What is a distribution?
You never hear anyone say "I have the new RedHat Windows 95
distribution." That's because operating systems like Windows 95 are
owned by someone, in this case Microsoft. Linux was released under a
public license, in effect making it freeware. Also, the people
developing Linux only care about the kernel, or the core of the
operating system. All support programs like ls,
elm, and chmod which the OS wouldn't be the same
without, can be packaged differently and under Linux often are. The
reason there are so many different Linux distributions is due to
different schools of thought on how UNIX should be and how they can
tailor it to their specific needs.
Most of the following information was taken from the Linux
Distribution HOWTO by Eric S. Raymond (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Most of the descriptions below were written by the people who made the
distribution so the person perspective will change form time to time.
Red Hat Software
Red Hat 4.0 (Colgate) is based on the 2.0.18 kernel and is available
for Intel, Sparc and Alpha platforms. Four installation innovations
make Red Hat 3.03 the easiest Linux to install ever. Our new graphical
installation mode brings you straight up into X for most of the
installation. Our boot disk creation script eases selection of the
proper boot disk, and it saves your existing network configuration
information and XF86Config so you don't have to configure TCP/IP or X!
Our FTP install allows you to install simply by downloading 3 floppy
disk images -- the rest is done automatically! And finally, the
installation includes seamless support for PCMCIA devices -- install
Red Hat on your laptop as easily as on your desktop machine!
Ftp.cdrom.com is the home of Slackware Linux. We are the publishers of
the Official Slackware Linux CDROM. Our distribution is a 2-disc set
with the current version being Slackware 3.0. The current disc contains
kernels 1.2.13 and 1.3.18 as well as Elf Binaries. [The newest slackware
release "Slackware 96" uses the 2.0.x kernels. -- Keith]
Craftworks Linux v2.2 is a commercial distribution of Linux for Intel
and AXP. It is completely ELF, built one program at the time from the
latest "stable" sources and organized using a methodology we call:
CRAFT (Component Replacement And Fabrication Technology).
Debian Linux is the result of a volunteer effort to create a
high-quality non-commercial Linux distribution. Debian Linux 1.1 is a
complete and fully-functional Unix-compatible operating system for the
personal computer. Debian Linux is an easy-to-upgrade distribution
that mostly consists of freely redistributable software from a number
of different sources and systems. The benefits of Debian Linux are its
upgradability, well-defined dependencies between packages, and its open
A (D)rop (I)n linux-elf slip/ppp networking system. It can be dropped
into a subdirectory of any DOS system and booted from DOS without
messing with disk partitions. About 22 mbytes unzipped, 8 1/2 mbytes
Trans-Ameritech has published 8 releases of Linux by the end of 95.
Traditionally, Trans-Ameritech has set new standards for combining ease
of use and straightforward installation, even for a first-time user,
with its line of LinuxWare CD-ROMs. This is a flexible, easy-to-install
operating system geared toward those intersted in learning Unix as well
as technical people, students and home PC users.
The charter of the WGS Linux Pro CD is different from all other
distributions currently on the market. We are actively pursuing
penetration into the commercial marketplace for Linux. Everything we do
is aimed at increasing the size of the Linux community, and helping
Linux to become THE one true operating system, not just an operating
Yggdrasil Plug-and-Play Linux CD-ROM and the Linux Bible
Yggdrasil Plug-and-Play Linux is a complete CD-ROM distribution of the
Linux operating system. It includes a great deal of software---nearly
every package that you would expect to find on a complete UNIX system
is available. A complete file list is available via FTP from
The Linux Bible is a compendium of Linux documentation, including 5
books from the Linux Documentation Project, The Yggdrasil installation
manual, and the complete set of Linux HOWTO guides. We publish this and
offer this separately from the CD-ROM distribution.
next: Slackware vs. Redhat