Can you name these Linux distributions?

Slideshow - Can You Name these Linux Distributions? [cover]

Linux turns 25 in 2016!

Linux is turning 25 this year. Since its inception in 1991, what started as a "modest new OS" has ballooned into a juggernaut with 258 distributions. 

To celebrate Linix's big birthday, I have gathered together 25 pictorial representations of Linux distributions. Given a visual clue and a very brief description, how many of the Linux distributions represented here can you identify?


Distribution #1

A Linux built to run on a credit card sized computer that is often used for experimentation and special projects. This distribution is Debian-based, free and specifically optimized for the tiny, affordable system that it was designed for.


Distribution #2

Derived from and compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux, this distribution has been community-supported since 2004 and seeks to support several different user communities.


Distribution #3

Based on Debian and Ubuntu, this free, open source, popular and easy to use distribution strives to be elegant. It includes multi-media support out-of-the-box and includes some proprietary software as well as some applications that are free and open source.


Distribution #4

This specialized Linux distribution was specifically built for penetration testing and delivered with a serious arsenal of tools, but is no longer being maintained.


Distribution #5

Based on Xubuntu, this Linux distribution was built to support home theaters and media centers. It was designed to connect to HDTV for digital media and the internet and comes pre-loaded with applications for listening to music and both managing and viewing videos and photos.


Distribution #6

This distribution comes with enhanced security based on isolation. Virtualization is provided through Xen and user environments can be based on a number of OSes, including Fedora, Debian, Whonix and even Microsoft Windows.


Distribution #7

This Knoppix-based Linux distribution fit in under 128 MB (earlier versions fit in 64 MB). It could boot from CD or flash drive and could run entirely in memory. It was discontinued in 2005.

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Distribution #8

Initiated in 1998, this Japanese Linux distribution has out-of-the-box Kanji support for most applications. It has been a fork of Red Hat since 2004.


Distribution #9

This Linux distribution is a modified version of Ubuntu and is used only in West Virginia -- in fact, only in a single university's computer science department. Its name is an acronym and incudes the words "optimized Ubuntu." The department that maintains it also includes software and scripts that it uses to manage its classes.


Distribution #10

This distribution is a live OS that can be started from DVD, USB stick or SD card. It focuses on maintaining privacy and anonymity. It is built on Debian.


Distribution #11

This distribution serves as a personal firewall and was designed to protect personal and educational networks. Its hardware requirements are very modest, but it provides the kind of performance and uptime that is expected from a production system. It is licensed for personal and educational use and is free.


Distribution #12

This disribution is a Fermilab sponsored project. Its primary user base is within the high energy and high intensity physics community. However, labs and universities around the world (and sometimes beyond it) also make use of it to help with their scientific computing needs.


Distribution #13

This distribution derives from a security hardened Gentoo and is a stable and fast OS that runs entirely in RAM. Its massive image loads into tmpfs on booting, but once booted, it runs fast and strives to guarantee zero information loss.


Distribution #14

This multi-purpose Linux distribution is based on Debian's "unstable" branch and includes tools from siduction, Grml and Linux Mint. Various "flavors" are released, but without version numbers associated with them. One very special edition offers a choice of 53 different window managers.


Distribution #15

This distribution is developed by a world-wide team of programmers (thousands of them). It provides a unique package management system which builds each package and module as it is being installed. Installers select their options while each module is being built, resulting in a very easily customized system.


Distribution #16

This distribution is co-developed in China and Japan with some involvement from South Korea, Vietnam and Thailand. It is designed to be the foundation of numerous distributions with distinct features for each user community or country.


Distribution #17

This lightweight distribution is built on top of the latest Ubuntu LTS release and features the Moksha Desktop. It aims to be a minimal distribution, providing only the clearly essential tools (e.g., file and browsers, a terminal window), allowing users to add only what they want and need.

This distribution is derived from Ubuntu.


Distribution #18

This French Linux distribution appartenant à la famille Slackware. Sorry, that should be "derives from Slackware." It was built from source from the Linux From Scratch project that allows developers to more fully understand the internal workings of Linux. Its name is meant to be something of a pun.


Distribution #19

This lightweight distribution features a custom-built desktop environment called "Mezzo" which was written in Perl and Gtk2. The result is an unusual and appealing desktop and a focus on simplicity and ease of use.


Distribution #20

This community-supported distribution follows the KISS principle ("keep it simple, stupid") and focuses on elegance, minimalism and simplicity. It includes a unique package manager called "pacman" that doesn't have an official graphical interface. Instead, it encourages users to be competent on the command line.


Distribution #21

This distribution is regarded as a mini-distribution. It was built to facilitate installing Unity Linux on older systems and to provide a limited Linux installation when only the most basic tools are needed. It is often used with the Openbox window manager.


Distribution #22

This distribution is intended for high-performance computing on multi-core processor computer architectures. It was first released in 1999 but was then only built for Apple Macintosh systems.

This distribution is based on Red Hat Enterprise and CentOS and uses the RPM package manager. Software includes lots of highly useful applications such as Ekiga for videoconferencing, GIMP (graphics editor), Gnash (flash player) and OpenOffice. It also provides lots of tools for software developers.


Distribution #23

This distribution is intended for mobile phones and is a competitor to iOS and Android. It is derived from Ubuntu and can be thought of "Ubuntu for phones."


Distribution #24

This distribution is a Debian-based Linux operating system in development by Valve Corporation and designed to be the primary operating system for its video game consoles -- the Steam Machines. It was initially released in late 2013.


Distribution #25

This distribution is intended for high-performance computing clusters. It was originally based on RedHat, but then moved to CentOS. It was originally funded by an NFS grant. It includes many tools which are not part of CentOS, but are important components for working in a cluster environment.


The Answers

Some of these distributions were easier to guess than others, but if you are a real Linux enthusiast, you were likely able to ID at least a few of these, if not most. How many did you guess correctly?

And want to know just how much of a Linux nerd you are? Like any good magazine quiz, we have the results on the next slide.


How well did you do?

If you did well on this little quiz, you must really get around in the Linux world! There are a LOT more Linux distributions out there than most of us ever have an opportunity or inclination to try.

If you're new to Linux, you might be surprised by how many distributions of Unix have come into being in the last 25 years -- and how many have a special focus. Keep in mind that, in this slideshow, we've looked at a little less than 10% of the Linux distributions that have been built by more than 10,000 devoted developers.

So, Linux nerds, what is your favorite distribution?