What about the unknown Linux distros?

linuxmixPractically the entire planet has heard of Ubuntu due to it’s colossal marketing machine, free CD’s, huge online community and related user blogs. Not to mention the now renamed DiggBuntu, which used to be the Digg Linux section. Ubuntu has topped the charts at Distrowatch since it’s release, closely followed by the likes of the other Top 10 distros like Debian (the father of Ubuntu), Mint, Fedora, Suse, Mandriva et al.

But what about all the other distros that haven’t made it to Distrowatch yet?

I visit Distrowatch everyday, and also have an RSS feed here at Total Linux listing the latest releases, and only recently did I see the long waiting list of new projects who are hoping that a spot on Distrowatch will launch them to ÜberStardom, or even ÜbuStardom 😉

Check out the waiting list below, you never know, you may find a hidden little gem of a distro that hasn’t got the backing of the likes of Canonical or Novell, so remains unknown. (Take into account that the list goes back to 2004 and some projects have been discontinued)

(List courtesy of Distrowatch.Com)

The current list of to-be-included distributions:


14 thoughts on “What about the unknown Linux distros?

  1. One problem with these “me too” distros is that they're typically the work of a single Linux hobbyist who doesn't have the resources to maintain a complete OS, much less an entire repository of Linux apps tested with that distro. Case in point: I just randomly clicked on some of the above links in your listing above. The third link I clicked on was for “Lin-X”. It leads to a page from the ISP notifying that the account has been suspended, and the account holder needs to contact his ISP as soon as possible. If people really want to get involved with developing a Linux distro, they should get involved with Debian. It's a reputable organization that is not controlled by any corporate entity, has one of the largest dev bases of any distro, and can put your services to good use in furthering a distro that is definitely thriving, much less not going to disappear overnight.

  2. @jg
    True, they could just “try” and help out at Debian, although the Debian devs are notoriously political and do tend to bicker rather than getting things done. No getting away from it that Debian is the Daddy though, unfortunately still not attractive as it could be for budding devs.
    If new distros hadn't been tried, Debian wouldn't have begat Ubuntu, Mint, Dreamlinux, Crunchbang and a few other decent Debian based distros.
    I have distro-tested everything on Distrowatch, and am surprised that the likes of Dyne:Bolic, Berry…………. and Arch aren't further up the list.
    With Arch Linux it's understandable as it is a rolling release, and unlike Ubuntu, does not announce every Alpha, Beta and RC stage until a 6-monthly new release cycle.
    Hence the reason Ubuntu is always at the top, and Arch is far lower than it would be on a “merit-based” list as opposed to a “how-many-clicks” based list

    I think that having so much to choose from is good, although certain scripts and tools now allow everybody and his/her mother to quickly knock-up a respin.

  3. Quote: “No getting away from it that Debian is the Daddy though.”

    Red Hat contributes about 18% of code to the kernel. Compare that with Debian (less than 1%) or Ubuntu (less than 0.1%!). Don't get me wrong, I've been a Debian user too, for a few years, on servers and on desktops. What finally convinced me to change the distro was the tone of the Debian admins and users. So, after years of using Slackware, I'm a happy CentOS user. Conservative like Debian. Rock-solid. And seven years LTS.

  4. “I think that having so much to choose from is good, although certain scripts and tools now allow everybody and his/her mother to quickly knock-up a respin.”

    Ya, I knocked together my own Ubuntu, not for publishing, but for my own use. Apps that I wanted, setup the way I wanted, etc.

  5. Debian's lack of success and Ubuntu's success are not related. Debian users like to see it so because it lets them off the hook. Debian's problems are within. blaming Canonical, Ubuntu or Shuttleworth will make Debian better or attract users.
    Debian does not attract users because of how it presents itself which is that it is for geeks and ideologues, Ubuntu attracts users because it presents itself as for average users. There are more people interested in using their computers and few interested in playing politics and getting immersed in the commandline. Debian users divert much of their energy towards trying tell others what to say or think instead of actually being what they purport to be about. They come across as Nazis instead of freedom advocates.

  6. I actually partly agree with LinuxCanuck on that one. Most high-profile Linux devs have been at it for years, and become complacent over their position and authority on what is good for a distro. BSD and Debian devs are pretty well known for their political beliefs and inside bickering. Whereas Ubuntu devs are quite open to suggestions if it will benefit the masses.
    When I said that Debian is the “Daddy” it refers to one of the oldest distros with the most worldwide devs contributing to a single project. The percentage of what is contributed to the kernel is a moot point when you think of what Debian has contributed over the years to Linux as a whole.
    Debian currently has the most derivatives and forks, Ubuntu being one of them.
    I am not a Debian fanboi, although I do run a Debian-based distro, however, you have to recognise the importance of Debian in Linux.
    Also, compared to other distros, Canonical has spent far more on advertising and other free services to promote Ubuntu than other distros. You only have to have seen the Adsense ads on practically every Linux site over the last 4 years to see Ubuntu everywhere. Coupled with Radio, Newspaper and TV interviews by Mark and Jono, this equates to a huge marketing machine.
    Whats more, the whole marketing style of “Ubuntu”, I am because we are etc, the psychology which makes users suddenly want to publicize Ubuntu for free, is also a part of the marketing machine, whether Ubuntu users want to admit it or not. They are all being cleverly controlled to provide free marketing via their own personal blogs and by contributing to DiggBuntu.
    No other distro has used marketing psychology to this effect, not Debian, not Suse nor Mandriva. It's not all by chance, but cleverly calculated.
    Mark and Canonical are businessmen, no matter what the beliefs of the Linux community.

    Just to add, I think that what Canonical/Ubuntu has done, has actually been of benefit to Linux as a whole.

  7. Thanks for the list. Part of the real beauty of Linux lies in its diversity and flexibility. Any Linux distribution that works well and makes someone's life a little better is a success. The Linux community needs to define success by the quality of its operating systems and software, and not by the quantity of users.

  8. Please let those one-man-and-his-dog fly-by-night Linux distros languish where they are: in oblivion. They add nothing but noise.

  9. Man that's a long list! I agree with most of the comments here, but…

    I happen to be one of those one-man-and-his-dog people! Yes, I have dog! I've been working on a custom distro for months now. It uses the Dreamlinux distro as a base, which is Debian based. I haven't been a Debian person for too long. Was on openSUSE for a bit, and Redhat / Fedora before that, and several others in between…with Caldera being my first Linux distro, many moons ago. I hate the Debian politics, and the fact that they are slow to update apps in the repos. However, Dreamlinux has taught me to live with it. 🙂

    For my distro, I am bringing Window Maker back…well not that it ever left, but you know what I mean. My distro is called DreamStep (DREAMlinux based with a nextSTEP look). I started with AfterStep and quickly moved to Window Maker. Even though I am a one man show, I don't feel like a one man show. I get help from a couple of Window Maker people and support from the ENTIRE Dreamlinux team. So, to me, it is a group effort. I am not one of those add-a-few-apps-and-respin guys. I'm building an actual distro. I don't see DreamStep being on DistroWatch any time soon, but don't count me out just yet…

    For those that might be interested: http://www.dreamstep.org

  10. Hi acecaulkOreme,
    Our chosen Linux support forum is the Linux-Hardcore which is populated by a team of dedicated, knowledgeable Linux users from various other major Linux forums.
    To become a moderator on any Linux forum you just need to put in work and get your self seen, then in general the forum staff will come to you.

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