Linux – Forks, Distributions and Versions

When using Linux it’s important to understand that “Linux” is not a single Operating System. GNU/Linux is built buy using numerous different applications. Over the years technicians have customized the applications and feel that they prefer when using Linux and these have yielded Forks, Distributions and Versions of “Linux”

Note: This video contains “Eli’isms”. These are concepts that I was taught many years ago, and while I argue they are good way of explaining things, they may not match up with what “real” professionals say.


  • Forks are major branches of Linux such as Debian or Redhat.
  • When dealing with different Forks in Linux they may use different commands and instructions for simple tasks such as installing software. They may store configuration files in different default locations, and have a different folder structure.
  • Using Linux in a Fork you are not used to may require a steeper learning curve than wold be expected.


  • Distributions are specific packaging of a Linux Operating System within a Fork. Distribution creators build off of the Fork and add specific Shell’s or Default Applications.
  • Distributions of Debian include Ubuntu that’s used for standard Server and Desktop Systems, Kali that has been customized for Hacking, or Tails that has been configured for using with TOR.
  • Administrating Linux Distributions within a Fork should be relatively simple. Default locations and commands are generally the same, but specific applications may have to be installed separately.


  • Just like with Microsoft Windows Linux Distributions are updated with different versions and the new versions can be every bit as frustrating as Windows 8.
  • Example: Ubuntu switched to Unity as the default shell in 11.04, and then went to GNOME 3 for 18.04.
  • Specific Applications may require older versions of a Distribution.
  • You may want to use an older Distribution on older hardware due to resource usage.

1 Comment

Leave a Reply