A conventional operating system causes users to run identical but redundant versions. Linux has a bit of something for different users, which are commonly known as Linux distributions. There are hundreds of Linux distributions for various uses such as gaming, education, software development, etc.
While most Linux distributions are similar, a few distributions have a unique user interface and different functionalities. These distributions offer more features than their Debian or Arch-based rivals, but only an experienced user should use them because of the steep learning curve that comes with them.
Let’s deviate from the usual stock distributions and explore the lesser-known operating systems that deserve a mention.
NixOS uses its own package manager known as the Nix package manager. It uses a unique approach to manage all packages within the system. It isolates all packets from each other so that there is no interaction between them.
This isolation-based approach is perfect for a user who likes to install different packages on their computer. You can install anything from the internet without worrying about the effects on other files on the device.
This approach also ensures reproducibility of the packages; if a package works on one machine, it will also work on another NixOS device. This allows you to go back to a previous version without any problems; this ensures that no package is in an inconsistent state during an upgrade.
Void Linux isn’t one of the fastest Linux distributions out there, but it’s undoubtedly one of the most stable. Like NixOS, Void rejects a pre-built Linux distribution because it was developed from scratch.
This operating system comes with its own XBPS package management system, which is useful for installing various packages on your computer. This unique package management system also gives you the ability to build a package from scratch.
XBPS-SRC is the XBPS package builder, which comes with a 2 clause BSD license. The XBPS package builder builds the software in containers via Linux namespaces, isolating processes and linking links (among other things).
invalid use run it as the init system and service supervisor. Runit is a practical and straightforward approach to initialize the system with reliable service supervision. This is another reason that makes Void suitable for power users. If you’re looking for a stable distro, Void Linux might be the one to fill that void.
Slackware is one of the oldest Linux distributions out there. While most Linux distributions have a GUI, Slackware primarily uses its command-line executions for each action. Slackware takes its inspiration from Softlanding Linux System, released in 1992.
Slackware strives to provide its users with a “UNIX-like” experience. This operating system includes updated versions of KDE and Xfce, as both desktop environments install their own capabilities as component packs rather than larger bundles.
This arrangement allows a user to easily remove unwanted software, making the management process a breeze. This groundbreaking feature in Slackware is one of the essential building blocks of the package installation systems available on modern Linux distributions.
Slackware has been the first choice for many advanced users for the past three decades, and you should give it a try if you want to enjoy the legacy of this software.
Gentoo gets its name from the fast-moving penguins of the South Pole. This name symbolizes the speedy performance Gentoo brings to the table. Gentoo comes with a highly configurable and fast software distribution system known as Portage.
This magical distribution system builds a custom script based on the user’s behavior. Portage uses this script to optimize the installed packages according to the preferences and hardware of the user.
The latest updates in Gentoo have brought stage downloads to a much larger pool of hardware, including amd64, x86, and ARM. This fast OS is relevant, especially if you have a slow machine and want some extra speed for free.
Clear Linux is not for a general user in the first place. Intel developed the distro for professionals specializing in IT, Artificial Intelligence and DevOps. Clear Linux is highly optimized for Intel platforms, which gives it extra speed and performance.
There is nothing typical about the package management system as such. Clear Linux Usage swapped, but the installation process is completely different from other package managers. This distro zeroes out all files on an individual level; in this way, it generates a new version of the operating system for every software modification on the system.
The latest update in Clear Linux brings the fanalyzer as the new security pass on the platform. Fanalyzer enables a new static analysis pass and associated alerts. This pass performs an exploration of paths through the code in hopes of detecting several common errors.
A few out-of-the-box features and a completely different user interface make Clear Linux an excellent choice for power users.
As the name suggests, Linux From Scratch allows you to build a personalized version of Linux “from scratch”. From the installation process, you have to use low-level commands for every action.
Linux From Scratch is very different from any other Linux distribution and comes with a pre-compiled set of code. This OS will guide you through the steps of building your OS while incorporating elements according to your need.
This operating system continues to be a great way to learn the core functionality of the Linux system, and it is undoubtedly not for the faint of heart.
Mastery of Linux Platforms for Power Users
These advanced Linux distributions offer unique functionality such as isolation-based package building and custom scripts based on user preferences. These features are hard to find on common Linux distributions, especially those based on more common distributions like Debian.
If you think you have the time and energy to invest in learning a good, unique distro, you should check out these distro options. The functionality varies by distro, but they promise to give you a much better understanding of the nuances of the Linux system.