There’s more than just Ubuntu out in the Linux universe. Maybe you’re satisfied with your current operating system, but are curious to see what else there is. Distributions (or distros for short) are operating systems built on top of the Linux kernel. Just like with Ubuntu’s live CD, there are many distributions that allow you to test out the operating system without allowing it to take over your hard drive. You can also run them in a virtual environment without having to leave your desktop by using Qemu, VirtualBox, or VMWare.
One great resource for learning about the different flavors of Linux and their features is DistroWatch.com. It has a large index of the different Linux distributions, as well as reviews, summaries, and comparisons between versions to get you started. The beauty of open source software is that you can even use and modify the code from other distributions to make your own. If you’ve got some spare time, Why not try a new distro today?
We hope you join us for our meeting in Berkeley at Bobby G’s Pizzeria. We meet on the second and fourth Sundays of each month.
“There’s more than just Ubuntu out in the Linux universe.”
Yes, I think so too! The distrowatch site lists a whole plethora of Linux distros; most of these distros including the more popular ones are NOT NECESSARILY offshoots of Ubuntu. Of particular interest to me among the non-Ubuntu distros are Debian, Crunchbang, Knoppix, and (surprisingly still) Puppy Linux.
Within the last month, Puppy Linux came out with updated 5.5 versions of Puppy Linux “Precise” (http://distrowatch.com/?newsid=07747 ), Puppy Linux “Slacko” (http://distrowatch.com/?newsid=07741 ), Puppy Linux “Wary” and Puppy Linux “Racy” (both of the latter: http://distrowatch.com/?newsid=07736 ). All these Puppy 5.5 versions are distro RELEASES as opposed to Beta-versions — a.k.a. Release “Candidates” — for distros such as Ubuntu 13.04 during the current pre-release hype in the Ubuntu universe. Puppy “Precise” retains access to the same repository software that Ubuntu 12.04 and its derivatives use and Puppy “Slacko” retains access to the same repository software that Slackware 14.0 and ITS derivatives use.
The Puppy Linux 5.5 versions that I find most applicable are “Wary” and “Racy” — and for older hardware in particular. I have one or two low-end Pentium III desktops that I wish to give to some Linux nooBs coming from the MS-Windows camp, and I just don’t think the installable distros Debian or Crunchbang would be best for them.
OTOH, I think that the Puppy “Wary” and/or Puppy “Racy” 5.5 releases would absolutely fit the bill for these nooBs and give their new-but-older PCs some great F/OSS performance!
I have been trying out Gentoo and Arch in virtualbox lately along with different versions of Debian and Ubuntu for development. I really enjoy working with other systems that are so well designed. Doing so without the inherent dangers of changing partitions and bootloaders makes the experience much more enjoyable.