Major Linux Distributions

| last update: 2017-06-25

  • Debian / Ubuntu family:
    • Debian
      Debian follows a strict Open Source Policy and sets a high value on system stability. The tradeoff is that some programs come in dated yet extensively tested versions. Security patches get backported. Therefore Debian is well-established as a Server Operating System.
    • Ubuntu
      Ubuntu is based on Debian but includes some proprietary and considerably newer versions of software. Ubuntu is a popular distribution for desktop systems. Long term support (LTS) versions get supported up to five years.
    • Mint
  • Red Hat family:
    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)
      RHEL is a commercial distribution. Its strengths lie in the very long support-lifecycle (major releases get updates for several years) and the availability of direct customer support.
    • CentOS
      Good as a testing platform for RedHat projects. CentOS is derived from the sources of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and more stable than Fedora which seeks to implement new features faster.
    • Fedora
      A community distribution sponsored by Red Hat. The developers try to release new versions twice a year. There is a 13 months support lifecycle.
  • Others:
    • CDH
      Cloudera's Linux distribution including Apache Hadoop and similar software.
    • Kali Linux (formerly BackTrack) is a "Penetration Testing and Security Auditing Linux Distribution". One could call it a collection of ready to use hacking tools. However Kali Linux offers a wide collection of tools to simulate a hacker attack on your own network or to do computer forensics.
    • Slackware
    • Gentoo is a source based distribution. Thus only suitable for experienced users it offers vast customization opportunities.
    • SUSE Linux Enterprise is based on openSUSE