Elizabeth (Liz) Coolbaugh, managing editor of Linux Weekly News, from
Eklextix, discussed some of the many Linux distributions now available.
She gave a good explanation of why there are so many distributions, and
what distinguishes some distributions from each other. For example,
Caldera is designed for business use, with commercial add-ons, like Word
Perfect. Debian is distributed by a set of volunteers, and may be more
suitable for some home users. Some distributions have better foreign
language support, some are optimized for particular processors.
Currently, this proliferation of distributions is causing some problems,
since not all Linux software runs on all distributions. (Packages break
because some files are located in different directories, or different
shared libraries are used.) Fortunately, the principal distributions
are planning to support the "Linux Standards Base" (LSB), which will
allow shrinkwrapped software to run on any conforming distribution.
In case you want to experiment with different Linux versions yourself,
Liz told us about a "Linux 6-Pack" offer, from LinuxMall, which gives
you 6 different Linux distributions for $10. There is also a Linux
MegaPak with 9 distributions for $20.00.
and the current issue of Linux Weekly News
http://lwn.net/current/dists.phtml) for more information on the various distributions.