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Started out as the S.u.S.E. distribution in 1992 as a Slackware derivative with German language support. By 1996, S.u.S.E Linux 4.2 was known as a uniquely different and viable Linux distribution (4.2 is associated with "42" for those who know the question). In version 6.3, SuSE (no more dots) was arguably the first to ship reiserfs (beta), the first viable journaled filesystem for Linux distributions. SuSE was purchased by Novell in late 2003 and handles the enterprise derivations. Novell spun off openSUSE as a community supported version of SUSE in 2005. YaST (Yet another System Tool), a tool designed to similar to a "Control Panel" application, is one of this distribution's most valued features. It is also considered by many to be one of the best KDE centered distributions (although the enterprise versions favor Gnome).

Considered to be the first "easy to use/install" Linux distribution, Red Hat first appeared as a new fledgling distribution in 1994. Red Hat Software becomes a company in 1995. Red Hat WAS one of the most copied distributions and was distributed in thousands of retail stores by many different companies. Red Hat now focuses on their enterprise versions and in 2003 the Fedora Project was formed as a community supported distribution originally meant to feed new ideas into Red Hat's enterprise distribution. Red Hat is well known for creating the "rpm" package format.

Ubuntu is a fork from the Debian project. Relatively new, their first release was in 2004. Ubuntu is sponsored by Canonical Ltd. a company owned by Mark Shuttleworth whose made a fortune though the monopolization of SSL certificates at Thawte. Ubuntu is best known for establishing a large community of new Linux distribution users. It is considered by many to be the best and easiest to use community supported Linux distribution. Ubuntu is often forked into specialized custom Linux distributions because the project has made documentation and tools for creating their distribution widely available. Ubuntu is known for not being as "pure" with regards to "free software" vs. Debian. With that said, it is often considered as a better alternative to other "impure" distributions such as openSUSE or Mandriva.

Originally based on Red Hat 5.1 in 1998 and known as Mandrake Linux, this rpm based Linux distribution became known for its ease of use and aesthetic appeal. In 2005, MandrakeSoft acquired Connectiva and thus Mandriva was born. Mandriva is well known for its Mandriva Control Center and urpmi package manager. Mandriva comes in commercial enterprise versions for both a desktop and a server similar to Novell.

Debian was announced in 1993 by Ian Murdock, and the first stable release was made in 1996. The development is carried out by a team of volunteers guided by a project leader and three foundational documents. New distributions are updated continually and the next candidate is released after a time-based freeze. As one of the earliest distributions in Linux's history, from the beginning, Debain has drawn the attention and support of the Free Software Foundation. The Debian community has enjoyed a thriving and active history and continues to be one of the most active and best supported.

The Slackware Linux operating system is a powerful platform for Intel-based computers. It is designed to be stable, secure, and functional as both a high-end server and powerful workstation. Originally developed by Linus Torvalds in 1991,the UNIX®-like Linux operating system now benefits from the contributions of millions of users and developers around the world. Slackware Linux provides new and experienced users alike with a fully-featured system, equipped to serve in any capacity from desktop workstation to machine-room server. Web, ftp, and email servers are ready to go out of the box, as are a wide selection of popular desktop environments. A full range of development tools, editors, and current libraries is included for users who wish to develop or compile additional software.

Page last modified on July 22, 2014, at 10:35 AM