Free GNU/Linux distributions
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The Free Software Foundation recommends and endorses these GNU/Linux distros, although we do not try to judge or compare them based on any criterion other than freedom; therefore, we list them in alphabetical order. We encourage you to read these brief descriptions and to consult their respective web sites and other information to choose the one best for you.
These distros are ready-to-use full systems whose developers have made a commitment to follow the Guidelines for Free System Distributions. This means these distros will include, and propose, exclusively free software. They will reject nonfree applications, nonfree programming platforms, nonfree drivers, nonfree firmware “blobs”, nonfree games, and any other nonfree software, as well as nonfree manuals or documentation.
If one of these distros ever does include or propose anything nonfree, that must have happened by mistake, and the developers are committed to removing it. If you find nonfree software or documentation in one of these distributions, you can report the problem, and earn GNU Bucks, while we inform the developers so they can fix the problem.
Fixing freedom bugs is an ethical requirement for listing a distro here; therefore, we list only distros with a development team that has told us it will remove any nonfree software that might be found in them. Usually the team consists of volunteers, and they don't make legally binding commitments to users; but if we find out a distro is not properly maintained, we will de-list it.
We hope the other existing GNU/Linux distributions will become entirely free software so that we can list them here. If you wish to improve the state of free distros, helping to develop an existing free distro contributes more than starting a new one.
All of the distributions that follow are installable to a computer's hard drive; most can be run live. Not all hardware works in the free world; each distro's site should say which hardware it supports.
We endorse these distros only for freedom. We do not try to judge or compare these distros based on any other criterion; therefore, we list them in alphabetical order. We suggest you consult their respective web sites and other information to judge which one is most convenient for you.
Below is a list of small system distributions. These distributions are meant for devices with limited resources, like a wireless router for example. A free small system distribution is not self-hosting, but it must be developable and buildable on top of one of the free complete systems listed above, perhaps with the aid of free tools distributed alongside the small system distribution itself.
In addition to their own sites, many of these distributions are available from mirror.fsf.org. Feel free to download or mirror the distributions from there, preferably using rsync. Free distribution maintainers can request a mirror for their project by mailing the FSF sysadmins.
Non-GNU-based free system distributions are listed in a separate file.
We list companies that sell hardware preinstalled with a free GNU/Linux distribution separately.
Individual GNU packages (most of which are included in the free distributions here) are described separately.
See something we missed?
Do you know about a distribution that you expected to find on our list, but didn't? First, check our page about why we don't endorse some common distributions. That page explains the reasons why several well-known distributions don't meet our guidelines. If the distribution isn't listed there either, and you think it qualifies for a listing under our guidelines, then please let the distribution's maintainers know about this page and encourage them to get in touch—we'd like to hear from them.
If you maintain a distribution that follows the Free System Distribution Guidelines and would like to be listed here, please write to us at <email@example.com> with an introduction and a link to the project Web site. When you do, we'll explain more about our evaluation process to you, and get started on it quickly. We look forward to hearing from you!