List of Linux distributions
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The following is a list of Linux distributions.
- 1 Foreword
- 2 deb-based distributions (Free)
- 3 RPM-based distributions (Free)
- 4 Slackware-based distributions (Free)
- 5 Distributions using other packaging systems
- 6 Small or lightweight distributions for use with older machines
- 7 Entirely- or partially-commercial distributions
- 8 Special-purpose distributions
- 9 Alternate platforms
- 10 Inactive or discontinued distributions
- 11 External links
Template:Mergeto The examples of major Linux distributions in desktop and server areas are Debian GNU/Linux, Fedora Core and Gentoo Linux, Mandriva Linux and Slackware, but there are hundreds of other distributions exists and available.
Recently, so-called Live CD distributions have appeared, like Knoppix which invented the "Linux on CD / Try it before install" concept. After Knoppix, the Live CD success and ideas have been spread widely in various forms. Among these Live CDs, Kanotix and Mepis, for example then became popular.
A following is a list of major Linux distributions for reference.
deb-based distributions (Free)
- Adamantix: A Debian-based distribution focusing on security. See track record.
- Amber Linux: A Debian-based distribution tailored specifically to the needs of Latvian users. See track record.
- Bonzai Linux (formerly known as miniwoody): 180 MB distribution, KDE desktop. Documentation mostly in German. See track record.
- BeatrIX: a compact (200M) distribution from the Czech Republic. Design goal is user-friendly desktop. See track record.
- Debian GNU/Linux: A distribution assembled by a large community of volunteers. Debian has a large selection of packages (over 15000) and supports a large number of hardware platforms. It previously had a reputation of being difficult to install but latest releases include very good and easy to use text based installer. To bring system up to usable desktop requires previous experience and effort. Debian is known to for being somewhat politically motivated; software that is not free is not usually tolerated in core Debian (e.g. LAME and other audio/video codecs). See track record.
- Debian-BR-CDD: Debian-BR-Custom Debian Distribution. GNOME desktop. See homepage.
- DeveLinux: A small live CD for developers, students and teachers based on Debian snapshot. It contains programming languages, compilers and web development environment using Apache, MySQL and PHP. See homepage.
- GenieOS: A CD to help new users to install 100% stock Debian along with common 3rd party plug-ins that are not distributable through the official Debian package repository (DVD player, Flash, Sun's Java, and Mplayer). Includes GNOME or KDE desktops. Previously known as Debian Pure, but renamed at request of Debian developers to avoid confusion. See homepage.
- Gnoppix: A version of the Knoppix distribution that uses the GNOME desktop environment. This distribution has long release cycle and may integrate with Ubuntu in the future. See track record and homepage.
- Guadalinex: A Debian and Metadistros based distribution promoted by the local government of Andalusia, Spain for home users and schools (cf. EduLinux, Skolelinux). See track record. (POSSIBLY INACTIVE: last release 2004)
- Hiweed: An Chinese distribution based on Debian GNU/Linux. See track record.
- Kanotix: A live CD version of Debian based on Knoppix that can also be installed to a hard-drive. Known for its excellent hardware support and desktop integration among laptops where many suggest Kanotix over Mepis. GNOME desktop. See track record.
- Knoppix: The first live CD (later DVD) version of Debian GNU/Linux whom many have copied since. Usable after booting from the CD image and comes with a large amount of software. Boot time is somewhat lengthy in all Knoppix based distributions due to extensive hardware detection. See track record.
- Kurumin: A version of the Knoppix distribution designed for Brazilian users. See track record.
- LinEx: A distribution promoted by the government of Extremadura, Spain. See track record. (POSSIBLY INACTIVE: last release 2004)
- Loco Linux: An Argentine Linux distribution based on Debian GNU/Linux. See track record.
- Morphix: A LiveCD distribution with different flavours, including GNOME. Often found being used as a base for other custom live distribution such as Clusterix, PHlAK or Gnix (to name three). See track record.
- PingOO: A French distribution aimed at local communities, public organizations, schools, etc. It comes in three editions: PingOO Communication Server, PingOO Secure Server and PingOO File Server. Includes GNOME or KDE desktops. See homepage.
- Skolelinux: A Debian-based distribution started in Norway as an affordable thin client distribution for schools (cf. EduLinux, Guadalinex). See track record.
- Sun Wah RAYS LX: A desktop distribution developed in China.
- Symphony OS: A Kanotix-based distribution which includes Mezzo desktop which is unlike anything seen before; it uses corners for tasks and background for menus (something like SuperKaramba). See track record.
- Ubuntu Linux: A distribution based on Debian and sponsored by Canonical Ltd. Uses own package repositories which should not be mixed with Debian repositories; the idea is to take snapshots of Debian in regular intervals and offer complete and polished Desktop. Considered the highest rising star among Debian based distributions. GNOME desktop is default but KDE available as package. See portal and track record.
- Ubuntu Server: A version of the Ubuntu distribution designed especially for server environments. It is slim installation occupying just 400 megabytes with no Window managers. First announced in 2005.
- Edubuntu Linux: A version of the Ubuntu distribution for Education including LTSP.
- Kubuntu Linux: A 3rd party Ubuntu derivate distribution that uses the KDE desktop environment.
- De2: Debian Depok. A 3rd party Ubuntu derivate in Indonesian. See homepage.
- Underground Desktop: a desktop distribution based on Debian unstable with graphical installer and KDE desktop. See homepage
- Zen Linux: A LiveCD. Desktops available are GNOME and KDE. See track record.
RPM-based distributions (Free)
- aLinux: A distribution for home use equivalent to Windows XP Home (formerly Peanut Linux).
- ALT Linux: A collection of popular Cyrillic-based distributions, such as Master, Compact, Junior, and Castle. APT package management tool.
- Ark Linux: A distribution that is focused on ease of use and ease of learning, while remaining technically sane.
- ASPLinux: A distribution that provides support for Russian and other Cyrillic languages.
- Aurox: a Linux distribution with emphasis on support for several European languages.
- Berry Linux: A medium Fedora Core based distribution that provides support in Japanese and English.
- Blag Linux: A distribution designed to provide many features while remaining within the size of 1 CD.
- Caixa Mágica: "The Portuguese distribution of Linux".
- cAos Linux: Diversely managed by the community, general purpose, lightweight (fast and can be suitable for running on older hardware) and easily customizable
- CentOS: Community supported distribution which aims to be 100% compatible with the Red Hat Enterprise Linux distribution without Red Hat branding and various copyrighted software
- Cobind Desktop
- Conectiva: A Brazilian company merged with Mandriva Linux.
- EduLinux: A distribution for educational purposes (cf. Guadalinex, Skolelinux ).
- Fedora Core: A general purpose distro for workstation, desktop and server use. Developed by Red Hat and the community.
- Linux Mobile System: A Fedora Core-based distribution designed to boot from USB Mass Storage devices, such as keydrives.
- Magic Linux: An easy-to-use distribution for Chinese users.
- PCLinuxOS: An easy-to-use LiveCD distribution which can be installed to hard drive. Originally based on Mandrake 9.2 but since pursued its own course of development while remaining an RPM-based distribution. Includes APT package management tool from Debian together with its Synaptic GUI frontend.
- PCQLinux2005: A distribution made by the Indian magazine PCQuest, based on Fedora Core.
- PLD Linux Distribution: A Polish distribution intended for more advanced users, while remaining more convenient than Slackware or Gentoo.
- QiLinux: made in Italy, completely from scratch. The QiLinux staff has developed a desktop and live version as well as a server and advanced server version.
- Red Flag Linux: A distribution developed in China and optimised for the Chinese market.
- Scientific Linux: A distribution, solely recompiled from the source distributed under GPL by a commercial Red Hat Enterprise Linux (in RPM-based distributions).
- Tinfoil Hat Linux: A distribution for the security-conscious and paranoid.
- Trustix: A somewhat-hardened distribution focused on security. Contrast SELinux, from NSA, which is a set of kernel modifications, not a distribution, and cannot be used alone, however.
- Turbolinux: A popular distribution in Asia, based on Red Hat Linux.
- Vine Linux: A Japanese distribution based on Red Hat Linux.
- White Box Enterprise Linux: A distribution designed to be 100% binary-compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3.
- Yellow Dog: A Red Hat Linux-based distribution for the PowerPC platform.
- YOPER: "Your Operating System", a desktop distribution from New Zealand.
Pros:Kernel highly i686 optimised,extensive prelinking achieves excellent out-of-the-box speed. Cutting-edge(reiser4 filesystem before grub support). Cons:apt-get/synaptic updater has problems with major updates (kernel etc.)
Slackware-based distributions (Free)
- DARKSTAR: a very configurable Linux based on Slack made in Romania. See track record.
- Frugalware: general purpose Linux distribution, designed for intermediate users. See track record.
- Kate OS: A Slackware based lightweight, Polish language distribution. See track record.
- Plamo Linux: A Slackware based Japanese distribution.
- Slackware: The oldest Linux distribution today. Maintained by Patrick Volkerding. Slackware is known for its overall speed, low memory requirements, responsiveness, its focus on simplicity and security. Programs under slackware or its derivates feel to start faster, being snappier and more efficient than in any other Linux distribution. On the other hand getting non-official programs, like GNOME to install and configured, is a demanding task even for experienced Linux user. Slackware offers total control for the administrator, but at the same time requires above average level of expertise to maintain and update. Slackware packages are recognized from extension .tgz. The package tool to handle these, slapt-get, only includes basic features like installing or removing packages. It doesn't solve any dependency issues that are supported by e.g. in Red Hat's .rpm and Debian's .deb formats. The packager's name is a word game from Debian's packager command 'apt-get'; slapt-get can be read as "Slackware's APT-GET". See track record.
- SLAX: A Slackware based small live CD which can also be installed on keydrive. No hard drive install. See track record.
- Ultima Linux: Customized distro by Martin Ultima.
- Zenwalk Linux (formerly MiniSlack): A Slackware based optimized distribution featuring XFCE as the default desktop, Gnome libraries, the new reiserfs filesystem, and new kernel. See track record.
Distributions using other packaging systems
- Arch Linux: An i686-optimized Linux distribution targeted at competent Linux users. Uses pacman utility to update packages.
- CRUX: CRUX is a lightweight, i686-optimized Linux distribution targeted at experienced Linux users. The primary focus of this distribution is "keep it simple", which is reflected in a simple tar.gz-based package system, BSD-style initscripts, and a relatively small collection of trimmed packages
- Foresight Linux: A distribution built around the quite new packaging system Conary.
- Gentoo: A distribution intended for enthusiasts and professionals with its own package management system called Portage. Gentoo focuses on the compilation of source code rather than the distribution of binary packages, which is expected to make applications to run faster.
- GoboLinux: An alternative Linux distribution which redefines the entire file system hierarchy by installing everything belonging to one application in one subfolder under /Programs, and using symlinks from /System and its subfolders to point to the proper files.
- Heretix: The successor of RubyX, management of this distribution is done via the Ruby programming language. Packagement is handled via Ruby as well, with packages being installed in one folder under /pkg. (Currently, June 2005, in very very early beta stage)
- ImpiLinux: A South African distribution that focuses on the needs of African users. See homepage (inactive as of 2005-10-15)
- Jedi GNU/Linux: A source-based GNU/Linux Metadistribution which is built around the force-get package manager. It is currently in a beta-state (as of June 2005) but is in constant development.
- Linux From Scratch: A document specifying the process of compiling an entire Linux system from scratch, adjusted by whoever creates "his/her own personal Linux system". (not a distribution).
- Lunar Linux: A source code-based distribution descended from Sorcerer GNU/Linux.
- MkLinux: A distribution for PowerPC systems that runs the Linux kernel as a server on top of the Mach microkernel.
- Onebase Linux: A distribution intended for a broad range of users.
- Sorcerer GNU/Linux: A source code-based distribution.
- Source Mage GNU/Linux: A source code-based distribution, descended from Sorcerer GNU/Linux.
- Ututo: A Gentoo based distribution, made in Argentina.
Small or lightweight distributions for use with older machines
Most of the mini distributions offer both harddisk and Keydrive installation choices.
- Austrumi: A Latvian Live-CD mini-distribution. Supports English. Similar to Puppy Linux, but more professional looking and includes a richer set of features. Is based on Slackware. See track record.
- Basic Linux (BL). Aimed at very low end and limited hardware, such as the 386/486 with 4Mb memory. Comes on 2 floppies instead of the more normal CD. Slackware based and extendable with programs directly from the Slackware repository. Most likely the "smallest" Linux distribution capable of running graphical desktop.
- cAos Linux: Diversely managed by the community, general purpose, lightweight (fast and can be suitable for running on older hardware) and easily customizable
- Damn Small Linux (DSL): Grandfather of mini distributions. A live CD designed for mini-cds with a hard drive install option. Started as a personal project to see how many usable desktop applications could fit inside a business card size 50MB mini CD. Over time it has grews into a considerably active community project. Refinements include a fully automated remote and local application installation system and a very versatile backup and restore system which may be used with any writable media including a hard drive, a floppy drive or a USB device. Uses Knoppix hardware detection which - although detecting most hardware selection - takes a relatively long time to boot. Includes own *.dsl packaging system, but offers options to use deb package from Debian repositories to extend the system (use with caution). Uses Fluxbox window manager. See track record.
- Feather Linux: Sharing similar goals as Damn Small Linux, but not based on it (Feather is more closely related to Knoppix). Includes more software packages than DSL raising the "small" limit to about 115MB. Uses Knoppix-based hardware detection and the Fluxbox window manager. Compatible with Debian packages (.deb).See track record.
- Flonix USB Edition: a light distro for nomad desktop that runs from USB Keydrive. This is a pure commercial distribution that can only be purchased pre-installed on USB sticks.
- Knopperdisk: New kid in the block. Aimed purely at USB sticks. (Gentoo based). See track record.
- Puppy Linux: A unique mini distribution which boots 2-3 times faster than other mini distributions due to being based on Slackware and not Knoppix. Runs well under low end PCs - even under 32MB RAM - with its ultra-minimalistic approach, where Damn Small Linux or Feather Linux would crawl. Contains very minimal set of utilities; e.g. earlier versions used busybox instead of bash to provide command line support. Managing the system to install new software requires more experience from average user. Uses Jwm windows-a-like window manager. See track record
- Stem Desktop: A hybrid, which uses lightest packages from Debian repository together with few home grown deb packages to build desktop (Fvwm95) which woudl consume very little memory. Designed for low end hardware (266Mh/64M/install on disk ~800M). Unlike other mini-distributions, this one does not have its own install CD. User needs to install stock Debian (aka "Debian proper") CD first without selecting any packages and then run a custom text based install script which builds the rest through open network connection. See project page.
- SPBLinux: Mini-distribution for floppies and USB keydrives. See project page.
- Vector Linux: Medium-lightweight distro with a text based installer. Applications included function well on older computers. Available in both standard (minimalistic) and SOHO (Small Office/Home OFfice - with Open office,KDE etc; size 2GB) form. Deluxe (pay) version also available. The 'Dynamite' (800 MB) is the testing version. Simple package updater vlapt-get is less friendly than e.g. Debian's synaptic. Pros: includes java, flash, Open Office and is quite fast. Cons: not cutting edge (Slackware based). See track record
Entirely- or partially-commercial distributions
- ASLinux Desktop: A Debian-based distribution with KDE desktop tailored for Spanish speaking persons. Includes office, gaming, science and software development programs. See track record.
- BlueCat Linux: An implementation of the Linux model enhanced for use in embedded systems ranging from small consumer-type devices to large-scale, multi-CPU systems.
- Libranet: A Debian-based desktop distribution based upon and mostly compatible with Debian. The installation has hardware detection and the desktop has an 'adminmenu' (in both text and gui mode) to ease hardware and software configuration. The founder Jon Danzig passed away 2005.
- Linspire: Another desktop-oriented distribution, previously called Lindows, based on Debian. Additional software is available from Linspire or via Debian's apt command, although compatibility with Debian is not guaranteed. Has significant proprietary software.
- Mandriva Linux formerly known as Mandrakelinux. There are various products for servers, workstations, small businesses as well as individuals. Originally a Red Hat Linux variant optimized for Pentium-class CPUs, Mandriva Linux has since diverged to form its own distribution. While remaining entirely free software, Mandriva's business model adds further enterprise-class support and services, mainly through a subscription basis, as well as a delayed release strategy for individual non-members of their club. See homepage
- MEPIS: An easy-to-use Debian-based distribution which also runs as a LiveCD, allowing you to try out MEPIS before you decide to install it on your hard drive. There are several flavors to choose from. See homepage.
- MEPIS Lite - An entry level version of desktop MEPIS designed for home users with smaller hardware requirements (Pentium II/128MB/2G install).
- SimplyMEPIS - The official name for the "MEPIS" distribution.
- MEPIS SoHoServer - A general purpose server based on the recent release of Debian. Includes preconfigured Apache, PHP, Perl, MySql, Proftpd, Bind, DHCPd, Postfix, Dovecot, Shorewall, Squid, DansGuardian, Webmin, Usermin etc.
- Mobilinux: By Montavista for smartphones.
- Nitix: Developed by Net Integration Technologies Inc., Nitix claims to be the first autonomic Linux-based server operating system.
- Novell Linux Desktop: A desktop-oriented Linux distribution supplied by Novell, Inc. (homepage) and targeted at the business market. In 2004 Novell acquired SUSE which is based in Nürnberg, Germany. SUSE is one of the most popular distributions in Europe. Like Red Hat Linux, it is a large distribution on several CDs/DVDs. Free Eval version are available that are virtually identical to commercial versions. Custom configuration tool YaST.
- Open CoLinux: Commercial version of virtualisation engine of Linux for Windows called colinux. Runs Debian based Linux inside Windows with KDE desktop.
- Progeny Componentized Linux: A Linux distribution developed by Progeny, based on Debian, using Anaconda installer ported from Red Hat Linux.
- Red Hat Enterprise Linux: The solely-commercial distribution for server market. The inventor or RPM-packaging system for RPM-based distributions. See homepage
- Sun Wah RAYS LX: A Debian-based desktop distribution, developed in China.
- Xandros: Canadian based Xandros (based on the defunct Corel Linux) focuses on the desktop market and Windows compatibility. The Xandros distribution, unlike most others, may not be freely copied, as it contains proprietary software like the file manager, which allows direct copy-to-CD etc. Based on Debian,Xandros is compatible with Debian's dpkg package management system. Professional, like Lindows and SUSE. See homepage.
- YES Linux: A turnkey distribution that is specifically targeted to the Small office and Home office (SOHO). See homepage.
- Asterisk@Home: Basically enables to quickly set up a VOIP server based on Asterisk™ Open Source PBX.
- Bootable business card distros
- ClarkConnect: Router/firewall distribution
- CoLinux: Not strictly a distribution although ready CoLinux Linux images are available. CoLinux is a virtualisation effort to run run Linux simultaneously along with Windows. CoLinux is similar to other virtualisation projects like Open source Xen (virtual machine monitor) project and commercial VMware.
- Cooperative Linux: A distribution for running Linux on Microsoft Windows natively
- Coyote Linux: Router/firewall distribution
- DeMuDi: Multimedia distribution
- DeveLinux: A live CD distro for developers. It contains any kind of software which is useful to program and develop project. See homepage.
- devil-linux: firewall/router/server distribution running from CD
- dyne:bolic: Multimedia distribution
- ELKS Linux: The Embeddable Linux Kernel Subset
- Eisfair : small easy to install Internet-server
- Embedded Debian
- Familiar Linux: Distribution for iPAQ handhelds
- Fli4l: a single floppy ISDN, DSL and Ethernet-Router
- Flightlinux: A distribution for spacecraft
- FREESCO: a free replacement for commercial routers supporting up to 10 network cards and up to 10 modems.
- GeeXboX: Multimedia distribution
- Gibraltar: Router/firewall distribution. See track record.
- Hard Hat Linux: see MontaVista Linux
- Hikarunix: A distro solely for studying and playing the game of Go
- IPCop: Router/firewall distribution
- iPodLinux: Embedded Linux firmware for the Apple iPod based on the µCLinux kernel
- KnoppMyth: Specialized Knoppix distribution for easy setup of the MythTV PVR software
- Linux floppydistro
- MontaVista Linux: embedded systems distro by MontaVista Software
- NASLite: a floppy-based Linux designed to turn an old computer into a simple Network Attached Storage device
- Nethack Linux : floppy-based Linux for playing NetHack
- openMosix: a Linux kernel extension that links several single systems and forms one supercomputer
- OpenZaurus: Debian packages and ROM image for the Sharp Zaurus PDA. See homepage.
- PS2 Linux: Sony Computer Entertainment distribution released officially for the PlayStation 2 video game console.
- SELinux: Security-Enhanced version of the Linux kernel (i.e., no distro as such) created by the NSA
- Sentry Firewall: A firewall, server or intrusion detection system distribution
- SmoothWall: Router/firewall distribution
- The Linux Router Project: Router distribution
- TimeSys Linux: embedded systems distro by TimeSys. See homepage.
- Tinfoil Hat Linux: Bootable floppy distribution focusing on extreme security
- tomsrtbt: The distro's motto is "The most GNU/Linux on 1 floppy disk." Useful rescue floppy with support for most filesystems, network drivers, and SCSI drivers. The floppy provides an incredible assortment of Linux and recovery-related tools and hardware support options on a single 1.722 capacity. Aside from the specialized disk format, one of the primary ways that Tom's Root Boot provides such a huge assortment of tools is by making heavy use of Erik Anderson's amazing busybox. BusyBox is a single binary that provides the functionality of many standard Linux utilities based on the name by which it is invoked. Tom's Root Boot uses BusyBox to provide commands such as chgrp, chmod, chown, chroot, clear, cmp, egrep, ifconfig, init, insmod, mknod, mkswap, rm, route, sed, tail, telnet, and many more. Tom's Root Boot is a "classic" on its own which provided breath of relief to many system administrators when things went wrong. Today its function has been relaced by the availability of live CDs tailored for solving system administrative tasks.
- Trinux: Security tools distribution
- Xebian: a distribution for the Xbox home gaming console, Fluxbox. See homepage
Linux started life as an operating system for X86-compatible systems but has expanded to include numerous other computer processors. Various distributions cater to those other computer architectures.
- Linux on zSeries: IBM mainframes
- penguinppc.org : Linux/ppc (POWER-based systems, e.g. IBM pSeries, iSeries, and newer Apple Macintosh)
- Linux/m68k : Motorola 680x0 series (older Apple Macintosh, NeXT, etc.)
- UltraLinux : SPARC and UltraSPARC based systems, e.g. Sun Fire servers.
Inactive or discontinued distributions
- Beehive. Last release 2002.
- College Linux: A Slackware-based distro from Robert Kennedy College, Delemont, Switzerland. Last release 2003.
- EvilEntity: A Slackware-based alternative to Microsoft Windows. Last release 2003.
- Icepack Linux: A user-friendly, full-featured operating system, pre-configured, well structured and easy to work with (RPM-based). Last release 2003.
- LinuxXP: An easy-to-use distribution without the hassle of re-partitioning the hard drive and going through complicated processes of hardware configuration. Last release February 2004.
- Lycoris Desktop/LX: Fell down to one employee and then acquired by Mandriva.
- Mastodon Linux : The last a.out Linux distribution.
- Randlix: A distribution fully compliant with the GPL but closed-source. Its whereabouts are unknown; the one English reference regarding it (according to Google) is located here
- Red Hat Linux: Split into Fedora Core and Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The last official release was Red Hat Linux 9 in March 2003.
- Softlanding Linux System: One of the earliest distributions, developed from 1992-1994; Slackware was originally based on it.
- ThizLinux : A HongKong based distribution provide services to Great China. Last release 2003.
- United Linux: A group of distributors who banded together to build a common base distribution, based on SuSE. United Linux has now ceased.
- UserLinux: commercial, GNOME. Never produced a release after conceptual agenda. Was superseded by Ubuntu.
- Yggdrasil: One of the oldest Linux distributions, not updated since 1995.