Linux Leaders, Part II: Fedora and Red Hat Derivative Distros: Page 2

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Other Live Media derivatives are more focused. For example, the Network Security Toolkit is a collection of most of the applications listed in the list of Top 100 Network Tools. The Rocks Cluster Distribution is even more specialized, offering a clusters solution that is easy for beginners to use while containing enough advance features to satisfy an expert.


Fedora supports a large number of Asian derivatives. No doubt the main reason for these derivatives is the RHEL-based Asianux, an enterprise solution for Asian languages developed by Red Flag, the largest Chinese Linux distribution, Miracle Linux Corporation of Japan and Hancom Linux of South Korea.

Other Chinese derivatives include NeoShine, Linpus, and the community-based Magic. Other Asian localizations include the Korean Annyung and the Japanese Niigata. Most of these derivatives emphasize server installations, with Linpus making some effort to focus on netbooks, with MeeGo editions designed for regular desktops and touch screens.

Besides these Asian examples, localized Fedora derivatives include Bee (Algerian), Ojuba (Arabic), Linux XP (Russian), and Sulix (Hungarian). In contrast to the Asian localizations, these are focused largely on the desktop and the individual user, especially in education.

Hardware Specific Distributions

Another specialty for Fedora derivatives is mobile and other hardware platforms. For example, the Russian ASPLinux is designed not only for porting applications to and from Linux, but also for developers working with embedded systems.

At least three derivatives are concerned with Asterix -- AsteriskNow, Elastix, and trixbox. MythDora,as the name suggests, is designed for MythTV.

Userful Desktop, a Canadian derivative, is customized for running multiple terminals from a single computer, a feature popular in education and public institutions such as libraries. Another customized derivative is One Laptop Per Child (OLPC), whose efforts to empower children in developing countries was a popular cause a few years ago.

Almost as well-known as One Laptop Per Child -- at least in free software circles -- is Yellow Dog Linux. Based on Fedora and CentOS, Yellow Dog is one of the distributions of choice for running GNU/Linux on Apple computers.

Security and Servers

With Fedora's inclusion of SE Linux for security and RHEL's emphasis on the server, it is only natural that a healthy number of their derivatives emphasize these areas.

Many derivatives are designed for general use as networks, gateways and general servers. They include ClearOS, IDMS Linux, Openwall, and SME Server. Others, though, are more specialized. For instance, Startcom is designed for small to middle-sized servers, while Phayonne specializes in USB storage devices for servers and TFM Linux in assisting new administrators, such as you might find in a small business, who are still learning their job

Among security-based Fedora derivatives, EnGarde is probably the best-known and most popular. Not only does Engarde provide still another level of security-hardening, but its remote administration tools have the reputation of being easy to use.

Almost as well known as Engarde is K12Linux. Formerly known as the Linux Terminal Server Project (LTSP), K12Linux is designed to set up a terminal server for administering thin clients. Since this system can extend the lives of older, low-end computers, K12 is especially popular in schools, non-profits, and any other organization with limited funds.

Other security-based distributions include Endian Firewall and the forensic Live CD Honeywell.

Other Choices

Fedora's derivatives also include several miscellaneous distributions. Another unusual derivative is VortexBox. Originally designed to be a music server that can interact with Windows, VortexBox also supports DVD moving ripping.

Other miscellaneous derivatives include Fermi and Scientific Linux. Co-developed by Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), these are two related derivatives recompiled from RHEL for scientific work by specific organizations. Scientific Linux includes a number of non-standard filesystems, such as Cluster Suite, GFS, FUSE, and SquashFS, as well as enhanced wireless support, while Fermi is designed to set up a security-hardened version of Scientific Linux’s security-enhanced system quickly and easily.

This ecosystem of distributions may be smaller than Debian's, but it is still large enough to satisfy most users. The main differences are a relative lack of multimedia distributions among the Fedora derivatives, a greater emphasis on security in Fedora, and a difference in the emphasis of localizations -- where Debian is popular in Spanish and Portuguese-speaking countries, Fedora has the edge in Asian languages, especially Chinese.

As with Debian derivatives, if you can't find what you want among Fedora and its off-shoots, then you probably haven't looked hard enough. However, Fedora does have one definite advantage: if you really can't find what you need, you don't need to be an expert to create it yourself. That's a feature that might easily offset Debian's otherwise much greater influence.

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Tags: open source, Linux, Linux downloads, Fedora, Red Hat Enterprise Linux

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