The Unix era
The Unix operating system found its beginnings in MULTICS, which stands for Multiplexed Operating and Computing System. The MULTICS project began in the mid 1960s as a joint effort by General Electric, Massachusetts Institute for Technology and Bell Laboratories. In 1969 Bell Laboratories pulled out of the project. One of Bell Laboratories people involved in the project was Ken Thompson. He liked the potential MULTICS had, but felt it was too complex and that the same thing could be done in simpler way. In 1969 he wrote the first version of Unix, called UNICS. UNICS stood for Uniplexed Operating and Computing System. Although the operating system has changed, the name stuck and was eventually shortened to Unix. Ken Thompson teamed up with Dennis Ritchie, who wrote the first C compiler. In 1973 they rewrote the Unix kernel in C. The following year a version of Unix known as the Fifth Edition was first licensed to universities. The Seventh Edition, released in 1978, served as a dividing point for two divergent lines of Unix development. These two branches are known as SVR4 (System V) and BSD. Ken Thompson spent a year's sabbatical with the University of California at Berkeley. While there he and two graduate students, Bill Joy and Chuck Haley, wrote the first Berkely version of Unix, which was distributed to students. This resulted in the source code being worked on and developed by many different people. The Berkeley version of Unix is known as BSD, Berkeley Software Distribution. From BSD came the vi editor, C shell, virtual memory, Sendmail, and support for TCP/IP. For several years SVR4 was the more conservative, commercial, and well supported. Today SVR4 and BSD look very much alike. Probably the biggest cosmetic difference between them is the way the ps command functions. UNIX is an interactive timesharing system invented in 1969 by Ken Thompson after Bell Labs left the Multics project, originally so he could play games on his scavenged PDP-7. Dennis Ritchie, the inventor of C, is considered a co-author of the system. The turning point in Unix's history came when it was reimplemented almost entirely in C during 1972—1974, making it the first source-portable OS. Unix subsequently underwent mutations and expansions at the hands of many different people, resulting in a uniquely flexible and developer-friendly environment. By 1991, Unix had become the most widely used multiuser general-purpose operating system in the world — and since 1996 the variant called Linux has been at the cutting edge of the open source movement. Many people consider the success of Unix the most important victory yet of hackerdom over industry opposition. Some people are confused over whether this word is appropriately „UNIX‟ or „Unix‟; both forms are common, and used interchangeably. Dennis Ritchie says that the „UNIX‟ spelling originally happened in CACM's 1974 paper The UNIX Time-Sharing System because “we had a new typesetter and troff had just been invented and we were intoxicated by being able to produce small caps.” Later, dmr tried to get the spelling changed to „Unix‟ in a couple of Bell Labs papers, on the grounds that the word is not acronymic. He failed, and eventually (his words) “wimped out” on the issue. So, while the trademark today is „UNIX‟, both capitalizations are grounded in ancient usage; the Jargon File uses „Unix‟ in deference to dmr's wishes.
Operating System Background By definition, an operating system (OS) is the set of programs which provide for the basic operation of a computer. For example, the computer's display is controlled by the OS. Without an OS, a computer would not know what to project on its screen. The system used on Eos workstations is called UNIX. However, UNIX is not a single OS, but a family of OS's that run on a wide variety of computers. Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie, and Brian Kernighan were authors of the first version of the UNIX. It
was completed in November, 1971, a good ten years before the IBM PC and MacIntosh. All three men worked for AT&T at Bell Labs. The first version widely available commercially was edition 6, released in May, 1975. There are currently several versions of UNIX on various hardware platforms, i.e. PC's, Workstations, mainframes, etc. UNIX is a major competitor in the operating system marketplace and is threatening the MS-DOS and Windows world of the PC's. Our version, written by Digital Equipment Corp, is known as ULTRIX. Others on the Eos system include: • HP/UX • IBM AIX • SunOS The version working at each lab location depends on the manufacturer of the computing equipment. The Connection Between Unix and C At the time the first Unix was written, most operating systems developers believed that an operating system must be written in an assembly language so that it could function effectively and gain access to the hardware. Not only was Unix innovative as an operating system, it was ground-breaking in that it was written in a language (C) that was not an assembly language. The C language itself operates at a level that is just high enough to be portable to variety of computer hardware. A great deal of publicly available Unix software is distributed as C programs that must be complied before use. Many Unix programs follow C's syntax. Unix system calls are regarded as C functions. What this means for Unix system administrators is that an understanding of C can make Unix easier to understand. Why Use Unix? One of the biggest reasons for using Unix is networking capability. With other operating systems, additional software must be purchased for networking. With Unix, networking capability is simply part of the operating system. Unix is ideal for such things as world wide e-mail and connecting to the Internet. Unix was founded on what could be called a "small is good" philosophy. The idea is that each program is designed to do one job well. Because Unix was developed by different people with different needs it has grown to an operating system that is both flexible and easy to adapt for specific needs. Unix was written in a machine independent language. So Unix and unix-like operating systems can run on a variety of hardware. These systems are available from many different sources, some of them at no cost. Because of this diversity and the ability to utilize the same "user-interface" on many different systems, Unix is said to be an open system.
History of Linux The Linux kernel was first released to the public on 17 September 1991, for the Intel x86 PC architecture. The kernel was augmented with system utilities and libraries from the GNU project to create a usable operating system, which later led to the alternate term GNU/Linux. Linux is now packaged for different uses in Linux distributions, which contain the sometimes modified kernel along with a variety of other software packages tailored to different requirements. Beginning of Linux
It was 1991, and the ruthless agonies of the cold war were gradually coming to an end. There was an air of peace and tranquility that prevailed in the horizon. In the field of computing, a great future seemed to be in the offing, as powerful hardware pushed the limits of the computers beyond what anyone expected. But still, something was missing. And it was the none other than the Operating Systems, where a great void seemed to have appeared. For one thing, DOS was still reigning supreme in its vast empire of personal computers. Bought by Bill Gates from a Seattle hacker for $50,000, the bare bones operating system had sneaked into every corner of the world by virtue of a clever marketing strategy. PC users had no other choice. Apple Macs were better, but with astronomical prices that nobody could afford, they remained a horizon away from the eager millions. The other dedicated camp of computing was the Unix world. But Unix itself was far more expensive. In quest of big money, the Unix vendors priced it high enough to ensure small PC users stayed away from it. The source code of Unix, once taught in universities courtesy of Bell Labs, was now cautiously guarded and not published publicly. To add to the frustration of PC users worldwide, the big players in the software market failed to provide an efficient solution to this problem. A solution seemed to appear in form of MINIX. It was written from scratch by Andrew S. Tanenbaum, a US-born Dutch professor who wanted to teach his students the inner workings of a real operating system. It was designed to run on the Intel 8086 microprocessors that had flooded the world market. As an operating system, MINIX was not a superb one. But it had the advantage that the source code was available. Anyone who happened to get the book 'Operating Systems: Design and Implementation' by Tanenbaum could get hold of the 12,000 lines of code, written in C and assembly language. For the first time, an aspiring programmer or hacker could read the source codes of the operating system, which to that time the software vendors had guarded vigorously. A superb author, Tanenbaum captivated the brightest minds of computer science with the elaborate and immaculately lively discussion of the art of creating a working operating system. Students of Computer Science all over the world pored over the book, reading through the codes to understand the very system that runs their computer. And one of them was Linus Torvalds. Linux in the Horizon In 1991, Linus Benedict Torvalds was a second year student of Computer Science
at the University of Helsinki and a self-taught hacker. The 21 year old sandy haired soft-spoken Finn loved to tinker with the power of the computers and the limits to which the system can be pushed. But all that was lacking was an operating system that could meet the demands of the professionals. MINIX was good, but still it was simply an operating system for the students, designed as a teaching tool rather than an industry strength one. At that time, programmers worldwide were greatly inspired by the GNU project by Richard Stallman, a software movement to provide free and quality software. Revered as a cult hero in the realm of computing, Stallman started his awesome career in the famous Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT, and during the mid and late seventies, created the Emacs editor. In the early eighties, commercial software companies lured away much of the brilliant programmers of the AI lab, and negotiated stringent nondisclosure agreements to protect their secrets. But Stallman had a different vision. His idea was that unlike other products, software should be free from restrictions against copying or modification in order to make better and efficient computer programs. With his famous 1983 manifesto that declared the beginnings of the GNU project, he started a movement to create and distribute softwares that conveyed his philosophy (Incidentally, the name GNU is a recursive acronym which actually stands for 'GNU is Not Unix'). But to achieve this dream of ultimately creating a free operating system, he needed to create the tools first. So, beginning in 1984, Stallman started writing the GNU C Compiler(GCC), an amazing feat for an individual programmer. With his legendary technical wizardry, he alone outclassed entire groups of programmers from commercial software vendors in creating GCC, considered as one of the most efficient and robust compilers ever created. By 1991, the GNU project created a lot of the tools. The much awaited Gnu C compiler was available by then, but there was still no operating system. Even MINIX had to be licensed.(Later, in April 2000, Tanenbaum released Minix under the BSD License.) Work was going the GNU kernel HURD, but that was not supposed to come out within a few years. That was too much of a delay for Linus. There are reams and reams written about the history of Linux umpteen times by many. So why another post on the history of Linux? I felt that I wouldn't be doing justice if this site dedicated to Linux didn't have atleast one post telling how Linux evolved from a project started by a university student to the robust OS it is now. But as the title indicates, I have kept it really short so that any one can come up-todate by just glancing through it. To actually know the whole history, you have to go all the way back to 1971.
• In June 1971, Richard Matthew Stallman joined MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory as a programmer where he gained popularity with the hacker community and came to be known by his now popular name RMS. At that time, all the programmers used to share their code freely among each other cutting across various institutions. • In 1980, with the advent of portable software - ie software that can be compiled to run on different computers, a business model emerged where in, the companies developing the code refused to share the code with their clients and began restricting copying and redistribution of their software by copyrighting it. • In response to this trend, Stallman, who believed in the principle that software has to be free always, founded the Free Software Foundation and in 1985, published the GNU Manifesto. This manifesto outlined his motivation for creating a free OS called GNU, which would be compatible with Unix. By the way, GNU is a recursive acronym for GNU is Not Unix. He along with a group of like minded programmers started work in developing the tools needed to make a complete OS - like an editor (Emacs), a C compiler (GCC), libraries and all associated generic Unix tools like cat,ls, chmod etc. • In the same year (1985), a professor by name Andy Tanenbaum wrote a Unix like Operating system from scratch based on System V standards POSIX and IEEE for the Intel i386 platform. He named it Minix. • In 1989, Stallman released the first program independent GNU General Public License (GNU GPL) now popularly known as GPL or copyleft. Not only that, he published all his work under this licence. Now the only thing that GNU lacked was a completely free OS kernel. Even though work was going on in developing HURD which was to fill that gap, the progress was slow. • In 1990, A finnish student by name Linus Benedict Torvalds studying in the University of Helsinki came into contact with Andy Tanenbaum's OS, Minix. Linus wanted to upgrade Minix by putting in more features and improvements. But he was prohibited by Tanenbaum to do so. Then Linus decided to write his own kernel and released it under GPL. This kernel is now popularly known as Linux. • After 1997, a programming model other than the GPLed model emerged which is now popularly known as the Open Source Initiative. Bruce Perens is credited for creating the Open Source definition - the manifesto of the Open Source movement in software. Eric.S.Raymond another hacker became one of the prominent voice in this movement. But he is more known for his very popular essay "The Cathedral and the Bazaar" which has since been published as a hard cover book by O'Reilly.
Linux today Proving all the warning and prophecies of the skeptics wrong, Linux has completed a decade of development. Today, Linux is one of the fastest growing operating systems in the history. From a few dedicated fanatics in 1991-92 to millions of general users at present, it is certainly a remarkable journey. The big businesses have 'discovered' Linux, and have poured millions of dollars into the development effort, denouncing the anti-business myth of the open-source movement. IBM corp. once considered the archenemy of open-source hacker community, has come forward with a huge fund for development of open source Linux based solutions. But what's really amazing is the continuously increasing band of developers spread throughout the world who work with a fervent zeal to improve upon the features of Linux. The development effort is not, as many closed-sourced advocates accuse, totally engulfed with chaos. A well designed development model supervised by some maintainers is adopted. Along with this, there are thousands of developers working to port various applications to Linux. Commercial enterprises are no longer wary of Linux. With a large number of vendors providing support for Linux based products, it is no longer a 'do-at-your-own-risk' thing to use Linux at the office. As for reliability, Linux certainly proved it during the nasty attacks of the CIH virus in 1999 and the love bug a year later, during which Linux based machines proved to be immune to the damages caused by these otherwise quite simple computer viruses. Linux startups like Red Hat received a cordial response as they went public. And even after the dot-com bust of the recent years, these companies continue to thrive and grow. With this added confidence, many large and small businesses have adopted Linux based servers and workstations as an integral part of their offices.
Rise of the Desktop Linux What is the biggest complain against Linux? Perhaps in the past, it was the text based interface which scared off many people from using it. 'Text mode gives total control', some dedicated hackers and heavy users may explain. But for the millions of ordinary people, it also means a lot of effort towards learning the system. The existing X-Window system and the window managers were not up to the general computer users' expectation. Exactly this argument had always been put forward by dedicated followers of the Windows(TM) camp. But things began to change in the last couple of years. The advent of professional looking desktop environments like KDE( K Desktop Environment) and GNOME completed the picture. The recent versions of these desktop environment have changed the general perception about the 'user friendliness' of Linux to a great extent. Though hard-core users grumble about the loss of purity of the hacker-culture, this great change in the mindset of the common users has increased the popularity of Linux. Today, almost distributions of Linux include user-friendly GUIs. Installation has also become easier. Gone are the days when users would need detailed expertise in computer hardware to install Linux ... distributions like Ubuntu, Debian, Suse, Knoppix, and Red Hat's Fedora Core can be installed by even novice users. Most distributions are also available in Live CD format, which the users can just put in their CD drives and boot without installing it to the hard drive, making Linux available to the newbies. Linux in the Developing World Perhaps the greatest change is the spread of Linux to the developing world. In the days before Linux, developing countries were way behind in the field of computing. The cost of hardware fell down, but the cost of software was a huge burden to the cash-strapped computer enthusiasts of the Third World countries.
In desperation, people resorted to piracy of almost all sorts of software products. This resulted in widespread piracy, amounting to billions of dollars. But then again, the pricetag of most of the commercial products were far beyond the reaches of the people in developing countries. For example, a typical operating system product costs at least US $100 or more. But in countries with per capita incomes of about US$200-300, is a huge amount. The rise of Linux and other related open source product has changed it all. Since Linux can be scaled to run in almost computer with very few resources, it has become a suitable alternative for low budget computer users. Old, ancient 486/Pentium 1 computers that has become a part of history in the developed world are still used in developing countries. And Linux has enabled to unleash the full potential of these computers. The use of open source software has also proliferated, since the price of software is a big question. In countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America, Linux has appeared as a way out for the masses of computer enthusiasts. And a testament to the true global nature of Linux, local customizations were made in obscure parts of the world. The Linux documentation now includes documents written in almost all the major languages ... and also many minor ones, for example, Vietnamese. From Desktop to SuperComputing When Linux was first envisaged by Linus Torvalds, it was just another hackers hobby. But from the humble Intel 386 machine of Linus that ran the first kernel, Linux has come a long way. Its most notable use now is in the field of massively parallel supercomputing clusters. In August 2001, BBC reported that the US Government was planning to build what would be a mega computer, capable of performing over 13 trillion calculations per second (13.6 TeraFLOPS). The project, called Teragrid would consist of a connected network of 4 US supercomputing centers. The four labs that are collaborating to create the Teragrid are:
National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois(NCSA), San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago; California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. At each of these centers, there would be a supercomputer. In total, there would be more than 3000 processors running in parallel to create the Tetragrid.
What is Linux Distribution? A Linux distribution, often simply distribution or distro, is a member of the Linux family of Unix-like operating systems comprising the Linux kernel, the non-kernel parts of the GNU operating system, and assorted other software. Because most (if not all) of the kernel and software packages are free and open source, Linux distributions have taken a wide variety of forms —from fullyfeatured desktop and server operating systems to minimal environments (typically for use in embedded systems, or for booting from a floppy). Aside from certain custom software (such as installers and configuration tools) a "distro" simply refers to a particular assortment of applications married with a particularly compiled kernel, such that its "out-of-the-box" capabilities meets most of the needs of its particular end-user base. To provide a Unix-like environment, Linux distributions contain a set of Unix-like utilities and the libraries needed to support them. In full-featured distributions these are generally taken from the GNU operating system. Distributions optimized for size tend to use more compact alternatives like busybox, uclibc or dietlibc. There are currently over three hundred Linux distribution projects in active development, constantly revising and improving their respective distributions. One can distinguish between commercially-backed distributions, such as Fedora (Red Hat), SUSE Linux (Novell), Ubuntu (Canonical Ltd.) and Mandriva Linux and community distributions such as Debian and Gentoo. Usually, the procedures for assembling and testing a distribution prior to release are more elaborate the bigger the user base for the distribution is. What are major differences between them? Distributions vary on several dimensions, including: • Package management All Linux distributions use some method of distributing files, both on distribution
CD-ROMs and via the Web as updates. Most distributions use the Red Hat Package Manager (RPM) system, but some use Debian packages, tarballs, or some other package format. I favor RPM or Debian packages because they're popular (so you can get lots of software in precompiled, easy-to-install form) and because distributions that use these formats maintain databases of installed software on disk, which is very helpful in system maintenance. • Commercialization You can obtain most Linux distributions by downloading them from the Internet (check ftp://sunsite.unc.edu/pub/linux/distributions/,or http://delaware.linux.tucows.com/distribution.php for many of them, or check a given distribution's main web site). You can also obtain most distributions on inexpensive CD-ROMs from Linux retailers. Many books on Linux come with Linux distributions. These are usually a version or two behind the latest, but are otherwise similar to the inexpensive CD-ROMs. Finally, you can purchase most distributions in "official" boxes from the company that produces the distribution, complete with manual, tech support, and possibly some extra commercial software. Some distributions, such as Red Hat and SUSE, come in multiple levels of boxed sets. I include links to Amazon's listing for the official boxed-set version of each distribution I describe below (when available), but for the most part the downloadable or "unofficial" CD versions work the same as the "official" boxed packages. (Note: I'm an Amazon associate, and so receive a small cut from any purchase you make through a link to Amazon on this web page.) • Target audience Some distributions, such as Debian, are aimed at experienced system administrators. They contain little in the way of flashy install routines or GUI system administration tools. Other distributions, such as Lycoris, are aimed at Linux newbies. They include easy-to-use install routines and GUI system administration tools. • Support -When you buy a boxed version of a distribution, you typically get some limited installation support, but details differ. You can often purchase support even for "unofficial" CDs, either from the distribution developer or from a third party. Linux newsgroups are a great form of support for any variety of Linux, but you're more likely to get good support via newsgroups if you use a popular distribution
than if you use a rare one. (The distributions I describe on this page are all at least somewhat popular.)
Different Linux Distributions Debian GNU/Linux Developer: Debian Website: http://www.debian.org/ Languages: English Categories: Mainstream/General Public, Debian based Platforms: Intel compatible, PPC, Alpha, Sparc, Other, Mainframe, m68k Description: Debian GNU/Linux is a free distribution of the Linux based operating system.It is maintained and updated through the work of many users who volunteer their time and effort. Along with its large selection of prepackaged software is contains advanced package management tools that allow for easy installation and maintenance on individual systems and workstation clusters. Extensive pre-release testing is done to ensure the highest degree of reliability possible, and a publicly accessible bug tracking system provides an easy way to monitor customer feedback. Gentoo Linux Developer: Gentoo Technologies, Inc. Website: http://www.gentoo.org Languages: English Categories: Mainstream/General Public, Power user Platforms: Intel compatible, PPC, Alpha, Sparc, 64 bit Description: Gentoo Linux is designed for the developer, power user and enthusiast.It incorporates the latest sources and technologies (such as ReiserFS and the Portage system). Mandriva Developer: Mandriva Website: http://mandriva.com/ Languages: Swedish, English, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, French, German, Italian, Russian, Estonian, Finnish, Portuguese, Turkish, Thai Categories: Mainstream/General Public, Red Hat based, Mandriva based Platforms: Intel compatible, PPC, 64 bit Description: Mandriva Linux is a powerful operating system that is available for many platforms: 32 bit processors such as Intel Pentium®, AMD Athlon®,
PowerPC®; and 64 bit processors such as Intel Itanium® and AMD Opteron®. Mandriva Linux includes many graphical administration assistants & wizards that make it intuitive and fun to use while providing all the power and robustness of other Linux systems. Hundreds of included applications make it an ideal solution for both professional and home users. MkLinux Developer: Apple Computer / The Open Group Research Group Website: http://www.mklinux.org/ Languages: English Categories: Mainstream/General Public Platforms: PPC Description: MkLinux is an Open Source operating system which consists of an implementation of the Linux operating system hosted on the Mach microkernel. Versions of MkLinux run on the Intel, PA-RISC, and PowerPC architectures. Red Hat Enterprise Linux Developer: RedHat Software Website: http://www.redhat.com/ Languages: English, Spanish, French, German Categories: Mainstream/General Public, Red Hat based Platforms: Intel compatible, Alpha, Itanium Description: Red Hat Enterprise Linux is a high-end Linux distribution geared toward businesses with mission-critical needs. High Availability Server Red Hat 7.1 Red Hat Linux 8.0 Personal Red Hat Linux 8.0 Professional Slackware Linux Developer: The Slackware Linux Project Website: http://www.slackware.com/ Languages: English Categories: Mainstream/General Public, Power user | Platforms: Intel compatible Description: Slackware Linux is compatible with most Intel PC hardware. Slackware will provide stellar performance on high-end systems, including support for symmetric multi-processing (up to 16 processors), PCI, and special code optimizations for the 486, Pentium, and Pentium Pro and AMD Athlon
Slackware 7.1 SUSE Linux Developer: SuSE/Novell Website: http://www.suse.com/ Languages: English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese Categories: Mainstream/General Public Platforms: Intel compatible, PPC, Alpha, Sparc, Itanium, Mainframe, Other, 64 bit Description: SUSE, now a subsidiary of Novell, produces one of the most popular mainstream Linux distrbutions. Suse Linux 8.1 Professional Edition Yellow Dog Linux Developer: Terra Soft Solutions Website: http://www.yellowdoglinux.com/ Languages: English, Spanish, French, German, Italian Categories: Mainstream/General Public, Game Console Platforms: PPC Description: Yellow Dog Linux is a distribution for the PowerPC architecture. There are two versions: YDL Champion Server, which is the version designed for internet, intranet, development, and other mission-critical environments that require the most out of their operating system. The second is YDLGone Home, which is the version for the home or small office. TurboLinux Developer: TurboLinux Website: http://www.turbolinux.com/ Languages: English, Chinese, Japanese Categories: Mainstream/General Public Platforms: Intel compatible, Other Description: TurboLinux provides a suite of high performance Linux productsfor the workstation and server markets. Available in English, Japanese and Chinese, Turbolinux offers Linux solutions geared towards corporate needs as well as the home desktop. TurboLinux also offers a unique clustering solution that allows for the construction of highly available and scalable networks based on low-cost commodity components. TurboLinux currently offers the choice of Gnome, KDE or the TurboDesk GUI and is distributed with powerful desktop applications such as StarOffice and Netscape.
ASPLinux Developer: ASPLinux Website: http://www.asplinux.ru/en/ Languages: English, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Ukranian, Bulgarian Categories: Mainstream/General Public, Red Hat based, Security enchanced Platforms: Intel compatible Description: ASPLinux is 100% RedHat compatible multipurpose GNU/Linux distribution which includes all includes all necessary components for installing high performance Internet/Intranet server or powerful multimedia workstation. The installation program featuring graphical and text modes includes ASPDiskManager - an utility which let users edit a hard drive partitions data manually during the installation. It allows copying, moving, and resizing partitions with FAT16, FAT32, NTFS, Ext2, Ext3, XFS and ReiserFS file systems preserving existent data. ASPLinux has also it's own graphical easy-to-use boot manager ASPLoader. Comes in Deluxe, Standard and Express editions along with OEM-edition which is distributed with new PCs ESWare Developer: ESWare Linux Website: http://www.esware.com/ Languages: Spanish Categories: Mainstream/General Public, Red Hat based Platforms: Intel compatible Description: A Linux distribution developed in Spain and oriented toward Spanishspeaking users. Installation, command lines, documentation and user's manual are all in Spanish (Castellano). Vine Linux Developer: Project Vine Website: http://www.vinelinux.org/ Languages: Japanese Categories: Mainstream/General Public, Red Hat based Platforms: Intel compatible Description: Vine Linux is a distribution based on Red Hat that comes with a highly customized Japanese environment. Plamo Linux
Website: http://www.linet.gr.jp/~koj... Languages: Japanese Categories: Mainstream/General Public Platforms: Intel compatible Description: Japanese distribution based on Slackware ScrudgeWare Website: http://scrudgeware.org/ Languages: English Categories: Mainstream/General Public Platforms: Intel compatible Description: Distribution that uses GNU tools almost exclusively. K12LTSP Developer: K12Linux / Linux Terminal Server Project. Website: http://www.k12ltsp.org/ Languages: English Categories: Mainstream/General Public, Minimalist, Red Hat based Platforms: Intel compatible Description: K12LTSP is a terminal server appliance distribution of RedHat Linux. It's aim is to allow students in school to boot from diskless workstations and run the necessary tools to use the Internet plus run a word processor (Abiword), spreadsheet (Gnumeric), image manupulation tools (GIMP) as well as many other applications. VectorLinux Developer: Robert S. Lange, et al Website: http://www.vectorlinux.com Languages: English Categories: Mainstream/General Public, Minimalist, Power user, Slackware based Platforms: Intel compatible Description: A light-weight distribution aimed at desktop users and based on Slackware Linpus Linux Developer: Linpus Technologies, Inc. Website: http://www.linpus.com.tw/ Languages: English, Chinese Categories: Mainstream/General Public Platforms: Intel compatible Description: Full-featured Chinese Linux distribution offering major packages and
desktop enviroments. Offers complete multi-language support. Miracle Linux Developer: Miracle Linux Corp/Oracle Website: http://www.miraclelinux.com/ Languages: Japanese Categories: Mainstream/General Public Platforms: Intel compatible Description: Japanese distribution based on Red Hat and funded by database giant Oracle. It is specially designed to run Oracle's RDBM system LinEx Developer: Junta de Extremadura Website: http://www.linex.org/ Languages: Spanish Categories: Mainstream/General Public, Debian based Platforms: Intel compatible Description: LinEx GNU/Linux es la distribución desarrollada por la Junta de Extremadura pensada para usuarios finales de software. Esta distribución se basa en Debian LinEx GNU/Linux is a Linux distribution developed by the Autonomous Government of Extremadura, Spain. It's designed for the end user. It's based on Debian Red Flag Linux Developer: Redflag Software Co. Ltd Website: http://www.redflag-linux.co... Languages: Chinese Categories: Mainstream/General Public Platforms: Intel compatible Description: Officially sanctioned Linux distribution from the People's Republic of China. Xandros; Developer: Xandros Corporation Website: http://www.xandros.com Languages: English Categories: Mainstream/General Public, Debian based Platforms: Intel compatible
Description: Xandros is a distribution based of Debian and KDE that seeks to make Linux simpler and easier to use while broaden the scope of day to day activities that users desire. Initially focused on the desktop, Xandros is also developing server technologies. KNOPPIX Developer: Knopper.net Website: http://www.knopper.net/knop... Languages: English, German, Spanish Categories: Minimalist, Debian based, Mainstream/General Public, Live CD Platforms: Intel compatible Description: Full-featured Linux distribution that boots from a CD. Includes the latest version of KDE and OpenOffice. Can be used to work from Linux on PCs without actually installing it, so it is ideal for demonstrations of Linux. Based on Debian. LinuxInstall.org Developer: Thomas Chung Website: http://linuxinstall.org/ Languages: English Categories: Mainstream/General Public, Red Hat based, Personal Platforms: Intel compatible Description: Designed with Linux novices in mind, this distribution is designed to install "automagically". The user does not have to worry about partitioning the hard drive or selecting packages. A set of pre-selected productivity applications are installed (web browser, mail client) and the user is ready to go. Ark Linux Developer: Ark Linux Project Website: http://www.arklinux.org/ Languages: English Categories: Mainstream/General Public, Red Hat based Platforms: Intel compatible Description: The Ark Linux distribution is based on Red Hat Linux and geared toward the newcomer to Linux. The developers claim it can be installed in 4 mouse clicks. Linspire Developer: Linspire, Inc.
Website: http://www.linspire.com/ Languages: English, Spanish, Japanese, Italian Categories: Runs on MS Windows, Mainstream/General Public, Debian based, Runs on MS Windows Platforms: Intel compatible Description: (description provided by Linspire) Linspire is a full-featured computer operating system designed for desktop and laptop computers. Based on Debian Linux, Linspire provides a powerful, stable, virus-free computing experience, yet is incredibly easy-to-use. Bundled software includes a Microsoft Office file-compatible office suite, a powerful Internet and email suite, complete song and photo programs, media players for viewing animation and videos, and much more. New software is installed and managed with just one-click from Linspire's CNR Warehouse, an online library of over 2,000 programs, with the optional Linspire CNR Service. Use Linspire to do things on the Web, create and share documents, work with graphics, play music, organize digital photos, view rich multimedia files and easily connect to networks and peripherals. Yoper Developer: Yoper Ltd Website: http://www.yoper.com/ Languages: English Categories: Mainstream/General Public, Power user Platforms: Intel compatible Description: Yoper is a full-featured distribution that is designed to run on highend CPUs (Pentium II and IV, AMD Athon, Duron and other similar chips). The developers have provided for easy install of packages from other major distributions (RPM, DEB, TGZ); Morphix Developer: Morphix Project Website: http://www.morphix.org/ Languages: English Categories: Mainstream/General Public, Debian based, Live CD Platforms: Intel compatible Description: Morphix is a live-cd distribution designed to be run from a CD-ROM drive with no need to partition and install in your hard disk. It comes in three main types, a LightGUI (small footprint) version, a "medium" version with KDE and a HeavyGUI version that includes both the latest KDE and GNOME along with the OpenOffice suite
Puppy Developer: Barry Kauler Website: http://www.puppyos.com/ Languages: English Categories: Mainstream/General Public, Minimalist Platforms: Intel compatible Description: Puppy is a tiny distribution but with a full suite of GUI apps and loads entirely into a 48M ramdisk. This means that all applications start in the blink of an eye and respond immediately. Puppy will fit into the "small distro" category, but is not floppy based. Also fits the live-CD based category, but not limited to that as can install to any storage media. Arch Linux Developer: Arch Linux Team Website: http://www.archlinux.org/ Languages: English, French, German Categories: Mainstream/General Public, Power user, Personal Platforms: Intel compatible Description: A Linux Distribution optimized for the i686 architecture. Fedora Developer: RedHat Software Website: http://fedora.redhat.com/ Languages: English, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese Categories: Mainstream/General Public, Red Hat based, Fedora Core based Platforms: Intel compatible, 64 bit, PPC Description: Fedora Core is RedHat's plan to develop a complete, general purpose operating system exclusively from free software. The distribution was created to replace low-end, comsumer versions of RedHat Linux. Impi Linux Developer: Gauteng Linux Users' Group Website: http://www.impi.org.za Languages: English Categories: Mainstream/General Public Platforms: Intel compatible Description: Linux distribution developed in South Africa. It is aimed at mainstream users. Includes productivity applications for accounting, word
processing/spreadsheet, web browsing, email and other office and home user needs. MEPIS Linux Developer: MEPIS LLC Website: http://www.mepis.org/book/v... Languages: English Categories: Mainstream/General Public, Debian based Platforms: Intel compatible Description: Debian based distribution optimized for desktop use. Runs from a live CD and can be installed to a hard disk. Comes with the latest versions of KDE, Mozilla and OpenOffice. Boast easy hardware configuration including WiFi support. AbulÉdu Developer: AbulÉdu project Website: http://www.abuledu.org/ Languages: French Categories: Mainstream/General Public, Mandriva based Platforms: Intel compatible Description: Mandrake-based distribution developed for French teachers for use in the classroom. Aurox Linux Developer: Aurox Sp. Website: http://www.aurox.org/en/ Languages: English, Polish Categories: Mainstream/General Public, Fedora Core based Platforms: Intel compatible Description: Aurox is a distribution developed in Poland and aimed at mainstream users. The most recent version is based on Fedora Core. blag Developer: blag project Website: http://www.blagblagblag.org Languages: English Categories: Mainstream/General Public, Red Hat based Platforms: Intel compatible Description: blag is a RedHat based distribution. It offers most things that any
computer user might need (office suit, multimedia, graphics and more) Kalango Linux Developer: Kalango Project Website: http://www.kalangolinux.org Languages: Portuguese Categories: Mainstream/General Public, Debian based, Live CD Platforms: Intel compatible Description: A version of Kurumin (which is based on Knoppix) that can be installed. Free-EOS Developer: Free-EOS Project Website: http://free-eos.org/ Languages: French Categories: Mainstream/General Public Platforms: Intel compatible Description: Distribution developed in France and aimed at Microsoft Windows users. PCQuest Linux Developer: PC Quest Magazine Website: http://www.pcquest.com/ Languages: English Categories: Mainstream/General Public, Fedora Core based Platforms: Intel compatible Description: Mainstream Linux distribution based on Red Hat's Fedora Core and developed by the magazine PC Quest based in India. The distribution is apparently only obtainable through a subscription to the magazine. Insigne GNU/Linux Developer: Insigne Free Software do Brasil Website: http://www.insignesoftware.... Languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese Categories: Mainstream/General Public, Red Hat based Platforms: Intel compatible Description: Mainstream Linux distribution based on Red Hat.
Popular Linux Distributions Introduction
The Microsoft Windows operating system is developed and released by a single company. It comes with a minimal set of applications (a calculator, a few games, some networking tools, an Internet browser.. etc). Other software can be obtained by users from various sources and installed on the operating system. GNU/Linux is different. A GNU/Linux operating system is made of a Linux kernel, a set of GNU tools, an installation program, a package management system and a lot of other software components. Because all these components are free to use and to distribute, anybody can assemble and configure them according to their needs and create their very own GNU/Linux operating system. Since 1993, a lot of people and companies have been distributing Linux operating systems. These distributions made it easy for people to get and to install a working GNU/Linux system on their personal computer. At first only a few distributions were available. Nowadays there are so many, that it would be pointless to compare all of them. The website http://www.distrowatch.com lists more than 350 active distributions and reports new releases almost every day. Of course, some distributions are quite similar, although some others are very different to each others. Depending on your needs you'll prefer some more than others. All distributions include the Linux kernel developed by Linus Torvalds and the GNU tools developed by Richard Stallman but they don't necessarily use their latest versions. Some distributions even make their own changes to the kernel. Distributions usually differ in the choice of software applications they offer, in the way these software applications are configured and in the way they are installed and upgraded. Distributions also differ in many aspects such as their philosophy towards proprietary software, their priorities between ease of use and efficiency or between stability and latest technology. In fact, every distribution is different and this means you have more than 350 ways to run GNU/Linux! Of course some distributions are more popular than others. This article is dedicated to the 10 most famous and popular: Debian, Slackware, Fedora, Mandriva, Suse, Ubuntu, Knoppix, Gentoo, Mepis and Xandros. Debian
Debian is one of the oldest GNU/Linux distributions. It was created in 1993 by Ian Murdock who named it after the combination of his own name and the one of his then-girlfriend (now wife) Debra. The Debian project is non-commercial and gathers more than a thousand developers throughout the world. A strict organization and clear guidelines made its releases famous for their stability and reliability. The project is very ambitious and supports more than 15,000 packages on 11 architectures: m68k, SPARC, Alpha, PowerPC, x86, IA-64, PA-RISC, MIPS (big and little endian), ARM and S/390. AMD64 is also supported although it is not officially included in the distribution. Debian is known for its strong adherence to the Unix and free software philosophies, its stability and its huge community. It is also very well documented and translated in many languages. Its software package management is extremely powerful and was adopted by many other distributions. Although it is meant to be a general-purpose distribution, the quality of its releases made Debian a distribution of choice for servers. Debian provides three branches: "Stable" which corresponds to the latest release, "Unstable", which is in perpetual evolution and "Testing" which represents the next release to-be. Although it is possible to use "Testing" and to stay up to date, a lot of people are unhappy with the slow release cycle, which makes the "Stable" branch quickly outdated. For this reason Debian is seen as a serious and stable distribution but not as a cutting-edge and reactive one. This "outdated" reputation combined with the absence of graphical installation or configuration tools made Debian look hard to use and slow to evolve. When it comes to desktop, a lot of people prefer fast release cycle, eye-candy configuration tools, graphical installers and ease of use.. and this is not what Debian is. Official website: http://www.debian.org Pros: Open-Source philosophy, non-commercial project, strong community, huge selection of packages and supported architectures, one of the best package management, excellent documentation, extremely stable and well-tested releases, modular, fast. Cons: Slow release cycle, text-based installer, lack of configuration tools
Slackware Founded in 1992 by Patrick Volkerding, Slackware is the oldest surviving GNU/Linux distribution. It is very secure, stable and it is often recommended for server installations. The package management is minimal and doesn't deal with
dependencies, the installer and configuration tools are text-based and almost everything is done through configuration files. Slackware doesn't offer graphical frontends nor eye-candy configuration tools. When Patrick was asked why Slackware releases do not have code names, he simply replied that there was no need. In fact the distribution focuses on stability and is well known for being bug-free. System administrators usually say that Slackware is the most Unix-Like GNU/Linux distribution. Most packages are used in their pristine form without any Slackware made improvements. Slackware is usually not recommended to novice users although it is easy to configure and probably one of the most formative distributions. What a user learns while configuring Slackware usually applies to any distribution. Rather than using distribution-specific configuration tools, the user has to modify settings in configuration files and so he/she has to learn about Linux internals which are common to all distributions. For these reason the Slackware distribution is usually used by system administrators, eager to learn novice users or simply Slackware fans :) Official website: http://www.slackware.com Pros: Stability, security, strong adherence to Unix principles, speed and performance. Cons: Minimal package management, infrequent releases, limited hardware detection.
Fedora One of the best known Linux company in the world is Red Hat, founded in 1995 by Bob Young and Marc Ewing. In 2003, Red Hat decided to focus on business and stopped releasing its public distribution. The company chose to sponsor a community driven project called Fedora. Red Hat Linux 9 was the last version in the Red Hat product line and was replaced by Fedora Core. This distribution is quite unique and mixes leading edge features and conservatism. The result is a stable and secure system with frequent releases and up to date packages which suits both server and desktop installations. The package management is based on RPM, invented by Red Hat, and it is enhanced by a set of tools like Yum, which bring additional features similar to the Debian package management. Because of its close relationship with Red Hat this
distribution is very popular among companies. Efforts were also made to make it attractive to the public and Fedora is full of graphical configuration and administration tools. The installation is also graphical and special attention was put to the look and feel of the distribution. As a result Fedora is a popular choice for both desktop and servers among Linux users. Official website: http://fedora.redhat.com Pros: Widely used, good support, innovation, good-looking desktop, configuration tools. Cons: Not as stable as Debian or Slackware for server use, not as easy and up to date as Suse or Mandrake for desktop use. Fedora is truly a general-purpose distribution.
Mandriva Originally called Mandrake and created by Gael Duval in 1998, Mandriva is based on Red Hat. It uses a RPM-based package management, which is enhanced with a tool called urpmi. Mandriva became famous and popular since its first release thanks to an efficient and powerful graphical installer, which is still considered the best nowadays. The default Gnome desktop environment used in Red Hat was replaced in favor of KDE and some good looking configuration tools were added. Also, Mandriva tends to include new versions of software applications as soon as possible and to stay up to date as much as possible, relying on the users to report bugs a posteriori. As a result, Mandriva is highly up-to-date and even though some of its releases are buggy it remains the best distribution for people who are new to Linux or people who find it acceptable to experience some crashes if this means benefiting from the latest versions of applications. Official website: http://www.mandriva.com Pros: Highly up-to-date, easy to use, good looking desktop, good community support. Cons: Unstable, releases are initially reserved to mandrivaClub members and then made public after several weeks.
Since its creation, Suse has always been seen as a distribution of choice for desktop installations. It benefits from a powerful installer and configuration tool called YaST. Professional attention is made to detail, the default KDE desktop environment, the boot process, everything is tailored to make Suse pleasant to the eyes and a serious choice for professional desktops. In 2003, Novell acquired the company and made ISOs of Suse releases freely available on the Internet. Novell also opened the development to public participation and released YaST under the General Public License. Since the launch of OpenSuse, the distribution is now completely free. Suse is stable, polished and pleasant to use. It is probably one of the best desktop solutions. Official website: http://www.suse.com , http://www.opensuse.org Pros: Up-to-date, easy to use, good looking, stable. Cons: Speed and performance. Quotation
Ubuntu In 2004 a distribution which was never heard of before, quickly became the most popular and famous of all distributions: Ubuntu. Based on the "Unstable" branch of Debian, Ubuntu features a fast release cycle, up to date and numerous packages, fast download mirrors, great documentation and even free shipment of CDs. Even though the installer is text-based and the configuration tools are not as good looking or integrated as those found in Fedora, Suse or Mandriva, this distribution quickly became the most used for desktop use. Ubuntu was created by Mark Shuttleworth and is distributed by his company Canonical Ltd. It is not clear whether or not Ubuntu is profitable to Canonical Ltd, but according to the multi-millionaire Mark Shuttleworth, this is not the main priority nor purpose of the distribution. Official website: http://www.ubuntu.com Pros: Great community of users and developers, great documentation, up to date packages, fast release cycle.
Cons: The business model doesn't seem to be viable.
Created in 2003 by Klaus Knopper, Knoppix is a live-CD distribution, which means the user can run it directly from the CD without having to install it on the hard drive. Thanks to an efficient compression mechanism, the Knoppix CD features a huge selection of software. Knoppix also provides a great automatic hardware detection, which is far better than those of other distributions. The CD can be used as a recovery or administration tool, as a Linux demonstration, as a hardware test tool or even as a full GNU/Linux desktop distribution since it is possible to install it on the hard drive once booted from the CD. Releases are frequent and packages, based on Debian's "Unstable" branch are quite up-to-date. Official website: http://www.knoppix.com Pros: Live-CD, excellent hardware detection, good and up to date package selection. Cons: Slow if run from the CD.
Gentoo Created in 2002 by Daniel Robbins, Gentoo comes from the idea of adding the FreeBSD autobuild feature, "ports" into GNU/Linux. Gentoo is a sourcedistribution, which means that its packages are not binary but source packages. Each package is meant to be compiled on the user's computer in order to get the best performance and speed out of the resulting compiled binary software. Because repositories use source-packages, they are also very quick to get new software releases as soon as they come out. This results in a very fast and highly up-to-date distribution. The package management is also very efficient and easy to use. On the other hand, the installation of the system and of big packages can be very long and tedious, even with a fast processor. Official website: http://www.gentoo.org
Pros: Highly up-to-date, very fast, good documentation. Cons: Long and tedious installation, can be unstable. Mepis Created in 2003 by Warren Woodford, Mepis is a mix between Debian "Unstable" and Knoppix. It is a live-CD which, once booted, features a graphical installation program. Users can simply boot on the CD, try the distribution, and if they like it.. run the graphical installation program. Also, the distribution chose a different path regarding the use of proprietary software, arguing that the user's comfort was more important than the adherence to open-source philosophy. By default, Mepis includes NVIDIA drivers, Flash and Java plugins, Java runtime, multimedia codecs, and other non-free software. The hardware automatic detection is very good and even detects some winmodems. In-house configuration utilities are also provided. Official website: http://www.mepis.com Pros: Installable Live-CD, pre-configured with latest plugins and codecs. Cons: Not yet well-established, poor adherence to open-source principles.
Xandros In 2001 Xandros acquired Corel Linux. The distribution was based on Debian and aimed at making it easy for novice users to use GNU/Linux. Nowadays Xandros Desktop is the most user-friendly distribution on the market and is recommended to first time Linux users. In its Deluxe edition Xandros Desktop also includes a NTFS resizing tool and a Windows compatibility layer called CrossOver, which makes it possible to run some Windows applications. Official website: http://www.xandros.com Pros: Designed for beginners, easy to use, very stable. Cons: Small package selection, includes proprietary components, only free for personal use. And in the Last
People often ask me "so which distribution is right for me?". Everytime my answer is very simple: "It depends!". It depends on your needs, it depends on your experience, on your philosophy or your tastes. It depends on a lot of things, and even if you found the one you preferred among these 10 majors distributions, don't forget that there are about 340 other distributions available, which could potentially suit your needs. If you're ready for the adventure, go and explore. Read reviews, try as many as you can and make your own mind. Otherwise, if you just need something good without the hassle, stick to these 10 major distributions. If you're running a server, consider Debian or Slackware. If you want to install Linux on your home computer for desktop use, consider them all. If you're new to Linux you could try Xandros, Mepis, Suse or Mandriva. Different people have different tastes and this is exactly why GNU/Linux comes in so many flavors How to Choose a Linux Distribution? Ever since the first Linux distributions appeared, people have been having a hard time trying to choose the "right one" to use. Many people end up asking "Which distribution should I use?" on the web, only to receive heaps of different suggestions (usually just the distributions that the posters like), a few arguments, and inevitably, the RPM vs DEB debate. The problem is, that even after you filter out the posts to just the suggestions of distributions, you will find that you end up with just a big list of distributions, with usually only a comment like "This is good" to guide you in your choice. This is a really bad way to choose a distribution, since you have no real advice on WHY you should choose distribution X over distribution Y. This article aims to give you the advice you need to choose the distribution that best suits you. DISTRIBUTION PURPOSE One of the key things in choosing a distribution is what you are using it for. Most uses fall into one of the 3 categories below: • Desktop usage. • Desktop and Server usage. • Server usage. "Desktop usage" or "desktop distribution" is a very commonly used term to describe a Linux distribution which provides a GUI and is suitable for usage on desktop or laptop computers.
If you want a desktop distribution, some of the main requirements are: • Ease of adjusting settings - in the case of laptops, easy network changing is important. • Age of the software (you want the programs to be fairly recent) • Range of GUI applications. If you are looking for a server distribution, you want to look for: • Software api stability - do updates ever change the way the distribution works mid-release? • Software life - how long will it get updates? • Security - servers are often open to the public - it needs to be very well secured. What distro for trying Linux out? If you aren't yet prepared to set aside a portion of your hard drive for Linux, or if you just want to take Linux for a spin without any long-term commitments, try one of the Live CD distributions like Knoppix or DamnSmallLinux, or the Suse 9.1 evaluation CD. These can be booted and run directly from a CD, and are a great way to see what Linux can do without affecting any existing operating systems you may have installed. Such distributions tend to run more slowly than a fully-installed Linux, however, so if you are thinking of using Linux regularly, you may want to consider doing a real installation. Many Live CD distributions can be installed to the hard drive if you so choose. What distro for a total newbie? If you are very new to the Linux world and have no interest in learning a lot of technical details just to get it running, you may want to go with one of the mainstream distributions such as Linspire, Mandrake, Fedora (formerly Red Hat), SuSE or Ubuntu. If you can spare the money, it may be worthwhile to purchase a commercial version, since you may get tech support from the vendor. What distro for the power user? If you consider yourself a power user, and would like to learn a lot of technical details about Linux as you are installing and using it, you would be well served to try out one of the more do-it-yourself distributions. Gentoo, Source Mage, Arch_Linux, Debian and Slackware might be among your choices here.
If you are already an experienced Linux user and really want to get your hands dirty, there is Linux From Scratch, which is not really a distribution so much as a set of instructions for building your own distribution (though this isn't recommended unless you already know what you are doing). Special purpose What distribution for a server Debian, Red Hat, and Slackware make good choices for servers. Debian's security policy and strict packaging rules make it an attractive choice for a non-commercial solution. All security fixes are backported ensuring that the production environment remains the same and breakage will not occur. Slackware's up-to-date packages facilitate security, and its transparent system administration makes customization easy. Red Hat's support packages for its Advanced Server line make it attractive for commercial solutions. What distro for an old computer? There are a number of minimalistic distributions, such as VectorLinux and Peanut that are designed for computers without much hard drive space or CPU speed. It's quite possible to install Linux on an early 386 with 2 to 4 megabytes of RAM, though if you hope to install a GUI you may need a bit more memory or CPU; a 486 with 8MB RAM is probably the lowest you can go with XFree86. For acting as a firewall, e-mail client, or basic machine for text editing and scripting, this might be the way to go. However, distributions like Vector and Peanut, while minimal, are not "micro" - they still require 100+ MB hard drives and really need a 586 or fast 486. For even smaller distributions that may run in under 100MB (or even from floppy) on a 386/486, distros like BasicLinux, muLinux, Floppix, and others may be suitable. What distro for games? Any distribution will be just about as good as another in this area. Something that will likely help more than using any specific distibution, is using a lighter Desktop Environment like XFCE. Gentoo and Source Mage have modified kernels and other elements that may make them a good gaming platform. (Note: These distributions are generally for more experienced users.) Windows/UNIX-Oriented Distro Spectrum If you are a newbie, you will naturally look for a distro that has the look and feel of
Windows. On the other hand, if you prefer manual configuration, you will look at a more UNIX-like solution. This spectrum should help you figure out where major distros stand out-of-the-box: Windows -> Linspire, Xandros -> Fedora, Mandriva, SuSe, Mepis, Ubuntu -> Debian -> Arch, Gentoo, Slackware -> BSD (Open, Free, Net, DragonFly), Solaris -> pure UNIX (Unixware, HP-UX, 4.4BSD). This spectrum is purely based on the ease of installation and amount of shell usage. It does not have anything to do with quality. FreeBSD installs are about as easy as arch, so even that won't trouble you.
Downloading Linux As I told you earlier, Linux is available for free of cost for everybody who wants to use it, you can also order physical media from the vendor. all popular distributions are available for download on the internet. Downloading from Distribution mirrors Downloading Fedora Core 6 Fedora Core 6 is freely available for downloading from various mirrors. Here are the list of some mirrors from where you can download Fedora Core 6. • ftp://ftp.linux.ncsu.edu/pub/fedora/linux/core/ • http://mirror.linux.duke.edu/pub/fedora/linux/core/ • ftp://mirror.linux.duke.edu/pub/fedora/linux/core/ • ftp://mirror.cs.princeton.edu/pub/mirrors/fedora/linux/core/ • http://distro.ibiblio.org/pub/linux/distributions/fedora/linux/core/ • ftp://distro.ibiblio.org/pub/linux/distributions/fedora/linux/core/ • ftp://ftp.cse.buffalo.edu/pub/fedora/linux/core/ • http://mirror.eas.muohio.edu/fedora/linux/core/ • ftp://mirror.eas.muohio.edu/fedora/linux/core/
• http://mirror.hiwaay.net/redhat/fedora/linux/core/ • ftp://mirror.hiwaay.net/redhat/fedora/linux/core/ • ftp://mirrors.hpcf.upr.edu/pub/Mirrors/redhat/download.fedora.redhat.com/ • ftp://ftp.net.usf.edu/pub/fedora/linux/core/ • http://redhat.secsup.org/fedora/core/ • ftp://redhat.secsup.org/pub/linux/redhat/fedora/core/ • ftp://ftp.dc.aleron.net/pub/linux/fedora/linux/core/ • ftp://mirror.newnanutilities.org/pub/fedora/linux/core/ • ftp://ftp.software.umn.edu/pub/linux/fedora/core/ • ftp://ftp.webtrek.com/pub/mirrors/fedora/ • ftp://ftp.gtlib.gatech.edu/pub/fedora.redhat/linux/core/ • http://www.gtlib.gatech.edu/pub/fedora.redhat/linux/core/ • ftp://mirror.clarkson.edu/pub/distributions/fedora/ • http://mirror.clarkson.edu/pub/distributions/fedora/ • ftp://fedora.mirrors.tds.net/pub/fedora-core/ • http://linux.nssl.noaa.gov/fedora/core/ •http://linux.nssl.noaa.gov/fedora/core/ •http://fedora.cs.wisc.edu/pub/mirrors/linux/ download.fedora.redhat.com/pub/fedora/linux/core/ •ftp://fedora.cs.wisc.edu/pub/mirrors/linux/ download.fedora.redhat.com/pub/fedora/linux/core/ •http://ftp.ale.org/pub/fedora/linux/core/ •ftp://ftp.ale.org/mirrors/fedora/linux/core/ •http://ftp.ndlug.nd.edu/pub/fedora/linux/core/
•ftp://ftp.ndlug.nd.edu/pub/fedora/linux/core/ Visit http://fedora.redhat.com/download/mirrors.php for getting mirror list. Downloading iso image of Fedora Core 6 The Fedora Core distribution exists in the form of ISO 9660 standard filesystem images. For producing a bootable disk these ISO images can be copied onto either CD or DVD media. We are giving the detail procedure about downloading, burning CDs and checking software to assume that you have no experience with Linux, and that you are using Microsoft Windows for the purpose of downloading and burning the files. While Downloading iso images of Fedora Core 6 , you may also need to download SHA1SUM file to verify that the downloading files are either and correct or not. We have used i386 for 32-bit computer processor including Pentium to download the iso image. Thus we are mentioning here about how to down load the files and burn the CDs Or DVDs. If you are downloading Fedora Core 6 for a Pentium 4 computer, for example, you need these files: FC-6-i386-disc1.iso FC-6-i386-disc2.iso FC-6-i386-disc3.iso FC-6-i386-disc4.iso FC-6-i386-disc5.iso Or, if you prefer to install from a single DVD, you only need this file: FC-6-i386-DVD.iso Errors may occur during the downloading the software, so also download the SHA1SUM file. Follow the instructions given in the software to install the program. For running program, use the file selection tools provided to select your downloaded ISO image files. If you use command prompt, download the program sha1sum.exe for checking the software.For detail visit http://lists.gnupg.org/pipermail/gnupgannounce/2004q4/000184.php. The program takes some time to as it must read the entire ISO file. Downloading Mandriva Linux Comprehensive list of Cooker mirrors around the world:
Austria * ftp://gd.tuwien.ac.at/pub/linux/Mandrakelinux/devel/cooker * http://gd.tuwien.ac.at/pub/linux/Mandrakelinux/devel/cooker Brazil * ftp://mirror.fis.unb.br/pub/linux/Mandrakelinux/devel/cooker * http://mandriva.c3sl.ufpr.br/devel/cooker (Curitiba) * ftp://mandriva.c3sl.ufpr.br/ftp/MandrivaLinux/devel/cooker Canada * http://gulus.usherbrooke.ca/pub/distro/Mandrakelinux/devel/cooker Czech Republic * ftp://ftp.fi.muni.cz/pub/linux/mandrakelinux/devel/cooker (Brno) * ftp://ftp.linux.cz/pub/linux/mandrakelinux/devel/cooker (Brno) * ftp://sunsite.mff.cuni.cz/OS/Linux/Dist/Mandrake/mandrake/devel/cooker (Prague) * http://ftp.sh.cvut.cz/MIRRORS/Mandrake/mandrake/devel/cooker (Prague) * rsync://ftp.fi.muni.cz/pub/linux/mandrakelinux/devel/cooker Estonia * ftp://ftp.aso.ee/pub/Mandrake/devel/cooker France * ftp://distrib-coffee.ipsl.jussieu.fr/pub/linux/MandrivaLinux//devel/cooker (Paris) * ftp://fr2.rpmfind.net/linux/Mandrakelinux/devel/cooker (Lyon) * ftp://ftp.ciril.fr/pub/linux/mandrakelinux/devel/cooker (Nancy) * ftp://ftp.free.fr/mirrors/ftp.mandriva.com/MandrivaLinux/devel/cooker (Paris)
* ftp://ftp.int-evry.fr/pub/linux/mandrake/devel/cooker (Evry) * ftp://ftp.lip6.fr/pub/linux/distributions/Mandrakelinux/devel/cooker (Paris) * ftp://ftp.u-picardie.fr/mirror/ftp.mandriva.com/MandrivaLinux/devel/cooker (Amiens) * http://distrib-coffee.ipsl.jussieu.fr/pub/linux/MandrivaLinux//devel/cooker (Paris) * http://fr2.rpmfind.net/linux/Mandrakelinux/devel/cooker (Lyon) * http://ftp.u-picardie.fr/mirror/ftp.mandriva.com/MandrivaLinux/devel/cooker (Amiens) * rsync://distrib-coffee.ipsl.jussieu.fr/pub/linux/MandrivaLinux//devel/cooker (Paris) Germany * ftp://ftp-stud.fht-esslingen.de/pub/Mirrors/Mandrakelinux/devel/cooker (Esslingen) * ftp://sunsite.informatik.rwth-aachen.de/pub/Linux/mandrake/devel/cooker (Aachen) * rsync://ftp.join.uni-muenster.de/mandrakelinux/devel/cooker Greece * ftp://ftp.physics.auth.gr/pub/mirrors/Mandrakelinux/devel/cooker Ireland * ftp://ftp.esat.net/pub/linux/mandrakelinux/devel/cooker * http://ftp.esat.net/pub/linux/mandrakelinux/devel/cooker * rsync://ftp.esat.net/ftp/pub/linux/mandrakelinux/devel/cooker Italy * ftp://bo.mirror.garr.it/pub/mirrors/Mandrake/devel/cooker (Bologna) Japan
* ftp://ftp.kddlabs.co.jp/Linux/packages/Mandrake/devel/cooker * ftp://ftp.nara.wide.ad.jp/pub/Linux/Mandrakelinux/devel/cooker Norway * ftp://ftp.uninett.no/pub/Linux/MandrivaLinux/devel/cooker The Netherlands * ftp://ftp.nluug.nl/pub/os/Linux/distr/Mandrakelinux/devel/cooker (Ede) * ftp://ftp.surfnet.nl/pub/os/Linux/distr/Mandrakelinux/devel/cooker (Utrecht) * http://ftp.nluug.nl/ftp/pub/os/Linux/distr/Mandrakelinux/devel/cooker (Ede) * http://ftp.surfnet.nl/ftp/pub/os/Linux/distr/Mandrakelinux/devel/cooker (Utrecht) * rsync://ftp.nluug.nl/Mandrakelinux/devel/cooker (Ede) * rsync://ftp.surfnet.nl/Mandrakelinux/devel/cooker (Utrecht) Poland * ftp://ftp.icm.edu.pl/pub/linux/mandrakelinux/devel/cooker * ftp://ftp.pbone.net/pub/mandrakelinux/devel/cooker * ftp://ftp.ps.pl/mirrors/mandrake/devel/cooker (Szczecin) * ftp://ftp.tuniv.szczecin.pl/pub/linux/mandrakelinux/devel/cooker * ftp://sunsite.icm.edu.pl/pub/Linux/mandrakelinux/devel/cooker (Warszawa) Portugal * http://mandriva.dcc.fc.up.pt//devel/cooker (Porto) Romania * ftp://ftp.iasi.roedu.net/mirrors/ftp.mandrake.com/devel/cooker (Iasi) * http://ftp.iasi.roedu.net/mirrors/ftp.mandrake.com/devel/cooker (Iasi) * rsync://ftp.iasi.roedu.net/mandrake.com/devel/cooker (Iasi)
* ftp://mirrors.evolva.ro/mandriva/devel/cooker (Bucharest) * http://mirrors.evolva.ro/mandriva/devel/cooker (Bucharest) * rsync://mirrors.evolva.ro/mandriva/devel/cooker (Bucharest) Spain * ftp://ftp.cica.es/pub/Linux/Mandrakelinux/devel/cooker (Sevilla) * ftp://ftp.rediris.es/pub/linux/distributions/mandrakelinux/devel/cooker (Madrid) * http://ftp.rediris.es/pub/linux/distributions/mandrakelinux/devel/cooker (Madrid) ; Sweden * ftp://ftp.sunet.se/pub/Linux/distributions/mandrakelinux/devel/cooker (Uppsala) Taiwan * ftp://ftp.isu.edu.tw/pub/Linux/Mandrakelinux/devel/cooker * ftp://linux.ntcu.net/dists/mandrake/devel/cooker * ftp://mdk.linux.org.tw/pub/mandrake-linux/devel/cooker United Kingdom * anorien.csc.warwick.ac.uk is no longer hosting Mandriva. United States * ftp://ftp.gtlib.cc.gatech.edu/pub/mandrake/devel/cooker (Georgia) * ftp://mandrake.mirrors.pair.com/Mandrakelinux/devel/cooker (Pennsylvania) * ftp://mirrors.usc.edu/pub/linux/distributions/mandrakelinux/devel/cooker (California) * http://mandrake.mirrors.pair.com/Mandrakelinux/devel/cooker (Pennsylvania) * http://www.gtlib.cc.gatech.edu/pub/mandrake/devel/cooker (Georgia) * http://ftp.ale.org/pub/mirrors/mandrake/devel/cooker (Georgia) Not currently available.
* ftp://ftp.ale.org/pub/mirrors/mandrake/devel/cooker (Georgia) Not currently available. Downloading Open SuSe Argentina ftp.mirrors.net.ar/pub/suse/ (Buenos Aires) i386 http://www.mirrors.net.ar/pub/suse/ (Buenos Aires) i386 Australia ftp.iinet.net.au/pub/suse/ (Perth) http://ftp.iinet.net.au/pub/suse/ (Perth) mirror.pacific.net.au/linux/suse/ (Sydney) http://mirror.pacific.net.au/linux/suse/ (Sydney) ftp.planetmirror.com/pub/linux/suse/suse/ (Brisbane) i386 http://www.planetmirror.com/pub/linux/suse/suse/ (Brisbane) i386 mirror.aarnet.edu.au/pub/suse/ (access restricted to .au and .nz domains) i386 Austria ftp://suse.inode.at/ (Vienna) http://suse.inode.at/ (Vienna) gd.tuwien.ac.at/linux/suse/suse.com/ (Vienna) Belgium ftp.skynet.be/mirror/suse.com/ftp.suse.com/ (Brussels) ftp.belnet.be/linux/suse/ axp, i386, ppc, sparc mirrors.telenet.be/mirrors/ ftp.suse.com/ i386 (current distribution only) Brazil http://mirrors.uol.com.br/pub/suse/ ftp.unicamp.br/pub/suse i386
http://ftp.unicamp.br/pub/suse i386 Bulgaria mirrors.netbg.com/suse/ (Sofia) i386, x86_64 Chile ftp.rdc.cl/pub/Unix/Linux/SuSe/ i386 ftp.suse.cl/pub/suse/ i386 Czech Republic ftp.sh.cvut.cz/MIRRORS/suse/ http://ftp.sh.cvut.cz/MIRRORS/suse/ Denmark mirror.tv2.dk/pub/linux/suse/ http://mirror.tv2.dk/pub/linux/suse/ klid.dk/suse/ (Kopenhagen) i386 http://klid.dk/suse/ (Kopenhagen) i386 Estonia ftp.linux.ee/pub/suse/suse/ i386 Finland garbo.uwasa.fi/pub/mirrors/suse/ i386 France http://fr2.rpmfind.net/linux/SUSE-LINUX/ http://ftp.iut-bm.univ-fcomte.fr/pub/Suse/suse/i386/ (Belfort) Germany Please see the separate list of German mirrors.
Greece ftp.softnet.tuc.gr/pub/linux/suse/ (Crete) http://ftp.softnet.tuc.gr/pub/linux/suse/ (Crete) ftp.duth.gr/pub/suse/ (Thrace) ftp.ntua.gr/pub/linux/suse/i386/ (Athens) i386 Hungary ftp.novell.hu/pub/mirrors/ftp.suse.com/ (Budapest) mirrors.sth.sze.hu/linux/suse (Gyor) i386, ia64, x86_64 http://mirrors.sth.sze.hu/linux/suse (Gyor) i386, ia64, x86_64 Indonesia http://suse.cbn.net.id/i386/ i386 Ireland ftp.heanet.ie/mirrors/ ftp.suse.com/pub/suse/ ftp.esat.net/mirrors/ ftp.suse.com/pub/suse/ Italy ftp.unina.it/pub/linux/distributions/SuSE/ (Napoli) ftp.uniroma2.it/Linux/suse/pub/suse/ (Rome) http://www.suse.inetcosmos.org/pub/suse/ (Milan) i386 Japan ftp.jaist.ac.jp/pub/Linux/SuSE/ http://ftp.jaist.ac.jp/pub/Linux/SuSE/