GNU/Linux Distro Timeline 10.11

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  • Discontinued distros: nUbuntu
  • Continued: Edubuntu, gnuLinEx, Maemo (still supported)
  • Added 10 distros (total 310): 4M, antiX, Arch Hurd, Devil-Linux, Fusion, Linkat, NST, RIP, Webconverger, xPUD
  • Fixed: Moblin (first Debian-based, then Fedora)
  • Added connectors: Debian -> Aurora OS, Fedora -> Moblin, Fedora -> MeeGo
  • Contributors: Eleftherios Kosmas, Gerard Braad, Joel Krueger, Xavi Aranda
  • Removed Red Hat logo dependency
  • Works best with gnuclad 0.2.2

Explaining and observing

First the explaining …

Since there were several queries about the meaning and significance of the connector lines, especially concerning S.u.S.E/Jurix and Maemo+Moblin/Meego, here’s a small legend.

… and then some observing

Comparing the GLDT with the recently introduced BSDT further down, there has been a remarkable explosion of diversity in the early nineties – when internet access started to become ubiquitous.

Also, looking at the latest version of the GLDT, we can observe gradual shifts in forking activity, starting with Red Hat and moving to Debian, then Knoppix, with a burst of Slackware derivatives in 2004 and finally Ubuntu taking the lead particularly in 2007.

Another less joyous observation is how the Knoppix family tree is slowly thinning, with no new additions in recent years. While Knoppix itself releases regularly, a lot of its offspring seems to have been less lucky.

Gentoo on the other hand appears to have more stable derivatives, albeit similarly rare in recent years, yet the distribution itself may have lost quite a bit of momentum.

I conclude with the remark that while Fedora’s subtree of direct forks looks comparatively small, keep in mind that a lot of Red Hat based distros have switched to Fedora (and Red Hat itself too, actually), as seen by the large number of connectors in the full GLDT.

BSD timeline up for grabs

Playing around a bit I’ve decided to make a simple BSD timeline, including the 10 most popular distributions.
Here are the usual PNG, SVG and TAR.BZ2.
Since we don’t have any intention of maintaining it (i.e. adding lots of BSD derivatives), the timeline is up for grabs for those willing to extend and build upon. We will of course offer helpful tips and support.
So anyone can download it, alter it in any way they see fit and publish it wherever they want.
You can also just leave a comment lamenting about how the dark background is ugly.

On layouts and icons


We’re occasionally experimenting with various layouts, for example this one. Because of the orientation it obviously needs improvements on the overlapping labels, but the fat line option offers a nice graphical cue about a distro’s “fertility”. Comments invited!


It has been technically possible to use icons instead of those dots at each distro’s starting point for a while now, yet what is missing are the icons themselves.
This means: if you, dear visitor, by any chance happen to know about a collection of a few hundred distro icons in SVG or PNG, uniformly layouted, we’d be very obliged to have a share.
You can also hand in only a few* and the GLDT may start having icons as soon as there’s a substantial portion – somewhere around 200 would be awesome for now.

* The exact format, layout, dimensions, etc. can be fixed as soon as we have a large enough set with a common denominator.

One more thing

Help is always welcome: if you happen to know that nice, overlooked, historically interesting distro, go ahead and submit it!
We’re also grateful for any spotted errors (especially those exact start/stop/fork dates sometimes only known to the founding developers themselves), which you can report via the same form.

GNU/Linux distro timeline 10.7

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  • Added 10 distros (total 270): Canaima, Damn Vulnerable Linux, Lubuntu, Macpup, Openfiler, openmamba, SliTaz, SMS, Tiny SliTaz, QiLinux
  • Fixed: GoblinX renamed to Imagineos
  • Improved infobox: bigger Tux! (with GNU)
  • Improved logos: now using icon field instead of including external images
  • Contributors: Pascal Bellard, Gardouille, Jason Porter and Flamel Canto
  • Works best with gnuclad 0.2 (experimental)