Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
A lot of people have heard of GNU/Linux (more commonly referred to as just "Linux") and are having trouble finding out what the differences are between different versions -- or distributions -- that are available. This article will outline the differences between several popular GNU/Linux distributions and similar operating systems.
What Is GNU/Linux?
GNU/Linux is a modular operating system that looks and acts like a more intelligently programmed, up-to-date Unix. The term itself -- GNU/Linux -- is extremely vague and doesn't exist in the literal sense. You don't go to the store and buy GNU/Linux; instead you buy a software distribution (or distro for short) that uses GNU/Linux as its basis. So while you can't buy "Linux" at the store, you can buy SUSE Linux or Linspire.
Distributions can fundamentally differ in several ways: