open-source OS.
"Editor's note: The summaries below are by no means conclusive,
and each is based on an installation of the default, GNOME-based
desktop of each distribution by an editor trying to keep an open
mind. As with most things Linux, your mileage will vary depending
on hardware support, application preference, and limits of
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