Linux Distributions

See also: Linux | Distribution

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.

Table of contents 1 Which do I choose?

1 Listing

1.1 Related
1.2 Linux Merchandise Vendor
1.3 Unsorted

Which do I choose?

Help in picking the best distribution for your needs:

  • Which Distribution FAQ (, from the Ars Technica ( Linux Kung Fu ( forum.
  • ExtremeTech (,3973,1134774,00.asp) ‘s advice for the new user:
“If you’re totally new to Linux and want an easy to use OS, try Lindows If you’re more experienced and want a distro with lots of software, try Libranet 2.8. If you’re looking for a distro that is more geared toward the corporate desktop, give Red Hat 9 a shot. If you want to run Windows applications, try SuSE Linux Office Desktop 8.1 or Xandros.”
  • DistroWatch ( – the most informative site about Linux distributions.


This list is not exaustive, focusing on the more popular versions as there are some 200+ Linux Distributions (

Commercialmost offer a free software download
    • ByzantineOS – A diskless “internet appliance” distribution with a home entertainment bias.
    • CoLinux – A version of Debian that runs atop Microsoft Windows.
    • Debian – One of the most popular Linux distibutions, famed for it’s large userbase and package management system.
    • Gentoo – A source-based distribution. Has an excellent package management system.
    • 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 (
    • SE Linux – Secure Edition Linux – An NSA (USA government) initiative to create a secure Linux distribution.
    • Slackware – One of the first distributions and the oldest linux distribution in active development.
Small Linux Distributions
    • 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.


Linux Merchandise Vendor

  • AllLinuxCD ( – offers cheap way to obtain most of the well-known Linux distribution


    • Hurd – Pre-alpha — this is actually a number of projects aiming to bring a distribution to a couple of kernels, not just Linux.

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