List of FOSS operating systems

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Operating Systems


  • Ubuntu
  • Ubuntu is a complete desktop Linux operating system, freely available with both community and professional support. The Ubuntu community, backed by Canonical, is built on the ideas enshrined in the Ubuntu Manifesto: that software should be available free of charge, that software tools should be usable by people in their local language and despite any disabilities, and that people should have the freedom to customise and alter their software in whatever way they see fit. Ubuntu was the first Linux variety that reached quite a large audience. It is very easy to install and use and a good choice for both beginners and people who just want a working system. You can read more and download ubuntu

  • Linux Mint
  • Linux Mint is a free and open source, community-driven operating system based on Debian and Ubuntu. It is similar to Ubuntu in that it is easy to use, however it includes pre-installed even further resources that are often needed for a fully working operating system, but which are not FOSS (for example Flash browser plugins and the codecs necessary to play mp3 files). However installing such non-free components is very simple in Ubuntu, too. Linux Mint is also a good choice for those who want a system similar to Ubuntu, but who are not happy with Ubuntu's Unity interface. Linux Mint can be used with the MATE or Cinnamon interfaces instead of Unity.

  • The Amnesic Incognito Live System (Tails)
  • The Amnesic Incognito Live System is a Linux distribution, which is focused on privacy and anonymity. It can easily be installed on a usb stick for example to then be used in those instances where a very safe operating system is needed. It is beneficial for example for activists who want stay anonymous and who are afraid of being the target of unwanted government or corporate attention. The basic premise is that after use of Tails, no traces will be left on the computer and internet use is as anonymous as possible (using for example Tor for all internet connections). If used carefully, it will not be able to say how the system has been used, even if it gets into the hands of an adversary. It is best used not as an everyday system, but as an option in especially dangerous circumstances. More information here:

  • Debian GNU/Linux
  • Debian is a free operating system (OS) for your computer. It is one of the older and more mature systems. It is used by many both for their personal computers as well as for setting up servers. It comes in different flavours that range from extremely stable to pretty cutting-edge and unstable. More information about Debian GNU/Linux here:

  • openSUSE
  • The openSUSE project is a worldwide community program founded by Novell, now overseen by the SUSE division of Attachmate after its purchase of Novell in 2011. The program provides free and easy access to openSUSE. Here you can find and join a community of users and developers, who all have the same goal in mind--to create and distribute the world's most usable Linux. openSUSE also provides the base for SUSE Linux Enterprise products. More information about openSUSE here:

  • Fedora Project
  • Fedora is a Red Hat Linux-based operating system that provides users with access to the latest free and open source software, in a stable, secure, and easy-to-manage form. Fedora is the largest of many free software creations of the Fedora Project, a partnership of free software community members from around the globe. Because of its predominance, the word "Fedora" is often used interchangeably to mean both the Fedora Project and the Fedora operating system. Fedora is the foundation for Red Hat Enterprise Linux. More information about Fedora Project you can find here:

  • Mandriva Linux
  • Mandriva Linux (formerly Mandrake Linux) is a Red Hat-based operating system created by the French software company Mandriva (formerly Mandrakesoft). It is the result of the technical merging of the former Mandrake Linux and Conectiva distributions. Mandriva is released in both desktop and server flavors. More information about Mandriva Linux you can find here:

  • Zorin OS
  • Zorin OS is a multi-functional operating systemdesigned specifically for Windows users who want to have easy and smooth access to Linux. It is based on Ubuntu which is the most popular desktop Linux operating system in the world. It has Look Changer that allows users to change the user interface at the touch of a button. Other unique programs include Splash Screen Manager, Internet Browser Manager and Background Plus. It allows you to use Zorin OS alongside your current operating system and run Microsoft Windows programs in Zorin OS with the help of WINE and PlayOnLinux. More information about Zorin OS you can find here:


    All *BSD systems derive from the original Berkeley Software Distribution, an operating system developed at Berkeley, University of California. This system used to be very widely utilised and has given rise to many different varieties of operating systems today. The most well known FOSS operating systems based on the original BSD are OpenBSD, FreeBSD and NetBSD (there is also an extremely popular non-FOSS BSD-based operating system, Apple's OS X). All these three *BSD projects produce free, multi-platform, UNIX-like operating systems. FreeBSD is the most popular among the three. The NetBSD project is primarily focused on high-quality design, stability and performance of the system and is often used in embedded systems. OpenBSD is very strict on being 100% FOSS and has a focus on security. You can find more information about these systems following these links: OpenBSD, FreeBSD, NetBSD.


    Recently an operating system has gained popularity, which many users neither perceive as FOSS nor even as a operating system, the Android OS that runs primarily on mobile phones and tablets. This project by Google is FOSS and is based on the Linux operating system, but specialised for not so powerful mobile devices with touch screens. While the OS is FOSS it is important to note that the version distributed by Google is not very good at protecting your privacy. It might be better to install a community driven variety of Android, like for example CyanogenMod and to make sure that privacy adverse settings are disabled. A further danger is the Android software market (Google Play), where many applications are closed source and where it is not very visibly stated, which licenses apply to which software. More information about Android can be found here.