General Purpose Linux Distributions
distributions should be suitable for desktop and server
applications. Most should have current versions available.
LWN distribution survey completed May
ALT Linux got its start as a Linux-Mandrake Russian
Edition Spring 2001. Designed to be a universal
distribution, suitable for server organization, for user
workstations and for software development, ALT Linux has
diverged from its roots and split into several projects,
all with the same code base. For example, there's Castle,
a secured, RSBAC-enabled, server distribution; and ALT
Linux Junior, a single-disk distribution for home
computers, designed especially for beginners, easy to
install and use. The unstable Sisyphus
branch changes daily. ALT Linux Master 2.2 was released
March 7, 2003. ALT Linux Junior 2.2 (Plum) was released
March 26, 2003.
Arch Linux is an i686-optimized Linux distribution. It
is lightweight and contains the latest stable versions
of software. Packages are in .tar.gz format and are
tracked by a package manager that is designed to allow
easy package upgrades. Arch is designed to be
streamlined while allowing for a customized
configuration, with newer features such as reiserfs/ext3
and devfs. The inital version, 0.1, was released March
11, 2002. Arch 0.4 (Dragon) was released December 18,
2002. Arch Linux released Pacman 2.1 (package manager)
on August 22, 2002.
BearOps Linux, formerly MaxOS, provides the BearOps
BYO Linux (aka Build Your Own Linux OR DiyLinux to some)
allows Linux enthusiasts to construct their own 100%
pure Linux distribution.
CRUX is a lightweight, i686-optimized Linux distribution
targeted at experienced Linux users. The primary focus
of this distribution is "keep it simple",
which is reflected in a simple tar.gz-based package
system, BSD-style initscripts, and a relatively small
collection of trimmed packages. The secondary focus is
utilization of new Linux features and recent tools and
libraries. Version 1.1 was released March 24, 2003.
A source-based multi-platform Linux distribution.
Uses Pliant as an whole operating system on top of a
Gentoo Linux is a versatile and fast, completely free
x86-based Linux distribution geared towards developers
and network professionals. Gentoo 1.4_rc4 was released
April 15, 2003.
This distribution will be available in Arabic, Dutch and
English with more languages to follow. The Arabic
support appears to be very comprehensive. The first beta
release of Haydar was announced May 4, 2002. Beta 2 was
released November 4, 2002.
IDMS Linux is NOT a home user distribution. It is
intended solely as the base for high end server
software. No GUI's, No X, No fancy stuff. The initial
Freshmeat announcement was for version 2.0.25, dated
June 22, 2002. Version 2.2.8 was released January 5,
Ivrix is a project aimed at creating a free Linux
distribution with complete Hebrew support.
A distribution for workstations and servers. JBLinux was
at version 2.2 as of August 10, 2001.
Kevin's Red Hat Uber Distribution. See LWN
Laonux is a relatively small Linux distribution that
contains most of the basics that you would expect in a
Linux system, but nothing more. It features gcc-2.95.2,
glibc 2.1.2, and kernel 2.2.14. It is not easy to
install, but it provides a complete system. It is great
for hobbyists who wish build up their own personalized
Linux distribution from a basic core.
The LNX System aims to be a well-engineered Linux
distribution, with a centralized CVS repository;
structured and flexible packaging; maintained and
integrated subsystems; pro-actively-secure and audited
code; ... LNXS 0.2.0 was released April 11, 2001.
Lunar-Linux began as a fork of Sorcerer GNU/Linux.
Lunar-Penguin, the development group behind Lunar-Linux,
say they plan for this fork to stay close to the
bleeding edge. The initial ISO image
lunar-20020321.iso.bz2 was released March 21, 2002. An
ISO codenamed PETRO was released April 9, 2002. A
revised ISO Petro_e was released April April 19, 2002.
Petro_h, the last of the Petro series, was released May
3, 2002. A development version of Lunar, theedge, was
made available May 23, 2002. theedge achieved enough
stability to become the first Lunar, announced July 15,
2002. Lunar-1.0Beta was released September 2, 2002.
MURIX is a distribution based on LinuxFromScratch for
building bootable CD-ROMs. Since you build it from
source, MURIX should function on almost any hardware.
Version 20020205, the initial release, became available
on February 24, 2002. Version 1.1 was released November
24, 2002. Version 2003-01-14 was released February 7,
Netserva Dlite is a small 20mb downloadable Debian based
distribution that comes with a basic set of
pre-configured ISP-related services such as virtual web
hosting, email and RADIUS. All client authentication is
via MySQL so normal user shell accounts are not
required. The system, in theory, could scale to
supporting millions of users. The latest update was on
February 2, 2002.
Netule has created three new Linux distributions, which
are now available for download. The EM-I or Email Module
I is a full featured Email Server based on Sendmail; the
WM-I or Web Module I is a vastly simplified Web Server
based on Apache; and the FM-I or Firewall Module I is
released in partnership with Astaro Security Linux.
Netule products are a combination of open and closed
source and are available bundled with hardware.
The web site says NoMad Linux 2.0 is on the way. There
are no dates, though, so this could be historical. NoMad
is based on the encap package managing system for ease
of installation and upgrades. NoMad's main purpose is to
keep it's creators happy and give them something to do
in their free time. More and more, they see NoMad as a
distribution for the scientists/engineers/geeks that
know what they want and don't want anything else.
ROOT Linux is an advanced GNU/Linux operating system. It
aims to be fast, stable and flexible. ROOT Linux is not
recommended as a first Linux distribution. People should
have experience with Linux and computers in general.
Version 1.3 was released August 27, 2002.
Scrudgeware is currently under development. As a
GNU/Linux distribution, ScrudgeWare is being designed
with several goals in mind. First and foremost is to be
built 100% from GPL (or other freely licensed) software.
Second, NO BLOAT. Scrudgeware will try to build a simple
("bare bones") system on which the user can
add any software they choose.
SoL (Server optimized Linux) is a Linux distribution
completely independent from other Linux distributions.
It was built by antitachyon from the original source
packages and is optimized for heavy-duty server work. It
contains all common server applications, and features
XML boot and script technology that makes it easy to
configure and make the server work. SoL 13.37 was
released April 22, 2002 (initial Freshmeat
announcement). Version 16.00 was released March 17,
2003. A diskless version, SoL-diag 1.1, was introduced
March 3, 2003. A desktop version, SoL-Desktop 0.2, was
released March 27, 2003.
Simply GNUstep is a Linux/GNU distribution aimed at
providing an OpenStep feeling from bootup on. This is a
stripped down distribution, providing ease of use.
(Think OS X for x86). InterimDeveloperRelease-1 came out
on August 14, 2002. Version 1 was released September 9,
This distribution was created by the original Sorcerer
GNU/Linux author, Kyle Sallee. Sources are downloaded
directly from software authors' homepages and mirrors.
Then, they are compiled with the architecture and
optimizations that the system administrator specifies.
Finally, it is installed, tracked, and archived for easy
removal and upgrades. Sorcerer has both both command
line and menu driven package mangement programs. A
public beta, not backward compatible with previous
releases of SGL, was made available April 14, 2002.
Currently called Source Mage GNU/Linux, this project was
created by members of the Sorcerer GNU/Linux team after
that project was pulled by its creator in March 2002.
Sorcery 0.1.3 was released into cvs on March 26, 2002.
An up-to-date, working test ISO was released May 30,
2002. Sorcery version 0.8.0.1 was released August 25,
Finnish company Probatus Oy makes Spectra Linux.
Designed for workstation and server use, this
distribution comes with lots of extras, including the
Probatus Spectra SDK application development
environment, which supports all most common operating
systems. Initial public release on April 17, 2002.
Stampede is a development project whose goal is to
create the definitive Linux distribution for novice and
experienced users alike. It aims to be fast, stable,
secure, and to create new innovations and spur new
growth of the Linux operating system in a world
otherwise saturated with bloated, yet feature-lacking
distributions. Stampede development has been on hiatus
since March 1, 2002.
uOS is a complete source based Operating System that can
be configured and built in a flexible way. uOS was first
used in November 2002. It is very new and there are lots
of kinks to work out. Although the goal is to make uOS
usable by everyeone it currently requires Unix expertise
to install and to run. uOS is based on GCC 3.2 / GLIBC
2.3 / WOLK Linux Kernel / X 4.2.1. It supports the
newest drivers as well as the newest compilers. Core
components are available under the 4F Licensing system
(compliant to DFSG and OSI guidelines for Free
Software). Initial version 0.81 was released November 6,
Webfish Linux is a small, stripped down Linux
distribution based on GNU source packages. Webfish is
built with the more experienced user in mind and is
aimed at small, fast, secure server and workstation
systems with a minimum of installed packages. The
initial release of Webfish Linux, version 0.9b, was
released June 20, 2002. Version 1.0pre1 was released on
March 25, 2003. The Webfish Linux Firewall-1 branch
released its initial verion, 1.1, on July 24, 2002.
Fishwall 1.2 was released August 27, 2002.
Yoper is a high performance operating system which has
been carefully optimised for PC's with either 686 or
higher processor types. The binaries that come with
Yoper have been built from scratch using the original
sources combined with the best features of from the
major distros. Yoper is high performance and compact. In
fact Yoper is one of the most standardised linux's that
you will find and hardware performance is better than
that of any other commercial OS. With Yoper it is
possible to import packages from all the other major
distributions, including RPM's, .deb's, and .tgz
packages. Ydesktop-3.2.1 Release Candidate 3 released
January 12, 2003.
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