Fedora: How many Fedora-based distros are there?

I noticed the creation of a new Fedora mailing list today when Rahul Sundaram sent out the first post on it... a mailing list for Fedora Remixers.

That made me wonder just how many Linux distributions there are that are Fedora-based. I did a quick search and found a Fedora wiki page that says, "There are roughly over a hundred distributions based on Fedora." Then it links to a distrowatch.com search page that shows 41 distributions that are "Fedora based".

I decided to take a brief look at those 41 distros to see how many were still active and if they were actually based on Fedora. I do not consider CentOS / RHEL derived distributions to be strictly "Fedora-based".

What do I consider active? Given Fedora's rapid release cycle and their somewhat brief support cycle, any distro that hasn't released in a year or more, isn't very active. Here's a brief summary of my findings:

ADIOS Linux Boot CD, last release 2006-05-04

AnNyung LInux, last release 2007/03/19

ASPLinux, last release 2008-12-12

AsteriskNOW, last release 2009-04-02 (really CentOS-based)

Bee Linux, last release 2009/01/05

Berry Linux, last release 2010-03-17 [still alive!]

BLAG, last release 2008-07-22

Boston University Linux, last release 2006-08-23 (really RHEL)

CentOS, really RHEL-based

ClearOS, really CentOS-based

Ekaaty Linux, last released 2009-05-14 [still alive! Brazil]

Elastix, really CentOS-based

EnGarde Secure Linux, last release 2008-12-10

Fedora, sure... Fedora is Fedora-based.

Fusion Linux, awaiting first official release

Honeywall CDROM, 2008/04/24

IDMS Linux, 2009/05/31

K12Linux, last release 2009-02-04 (fedorahosted project)

Kororaa Linux, last release 2010-12-25 [still alive!]

Linpus Linux, last release 2007-12-25 (commercial and

Linux XP, 2009-11-09 (seems to be RHEL-based now)

Magic Linux, last release 2010-05-18 [still alive, Chinese,
appears CentOS-based]

MythDora, last release 2010-04-17 [still alive]

Network Security Toolkit, last release 2010-10-07 [still

Niigata Linux, last release 2007/10/09

O-Net, last release 2008/09/15

Ojuba, last release 2010-08-06 [still alive!]

One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) [Now SoaS respin]

Openwall GNU/*/Linux (highly custom, not really Fedora-based)

Phayoune Secure Linux, last release 2008/01/03 (really Linux
From Scratch?)

Red Flag Linux, last release 2009-01-08

Red Hat Enterprise Linux, A given

Rocks Cluster Distribution, last release 2010-11-11 (really

SME Server, last release 2010-08-21 (really CentOS-based)

SuliX, last release 2004-12-16

TFM Linux, last release 2010/06/11 [still alive!]

trixbox, last release 2009-03-27 (really CentOS-based)

Userful Desktop, last release 2008/08/11 (commercial, more
Ubuntu now)

VortexBox, last release 2010-12-30 [still alive!]

Xange, last release 2010/10/08 [still alive!]

Yellow Dog Linux, last release 2009-06-30 (really CentOS-based)

One that was left out is named Omega.

Information Summary

It appears that there are only 11 or 12 active distributions that are truly based on Fedora. Many of those are targeted at non-English speakers... and created prior to the late-2008 release of new, much easier to use, remix / rebuild tools.

Perhaps some of the listed distros are just lagging behind and may have updated releases in the coming months / year. Another possibility is that not everyone is doing a good job of keeping their info updated on distrowatch.com although I did visit most all of the official distribution sites and distrowatch's dates seem to be quite accurate.

Given the fact that Fedora is so easy to create a remix of, I'd also guess that there are a number of people like myself... who periodically create their own personal remix... but who don't go so far as to register it with distrowatch.com.

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let's see here....

You say that you don't consider "CentOS / RHEL derived distributions to be strictly "Fedora-based"."

later, you say that RHEL is fedora based.

if RHEL is fedora based, then anything based on fedora would also ultimately be able to be fedora based as well.

Here's something to consider though. RHEL, it could be argued isn't exactly "fedora based".

RHEL cherrypicks fedora but does not take it wholesale as a drop in base.

To some, that may be splitting hairs, because quite a bit is cherrypicked from fedora, however, there is quite a bit that is not and the RHEL team does a lot of it's own coding and development beyond fedora.

In the same vein, it is akin to saying that every ubuntu based distro is really debian based.

Scott Dowdle's picture

Fedora and RHEL

RHEL is Fedora-based but it is was typically based on every third release of Fedora... lagging one or two releases behind at release time. With RHEL6 that changed significantly.

Yes, RHEL is a subset of Fedora... and the two are quite different in some ways... while being very similar in others. They are more alike shortly after a RHEL release and more different as time passes.

I'm sure I'm not telling you anything you don't already know.

Forgive my ignorance on the specific differences between Ubuntu and Debian... but my concept is that so far as what software is available for them in their official repositories... Ubuntu and Debian are more closely related that Fedora and CentOS. It's sort of an apples and oranges comparison so don't fret if you disagree. :)

If you compare repositories...

... then RHEL is even closer to Fedora than Ubuntu is to Debian. Both RHEL and Ubuntu only ship a small subset of what is available in Fedora or Debian, but Fedora and EPEL contain a higher percentage than Ubuntu with all it's (official) repos. And if you look at the media, it's even more obvious: The Fedora DVD and the RHEL DVD have nearly the same package selection.

Nathaniel's picture

Nathaniel Homier

It always boggles my mind how many Distros there are.

Linus got inside my head!

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