Resources - Operating Systems - Linux distributions
Linux is an operating system that was initially created as a hobby by Linus Torvalds, a young student at the University of Helsinki in Finland. Linus had an interest in a small Unix system called Minix. In 1991 he began to develop a system that exceeded the Minix standards, and finally released version 1.0 of the Linux Kernel in 1994.
Over the years a number of different groups have created their own unique distributions of Linux, in much the same way different flavours of Unix (where Linux ultimately gets its roots) came about. Each group has a different set of philosophies and preferences, which are reflected in their works.
We hope to include links to all distributions in alphabetical order, along with a short summary of what sets them apart from the others.
- Arch Linux
- Arch Linux is a lightweight and flexible Linux distribution that tries to "Keep It Simple." The design approach of the development team focuses on simplicity, elegance, code correctness, and minimalism.
- BackTrack Linux
- BackTrack Linux is the result of merging the two innovative penetration testing live linux distributions, Auditor and Whax. BackTrack provides a thorough pentesting environment which is bootable via CD, USB, or over a network (via PXE). The tools are arranged in an intuitive manner, and cover most of the attack vectors. Complex environments are simplified, such as automatic Kismet configuration, one click Snort setup, pre-compiled Metasploit lorcon modules, etc.
- Coyote Linux
- Coyote is a personal firewall distribution of Linux designed for the purpose of protecting a home or educational network. It's licensed for personal and educational use, and is available free of charge.
- CRUX Linux
- CRUX is a lightweight, i686-optimized Linux distribution targeted at experienced Linux users. The primary focus of this distribution is to keep it simple, which is reflected in a straightforward tar.gz-based package system, BSD-style initscripts, and a relatively small collection of trimmed packages. The secondary focus is utilization of new Linux features and recent tools and libraries. CRUX also has a ports system which makes it easy to install and upgrade applications.
- Debian Linux
- The Debian Project is an association of individuals who have made common cause to create a free operating system. This operating system that we have created is called Debian GNU/Linux, or simply Debian for short.
- Draco Linux
- Draco is a small and flexible GNU/Linux distribution, expandable through the famous and well-respected pkgsrc framework.
- FaunOS is a portable (easy-to-carry), fully integrated Linux operating system with over 600 preinstalled packages. It is specifically designed to run from a portable USB memory device (such as a USB flash drive). It can also be configured to boot from other media, such as DVD, and even the internal hard drive, although the main focus is on detachable media.
- Gentoo Linux
- Gentoo is a special flavor of Linux that can be automatically optimized and customized for just about any application or need. Extreme configurability, performance and a top-notch user and developer community are all hallmarks of the Gentoo experience.
- Knoppix is a bootable Live system on CD or DVD, consisting of a representative collection of GNU/Linux software, automatic hardware detection, and support for many graphics cards, sound cards, SCSI and USB devices, and other peripherals. Knoppix can be used as a productive Linux system for the desktop, educational CD, rescue system, or be adapted and used as a platform for commercial software product demonstrations -- it is not necessary to install anything on a hard disk. Due to on-the-fly decompression, the CD can have up to 2 GB of executable software installed on it (over 8GB on the DVD "Maxi" edition).
- Lunar Linux
- Lunar Linux is a source-based distribution for 32-bit and 64-bit Intel and AMD systems with simple, yet powerful package management and system administration tools. If you want a flexible system built from source that is easy to install and maintain, Lunar Linux strives to fit that requirement.
- Mandrake Linux
- Mandrake Linux is a friendly Linux Operating System which specializes in ease-of-use for both servers and the home/office. It is freely available in many languages throughout the world.
- Puppy Linux
- Puppy Linux is a Live CD Linux distribution that is very small and focuses on ease of use. If the computer has at least 256 MB of RAM, the entire operating system and all the applications will run from RAM, allowing the boot medium to be removed after the operating system starts. Applications such as SeaMonkey, AbiWord, Gnumeric, and Gxine/xine are included.
- Qimo is a desktop operating system designed for kids, that comes pre-installed with educational games for children aged 3 and up. Qimo's interface was designed to be intuitive and easy to use, providing large icons for all installed games, so that even the youngest users have no trouble selecting activities.
- Qubes OS
- Qubes is an open source operating system designed to provide strong security for desktop computing. Qubes is based on Xen, X Window System, and Linux, and can run most Linux applications and utilize most of the Linux drivers.
- RedHat Linux
- Red Hat Enterprise Linux is a leading platform for open source computing. It is sold by subscription, delivers continuous value and is certified by top enterprise hardware and software vendors. From the desktop to the datacenter, Enterprise Linux couples the innovation of open source technology and the stability of a true enterprise-class platform.
- Slackware Linux
- The Official Release of Slackware Linux by Patrick Volkerding is an advanced Linux operating system, designed with the twin goals of ease of use and stability as top priorities. Including the latest popular software while retaining a sense of tradition, providing simplicity and ease of use alongside flexibility and power, Slackware brings the best of all worlds to the table.
- Sorcerer Linux
- Sorcerer is a source-based Linux distribution for system administrators. The sources are downloaded directly from software authors' homepages and mirrors. Then, they are compiled with the architecture and optimizations that the system administrator specifies. Finally, it is installed, tracked, and archived for easy removal and upgrades. Sorcerer has both command line and menu driven source mangement programs.
- Source Mage Linux
- Source Mage is a source-based Linux distribution that downloads and compiles the source code instead of delivering binaries to users, as many other Linux distributions have a tendancy to do. Although compiling from sources can take longer on slower hardware than simply downloading binaries, it is known to provide better stability and performance optimization in the long run on nearly all Operating Systems.
- SuSE Linux (Novell)
- SuSE (pronounced "SUE-zuh," like John Phillip Sousa) was founded in 1992 in Germany, making it one of the oldest Linux companies. The imprint of the company's four founders, all of whom hold doctorates in mathematics and software design, is evident in the precision engineering of its software and in SuSE's commitment to open source software development. SuSE is the leading distribution of Linux in Europe (and is used throughout the world) and as of the year 2000 has over 50,000 installed business customers.
- Tinysofa™ classic server
- Tinysofa classic server is a server targeted, enterprise grade Linux distribution that combines the the vision and expertise of multiple open source developers with the best components and ideas of multiple enterprise focused operating systems.
- Over the past several years [as of 2005], Turbolinux has built and maintained a leading global position as a provider of Linux distributions as a platform for further innovations that make enterprise computing simpler and more cost-effective. Turbolinux is a leading Linux distribution in Asia-Pacific and Linux itself is one of the fastest growing server operating systems worldwide.
- Ubuntu Linux
- Ubuntu is a community developed, Linux-based operating system that is perfect for laptops, desktops and servers. It contains all the applications you need - a web browser, presentation, document and spreadsheet software, instant messaging, and much more.
- Volta Linux
- Voltalinux is a GNU/Linux distribution based on Slackware Linux and the pkgsrc package system from NetBSD. The project offers a pre-built distribution that, with the clean design of Slackware Linux, includes the availability of more than 5,000 NetBSD packages ready to be installed.
- Yellow Dog Linux
- Yellow Dog Linux is a Fedora/RPM-based operating system for PowerPC computers (including the iMac G5 and Mac mini), offering an intuitive, flexible graphical installer, a unified KDE and GNOME desktop environment featuring shared menus, applications, and user interface. Based upon the 'Anaconda' installer engine, the Yellow Dog Linux Installer leverages automated, advanced hardware detection; provides on-screen help, flexible package selection, multiple install methods (CD-ROM, FTP, HTTP, NFS), default to ext3 journaling filesystem, embedded video testing, multiple ethernet and wireless port configuration, and automated partition creation.