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Popular Linux Distributions
- Damn Small Linux
- Damn Small Linux is a business card size (50MB) live CD Linux distribution. Despite its minuscule size it strives to have a functional and easy to use desktop. Damn Small Linux has a nearly complete desktop, including XMMS (MP3, and MPEG), FTP client, links-hacked web browser, spreadsheet, email, spellcheck (US English), a word-processor, three editors (Nedit, nVi, Zile [emacs clone]), Xpdf, Worker (file manager), Naim (AIM, ICQ, IRC), VNCviwer, SSH/SCP server and client, DHCP client, PPP, PPPoE, a web server, calculator, Fluxbox window manager, system monitoring apps, USB support, and soon it will have PCMCIA support as well. If you like Damn Small Linux you can install it on your hard drive. Because all the applications are small and light it makes a very good choice for older hardware.
- Debian GNU/Linux
- The Debian Project is an association of individuals who have made common cause to create a free operating system. This operating system is called Debian GNU/Linux, or simply Debian for short. Debian systems currently use the Linux kernel. Linux is a completely free piece of software started by Linus Torvalds and supported by thousands of programmers worldwide. Of course, the thing that people want is application software: programs to help them get what they want to do done, from editing documents to running a business to playing games to writing more software. Debian comes with over 20,000 packages (precompiled software that is bundled up in a nice format for easy installation on your machine) - all of it free. It's a bit like a tower. At the base is the kernel. On top of that are all the basic tools. Next is all the software that you run on the computer. At the top of the tower is Debian -- carefully organizing and fitting everything so it all works together.
- Fedora Core
- The Fedora Project is an openly-developed project designed by Red Hat, open for general participation, led by a meritocracy, following a set of project objectives. The goal of The Fedora Project is to work with the Linux community to build a complete, general purpose operating system exclusively from open source software. Development will be done in a public forum. The project will produce time-based releases of Fedora about 2-3 times a year, with a public release schedule. The Red Hat engineering team will continue to participate in building Fedora and will invite and encourage more outside participation than in past releases. By using this more open process, we hope to provide an operating system more in line with the ideals of free software and more appealing to the open source community.
- FreeBSD is a UN*X-like operating system for the i386, IA-64, PC-98, Alpha/AXP, and UltraSPARC platforms based on U.C. Berkeley's "4.4BSD-Lite" release, with some "4.4BSD-Lite2" enhancements. It is also based indirectly on William Jolitz's port of U.C. Berkeley's "Net/2" to the i386, known as "386BSD", though very little of the 386BSD code remains. FreeBSD is used by companies, Internet Service Providers, researchers, computer professionals, students and home users all over the world in their work, education and recreation.
- Gentoo Linux
- Gentoo Linux is a versatile and fast, completely free Linux distribution geared towards developers and network professionals. Unlike other distros, Gentoo Linux has an advanced package management system called Portage. Portage is a true ports system in the tradition of BSD ports, but is Python-based and sports a number of advanced features including dependencies, fine-grained package management, "fake" (OpenBSD-style) installs, safe unmerging, system profiles, virtual packages, config file management, and more.
- Knoppix is a bootable CD with a 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 Linux demo, educational CD, rescue system, or adapted and used as a platform for commercial software product demos. 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.
- Mandriva Linux
- Mandriva Linux (formerly Mandrakelinux) was created in 1998 with the goal of making Linux easier to use for everyone. At that time, Linux was already well-known as a powerful and stable operating system that demanded strong technical knowledge and extensive use of the "command line"; MandrakeSoft saw this as an opportunity to integrate the best graphical desktop environments and contribute its own graphical configuration utilities and quickly became famous for setting the standard in ease-of-use and functionality. With this innovative approach, Mandriva Linux offers all the power and stability of Linux to both individuals and professional users in an easy-to-use and pleasant environment. Thousands of new users are discovering Linux each and every day and finding it a complete replacement for their previous operating system. Linux as a server or workstation has no reason to be jealous of any other more established operating systems.
- The openSUSE project is a community program sponsored by Novell. Promoting the use of Linux everywhere, this program provides free, easy access to openSUSE, a complete Linux distribution. The openSUSE project has three main goals: make openSUSE the easiest Linux for anyone to obtain and the most widely used Linux distribution; leverage open source collaboration to make openSUSE the world's most usable Linux distribution and desktop environment for new and experienced Linux users; dramatically simplify and open the development and packaging processes to make openSUSE the platform of choice for Linux developers and software vendors.
- Puppy Linux
- Yes, Puppy Linux is yet another Linux distribution. What's different here is that Puppy is extraordinarily small, yet quite full featured. Puppy boots into a 64MB ramdisk, and that's it, the whole caboodle runs in RAM. Unlike live CD distributions that have to keep pulling stuff off the CD, Puppy in its entirety loads into RAM. This means that all applications start in the blink of an eye and respond to user input instantly. Puppy Linux has the ability to boot off a flash card or any USB memory device, CDROM, Zip disk or LS/120/240 Superdisk, floppy disks, internal hard drive. It can even use a multisession formatted CD-R/DVD-R to save everything back to the CD/DVD with no hard drive required at all!
- Red Hat Linux
- Red Hat is the leader in development, deployment, and management of Linux and open source solutions for Internet infrastructure - ranging from embedded devices to secure Web servers. Red Hat was founded in 1994 by visionary entrepreneurs Bob Young and Marc Ewing. Open source is the foundation of our business model. It represents a fundamental shift in how software is created. The code that makes up the software is available to anyone. Developers who use the software are free to improve the software. The result: rapid innovation. Red Hat solutions combine Red Hat Linux, developer and embedded technologies, training, management services, technical support. We deliver this open source innovation to our customers via an Internet platform called Red Hat Network. Red Hat is headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA.
- 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. Originally developed by Linus Torvalds in 1991, the UNIX-like Linux operating system now benefits from the contributions of millions of users and developers around the world. Slackware Linux provides new and experienced users alike with a fully-featured system, equipped to serve in any capacity from desktop workstation to machine-room server. Web, ftp, and email servers are ready to go out of the box, as are a wide selection of popular desktop environments. A full range of development tools, editors, and current libraries is included for users who wish to develop or compile additional software.
- Ubuntu Linux
- Ubuntu is a complete desktop Linux operating system, freely available with both community and professional support. The Ubuntu community is built on the ideas enshrined in the Ubuntu Manifesto: that software should be available free of charge, that software tools should be usable by people in their local language and despite any disabilities, and that people should have the freedom to customise and alter their software in whatever way they see fit. "Ubuntu" is an ancient African word, meaning "humanity to others". The Ubuntu distribution brings the spirit of Ubuntu to the software world.
- Linux Mint
- Linux Mint is an Ubuntu-based distribution whose goal is to provide a more complete out-of-the-box experience by including browser plugins, media codecs, support for DVD playback, Java and other components. It also adds a custom desktop and menus, several unique configuration tools, and a web-based package installation interface. Linux Mint is compatible with Ubuntu software repositories.
You can download torrents of these and other distributions from LinuxTracker.
For all the up to date news regarding GNU/Linux distributions, check out Distro Watch.
A list of GNU/Linux live CDs can be found at The Live CD List.