Linux Distributions

Who among us hasn’t heard of Linux yet? You know, that freely distributable ‘flavor’ of the Unix class of operating systems? Not a lot, probably. But do you all know that Linux comes in many distributions or ‘distros’ as the natives call it? Or, that, there are over a hundred of these ‘distros’ available online or otherwise?

That’s what I thought.

Well, if you’re a novice, like me, or not-so-new to the field but would like a memory jog, herein then is a quick tour of six of the most commonly used (at least, in my own humble opinion) in web hosting servers that are available under GNU-GPL, listed in alphabetical order.

Debian GNU/Linux is a free OS that uses the Linux kernel although most of its basic tools come from the GNU project. There are three releases in active maintenance as of this writing are: Version 3.0r2, codename: woody, (stable); codename: sarge (testing) and codename: sid (unstable).

Mandrake Linux was created in 1998 by MandrakeSoft, and takes a graphical approach to both installation and system administration. Mandrakelinux™ 10.0 is the latest release.

Red Hat Linux is probably the most popular, although not necessarily the best, of the lot. It was created in 1994 by Marc Ewing, developed by Red Hat Software (now Red Hat Inc.), and has evolved into two main product lines. The Red Hat Enterprise Linux was created in 2002 to become (according to their site anyway) the corporate Linux standard, and its latest release is version 3.0. The Fedora Project, introduced in 2003, for developers and enthusiasts using Linux in non-critical computing environments.

SuSE Linux is the distribution produced by SuSE GmbH. The main selling point emphasized by the company for its latest release, the SuSE Linux 9.0, is the inclusion of of innovative technologies to facilitate system migration for Linux newcomers. This, aside from all Internet, office, images, audio, video and network applications you could possibly want (or so their site says).

Slackware Linux was originally developed by Patrick Volkerding and first released in April 1993. It is a complete 32-bit multitasking UNIX-like system based currently around the 2.4 Linux kernel series and the GNU C Library version 2.3.2 (libc6). Its latest release is Slackware 9.1.

TurboLinux is the leading Linux distribution in the Asia-Pacific. Its unique clustering solution allows the construction of highly available and scalable networks based on low-cost commodity components. Its latest releases are the Turbolinux 10 Desktop, Turbolinux 8 Server and Turbolinux Enterprise Server 8.

CentOS is one of the free versions of the popular Red Hat Enterprise Linux, arguably just as functional, and the major benifit of being completely free.

White Box Linux is also another free clone of Red Hat Enterprise Linux


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