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DistributionWatch: Your Guide to Linux Distributions - page 2

Introducing Our Linux Distribution Guide

  • September 27, 2004
  • By Sean Michael Kerner
Distribution Details
Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) Current Versions: 3, RHEL AS top of the line server, RHEL ES small to midrange servers, RHEL WS workstation deployments, Red Hat Desktop
October 2003
Web Site:
www.redhat.com
Description: Though Linux was most likely used in enterprise environments before RHEL, Red Hat Enterprise Linux was arguably the first enterprise focussed Linux distribution, providing longer release cycles and a level of stability and support that had been demanded by enterprises. RHEL's progenitor was the venerable Red Hat Linux line, which was terminated at the end of 2003. Though RHEL 3 is based on the 2.4.x kernel, Red Hat back ported a number of key 2.6 kernel features (including NPTL) into the RHEL 3 kernel. RHEL is sold on a subscription basis and has multiple layers of support (all the way up to 24/7) and ISV certifications. Through its open source assurance program, Red Hat indemnifies its enterprise customers against any potential copyright and patent issues there may be with Linux. Red Hat in its various version and flavours has led Netcraft statistics for years as the most dominant Linux distribution on the planet.
Based on:
RHEL is originally an offshoot of the now defunct Red Hat Linux, which itself in the beginning (arguably version 1) was based on Slackware. Though Red Hat has long since established itself as its own defining distribution.
Kernel: 2.4.x (with backported 2.6 features including NPTL)
Window Manager: includes both GNOME (default) and KDE (optional)
Package Manager: RPM
Installer: GUI - Anaconda
Update: Red Hat Network, Up2date
Architectures: AMD64, i386, ia64, PPC, s390, s390x
Download: ftp.redhat.com/pub/redhat/linux/enterprise/3/
Last Reviewed:
Fedora Core Current Version: Fedora Core 2
May 2004
Web Site: http://fedora.redhat.com/
Description: The Fedora Project is the Red Hat's sponsored 'community' version of Linux. It is also an heir to the legacy of Red Hat's venerable Red Hat Linux product line and currently has an aggressive release schedule of 2-3 versions per year. Fedora represents the bleeding edge of Red Hat's development cycle. FC2 includes SELinux, which is the US National Security Agency sponsored Linux security methodology that enforces mandatory access control on the Linux kernel providing for an extremely secure distribution.
Based On: Fedora Core is originally an offshoot of the now defunct Red Hat Linux, which itself in the beginning (arguably version 1) was based on Slackware. Though Red Hat has long since established itself as its own defining distribution.
Kernel: 2.6.x
Window Manager: includes both GNOME (default) and KDE (optional)
Package Manager: RPM
Installer: GUI - Anaconda
Update:
Up2date
Architectures: i386, x86-64
Download: http://fedora.redhat.com/download/
Last Reviewed: http://www.linuxplanet.com/linuxplanet/reviews/5397/1/
SUSE Linux Current Versions: SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9, SUSE Linux 9.1 Personal, SUSE Linux 9.1 Professional
Release Date: SLES August 2004, SLP April 2004
Web Site: www.suselinux.com
Description: SUSE Linux is arguably the second largest commercial Linux vendor behind Red Hat, and offers the only other enterprise-focussed distribution (SLES). Novell acquisition of SUSE Linux last year has given SUSE tremendous exposure as Novell refocuses its whole business around Linux solutions. SUSE Linux's longstanding support of the KDE project has always given SUSE Linux implementations a well-defined and elegant desktop environment.
Based On: SUSE was originally based on Slackware (for SUSE Linux 1.0 which was released in 1994) though since S.u.S.E Linux 4.2 in 1996 it has really been is own unique and defining distribution.
Kernel: 2.6.x
Window Manager: includes both KDE (default) and GNOME (optional)
Package Manager: RPM
Installer: GUI - YaST
Update:
YaST
Architectures: AMD64, i386, ia64, s390, s390x
Download: ISO http://www.suse.com/us/private/download/suse_linux/index.html
Last Reviewed:  
Mandrakelinux

Current Versions : Mandrakelinux 10
March 2004
Web Site: www.mandrakelinux.com
Description: Mandrake has always had a particular focus on being easy to use and focussed on the user desktop. Recent troubles forced Mandrakesoft into bankruptcy, though it has recovered and its latest release (version 10) is a testament to the companies continued viability. Mandrake also has a very unique development build known as Mandrake Cooker, which is a rapidly updated version of MDK that appeals to bleeding edge developer types.
Based On:
Mandrakelinux was first released in 1998 was based on Red Hat Linux (version 5.1). It has since evolved into its own unique distribution.
Kernel: 2.6.x
Window Manager: includes both KDE (default), GNOME(optional) and IceWM (optional)
Package Manager: URPMI (which uses RPM packages)
Installer: GUI
Update: MandrakeUpdate
Architectures: I586, amd64
Download: http://www.linux-mandrake.com/en/ftp.php3
Last Reviewed: http://www.linuxplanet.com/linuxplanet/reviews/5314/1/

Gentoo Linux Current Version: 2004.2
July 2004
Web Site: www.gentoo.org
Description: Gentoo is different breed of Linux distribution. Rather that being a 'pre-packaged' distribution it aims to be a 'metadistribution' such that a user can customize a version of Gentoo Linux that is particular for their environment and operational needs. There is also a special 'hardened Gentoo' version that is the only other maintream distribution beyond Red Hat's Fedora Core 2 to includes SELinux (security enhanced Linux which enforce mandatory access controls on the kernel).
Based On:
Gentoo is a new distribution and has been refered to as an 'automated Linux from scratch'
Kernel:
2.6.x
Window Manager: includes GNOME,KDE, Xfce and IceWM (there is no default in Gentoo user gets to choose).
Package Manager:
Portage
Installer: Text based
Update: Portage
Architectures: x86, AMD64, PowerPC, UltraSparc, Alpha and MIPS
Download: http://www.gentoo.org/main/en/mirrors.xml
Last Reviewed:
Debian GNU/Linux

Current Version: 3.0r2 woody
November 2003
Web Site: www.debian.org
Description: Debian is widely regarded to be one of the most popular community based Linux distributions. It has a strong and fervent adherence to the principals of Free software which is articulated in the Debian Social Contract which is the guiding document of the project. The original draft of the Debian Social Contract which was authored by Bruce Perens went on (with modification) to become the Open Source Definition quite literally the defining document of the open source movement. Debian Linux is a massive distribution including almost nine thousand packages and extending to 7 full CD's. **Debian is currently in the final stages of release its next version- Sarge - which will introduce a new installer and simplify many aspects of distribution management **
Based On:
Itself
Kernel: 2.2.x
Window Manager: includes both GNOME (default) and KDE (optional)
Package Manager: Deb
Installer: text installation
Update: Apt-get repostitories
Architectures: Alpha, Arm, HPPA, i386, IA64, m68k, Mips, PPC, S390, Sparc
Download: http://www.debian.org/distrib/cd
Last Reviewed:

Slackware Current Version: 10
Release Date:
June 2004
Web Site: http://www.slackware.com/
Description: Slackware is the granddaddy of all commercial Linux distributions having begun back in the predawn of the Linux era (version 1.0 was released in July 1993). This latest version of Slackware updates the requisite packages that you'd expect in a Linux distribution. Though still 2.4.x kernel based it does have a testing branch that runs on the 2.6.x kernel.
Based on:
The initial Slackware distribution was based on SLS, but quickly became a distribution in its own right, becoming the progenitor for many other distributions.
Kernel: 2.4.x (includes 2.6.x in /testing)
Window Manager: includes both GNOME (default) and KDE (optional)
Package Manager: Slackware package management (slackpkg)
Installer: text based
Update: slackpkg
Architectures: i486
Download: http://www.slackware.com/getslack/
Last Reviewed:
Linspire Current Version: 4.5
Release Date: December 2003
Web Site: http://www.linspire.com/
Description: The Linspire (formerly known as Lindows) distribution is focused on being an easy to use desktop Linux distribution. It's original name was the subject of contention with Microsoft and was involved in numerous legal disputes with them, which have now been settled.
Based On:
Debian GNU/Linux
Kernel: 2.4.x
Window Manager: KDE
Package Manager: DEB
Installer: GUI- Linspire graphical installer
Update: CNR
Architectures: i386
Download: http://info.linspire.com/lindowslive/p2p.html
Last Reviewed: http://www.linuxplanet.com/linuxplanet/reviews/5546/1/
Xandros Current Version: 2.5
Release Date: July 2004
Web Site: http://www.xandros.com
Description: Xandros is best known as an easy to use desktop Linux distribution. Its' tight integration with Codeweavers Crossover office suite allows it to run Microsoft Office applications as well as other MS-Windows applications seamlessly on the Linux desktop.
Based On:
Debian GNU/Linux and the now defunct Corel Linux.
Kernel: 2.4.x
Window Manager: KDE
Package Manager: DEB
Installer: GUI
Update: Xandros Network Update
Architectures: i386
Download: http://www.xandros.com/products/home/desktopoc/dsk_oc_download.html
Last Reviewed: http://www.linuxplanet.com/linuxplanet/reviews/4539/1/
TurboLinux Current Version: 10F
Release Date: May 2004
Web Site: www.turbolinux.com
Description: TurboLinux has become one of the more dominant Linux distributions in the Asia-Pacific region. It's latest release integrates a player that can stream Windows media as well as Real Player.
Based On
: 10 desktop. (originally was based on Red Hat <need to confirm>
Kernel: 2.6.x
Window Manager: KDE (default) and GNOME (optional)
Package Manager: RPM
Installer: GUI
Update: TurboUpdate
Architectures: i586
Download:
http://www.turbolinux.com/support/download/
Last Reviewed: <http://www.osnews.com/story.php?news_id=5128>
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