Operating system packages, both free and commercial, that include extras or minor changes to the Linux kernel. Distributions are akin to towers built on the foundation of the open source Linux core. Many of these distributions are freely available for download and can often be installed and run in the same day.
Which do I choose?
Help in picking the best distribution for your needs:
This list is not exhaustive, it focuses on the more popular distros.
- Debian - One of the most popular Linux distibutions, famed for it's large userbase and package management system.
- Blag - overthrow corporate control of information and technology
- gNewSense - for users who wish to only use free software
- KNOPPIX - A full distribution on a bootable CD. It doesn't even need a HDD to run, and you can save your changed settings to a floppy if you need to reboot. It's based on Debian GNU/Linux
- Linux From Scratch and Beyond Linux From Scratch
- Linux Mint
- Slackware - One of the first distributions and the oldest linux distribution in active development.
- Ubuntu - a Debian spinoff
Small Linux Distributions
- Damn Small Linux under 50Mb and runs from CD/USB
- Puppy Linux under 100Mb and runs from CD/USB
- Linux - Small Kernel Project - 386 with under 5MB RAM (they have a nice wiki too). - Small Linux has been used (console based) on a 386 laptop with 2 meg of ram and a 40 meg harddrive. Check out Small X
- Tinfoil_Hat_linux - with PGP and tools to defeat Keyloggers.
- Small Linux-like projects
- byld | GNU Homepage - 'Byld' helps you build a GNU/Linux distribution on a single floppy disk to use as you want (net client, rescue disk...). It is not a complete distribution: it was made only to build a mini distribution on a floppy. You can use it however you want as is (follow quick installation instruction below) but its best use is to configure and build your own floppy distribution.
- Small Linux - 386 with 2 megs of ram
- tomsrbt - "The most GNU/Linux on one floppy disk" - for: rescue recovery panic & emergencies, tools to keep in your shirt pockets, whenever you can't use a hard drive
- Gendist | GNU Page - GENDIST (the Linux Distribution Generator) lets you easily create your own distribution. It is particularly intended for special-purpose mini-distributions, which typically consist of a kernel and a root-filesystem, both packed together on one or a few floppies or CD-ROMs. It creates a makefile-based build system for your distribution, and helps you to automate the following three tasks: maintaining your root filesystem, maintaining your "CD filesystem" (in case you create a bootable CD), and packaging everything on media.
- Linspire - desktop-centric
- Lycoris - desktop-centric
- Mandriva - fusion of Mandrake and Connectiva
- Red Hat - most popular
- SuSE - European, member of United Linux
- Turbo Linux - Japanese, member of United Linux
- Xandros - formerly Corel Linux, focus on the desktop and ease-of-use
- Yellow Dog - for the Macintosh platform