Linux Distributions

Unix comes in many flavors usually called distributions. A Linux distribution (often called a distro for short) is an operating system made from a software collection, which is based upon the Linux kernel and, often, a package management system. Software is maintained ( patched ) by the distributor and is managed by an integrated package manager.

A typical Linux distribution comprises a Linux kernel, GNU tools and libraries, additional software, documentation, a window system (the most common being the X Window System), a window manager, and a desktop environment. Most of the included software is free and open-source software made available both as compiled binaries and in source code form, allowing modifications to the original software.

Linux distribution detection

Depending on the distribution used, there are distinct files that contain the distribution version. The /etc/redhat-release file contains the Red Hat version on most of the Red Hat and Red Hat derived systems. Debian and Ubuntu systems contain /etc/debian-version.

Note that Ubuntu was originally derived from Debian.

suhesh@server:~$ cat /etc/debian_version
jessie/sid

suhesh@server1 [~]# cat /etc/redhat-release
CentOS release 6.8 (Final)

The /etc/lsb-release file can be found on distributions that follow the Linux Standard
Base. Other variations to these files are /etc/slackware-version, /etc/SuSE-release,
/etc/gentoo-release and /etc/mandrake-release.

suhesh@linux:~$ cat /etc/lsb-release
DISTRIB_ID=Ubuntu
DISTRIB_RELEASE=14.04
DISTRIB_CODENAME=trusty
DISTRIB_DESCRIPTION="Ubuntu 14.04.2 LTS"

RedHat

Redhat has been a company since 1993. Red Hat has become associated to a large extent with its enterprise operating system Red Hat Enterprise Linux and with the acquisition of open-source enterprise middleware vendor JBoss. Red Hat also offers Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV), an enterprise virtualization product. Red Hat provides storage, operating system platforms, middleware, applications, management products, and support, training, and consulting services.
Official Site

Red Hat Linux

Red Hat Linux, assembled by the company Red Hat, was a widely used Linux distribution until its discontinuation in 2004.

Fedora

Fedora is an operating system based on the Linux kernel, developed by the community-supported Fedora Project and sponsored by Red Hat. Fedora contains software distributed under a free and open-source license and aims to be on the leading edge of such technologies.
Official site

Red Hat Enterprise Linux

Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) is a Linux distribution developed by Red Hat and targeted toward the commercial market. Red Hat Enterprise Linux is released in server versions for x86, x86-64, Itanium, PowerPC and IBM System z, and desktop versions for x86 and x86-64. All of the Red Hat’s official support and training, together with the Red Hat Certification Program, focuses on the Red Hat Enterprise Linux platform. Red Hat Enterprise Linux is often abbreviated to RHEL, although this is not an official designation.

CentOS

(abbreviated from Community Enterprise Operating System )
Linux distribution that attempts to provide a free, enterprise-class, community-supported computing platform which aims to be functionally compatible with its upstream source, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL).
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Ubuntu

Ubuntu is an open source software platform that runs everywhere from the smartphone, the tablet and the PC to the server and the cloud.
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Suse

SUSE Linux is a computer operating system. It is built on top of the open source Linux kernel and is distributed with system and application software from other open source projects.
Official site

Debian

Debian is a free operating system (OS) for your computer. An operating system is the set of basic programs and utilities that make your computer run. Debian provides more than a pure OS: it comes with over 43000 packages, pre-compiled software bundled up in a nice format for easy installation on your machine.
Official site

Mandriva

OpenMandriva Lx is an exciting free Desktop Operating System that aims to cater to and interest first time and advanced users alike. It has the breadth and depth of an advanced system but is designed to be simple and straightforward in use.
Official site

BSD Distributions

There are a number of Unix-like operating systems based on or descended from the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) series of Unix variants. The three most notable descendants in current use are FreeBSD, OpenBSD, and NetBSD, which are all derived from 386BSD and 4.4BSD-Lite, by various routes. The description applies most closely to FreeBSD, which accounts for an estimated 80% of the BSD installations, but the differences from NetBSD, OpenBSD and DragonFlyBSD are small.

DragonFly BSD

DragonFly BSD aims to be inherently easy to understand and develop for multi-processor infrastructures.
Official site

FreeBSD

FreeBSD is an operating system for a variety of platforms which focuses on features, speed, and stability. It is derived from BSD, the version of UNIX® developed at the University of California, Berkeley. FreeBSD offers advanced networking, performance, security and compatibility features today which are still missing in other operating systems, even some of the best commercial ones. FreeBSD makes an ideal Internet or Intranet server. It provides robust network services under the heaviest loads and uses memory efficiently to maintain good response times for thousands of simultaneous user processes.
Official Site

NetBSD

NetBSD is a free, fast, secure, and highly portable Unix-like Open Source operating system. It is available for a wide range of platforms, from large-scale servers and powerful desktop systems to handheld and embedded devices. Its clean design and advanced features make it excellent for use in both production and research environments, and the source code is freely available under a business-friendly license.
Official site

OpenBSD

The OpenBSD project produces a FREE, multi-platform 4.4BSD-based UNIX-like operating system. Our efforts emphasize portability, standardization, correctness, proactive security and integrated cryptography. As an example of the effect OpenBSD has, the popular OpenSSH software comes from OpenBSD.
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Mr. Suhesh KS is Linux System Administrator by profession with 11 Years of work experience in Linux system administration in web hosting, data center and data warehousing industry and have worked with reputed support companies. He has wide range of skills include team management, system administration ( Linux ), programming ( bash, perl, php, java ), web hosting, data center support, seo analysis.