Linux Distributions

What is it?
Linus Torvalds developed the Linux kernel as an open source operating system alternative and distributed its first version, 0.01, in 1991. Linux was initially distributed as source code only, and later as a pair of downloadable floppy disk images – one bootable and containing the Linux kernel itself, and the other with a set of GNU utilities and tools for setting up a file system. Since the installation procedure was complicated, especially in the face of growing amounts of available software, distributions were created on various media to simplify the installation process. Sine Nomine Associates offers a Debian for system z media service.

What does it include?
A Linux distribution (often abbreviated as distro) is an operating system made from a software collection, which is based upon the Linux kernel and, often, a package management system. A Linux distribution may also be described as a particular assortment of application and utility software (various GNU tools and libraries, for example), packaged together with the Linux kernel in such a way that its capabilities meet the needs of many users. The software is usually adapted to the distribution and then packaged into software packages by the distribution's maintainers. Beside glue components, such as the distribution installers (for example, Debian-Installer and Anaconda) or the package management systems, there are only very few packages that are originally written from the ground up by the maintainers of a Linux distribution.

What does it do?
A Linux distribution provides users with a convenient way to install the Linux operating system on their computer. Thousands of versions of Linux are in use, several hundred official Linux distributions exist, many of those in active development. Distributions have taken a wide variety of forms, including those suitable for use on desktops, servers, laptops, netbooks, mobile phones and tablets, as well as minimal environments typically for use in embedded systems. There are commercially backed distributions, such as Fedora (Red Hat), openSUSE (SUSE) and Ubuntu (Canonical Ltd.), and entirely community-driven distributions, such as Debian, Slackware, Gentoo and Arch Linux. Most distributions come ready to use and pre-compiled for a specific instruction set, while some distributions (such as Gentoo) are distributed mostly in source code form and compiled locally during installation.

Target Audience
Linux can be customized for a specific purpose for example versions exist for scientific fields and others are optimized for use on specific hardware. Sine Nomine offers a version of the popular CentOS Linux that is specialized for use on IBM mainframe computers named CentOS
Operating systems make the computer useful to users by providing programming to communicate with the computer’s internal hardware and external devices. Features of each operating system while generically the same for the basic functions; can be quite specific in other areas.
Each distribution has certain prerequisite requirements regarding installation and configuration.

Delivery and Installation
Each distribution has unique delivery and installation procedures that the end user will need to review prior to selecting the version they plan to install. In most cases today a distribution is contained in an image file with the file extension of .iso as used in CD or DVD creation.

Commercial version pricing typically varies based on the number of computers the distribution will be installed on. This can take the form of the number of processors, virtual machines, IFL’s or our preferred per drawer method. Open source versions are often downloaded or a small fee is paid for packaging the file on a CD, DVD or USB memory stick.   

Where Can You Find Out More?
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