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View Full Version : How many Linux distros, I wonder?



Zarkoth
November 7th, 2005, 07:52 AM
You know, I recently did a research paper in English III, and as I'm still relatively new to Linux and also very excited about the whole subject, I had to do my paper about it ;). I was going to make a point about how many different Linux distributions there were, and that there's one out there for everybody...or at least there seems to be. But I could not, for the life of me, find out how many there actually are. Has anyone else embarked on this noble and rather hopeless quest? I know this may be an impossible question...but it's certainly a fun thing to occupy the time.

Anyone got a ballpark or anything?

panickedthumb
November 7th, 2005, 07:58 AM
oh dear lord.

I don't even think it's possible to tell how many there are.

there are 386 on distrowatch, but I guarantee that's not all of them.

Moonbuzz
November 7th, 2005, 08:23 AM
There are several hundreds of them. ballpark estimation puts it at about 400. And there are new ones all the time.

You can find better help with these links:
http://old.lwn.net/Distributions/index.php3
http://distrowatch.com/dwres.php?resource=independence
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux_distribution
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Linux_distributions

Also, you may wish to concentrate on the major ones. The reason being is that most distros are usually based on one of the major releases, i.e. Debian, Red Hat/Fedora, Slackware and Gentoo. Since sometimes it gets to a point where you can just take a distro, modify it a bit and release, you get a lot of distros like that, for instance, just yesterday I read about 3 or 4 new distros based on Open SUSE of all things. And there's a distro based on MEPIS which is based on Knoppix which is based on Debian... And so on. A lot of distros are there to supply an answer for a specific need.

BWF89
November 7th, 2005, 07:56 PM
A lot of distros are there to supply an answer for a specific need.
Yes, alot of the distros are like "Jims Linux distro". Someone just took a linux distro, left in what the needed for a certain project, took the rest out, and than use it. Then they release the distro onto the internet incase someone who has the same needs doesn't have to do all the work they did.

I think theres around 2,000 distros.

Stormy Eyes
November 7th, 2005, 08:16 PM
Anyone got a ballpark or anything?

69 thousand, give or take 69.

earobinson
November 7th, 2005, 08:20 PM
you cant count, since you are not forced to tell anyone when you make a distro.

you can count how many mainstream distros there are using something like distrowatch. I would say that there is less than 50 mainstream distros.

and if there is a distro for everyone is debatable.

majikstreet
November 7th, 2005, 09:40 PM
that's funny... 386 on distrowatch... 386- you get it? Like the architecture? hehe haha.

welsh_spud
November 7th, 2005, 11:14 PM
386. It took me a while but I got it in the end! Well spoted.

When writting about all the different types of distros, you may want to point out that are some negative points. For example, with coutless distros, comes coutless file formats. RPM, deb, e-builds, TGZ, etc

Brunellus
November 7th, 2005, 11:17 PM
386. It took me a while but I got it in the end! Well spoted.

When writting about all the different types of distros, you may want to point out that are some negative points. For example, with coutless distros, comes coutless file formats. RPM, deb, e-builds, TGZ, etc
...and of course, the usual workarounds: building from source, statically-linked binary packages, or AutoPackage.