My Five Favorite Not-Usual Linux Distros - page 2
Red Hat, Arch Linux
ZoneMinderZoneMinder is for powering a home-built surveillance system. By doing it yourself you learn all the ins and outs of surveillance and monitoring, and can customize it exactly the way you want. For example, you might want a couple of night vision cameras here, some inexpensive black and white cameras there, full color elsewhere, and exactly as much disk storage as you want. It has a Web interface, supports X.10 automation protocols, montage views, extracting still images, pan, zoom, and tilt, disk quotas, and very many more features. It's real Linux so you get all the usual Linux networking, system administration, and security goodies.
Qimo 4 KidsQimo is a great XFCE customization designed to appeal to children. It has colorful, friendly artwork, and a batch of child-oriented applications such as TuxPaint, GCompris, Child's Play, and Laby. TuxPaint is great drawing and painting program. GCompris is a collection of games and activities that are fun, and teach kids how to use a mouse and keyboard. Child's Play is another great collection of games and activities. Laby is a labyrinth game that is also an introduction to programming. I have seen young children get drawn into Qimo in good ways; learning and stimulating their thinking.
System Rescue CDAt the risk of being a bore about it, I can't leave System Rescue CD off any distro list. This is my troubleshooting and fixit workhorse. Based on Gentoo it runs on both CD and USB stick, and is easy to customize if it doesn't include something you want. I have used it to rescue Linux, Mac, and Windows systems. It supports all major filesystems. You can reset Windows passwords, fix LVM volumes, run virus scans, copy data to a local or networked drive, troubleshoot and fix network problems, partition and format storage devices, and lots more. It's lightweight, stable, and won't cause video card drama or bog systems down.
Carla Schroder is the author of the Linux Cookbook and the Linux Networking Cookbook (O'Reilly Media), the upcoming "Book of Audacity" (NoStarch Press), a lifelong book lover, and the managing editor of Linux Planet and Linux Today.