This is not an all inclusive list by any means. Just a list of some of the common Alternate OSes out there.
If your favorite distro or OS is not listed please shoot me a private message and I'll add it.
- BSD -
- Derived from BSD, the version of UNIX(tm) developed at the University of California, Berkeley. Focus is on being a solid desktop and server OS.
- A FREE, multi-platform 4.4BSD-based UNIX-like operating system. Emphasizes portability, standardization, correctness, proactive security and integrated cryptography.
- NetBSD is a free, secure, and highly portable Unix-like Open Source operating system available for many platforms, from 64-bit Opteron machines and desktop systems to handheld and embedded devices.
- Fork of the FreeBSD 4.x line. Gives the BSD base an opportunity to grow in an entirely new direction from the one taken in the FreeBSD-5 series.
- live cd distro of FreeBSD 5.x.
- Project aimed at creating a complete, embedded firewall software package,based on FreeBSD, that provides all the important features of commercial firewall boxes (including ease of use) at a fraction of the price(free software).
- Derived from the m0n0wall operating system platform with goals such as using OpenBSD's ported Packet Filter, FreeBSD 6.1 ALTQ (HFSC) for excellent packet queueing and finally an integrated package management system for extending the environment with new features
- Its goal is to be an easy-to-install-and-use desktop operating system, based on FreeBSD. To accomplish this, it currently has a graphical installation, which will enable even UNIX novices to easily install and get it running
- Another FreeBSD based project intent on creating a simple to install and use unix OS.
- Linux -
- An Enterprise-class Linux Distribution derived from sources freely provided to the public by a prominent North American Enterprise Linux vendor (that'd be Red Hat Enterprise Linux for anyone that cares).
Damn Small Linux
- Business card size (50MB) Live CD Linux distribution. Despite its minuscule size it strives to have a functional and easy to use desktop.
- The Debian Project is an association of individuals who have made common cause to create a free operating system. This operating system is called Debian GNU/Linux, or simply Debian for short. Debian systems currently use the Linux kernel.
- Red Hat Linux now has two descendents, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and The Fedora Project. The Fedora Project is an openly-developed project designed by Red Hat, open for general participation, led by a meritocracy, following a set of project objectives.
- A Linux distribution geared towards developers and network professionals. Has an advanced package management system called Portage, that is a true ports system in the tradition of BSD ports.
- Based on Debian/sid (even XFree) - optimal for HD Installs.
- Live CD with a collection of GNU/Linux software, automatic hardware detection, and support for many graphics cards, sound cards, SCSI and USB devices and other peripherals.
- (Formerly Lindows)A full-featured operating system (based on Debian GNU/Linux) like Windows or Mac OSX. Linspire offers you the power, stability and cost-savings of Linux with the ease of a Windows environment.
Linux From Scratch
- Linux From Scratch (LFS) is a project that provides you with step-by-step instructions for building your own custom Linux system, entirely from source code.
- Formerly known as Mandrake. Specializes in ease-of-use for both servers and the home/office.
- A desktop Linux system that is also easy to configure as a dedicated server. It is designed for both personal and business purposes. It includes cutting-edge features such as a live/installation/recovery CD, automatic hardware configuration, NTFS partition resizing, ACPI power management, WiFi support, anti-aliased TrueType fonts, a personal firewall, KDE, and much more.
- Knoppix-based distribution features a host of tools for network security, low-level hardware tweaking, burn-in applications and distributed computing clients.
Red Hat (Enterprise) Linux
- It's Red Hat. Everyone knows what they do! Enterprise level Linux Distro.
- An advanced Linux operating system, designed with the twin goals of ease of use and stability as top priorities.
- SmoothWall is a family of Internet security products, designed to defend your users and your network from external attacks. SmoothWall Express is based on the Linux operating system.
- Bought by Novell. Enterprise and Professional level Linux distros.
- Designed from the ground-up specifically for enterprise computing. Specialized in international versions.
Trustix Secure Linux
- Targeted at companies, of all sizes, in need of a low footprint and high security server operating system. Trustix Secure Linux includes the open standards based SoftWare UPdater, SWUP, which keeps all software packages up-to-date, resolves library dependancies and integrates public key cryptography to ensure safety and security.
- Specializes in local language translations and accessibility for users.
- High performance operating system which has been carefully optimized for PC's with either i686 or higher processor types.
- Kororaa is essentially a binary install method for Gentoo Linux. The end system you will have is 100% Gentoo.
- Solaris -
- Proprietary Unix variant developed by Sun Microsystems. Early versions, based on BSD UNIX, were called SunOS. The shift to a System V code base in SunOS 5 was marked by changing the name to Solaris. Now free to download!
- Mac OS X -
- OS core of MacOS X. Yes there is a version for PCs! Based on mix of BSD and Mach.
- BeOS -
BeOS - A slick, well-crafted, user-friendly operating system designed from the ground up for performance. BeOS was made by a company called Be, Inc. Now defunct and Palm has bought the rights to BeOS. Can still download the Free 5.03 Personal version here
- It's an open source effort to first recreate and then extend a most excellent, once-commercially-supported, closed-source, media-oriented desktop computer operating system called the Be operating system (BeOS).
- Other OSes -
- Aims to be a complete, free, 100% MS-DOS compatible operating system (mostly achieved except Windows compatibility and some smaller issues.
- A true microkernel operating system, the QNX Neutrino RTOS offers advanced memory protection, distributed processing, symmetric multiprocessing, POSIX APIs, a dynamically upgradable architecture, and industry-leading realtime performance.
- Open Source effort to develop a quality operating system that is compatible with Microsoft Windows applications and drivers.
- An operating system written from scratch for x86 PC's. As required for a modern operating system, it supports features such as multiprocessor support (SMP), virtual memory, memory protection, multitasking and threading etc.
- The goal of V2_OS first started as making a stunningly fast operating system for video processing. Good for those interested in making their own OS. All written in 32bit ASM!
- Loosely based somewhat on previous versions of MINIX. MINIX 1 and 2 were teaching tools; MINIX 3 adds the new goal of being usable as a serious system on resource-limited and embedded computers and for applications requiring high reliability.
- Fork of AtheOS, goal is to create a reliable and easy to use open source OS for home and small office users.