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Website of the Week — DistroWatch

Time again for our Website of the Week, when we showcase interesting and innovative online destinations. Our web guide is VOA's Art Chimes.

This time, it's a guide to the wide range of software packages known as Linux distributions — the free alternatives to Microsoft Windows or Apple's Mac OS that also include a vast array of professional-quality application programs for your desktop computer.

"DistroWatch is a website, it's a portal, it's a news and reference site about Linux distributions," says Ladislav Bodnar, the founder of, which is perhaps the Web's most complete survey of the different flavors of Linux available out there.

Linux distributions are built on the same reliable core but each one adds different bells and whistles. Some distros (as they're known) are for general home, school, or business use. Others specialize: there are editions for Linux novices and computer security experts; Christians and Muslims; language versions in Vietnamese and Bulgarian and Farsi, among others; even minimalist versions for old and slow computers. But most users will be interested in the mainstream offerings on the Major Distributions page.

"This lists the 10 most popular Linux distributions with screen shots and little descriptions that tell you what it is and what it's best for," says Bodnar. "That can help somebody new to Linux decide how to choose their distribution."

And one of the great things about Linux is that many distributions come in the form of a live CD, which boots up on your computer without affecting anything on your hard drive, so you can do a no-risk test.

Ladislav Bodnar says DistroWatch gets more than 100,000 visitors a day. Others keep up with the Linux world by subscribing to the various RSS news feeds or by listening to the site's podcast.

Hello and welcome to this week's episode of the DistroWatch weekly podcast. In this week's episode, the Linux package management cheat sheet, part two, new warnings over the e1000e network module....

News and information about the vast array of Linux distributions at, or get the link to this and more than 200 other Websites of the Week from our site,