Technical Analysys of Linux Distributions Statistics and State of the Art

Linux, a Babylon of [*]nix delirium:
- More than 350 distributions, made in 51 different countries, collecting thousands of software projects.
- Customized for different hardware: workstations, laptops, servers, mainframes, network appliances, embedded devices, handhelds
- Tailored for multimedia stations, business desktops, system recovery, firewall, network probes, streaming stations...
- Provided in different forms: CD Roms, Floppy, Network Installation, USB and Flash cards.
- Compiled on different platforms: Intel compatible 32 bit (ix86) and 64 bit (ia64), PowerPC, sparc, alpha, motorola 68000, i390...

In this apparent chaos, there's still logic and order (much more than what you could expect):
- There are few major distro, from which others are derived: Debian, RedHat, Knoppix, Slackware, Mandrake, SUSE, Gentoo
- They use a common background of GNU and Open Source software and tools
- They share a Filesystem Hierarchy Standard
- [You can use, learn and know just one of them]
- And, most of all, they're always a Wonderful Unix KISS

Our focus on The Big Ones:

Distro Description Last Version Derivations
Debian "World Made" entirely developed by the community, purely free (as speech). 3.0r3 115
RedHat Made in USA. Commercial version: RedHat Enterprise Linux, free version: Fedora. RHEL 3.0/RedHat Desktop, Fedora 3 65
Knoppix Made in Germany. Free. Live CD. 3.6 46
SlackWare Made in USA. One of the first Linux distro. Free. 10.0 28
Mandrake Made in France. Free with restrictions. 10.1 11
Gentoo Made in USA. Free. Portage (sources) based. 2004.3 9
SUSE Made in Germany bought by Novell. Limited Free and Commercial editions. 9.2 5

Other well known distributions: TurboLinux, YellowDog, Conectiva, Linspire, Mepis, Xandros, Lycoris