19. Bodhi Linux
Bodhi puts the focus on user choice and minimalism. It uses the Enlightenment desktop environment and a "software store" that makes it easy to find and install the open source applications you want to use.
Developed in Cambodia (English is supported), MoonOS is based on Ubuntu, but has a different file hierarchy system and appshell framework. It's designed for speed, great looks and low memory use.
Debian-based MEPIS (also known as simplyMEPIS) is particularly popular with those new to Linux. It's available in free downloadable versions, or you can purchase a CD which makes trying or installing the software easy.
Sometimes written #!, CrunchBang is a lightweight distribution based on Debian. It's a popular option for netbooks like the Asus Eee.
Suitable for beginners, Knoppix is an easy-to-use distribution based on Debian. It runs from a live CD, and if you don't want to go to the trouble to burn your own (or you don't know how), you can buy one for less than two bucks.
This distro can be installed on your desktop or run easily from a USB drive. DreamLinux installs the Xfce desktop environment by default, but it also supports Gnome.
Owned by a publicly traded French company, Mandriva claims more than 3 million users worldwide. It's available in several editions, desktop and server, paid and unpaid, including a unique Instant On version that boots up with minimal functionality in less than 10 seconds.
Short for "Community ENTerprise Operating System," CentOS is based primarily on Red Hat code. It's the most popular version of Linux for Web servers, accounting for about 30 percent of Linux-based Web servers.
27. Scientific Linux
Created by the folks at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), as well as various scientists and universities, Scientific Linux (SL) aims to prevent scientists at each of these different institutions from having to recreate a Linux distribution that meets their needs. It's basically the same as Red Hat Enterprise Linux with a few slight modifications.
Fusion describes itself as a "pimp my ride" version of Fedora. It offers good multimedia support and an interesting look and feel. It's best for more advanced Linux users who are looking for cutting edge, experimental applications.
Instead of being built for end users, Unity is built to give developers or advanced Linux users some modular pieces they can use to create a customized distribution. Despite its name, it has nothing to do with the Unity desktop used by Ubuntu; instead, the Unity OS uses the OpenBox graphical environment.
In 2010, a group of Mandriva developers began this community-driven fork following some ownership changes at the company that owns the Mandriva project. It's currently in beta, but the first official release is due in a few weeks.
Originally based on Slackware and called "Minislack," ZenWalk has evolved to become a modern, fast, lightweight distribution that's easy to use. It's available in five versions: standard, core, live, Gnome and Openbox.
32. Vector Linux
VectorLinux's credo is "keep it simple, keep it small and let the end user decide what their operating system is going to be." In addition to the free download, it's also available in a supported "deluxe" edition.
Like Slackware, Frugalware is best for users who aren't afraid of the command line, although it does have some graphical tools. It's designed with simplicity in mind.
34. Salix OS
Salix compares itself to a bonsai tree in that it is "small, light and the product of infinite care." It comes in four different versions for the Xfce, LXDE, Fluxbox and KDE desktop environments.
Based on ArchLinux, Chakra uses the KDE desktop. It uses a unique "bundles" system to let users access Gtk apps without actually installing them on the system.
This Arch variant uses the Openbox Window Manager. It's fast and lightweight, and offers many of the same customization capabilities as Arch.