Fedora based distributions: An overview
sundaram at redhat.com
Fri Sep 30 14:30:45 UTC 2005
There is a recent effort being made as part of the Fedora marketing team
to create a list of Fedora based distributions which includes the
project links, package listing, contact details etc classified into
several groups based on their functionality.
I had committed to sending a mail with my ideas on this a few meeting
back and you got it now. I would like to invite more volunteers to
participate on this effort and send in your feedback.f
The numbers game
The number of Linux distributions continue to explode in a phenomenal
rate. There are 345 active distributions at present not counting 64
discontinued efforts. A large number of them are however derivatives
based on other distributions, in particular Red Hat Linux/Fedora and
Debian. The ones that are build from scratch are much lower at 28.
Factoring in distributions that were originally based on some
distributions but have evolved into independent ones we can put the
numbers at approximately 35.
Fedora is the second highest base for a large number of distributions
right after Debian. There is a impressive 63 distributions based on
Fedora and 13 others based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux which itself is
based on Fedora. I havent counted Mandriva and others which are now far
apart from their lineage.
That puts the final count as 76.
Classification of Derivatives
There are a fair number of reasons to create new distributions and
derivatives help you reach there better if you choose a appropriate base
depending on the requirements. Some major categories include the following:
* Live CD's: These is potentially the biggest group and they provide
value as rescue cds, demonstrations and technology showcases etc
* Regional: These include GUI and docs in their native language, locale
information with potentially more utilities for input methods and
changes to accommodate hardware in that particular region
* Niche groups: New technology, product demonstrations etc that appeal
to a limit audience like terminal servers and low end hardware. These
might eventually evolve into a mainstream technology or product
* Package mix: Changes in default set of packages, branding and other
specific targets like games or edutainment software.
* Commercial offshoots: Productizing a distribution appeals to many
groups and for several different uncategorized reasons
Fedora as a project provides ample opportunity for such derivatives to
collaborate with each other and with Fedora itself. As an example, the
Live CD distributions can base themselves off Kadischi, Fedora's Live CD
generation tool and contribute towards improving it helping themselves
in the process.
Agenda items could include the following
* Contact and discuss areas and projects where we can have a win-win
* Provide templates for new project proposals and sub groups within
Fedora. Provide webspace, cvs access, mailing lists, bandwidth and
publicity for such projects wherever appropriate
* Make it easier to create derivatives and branding. Fedora potentially
benefits from being a base for different people to explore different areas
Let me know your thoughts
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