Even though the LinuxKernel
and most of the programs usually used together with it are free, it is a tedious job to download, compile, install and configure them all. LinuxDistribution
s try to relieve the users from this burden.
Some of the widely spread distributions are (in alphabetical order):
- http://www.debian.org/ (built with only free software and most growing GnuLinuxDistribution).
- http://gentoo.org/ (build linux from scratch... compile from source with custom optimizations)
- http://www.gnoppix.org/ (LiveCd)
- http://www.linuxfromscratch.org/ (provides methods & materials to compile your own Linux system from source. For advanced users only).
- MandrakeLinux (Mandriva)
- http://www.mandrivalinux.com/ (best selling distro in the US (as of Summer 2000)).
- http://metalab.unc.edu/peanut (Small distribution for desktop use, based on KDE for its GUI)
- http://www.redhat.com/ (best known distro (as of Summer 2000)).
- http://www.rocklinux.org/ (a distribution build kit)
- http://www.slackware.com/ (Once one of the most popular, still very pleasant to use)
- http://www.suse.com/ (best selling distro in Europe (as of Summer 2000)).
- http://www.turbolinux.com/ (best selling distro in Asia (as of Summer 2000)).
- http://www.ubuntu.com/ (arguably most popular distro)
- http://unitedlinux.com/ (a standardized GnuLinux distribution aimed at business users. It is developed, marketed, and sold by a partnership of companies.)
- Clark Connect
- http://www.clarkconnect.org/ (based on RedHat Linux. It turns a computer into a router with many extra features.
has a DebianWiki
This list doesn't try to include all distributions, since there are already so many of them. Look at http://linux.com/links/software/distributions/
or the distribution page of the LinuxWeeklyNews
, for a more comprehensive enumeration.
Labels like 'best selling' are of course subject to change. Especially when a distribution brings out a new version, it climbs up the ranks. LinuxWeeklyNews
covers this problem a little bit on their main page on March 22, 2001: http://lwn.net/2001/0322/
If you have a fast internet connection, you can download most of these distributions as ISO CD images from http://www.linuxiso.org/
although buying the original's with documentation is a good idea too.
Overall though, you're still getting the same Linux with any one of the above distros. They all use the Linux kernel and open source applications, but they will differ in versions, in what software is automatically included, in how software is installed, and in their distribution philosophy.
Tired of using someone else's distribution of Linux? Create LinuxFromScratch
Also see: LinuxQuestions