Linux distribution - Open Source Software

Linux distribution, also known as Linux distro, is a Linux operating system plus application software comprising the Linux kernel, the GNU operating system, assorted free software, and sometimes proprietary software, all created by individuals, groups, or organizations from around the world.

If you want to give a famous example of free software and open source development you often mention Linux. There are currently hundreds of Linux projects and in this article we will describe five important ones. Regardless of these projects different directions, they all consist of the same core.


CentOS stand for Community ENTerprise Operating System and is a free available Linux distribution. It's based on RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux) and it strives to be 100 % compatible with it. As we said it's a totally free software but put together as ready distribution, for example CD or DVD, it's only made available to paying subscribers. The idea is that if you don't want to pay you're able to use the source code and create a version as similar to the original as possible, but of course without getting any assistance from Red Hat.


Ubuntu is a common developed, by the users, operating system for desktops, laptops and servers. It consists of every possible application you might need at work, school or at home. Everything from software as office- and e-mailing programs to web-server and programming tools are available. You have the possibility to download the software and share it with your friends and family or with your business partners and of course you can do so for free.


SuSe Linux is one of the largest Linux-distributors and it was founded in 1992 in Germany. The name SuSe is short for Software- und System-Entwicklung and its goal is to be user friendly and to be an easy accessible Linux distribution for beginners as well as technicians and for corporate use.


Debian GNU/Linux is a Linux distribution that uses the operative system core from Linux and basic tools from the GNU-project, hence the name Debian GNU/Linux. Debian separates itself from many other Linux distributions in the way that it's entirely community distributed and doesn't have a big company backing it up. This doesn't mean that it isn't used commercially, but it has bigger demands on being free than other distributors.


Red Hat is one of the most popular providers of Linux and open source technology. There is a reason for its popularity and the fact that it has been ranked as the best software three times. Red Hat is simply world-leading and they stand for quality open source technology and expert services. You could say that it's the mother of many other Linux distributions.

Written by Chris Reynolds


Chris Reynolds is a true hosting geek that was born in the city by the sea, Seattle, in the late 1970's. Growing up in a progressive community he quickly became interested in things of the more technical kind. In recent years his interest has progressed as well; namely into his line of profession. Keep your eyes open for any of his articles on topics such as Linux, PHP, CSS, and ASP.

Written 2008-02-18 (Updated 2016-10-10)
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