I have dubbed them The -buntu's.
I refer to them in this manner because I find virtually any flavor of Ubuntu pleasing and useful ... with one exception: Kbuntu. I have tried it several times and simply cannot wrap my head around it. I can use it. But I don't like it. And I think that it has more to do with KDE than anything else. I don't like the KDE Desktop and never have. I like some of the K-applications. I just don't like the Desktop. But this post is not about KDE. I'll save that explanation for another time.
I don't want to seem to suggest that I have tried every version of Ubuntu and every distribution that is built off of Ubuntu that is out there. But I have certainly tried a several of them. And I've settled on the following variants as my staple systems. They are Ubuntu, Xbuntu, Lubuntu and Zenix.
Ubuntu itself is simply the first version of Linux that I ever had any degree of success with. So, I keep it on my newer machines. I like Xbuntu on older machines with ample memory and processor speed because of the XFCE Desktop. It is lean and mean and does whatever I ask it to do with blazing speed.
Zenix, however, has become a personal favorite for old machines because of the Fluxbox window manager. And I like the theme and user community, too. Fluxbox is ultra light and fast. It is very forgiving of aging equipment. But the distro also loads XFCE as an option by default. This is pretty amazing to me for a minimalist live CD that weighs in at around 250 Meg.
But if you have a machine that you are pampering for its age and feebleness, then you might consider Lubuntu. With LXDE, it is super light weight, fast and economic on system resources.
All versions discussed here come as a live CD. I really like that the live CD gives me a chance to test drive a distro and the installs have always gone like clockwork for me. My biggest issue to arise with any of these is to connect via WiFi. And that's only happened rarely. And when it does it is usually pretty easy to fix.
I have spoken in pretty broad generalizations on each of these distributions because I only wish to give an overview of what I consider my primary systems. I'll likely go into more detail on each system in future posts. But you get an idea here as to what I consider important in an OS: openness, support and guidance, ease of use, healthy software resources, lightweight, live CD's, and speed are some of my highest priorities.
And there is a version of Ubuntu to meet each and all of these requirements. So, Canonical wins hands down with me in the "Best Products" category. And I give each of these four distributions 5 stars.