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Hi Guys, I have been wondering, when is a distro a completely unique disto. For example, Red Hat and Debian are completely different distro's but you see derivatives such as ...
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  1. #1
    Just Joined! lonewolff's Avatar
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    General disto question


    Hi Guys,

    I have been wondering, when is a distro a completely unique disto.

    For example, Red Hat and Debian are completely different distro's but you see derivatives such as Ubuntu (Debian based), Raspbian (also Debian based).

    What is it that separates the 'top level' (non derivated) distro's? And if someone was creating their own distro, at what point would it no longer be a derived distro (of Debian - for example) and become a completly unique (top level) one?

    I am interested on your thoughts on this

  2. #2
    Linux Engineer hazel's Avatar
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    Well, obviously it's a matter of timing. A father has to be older than his son. The great ancestral distros are the earliest ones: Slackware, Debian and Mandrake (now Mandriva). Red Hat is a Mandrake derivative. Slackware is derived from the extinct SLS, and Debian started as a reaction against SLS.

    Suse I think started as a cross between Slackware and Mandrake. Crux and Arch are independent foundations but, in general, the newer the distro, the more likely it is to be derived from something else. After all, why create a package management tool and repositories from scratch when there's already good stuff out there?

    If you did want to create something entirely new, the best way would probably be via Linux From Scratch.
    "I'm just a little old lady; don't try to dazzle me with jargon!"
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    Just Joined! lonewolff's Avatar
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    Thanks for the reply.

    Not really looking at makeing something entirely new. I was just more interested on what makes something entirely new and not just another derivative.

    So, if you follow the LFS tutorials have you then effectively created a brand new non-derived Linux distro?

  4. #4
    oz
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    Quote Originally Posted by lonewolff View Post
    So, if you follow the LFS tutorials have you then effectively created a brand new non-derived Linux distro?
    If you build a 'Linux From Scratch' system and then put your own tweaks into it, and you include your chosen package set, then you choose to name it and distribute it to others, that would be a new distribution. However, the system utilities, and general applications within it (other than those that you wrote yourself) would still have been derived from other sources.
    oz

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    Trusted Penguin Irithori's Avatar
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    About LFS: No, this will not be a brand new distro, as it is .. lfs "distro"

    But imho thatīs not the main point of lfs.
    lfs is a very good learning experience. After you build your own, you will have a fairly good understanding what is needed too run a linux and how components work together.
    You must always face the curtain with a bow.

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    Red Hat vs Mandrake

    Quote Originally Posted by hazel View Post
    Red Hat is a Mandrake derivative.
    Actually, no.
    Mandrake is a derivative of Red Hat 5.1

    Mycroft

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    Unfortunately, though you have a point, you got more of your details incorrect than correct. Yes, SLS was one of the very first, but Yggdrasil Linux/GNU/X, the first CD-ROM based Linux distribution, according to Wikipedia, and I tend to agree. SLS was in that timeframe, was not very good, so Slackware and SuSE were both attempts to fix poor SLS packaging, and Debian was created for the same reason, to provide a much more stable alternative to SLS, and later, to build a nice package management system.

    Red Hat and Caldera came along, wanting to build a business around Linux software. They collaborated to form RPM, or Red Hat Package Manager; both of them used that format. Early SuSE used .tgz packaging like Slackware, but later switched to RPM packaging, adopting the work done by Red Hat and Caldera because they, too, wanted to commercialize their work.

    Mandrake was comparatively late into the ballgame, coming in 3-5 years later than the others. I suggest you start at Linux distribution - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia for more information; that location has links to much more information. DistroWatch probably has a reasonable amount of detail too.

    Quote Originally Posted by hazel View Post
    Well, obviously it's a matter of timing. A father has to be older than his son. The great ancestral distros are the earliest ones: Slackware, Debian and Mandrake (now Mandriva). Red Hat is a Mandrake derivative. Slackware is derived from the extinct SLS, and Debian started as a reaction against SLS.

    Suse I think started as a cross between Slackware and Mandrake. Crux and Arch are independent foundations but, in general, the newer the distro, the more likely it is to be derived from something else. After all, why create a package management tool and repositories from scratch when there's already good stuff out there?

    If you did want to create something entirely new, the best way would probably be via Linux From Scratch.
    Brian Masinick
    masinick AT yahoo DOT com

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    Everything is derived!

    All Linux utilities and libraries are derived (or taken) from either the GNU licensed utilities and libraries or sometimes from a BSD-based utility or library. The Linux kernel itself, though heavily modified, and large parts of it completely rewritten more than once, is itself a derived kernel, bootstrapped originally from Minix, but not sharing code from Minix. In turn, Minix was an early UNIX-like system, as are all the BSD-based systems, which share a lot of stuff, but also have very unique and original works within them.

    So whether you confine the discussion to only Linux or you spread the discussion to a broader context, just about everything you see in what we loosely refer to as Linux has its conceptual ideas dating back to other works. Frankly, we can trace nearly all of the core ideas back to a 1960s operating system research project called MULTICS. It was awesome and far ahead of its time, and thus very expensive.

    When the project got cut, Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie worked together, snagging a DEC minicomputer not in use, cut down (castrated?) the MULTICS operating system, and therefore, being punsters, they called it UNIX (Eunuchs). BSD and Linux-based systems draw their roots from this history.

  9. #9
    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by masinick View Post
    All Linux utilities and libraries are derived (or taken) from either the GNU licensed utilities and libraries or sometimes from a BSD-based utility or library. The Linux kernel itself, though heavily modified, and large parts of it completely rewritten more than once, is itself a derived kernel, bootstrapped originally from Minix, but not sharing code from Minix. In turn, Minix was an early UNIX-like system, as are all the BSD-based systems, which share a lot of stuff, but also have very unique and original works within them.

    So whether you confine the discussion to only Linux or you spread the discussion to a broader context, just about everything you see in what we loosely refer to as Linux has its conceptual ideas dating back to other works. Frankly, we can trace nearly all of the core ideas back to a 1960s operating system research project called MULTICS. It was awesome and far ahead of its time, and thus very expensive.

    When the project got cut, Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie worked together, snagging a DEC minicomputer not in use, cut down (castrated?) the MULTICS operating system, and therefore, being punsters, they called it UNIX (Eunuchs). BSD and Linux-based systems draw their roots from this history.
    And the last time I saw a Multics system was at the US Geological Survey office in Menlo Park, CA. in the early 1980's... I sold them a bunch of IBM PC's with QNX for field data gathering because it had a K&R C compiler...
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

  10. #10
    Linux User zenwalker's Avatar
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    A fascinating discussion on the history of my only OS! Thanks lonewolff and hazel et al -- I did not know of the MULTICS : UNIX connection; and rubberman, you must be ancient!
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