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This Coronavirus (Covid-19) has been spreading all over the world and forcing people to remain in their homes in fear of reaching them. At the first few days, one will be happy to stay in home after long continuous months of work, but you’ll probably get bored after the first week.

Luckily, there are many activities and things to do with Linux and the open source world if you are bored. The most entertaining one could be trying “special” Linux distributions in the wild in order to see what they offer.

To help you spend your time during the quarantine, we’ve prepared a list of 7 unusual Linux distributions that you can have fun with. We’e also added URLs to online in-browser testing pages so that you can try them before you actually download them to your PC. Enjoy!

Sabayon Linux

7 Unusual Linux Distributions To Try While Quarantined 29

A famous meme exists that Arch users are Arch users because they couldn’t set up Gentoo. If you were one of those people, then you would love to hear about Sabayon; Which is a Gentoo-based Linux distribution made for beginners and new users.

Unlike its parent distro, it comes with a graphical desktop environment and an installer, and tries its best to be ready out-of-the-box for the activities of most users, such as gaming or multimedia. Sabayon also follows a rolling-release model, and provides server and cloud images, if you need them.

You can try Sabayon online, or download it from its official website.

SliTaz

7 Unusual Linux Distributions To Try While Quarantined 31

SliTaz is a minimal Linux distribution that comes in a size of 40MB. It can be used either as a graphical desktop or a command line server distribution. Thanks to its package manager, Tazpkg, it can be customized and extended easily in order to make it contain more software and redistributed again later. It is an independent Linux distribution.

It provides you with a “persistent mode” that will keep your changes on your USB stick even if you reboot your system later or plug the USB to another machine.

Try SliTaz online now, or download it from its website.

Android x86

7 Unusual Linux Distributions To Try While Quarantined 33

Did you know that you can use the android system on your desktop/laptop PCs too? That’s right, thanks to the android x86 project, you can use the ISO images they provide to boot and install android on your machine. They port each new android version to the x86 architecture (desktop/laptop arch) as soon as possible, and have been doing that for many years now.

There can be many reasons on why you would want to have android on your PC. Such as using some android applications that you may need in your work or any other reason. You can install it inside a virtual machine too and launch it whenever you need it.

Try android x86 online now, or learn more about it from its official website. Additionally, here are some resources about the project from our side:

Install Android 8.1 Oreo on Linux To Run Apps & Games

Overview on Android x86 Project & Call to Help

KaOS

7 Unusual Linux Distributions To Try While Quarantined 35

An independent Linux distribution that uses the KDE desktop. KaOS follows the rolling-release model in providing all the latest KDE Plasma desktop packages to its users. And as its developers say, they do not intended to have a large user base or support other desktops. Instead, they want to focus on the KDE desktop and its quality instead of quantity.

That’s why – although they have some fairly large package repositories – are still limited comparing to other Linux distributions’ repositories in what they provide. They also support the pacman package manager, so you can get some packages from Arch if you shall ever need.

Try it online now, or learn more about KaOS from its website.

Tiny Core

7 Unusual Linux Distributions To Try While Quarantined 37

One of the smallest Linux distributions ever; As it only ships with a Linux kernel, small utilities and booting scripts and a minimalist graphical desktop, which is why it is only 12MB in terms of size.

Tiny Core is a modular distribution for advanced users, it can be extended after installation with many additional modules and rebuilt again to be used with the new set of modules whenever needed. The basic version doesn’t come with WiFi drivers or a web browser, but you can use the “CorePlus” version of it, which does come with WiFI drivers (no browser, though, but you can install it later).

Try Tiny Core or head to downloading it.

NixOS

7 Unusual Linux Distributions To Try While Quarantined 39

NixOS is one of the most special Linux distributions you may hear about it. It comes with its own package manager “Nix” which is an extremely powerful package manager that allows you to have many advanced features; Such as installing multiple versions of the same package side by side, rolling back the upgrades you did, atomic upgrades, multi-users support (Each user having their own profile of packages) and much much more. It comes with its own filesystem hierarchy (E.g no /usr or /bin) in order to provide you with the features above.

NixOS is an independent Linux distribution, and comes with the KDE desktop by default. You can install its package manager “Nix” individually on your own Linux distribution if you want.

Try NixOS online now, or read more about it.

Qubes OS

The latest unique distribution in our list is Qubes OS, which uses a unique system design architecture that tries to isolate all applications from each other as much as possible in order to maximize security and minimize the data being shared between them. Qubes OS simply creates a virtual machine inside your OS for each application or set of applications of the same type in order to guarantee that they are isolated from each other. To do that, it utilizes Xen virtualization technology.

7 Unusual Linux Distributions To Try While Quarantined 41
Architecture of the Qubes OS system, image via official website.

Based on Fedora and recommeded by Edward Snowden and many other famous computer science figures, Qubes OS is considered to be one of the most secure operating systems in the world.

Try Qubes OS online now, or read more about it from its official website.


So you’ve reached the end of our list, but the fun doesn’t end here! There are many other distributions that you can try if you want on DistroTest.net, and you can learn more about these distributions from DistroWatch.com.

If you have any other recommendations or ways to spend to quarantine with the Linux world while setting in your home, we would love to hear them in the comments below.

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Mehmet Özel

Computer engineer, most of my time is with servers and the rest is with various Linux/BSD distributions on the desktop. Currently writing about Linux and open source for the FOSS Post. I work with a local IT company in Istanbul - Turkey.

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啾咪的阿网IgnisDaRobertKeithNew Recent comment authors
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Black Picard
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Black Picard

A very interesting selection…
Many thanks for an informative post, Mehmet!
Is Sabayon “reliable” for daily use in an SMB (small/medium business) environment?
I’m mainly using MX-Linux but I’ve been playing around with Ubuntu MATE & Kubuntu (18.4.4) live usb. Not bad at all, but I worry about getting bit by a systemd glitch.
Anywho, cheers!
A very informative blog…bookmarked!! 😉

M.Hanny Sabbagh
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M.Hanny Sabbagh

Sabayon is reliable, and they have a MATE version too if you want, but I wouldn’t compare it to Ubuntu or Mint, as these ones are much more supported and have larger ready software repositories with everything finished out-of-the-box.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

epii
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epii

I get your reservations but systemd, whether we like it or not, will eventually predominate. You could spend your quarantine getting up to speed on it!

Kingof9x
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Kingof9x

Or you could just get into Gentoo. You have plenty of time to figure it out and wait for everything to compile.

M.Hanny Sabbagh
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M.Hanny Sabbagh

Unlikely to figure it though, even with months in lockdown 😛

stephane rolland
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stephane rolland

If I may add one important detail, the very unusual thing about Nixos, which is due to Nix, is that you manage your entire configuration in a text file. This is a game changer. This text file is extremely readable once you are at ease with the Nix language. Once used to it, it is difficult to ever think about going back to all manually managed Linuxes. The only reason I have seen for those who gave up: those who are not ok with the Nix Language, and I admit that the learning curve is steep. One must go slowly… Read more »

New
Guest
New

It’s not a helpful blog . Every one know that about those os

Keith
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Keith

no i did not know of any of these OSs

Robert
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Robert

Just a short note, Great article, for me Linux has always been Love at first try. End of story.

IgnisDa
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IgnisDa

There is also a suicide linux which executes a sudo rm – rf * as soon as you enter a wrong command, which, by the way we do a lot.

啾咪的阿网
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啾咪的阿网

In fact, I personally think that a suitable for their own linux distribution is the need to try their own, but your article written very well, I can learn like you?