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Open Source Linux

Unusual, Obscure, and Useful Linux Distros 221

angry tapir writes "Most people will be familiar with some of the big names when it comes to Linux — distributions like Ubuntu, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Debian, and Mandriva. Most of the well-known Linux distros are designed to be used as general-purpose desktop operating systems or installed on servers. But beyond these distros are hundreds of others either designed to appeal to very specific audiences or to fulfill the somewhat niche needs of some users. We rounded up some of the most interesting Linux distributions that you might not have heard of."
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Unusual, Obscure, and Useful Linux Distros

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  • by w0mprat ( 1317953 ) on Thursday July 01, 2010 @02:40AM (#32753786)
    ... the live CD you have with you.
  • by Zombie Ryushu ( 803103 ) on Thursday July 01, 2010 @02:52AM (#32753824)

    These distros should become meta-packages for larger distros. You should not need to install a specialized OS because you need specialized applications or specialized configurations. The application developer would be better served working with the larger Linux community, to ensure that the usefulness of the given applications is compatible and availible across all distros and platforms. Linux should always have a diverse ecosystem, but Linux should also have a universality about it, that a given meta-configuration can be established to a given Linux with automatic dependency resolution.

  • by $RANDOMLUSER ( 804576 ) on Thursday July 01, 2010 @03:06AM (#32753880)
    Some of these, Parted Magic in particular, are just meant to be on a Live CD/DVD. Not all of the people who are going to use the Live CD are going to be full-time Linux users, or want to give up a partition for something they use once in a blue moon.
  • Re:Gaming distro? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Beelzebud ( 1361137 ) on Thursday July 01, 2010 @04:02AM (#32754050)
    Yeah I don't see that coming close to something a gamer would replace Windows with. Like it or not, Windows beats the pants off of Linux when it comes to gaming. I wish it weren't true, but it is.
  • Re:Gaming distro? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cbhacking ( 979169 ) <been_out_cruisin ... om ['hoo' in gap> on Thursday July 01, 2010 @04:28AM (#32754110) Homepage Journal

    A few of these are actually decent games - Wesnoth is well-designed and a lot of fun, as is Scorch3d even if it's not nearly so original - but there are a couple of major failings of that list. First of all, there's none of the big-name games, the ones that would be expected by any PC gamer looking to switch operating systems. Second, none of the games that I recognize are specific to Linux, meaning that they are not, in and of themselves, a reason to switch (at best, they are a reason not to avoid switching). Third, the list excludes a couple of very popular genres, like MMORPG (there actually are some for Linux) or even RPGs in general (plenty of those, and if usually not terribly "pretty" they are some of the best-designed Linux games out there). I realize that a LiveDVD has limited space and that games tend to be expensive in terms of install footprint, but they seem to have selected many of the "flashy" games instead of the quality ones. It's also worth pointing out that by including Wine they could add a ton of titles to that list, including some very popular Windows titles, assuming they could get redistribution rights.

  • by zmollusc ( 763634 ) on Thursday July 01, 2010 @04:30AM (#32754122)

    Curse you, mod point allocation bot! I need to mod parent 'eye-opening if, like me, you never considered how much work goes into a distro'.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 01, 2010 @04:54AM (#32754214)

    I just want a 64-bit distro that has working Flash and sound drivers. Even if I had to buy a specific sound card I'd be happy.

    Of course the first time I updated it would probably switch to some new sound driver which wouldn't work.....

    And then there's the issue of Adobe dropping support......

    I want to use Linux, I really do! But I need to get some work done, not spend all my time tracking down drivers and patches.

  • Re:You do it (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 01, 2010 @05:06AM (#32754268)

    What gives you the right to tell others what they should do?

    If someone wants to tell someone else that they should not make a carbon copy of Ubuntu but written entirely in Perl on a single line, that is THEIR business. NOT YOURS.

    The Recursion Fairy

  •     hehe. Thanks. :)

        Really, I hadn't thought it was so hard until I tried. I'm glad I did. It's something every really serious senior Linux admin should try at least once. Besides a very interesting understanding of how things work beyond "type this command, watch this happen", it taught me to respect my elders, and watch for mistakes that are made (like the patching chaos that is the Redhat/Debian/derivatives world).

        After that dive in, I pray to the Slackware god, since he does things pretty damned close to the way I like. There are several finer points that I could probably argue with Patrick about over beers sometime (assuming we're ever in the same place at the same time, and he'd accept a free drink or three). Not that the argument would get anywhere, but it would be a nice discussion, and a fun excuse to drink. Bah. Who needs excuses for that? :)

  • by mikael_j ( 106439 ) on Thursday July 01, 2010 @07:43AM (#32755152)

    I think the implication about the "Wannabe-Windows clones" was that there are a lot of "1337" Ubuntu users who go around preaching about how awesome Linux is even though they lack any in-depth knowledge of it, they just popped in a Live-CD and installed it using the GUI installer (which is pretty much just a matter of hitting Next until it's done).

    Now, I'll admit that back in the 90s I was a bit of a Open Source evangelist but at least I had some basic knowledge of *nix, these days I keep ending up in conversations with friends of mine who have never used a terminal emulator where they try to convince me of how awesome Ubuntu is (because it's Linux!) and even when I point out that my day job involves keeping a load-balanced Linux cluster running and that I have no Windows machines at home they will keep badgering me with teh awezoomnes of Ubuntu and telling me how I should move from FreeBSD, OS X, Debian and other distros to Ubuntu. Without trying to brag about my own skills it does feel a bit like a random recently converted christian of the protestant kind trying to convert a catholic bishop to his brand of christianity even though he himself knows little of the bible beyond "jesus and god good, satan bad"...

    These are the kind of users who almost exclusively run "Wannabe-Windows clones" and apply cargo-cult solutions to any problem they may have. I can understand the frustration with them.

  • Re:Needs a mirror? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 01, 2010 @09:28AM (#32756070)

    You're right, it was Steve.

  • Re:Gaming distro? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Thursday July 01, 2010 @11:10AM (#32757624) Homepage

    > Example please?

    You just provided it. This sort of nonsense is why people buy Apple products.

    HELL, Windows 7 doesn't even have out of the box support for simple stuff like ION. That was a nice shocker.

    Sure, it's cool if you can be satisfied with the very basic low level out of the box experience.
    In this case, the Internet TV options you alluded to are nice. Although they are not limited to
    MCE and are available on software that's not Windows only.

    OTOH, Windows in general has a nasty habit of failing in new and peculiar ways like the Netflix MCE
    plugin deciding to complain about how time is setup. As if the Netflix plugin needs to be remotely
    bothered or interested if my system clock is screwed up somehow.

    If you have any of your own media to speak of, XBMC is a much better application to use.

    > Now I can't tell you about HD-PVR, since my cable is analog,

          You better stock up on tuners. Analog has been killed by the man. It's time to get with the times.

    > is plug and play with most current TV Tuners if a throwback like you would know anything about that. Some of us
    actually use state of the art technology here. You don't. You're in no
    position to talk.

          This is the monopoly product. MOST really doesn't cut it.

          Microsoft should not be LAST to the party here or require
    some sort of 3rd party hack to use a device that was ultimately
    created to target the Windows user base.

    Although MCE isn't the best PVR product for Windows. Fixating on it is like
    going into a prize fight with both hands tied behind your back. Although it
    does nicely demonstrate the problem with being brand fixated on Windows. It
    takes a platform with the ultimate potential and flushes it.

    MythTV for all of it's faults is at least designed with the intent of viewing
    whatever you may have. In this respect, it is less cobble-ware than the
    Microsoft version of the same thing. That's terribly ironic.

    This sort of approach is probably why Mac users like Plex so much.

1 Mole = 007 Secret Agents