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Open Source Operating System Kernel



See also




General - on Linux

The Linux Kernel



Distros - Distributions

(Section modified 2011-11-19)



Digital Forensics and Information Security Distros



10 Linux Distros for IT Managers

Linux, Open Source & Ubuntu: 10 Linux Distros Every IT Manager Should Know (eWeek 2011-11-07)

"The ability to customize Linux to run on various types of hardware and to suit specific user needs means there are more flavors of Linux-based operating systems available than Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. While administrators generally stick with the well-known ones, such as Canonical's Ubuntu, Attachmate's SUSE and Red Hat Enterprise Linux for their servers and desktops, they are beginning to see other flavors sneaking into the enterprise. A recent Dell KACE study1 found that IT departments are supporting more operating systems than the company standard because employees are increasingly using personal laptops and devices to access enterprise applications and resources. "No single device is used dramatically more than others, meaning that IT must be aware of a wide range of operating systems and devices that connect to their systems," Dell KACE researchers wrote in the report. Approximately 14 percent of personal laptops being used in the enterprise run a Linux distribution. In addition, 23 percent of personal tablets and over half of the personal smartphones in the enterprise run Android, according to the report. In this slide show, eWEEK lists some of the Linux-based operating systems and distributions that every IT manager should be familiar with."
  1 "Consumerization of IT: A Survey of IT Professionals"


Distro Description (eWeek) Intended For
Android "Based on the Linux kernel, Google's mobile operating system is gaining market share against Apple's iOS. With market share nearing 50 percent, IT staff are probably already supporting Android phones and tablets within the enterprise." mobile devices
Chrome OS "With Chromebooks publicly available, IT administrators have to think about how to support Google's Web-centric operating system. Chrome OS focuses on keeping all the data in cloud-based applications and uses a plug-in architecture for individual apps."  
CrunchBang "CrunchBang is a lightweight Debian-based operating system. IT departments are likely to see CrunchBang on hardware with limited resources. The Linux OS is designed to be fast and has a bare-bones desktop interface which makes it a viable alternative to running Ubuntu on netbooks."  
Lubuntu "Like CrunchBang, Lubuntu has low-resource system requirements and is designed primarily for netbooks, mobile devices and older PCs. Lubuntu is a variant of Canonical's Ubuntu operating system and uses the Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment (LXDE) desktop interface. Many users unhappy with the increasingly high system requirements in Ubuntu are switching to Lubuntu."  
CentOS "Based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, this popular community distribution is often used by administrators and developers who need to work with Red Hat, but don't need (or can't afford) the support contract. CentOS is close enough to be almost 100 percent compatible with third-party RHEL applications and has more in common with RHEL than Fedora, Red Hat's other community distribution. IT administrators may encounter CentOS running on servers within business units."  
Linux Mint "Linux Mint is picking up a lot of users disgruntled about Ubuntu's switch to the Unity desktop interface. Linux Mint is built around the familiar Gnome 2 desktop environment, with a few modifications to the launch menu and the software manager. Linux Mint uses both Ubuntu's package repository as well as its own. Administrators familiar with Gnome will have no trouble getting around Linux Mint."  
Fedora "While Red Hat still sponsors this distribution, Fedora has diverged from RHEL in that it focuses on cutting-edge software and technologies. Fedora was among the first to incorporate SELinux, PulseAudio, PackageKit, GRUB 2, Gnome 3 before other distributions and is popular among users and administrators who want to use the latest tools as soon as they are released."  
openSUSE "A community version of SUSE, this is a popular distribution using the KDE desktop environment. It feels the most familiar to Windows users, especially now that GNOME and Ubuntu have shifted away from the desktop look and has strong Microsoft Office support. It also uses "YaST," an entirely different package manager from Red Hat-based distributions which use "yum"and Debian/Ubuntu-based managers, which use "apt" to install new applications and libraries."  
Debian "One of the older distributions available, it is still popular as a server distribution among users who don't want to deal with all the extra features in Ubuntu Server. Debian requires administrators to be experienced with Linux and able to dig into the guts of the operating system."  
Oracle Linux "Organizations heavily invested in Oracle may choose to use Oracle Linux instead of RHEL in their environment. The "unbreakable" Linux distribution is essentially a re-skinned version of RHEL with a hardened kernel, with the only difference being its price tag."  





10 Custom Linux Distros for IT Admins


Linux, Open Source & Ubuntu: 10 Custom Linux Distros That Ease IT Administrators` Workload (eWeek, 2011-11-28)

"Ask any Linux aficionado, the platform's primary strength lies in its flexibility and versatility. While the most obvious example is how Google built the Android mobile operating system on top of the Linux kernel, there are many customized operating systems that are dedicated to specific types of hardware or platforms that have Linux at their core. Some distributions are also specifically designed to target certain types of users or to solve a very specific task. While the well-known ones, such as Canonical's Ubuntu, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SUSE and Mandriva are great server and desktop distributions and can probably handle most conceivable system administration tasks, some people just prefer having an operating system that does one thing and does it well. There are Linux flavors dedicated to multimedia editing, network monitoring, security testing, and basic system administration functions. Many of these are based on Debian or Ubuntu, but others have been built from scratch. For this slide show, eWEEK has found some interesting specialized Linux distributions that can make the IT administrators' day a little bit easier. "

Distro Description (eWeek) Based on Size
1 Asterisk

"Asterisk is an open-source voice-over-IP (VOIP) platform. With Asterisk, administrators can turn any computer into a communications server such as IP PBX systems, VOIP gateways and conference servers. Sponsored by Digium, the software appliance is available as AsteriskNOW and there are a number of vendors that sell Asterisk-based appliances."

2 Untangle Gateway Platform

"The Untangle Gateway Platform is a network gateway that provides multiple applications to secure the network, including anti-spam, content filtering, antivirus, anti-phishing, intrusion prevention, firewall, OpenVPN capabilities, router and Web cache software. Untangle is available as both a software platform as well as a hardware appliance with the software already pre-installed. "

(Size indications: 462 MB - untangle_902_x64.iso; ###)

3 Damn Vulnerable Linux

"The name is correct and a pretty accurate description of the product. As the distribution's Website clearly states, DVL "is everything a good Linux distribution isn't." The operating system has broken, ill-configured, outdated and exploitable software such as old versions of Apache and unpatched SSH software that would make the system vulnerable to attack. These factors make it an excellent training platform for software developers and security specialists who want to learn how to fix broken software and how to avoid building security flaws into their products."

4 Zeroshell

"Aimed at embedded systems such as routers and other networking hardware, Zeroshell provides network services such as load balancing and automatic management of encryption keys. The distribution can be installed on a server, run live from a CD or launched from a compact Flash image on a USB storage drive. The Web-based interface also allows administrators to handle failover of multiple Internet connections, set up a RADIUS server for secure authentication, create a wireless access point, define static or dynamic routing and run a HTTP proxy server." "Zeroshell is not based on an already existing distribution"

(Size indications: 172 MB; VMware applicance 1.0b16)

5 Vyatta

"Another networking distribution, Vyatta transforms standard x86 hardware into an enterprise-class router or firewall. The software is bundled with commonly used network interfaces and industry-standard routing protocols. The Debian-based distribution is available as both a free version as well as a paid one that includes maintenance, upgrades and support."

6 Astaro Security Gateway

"Astaro focuses on doing one thing well, and that's work as a firewall. The hardened operating system that is available on the company's line of open source unified threat management appliances can handle stateful packet inspection, content filtering, including antivirus and Web scanning, and application proxies. It can even serve as an IPsec-based VPN. Sophos acquired Astaro in May 2011."


7 Gparted Magic

(Parted Magic?)

We believe this is supposed to refer to what is called the Parted Magic distros.

"Administrators who like the Gparted Live CD may like this distribution, which handles a myriad of day-to-day system administration responsibilities. The customized distribution offers Gparted, which can create and resize partitions on the hard disk, Clonezilla, partition and disk cloning software similar to Norton Ghost, TrueCrypt, an on-the-fly disk encryption software and similar tools. Parted Magic runs on x86 hardware, can be launched from a live CD or installed on a USB drive." (- will show results for parted magic)

8 BackTrack Linux

"BackTrack Linux provides system administrators with security and forensic tools to examine the existing installation, determine the holes, and then lock it down. The dedicated penetration testing distribution allows administrators to try to crack the target system. It can be installed onto a server or run from a live DVD or a thumbdrive."

Our own - BackTrack in 30 Minutes (PDF, quick guide to get started)

(Size indications: ### ; 2.4 GB - BackTrack 4 R2)

9 Ubuntu Studio

"This Ubuntu-based distribution is designed to make multimedia editing, especially music and audio, easier. The specially configured kernel can easily handle resource-heavy image editing jobs in Gimp and the specific configuration of audio drivers transforms the desktop into a virtual recording studio. There are full audio, video and graphic production tools, as well as extensive format and codec support. "


"This Debian-based distribution delivers digital forensics tools that help IT administrators assess the damage to a network after a security breach. CAINE (Computer Aided INvestigative Environment) offers a complete forensic environment for the investigator by capturing images of a compromised system for analysis. The operating system includes TheSleuthKit, Autopsy Forensic Browser, steganography tools, and utilities for wiping hard drives. It is available as a Live DVD distribution."





Fast Facts on Linux

(Added 2012-03-17 - based on list at from 2010-02-10)

1. Linus Torvalds developed the Linux kernel while still a student at the University of Helsinki in 1991. History
2. Last year [2009], 75% of Linux code was developed by programmers working for corporations. Development
3. In December 2009, IBM announced a new mainframe system designed for Linux Mainframes
4. IBM chose Linux for what is expected to be the world's most powerful supercomputer. Sequoia, due in 2011
5. Linux powers 446f of the world's top 500 supercomputers. Supercomputers
6. Some 95% of the servers used by Hollywood's large animation studios are powered by Linux Movies
7. The first major film produced on Linux servers was 1997's Titanic Movies
8. Director James Cameron again chose Linux servers for box-office smash Avatar. Movies
9. Google runs its web servers on Linux. Web
10. GOOG has contributed about 1.1% of the code in the current Linux kernel. Development
11. Linux has a strong following in smartphones and other devices in the consumer electronics world. Mobile devices
12. Palm's WebOS, Google's Android and Nokia's Maemo smartphone operating systems are built on top of the Linux kernel. Mobile devices
13. TiVo uses a customized version of Linux for its appliances. Media
14. In 2009, Linux had 33.8% revenue marketshare of servers, compared to Microsoft's 7.3%. Servers
15. As of January 2010, Linux still only has a 1.02% marketshare within desktops. Desktops
16. Torvalds created Linux based on the GNU General Public License (GPL). Licensing
17. Torvalds wouldn't have written his own operating system if GNU had had a kernel at the time. History
18. The GNU Project then a lacked lacking drivers, daemons and a kernel. History
19. Under the GPL, any person or group distributing the Linux kernel must make the source code available to the recipient of the package. Licensing
20. Said Torvalds: "Making Linux GPL'd was definitely the best thing I ever did." Licensing
21. Torvalds failed to register the name "Linux" when he first started his open source ventures. Legal
22. In 1994, William Della Croce, Jr. filed for trademark in the U.S.and asked for royalties from Linux distributors. Legal
23. Torvalds and his lawyers won the battle for the Linux name in 1997. Legal
24. There are over 300 distributions of Linux actively deployed today. Use
25. Linux gained traction beyond the coder cult with 1993's Slackware distribution, which was easier for non-programmers to use. Use
26. The Debian distribution was one of the first truly community-oriented Linux coding projects. Use
27. Debian's code base remains the foundation for other distros such as Ubuntu, Knoppix and Xandros. Development
28. Debian v. 4.0's source code containes 283 million lines of code. Development
29. $7.37 billion: projected cost to produce that amount of code in a commercial environment. Development
30. The first commercially-produced, live-CD distribution of Linux was Yggdrasil, released in 1992. Distros
31. Red Hat was one of the first commercial Linux distributions to truly cater to the enterprise. Distros
32. Ubuntu was the first Linux distro to be offered by a major OEM (Dell) to desktop users. Distros
33. The Xandros distribution helped make the netbook craze possible when it was chosen by ASUS for the first iterations of the EeePC. Distros
34. Linux-based Apache wasn't named for Geronimo's tribe, it was called "a patchy server" for its cobbled-together source code. Apache
35. In 2002, The Register claimed Microsoft spent $421 million just to fight Linux. Legal
36. In 2003, the SCO Group earned enmity by claiming that IBM transferred UNIX code into Linux and asking for redress. Legal
37. The Indian state of Kerala made it mandatory for all of its high schools to run Linux on their computers. Use
38. The federal government of Brazil favors Linux operating systems over all others in its Pcs. Use
39. In 2009, Brazil carried out the largest thin-client deployment of Linux to date, with 350,000 nodes. Use
40. IDC projects that Linux support sales will top $1 billion by 2012. Use









Updated 2012-04-08