The Strangest, Most Unique Linux Distros

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, openSUSE or RHEL, I thought I've seen them all.

Linux eco-system is extremely diverse. There's one for everyone, for every use-case imaginable. And then there are those which are straight up nonsensical. Let's discuss the weird and wacky world of niche Linux distros that represents the true diversity of open platforms.

Puppy Linux: An operating system which is about 1/10th the size of an average DVD quality movie, 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.

strangest linux distros

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: Did the name scare you? Well it should. 

suicide linux

Any time - any time - you type anything remotely incorrect into your command-line, the interpreter creatively resolves it into rm -rf / and wipes your hard drive. Simple as that. I'm pretty sure no one here is stupid enough to risk their production machines with Suicide Linux. But here's the official warning anyway: DO NOT try this on production machines! The whole thing is available in a neat DEB package if you're interested.

PapyrOS: "Strange" in a good way. 

top 10 strangest linux distros

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. 2019 Update: Project seems to have lost steam.

Qubes OSQubes is an open-source operating system designed to provide strong security using a Security by Compartmentalization approach. 

10 most unique linux distros

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.

Ubuntu Satanic EditionUbuntu SE is a Linux distribution based on Ubuntu.

top10 linux distros

"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. Project doesn't look actively developed anymore. Ubuntu SE (Slightly NSFW).

Tiny Core Linux: Puppy Linux not small enough? Look no further.

10 strange linux distros

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.

NixOS: A very experienced-user focused Linux distribution with a unique approach to package management. 

top 10 unique and special linux distros

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.

GoboLinux: This one has a unique file system hierarachy.

strangest linux distros

What makes GoboLinux so different from the rest is its unique re-arrangement of traditional Linux 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.

Hannah Montana Linux: lol WUT?

strangest linux distros

Exactly. This 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 in the comments.