Current Linux distros that are actually innovative?

Discussion in 'all things UNIX' started by Gullible Jones, Oct 20, 2014.

  1. Gullible Jones

    Gullible Jones Registered Member

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    Linux distros have always differed mostly on initscripts and package management; and now that everyone is switching to systemd, we can mostly write off the initscripts differences. Which distributions currently out there are actually doing something new and different? Of those, which ones are actually usable?

    e.g.

    Non-POSIX filesystem hierarchies. I know about Gobo and NixOS. Haven't tried Gobo; tried NixOS and the installer did not create a bootable system, so no go.

    Unusual package management. Let's see:
    - Void Linux: http://www.voidlinux.eu/ with combined binary/source packaging similar to Arch Linux
    - Funtoo Linux: http://www.funtoo.org/ with source-based packaging managed by Git
    - Lunar Linux: http://www.lunar-linux.org/ source-based packaging that isn't Portage, though the "history is irrelevant" statement in the About page certainly does not inspire confidence...
    - NixOS, again...

    New configuration languages and/or built-in configuration management. Because there are always servers and they always need configuration:
    - NixOS, not sure what else.

    Nonstandard toolchains. Because glibc binaries are too huge:
    - Alpine: http://alpinelinux.org/ Uses musl libc, and ships prepackaged GrSecurity kernels!
    - Li'lBlue Linux: https://wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/Project:Hardened_uClibc/Lilblue Not really a separate distro, but a hardened Gentoo desktop prebuilt against uclibc. Even so, that sets it apart.

    Any others people know about? Note that I'm not counting innovative desktop setups, since those can be configured on any distro with X11.
     
  2. inka

    inka Registered Member

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    google search "wheezy puppy porteus" and check out the DebianDog innovations

    visit porteus.org and check out the USM cross-distro package handler

    install "antiX GNU/Linux" and checkout their innovations surrounding live+persistence

    Wait... based on your list, I guess you weren't looking into "desktop" -oriented distros.
    You mentioned Alpine. Is it, in your opinion, "actually usable"? (From where I sit, it is not)

    Another (I haven't tested) interesting project is Whonix+Qubes (hypervisor and a diet coke, and a side order of fries)

    Also, although I haven't been able to wrap my head around it... www.gobolinux.org probably deserves a mention here.

    Hmmm, considering the contents of your list, this page might be of interest to you: http://wiki.musl-libc.org/wiki/Projects_using_musl
     
  3. Gullible Jones

    Gullible Jones Registered Member

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    @inka, the Musl libc projects page is indeed of interest. Thank you!
     
  4. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

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    New stuff does not necessarily mean innovative.
    Mrk
     
  5. NGRhodes

    NGRhodes Registered Member

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    Yes, though innovative is introducing something new that does something in a new way, does not mean everything new is innovative.
     
  6. chrisretusn

    chrisretusn Registered Member

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    Not everyone.
     
  7. Veeshush

    Veeshush Registered Member

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  8. deBoetie

    deBoetie Registered Member

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    If it qualifies for you, certainly Qubes, and my experience of R2 is solid. I'd love to switch at some stage to this way of working. As inka said, adding new app vms such as Whonix will be a fun project...

    I'd also second the reference to Puppy Linux, which, although not necessarily exactly innovative, does put together a very practical pendrive experience that I use in real life. There's an awful lot to like in the way they've done this, and the ability to have encrypted user partitions, persistence and the separation of the kernel plus loading into RAM is good. One thing I particularly like is a trick I use to be able to get updates for the distro and persist (which is done at the end of the session), then, for normal browsing sessions, to have removed the pendrive so that there is only ram there.

    I think I'd agree that something that routinely included something of the kind of grsecurity/Pax/Apparmor with working profiles for common apps would be marvellous. The way things stand is that Android will get to a secure standard Linux distro before the destktop (with their SElinux developments).
     
  9. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

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    I think RedHat and Fedora are the real innovators, tailed by SUSE.
    Mrk
     
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