GNU/Linux distribution

From DistroList
HomeAboutDonate
Independents

GNU/Linux distribution

A GNU/Linux distribution (often abbreviated as distro) is an operating system made from a software collection that includes the GNU userland, Linux kernel and often a package management system.

GNU/Linux users usually obtain their operating system by downloading one of the GNU/Linux distributions, which are available for a wide variety of systems ranging from embedded devices and personal computers to powerful supercomputers.

A typical GNU/Linux distribution comprises a Linux kernel, an init system (such as systemd, OpenRC, or runit), GNU tools and libraries, documentation, and many other types of software (such as IP network configuration utilities and the getty TTY setup program, among others).

Optionally, to provide a desktop experience (most commonly the Mesa userspace graphics drivers) a display server (the most common being the X.org Server, or, more recently, a Wayland compositor such as Sway, KDE's KWin, or GNOME's Mutter), a desktop environment, a sound server (usually either PulseAudio or more recently PipeWire), and other related programs may be included with the distribution or are installable by the user.

Most of the included software is free and open source software made available both as compiled binaries and in source code form, allowing modifications to the original software. Usually, GNU/Linux distributions optionally include some proprietary software that may not be available in source code form, such as binary blobs required for some device drivers.

A GNU/Linux distribution may also be described as a particular assortment of application and utility software (various GNU tools and libraries, for example), packaged with the Linux kernel in such a way that its capabilities meet many users' needs. The software is usually adapted to the distribution and then combined into software packages by the distribution's maintainers. The software packages are available online in repositories, which are storage locations usually distributed around the world. Beside "glue" components, such as the distribution installers (for example, Debian-Installer and Anaconda) and the package management systems, very few packages are actually written by a distribution's maintainers.

Most popular and widely used GNU/Linux (Linux) distributions

Name
1st release date
Update or
administration tools
Package manager
Package format
Slackware
16/07/1993[1][2]
Slackpkg pkgtool, Slackpkg
.tgz
Debian GNU/Linux
15/09/1993[3][4]
aptitude, apt-get, synaptic,
dpkg, adept
APT
.deb
Red Hat Linux
29/07/1994[5][6]
RPM Package Manager RPM Package Manager
.rpm
KNOPPIX
30/09/2000
aptitude, apt-get, synaptic,
dpkg, adept
APT
.deb
Red Hat Enterprise Linux
26/03/2002[7]
RPM Package Manager,
Yum, DNF, yumex, dnfdragora
RPM Package Manager
.rpm
Gentoo Linux
31/03/2002
ebuild. emerge Portage
sources/.tar.gz
Arch Linux
01/06/2002
Pacman, AUR Pacman
pkg.tar.xz/sources
Fedora
06/11/2003[8][9]
DNF (PackageKit) RPM, YUM
.rpm
Ubuntu
20/10/2004[10]
aptitude, apt-get, synaptic,
dpkg; sources.list
APT
.deb
CentOS
14/05/2004
DNF; PackageKit RPM, YUM
.rpm
openSUSE
06/10/2005
ZYpp, YaST2, zypper RPM
.rpm
Linux Mint
27/08/2006
aptitude, apt-get, synaptic,
dpkg; sources.list;
MintSoftware
APT
.deb
Manjaro
10/07/2011
Pacman, Yay , AUR Pacman
pkg.tar.xz
MX Linux
24/03/2014
aptitude, apt-get, synaptic,
dpkg, adept
APT
.deb

Main GNU/Linux (Linux) distributions

This section lists independent distributions and those with derivative systems. If a distro is not independent and has no derivatives, it would be listed in the corresponding root distributions.

Debian GNU/Linux

Ubuntu
KubuntuXubuntuLubuntuMintKDE neonLinspireChromium OS
Knoppix
MorphixDamn Small LinuxFeatherKurumin
MEPIS (discontinued) → antiXMX
Kanotix
Devuan GNU+Linux
gnuLinEx (discontinued)
deepin
PureOS
Red Hat FedoraRed Hat Enterprise Linux RHEL

Red Hat Linux (RHL) (discontinued)

FedoraCentOS Stream
Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) → CentOS (discontinued)

Mandriva (discontinued)

PCLinuxOS (now independent)
ROSA Linux (now independent)

References