From the most consumer focused distros like Ubuntu, Fedora, Mint or elementary OS to the more obscure, minimal and enterprise focused ones such as Slackware, Arch Linux or RHEL, I thought I've seen them all. Couldn't have been any further from the truth. Linux eco-system is very diverse. There's one for everyone. Let's discuss the weird and wacky world of niche Linux distros that represents the true diversity of open platforms.

strangest linux distros

Puppy Linux: An operating system which is about 1/10th the size of an average DVD quality movie rip, that's Puppy Linux for you. The OS is just 100 MB in size! And it can run from RAM making it unusually fast even in older PCs. You can even remove the boot medium after the operating system has started! Can it get any better than that? System requirements are bare minimum, most hardware are automatically detected, and it comes loaded with software catering to your basic needs. Experience Puppy Linux.

suicide linux

Suicide Linux: Did the name scare you? Well it should. 'Any time - any time - you type any remotely incorrect command, the interpreter creatively resolves it into rm -rf / and wipes your hard drive'. Simple as that. I really want to know the ones who are confident enough to risk their production machines with Suicide Linux. Warning: DO NOT try this on production machines! The whole thing is available in a neat DEB package if you're interested.

top 10 strangest linux distros

PapyrOS: "Strange" in a good way. PapyrOS is trying to adapt the material design language of Android into their brand new Linux distribution. Though the project is in early stages, it already looks very promising. The project page says the OS is 80% complete and one can expect the first Alpha release anytime soon. We did a small write up on PapyrOS when it was announced and by the looks of it, PapyrOS might even become a trend-setter of sorts. Follow the project on Google+ and contribute via BountySource if you're interested.

10 most unique linux distros

Qubes OSQubes is an open-source operating system designed to provide strong security using a Security by Compartmentalization approach. The assumption is that there can be no perfect, bug-free desktop environment. And by implementing a 'Security by Isolation' approach, Qubes Linux intends to remedy that. Qubes is based on Xen, the X Window System, and Linux, and can run most Linux applications and supports most Linux drivers. Qubes was selected as a finalist of Access Innovation Prize 2014 for Endpoint Security Solution.

top10 linux distros

Ubuntu Satanic EditionUbuntu SE is a Linux distribution based on Ubuntu. "It brings together the best of free software and free metal music" in one comprehensive package consisting of themes, wallpapers, and even some heavy-metal music sourced from talented new artists. Though the project doesn't look actively developed anymore, Ubuntu Satanic Edition is strange in every sense of that word. Ubuntu SE (Slightly NSFW).

10 strange linux distros

Tiny Core Linux: Puppy Linux not small enough? Try this. Tiny Core Linux is a 12 MB graphical Linux desktop! Yep, you read it right. One major caveat: It is not a complete desktop nor is all hardware completely supported. It represents only the core needed to boot into a very minimal X desktop typically with wired internet access. There is even a version without the GUI called Micro Core Linux which is just 9MB in size. Tiny Core Linux folks.

top 10 unique and special linux distros

NixOS: A very experienced-user focused Linux distribution with a unique approach to package and configuration management. In other distributions, actions such as upgrades can be dangerous. Upgrading a package can cause other packages to break, upgrading an entire system is much less reliable than reinstalling from scratch. And top of all that you can't safely test what the results of a configuration change will be, there's no "Undo" so to speak. In NixOS, the entire operating system is built by the Nix package manager from a description in a purely functional build language. This means that building a new configuration cannot overwrite previous configurations. Most of the other features follow this pattern. Nix stores all packages in isolation from each other. More about NixOS.

strangest linux distros

GoboLinux: This is another very unique Linux distro. What makes GoboLinux so different from the rest is its unique re-arrangement of the filesystem. It has its own subdirectory tree, where all of its files and programs are stored. GoboLinux does not have a package database because the filesystem is its database. In some ways, this sort of arrangement is similar to that seen in OS X. Get GoboLinux.

strangest linux distros

Hannah Montana Linux: Here is a Linux distro based on Kubuntu with a Hannah Montana themed boot screen, KDM, icon set, ksplash, plasma, color scheme, and wallpapers (I'm so sorry). Link. Project not active anymore.

RLSD LinuxAn extremely minimalistic, small, lightweight and security-hardened, text-based operating system built on Linux. "It's a unique distribution that provides a selection of console applications and home-grown security features which might appeal to hackers," developers claim. RLSD Linux.

Did we miss anything even stranger? Let us know.
Our list of 5 best video editors garnered much support from you readers, so much so that it is still trending as one of the most read article we've ever published. Now, we've a powerful new candidate which would easily make it into that list. Shotcut is a relatively new, free and open source, cross-platform video editor for Linux.

shotcut video editor linux

Shotcut Video Editor for Linux with 4K Support
From its humble beginnings several years ago, Shotcut is one of those apps that just kept on getting better with each new release, the latest version being 15.07 (denoting the month and year of the release). The biggest addition to Shotcut video editor for this new version is full 4K UHD support.
As the developer notes, "Shotcut has been able to do 4K for a while now if you made a custom video mode or correctly use automatic mode. However, there were a few things we wanted to do before making it official. First, you really need to be using a 64-bit build, and we delivered that for Windows in the previous release. For this release, we added 4K video modes to the Settings menu and extended our support for Blackmagic Design 4K SDI & HDMI devices".
Shotcut 15.07 also comes with 5 new audio and video filters. These new 'old film' video effects can be considered as toy filters. "The film grain effect does not try to emulate any real film stock, and the Technocolor filter does not try to faithfully reproduce the 20th century Technicolor processes. It merely intends to approximate the look.", writes Dan Dennedy in his blog post. The article goes on to further discuss about the other prominent changes & improvements to Shotcut in this new release. Full feature list can be found here.

Also, Shotcut video editor is multi-platform. Different packages for Linux, Windows and OS X are available. For Linux, officially supported distros include Mint 12+, Ubuntu 12.04+, Debian 7+, Fedora 15+, openSUSE 12+, Arch and Manjaro Linux. Downloads here. [thanks to my good friend and reader aashiks for tipping us]

India joins a new breed of nations that have come openly supporting open source software solutions as part of the declared state policy. The Government of India has adopted a comprehensive and supportive open source policy building on their earlier efforts to adopt open standards for procurement.

india adopts open source policy

India's Massive "Digital India" Program And The Role of Open Solutions
Government of India (GoI) is implementing a Digital India program as an umbrella program to 'prepare India for a knowledge based transformation into a digitally empowered society and a knowledge economy'. This require a major overhaul of hardware and software infrastructure. Many firms have already committed to the tune of US$ 71 billion towards the initiative. But to ensure efficiency, transparency and reliability of such services at affordable costs, open source solutions are as important.
"Organizations worldwide have adopted innovative alternative solutions in order to optimise costs by exploring avenues of “Open Source Software”. GoI has also been promoting the use of open source technologies in the eGovernance domain within the country to leverage economic & strategic beneifts." "Government of India shall endeavour to adopt Open Source Software in all e-Governance systems as a preferred option in comparison to Closed Source Software (CSS)."
The policy document titled "Policy on Adoption of Open Source Software for Government of India" put forwaded by its Ministry of Communication & Information Technology has 3 key objectives:
  • To provide a policy framework for rapid and effective adoption of OSS
  • To ensure strategic control in e-Governance applications and systems from a long-term perspective.
  • To reduce the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of projects.
A perfect summation of benefits I must admit. As stated in the document, it is not just about the cost-advantage. Open Source software solutions brings about qualities such as longevity and sustainability which can be very critical for massive initiatives such as Digital India. The government is currently working on creating an implementation mechanism for Open Source software that can be then replicated across the country.

Further reading at opensource.com. Full policy document PDF can be found here (PDF). Also read how Turin saved millions of Euros by becoming the first Italian city to adopt Ubuntu and Open Office.