5 "Uncommon" Linux Distributions

 CrunchBang

CrunchBang it's a minimalistic distribution based on Debian 6.
Why minimalistic ?
The default Desktop Environment it's Openbox, that for people used to Gnome or KDE it's a big difference, you don't have Icons, fancy graphical effects (compiz anyone? ) or even a menu in one of the corners that show all your programs.
You get a clean, black and white desktop, on the right side you have the live statistics of your resources usage, and the list of commands you can use (example, super + l to lock screen).
I've been amazed by the low use of resource of this distribution, 50 MB after you login into your desktop, so you can use all of your resource for your applications. It's also perfect for old computers with just 256 MB of Ram.
Così si pensa, ok, ma probabilmente sarà riempito con piccoli programmi inutili,niente mi può davvero usare per il mio ufficio / lavoro o tempo libero.
Wrong !
There is already a good number of software that you can use to do your usual things, like Chromium as browser or Gimp as Image Editor or VLC for the multimedia; also, as stated, this distribution is based on Debian 6, so you can have Openoffice, Mozilla 4 or many others programs.
If you have enough of the big Desktop environment this one is for you.

 Gentoo

I've fall in love with Gentoo in 2004, and we are still together.
In Gentoo the binary packages are not available (there are some exceptions for big package). Each package must be downloaded and compiled on the PC of the user with the flags he has choose, so that you get from each package the best performance, or at least this is the theory.
While in the years I've saw that some of my programs have better start up time respect of precompiled distributions this is usually due to the fact that you can select every single aspect of each package, so as example you could choose that your Multimedia player support avi,ogg and divx only, so probably you have fast performance and a quick startup time but less codec; so for me the main attractive of Gentoo is total customization, and after that speed.
In any case, the good thing is that each new update is released when available. This approach makes Gentoo a distribution always updated, this distribution don't has release cycle like Ubuntu and Fedora, but is called "rolling" it means that it's constantly updated.
For example i keep the same installation from 2004 to 2008 on my previous computer, just updating packages when they come out, and during all that time i moved from kernel 2.4 to 2.6 and made a lot of change in every package, still the distribution keeped it's consistency.
The package management is efficient and easy to use. On the other hand, the installation of newsystems and large packages can be very tedious, even with a very fast processor, so if you want to approach this great distro...take your time, be patient and at the end you'll have learnt a lot more of GNU/Linux.

 Pinguy OS

 
it's more or less the opposite of Gentoo, a distribution to make things easy to the beginners.
This OS is for people that have never used Linux before or for people that just want an out-of-the-box working OS without doing all the tweaks and enhancements that everyone seems to do when installing a fresh copy of Ubuntu or other Linux based Distro's. 
So all the programs in Pinguy OS have been chosen because of their ease of use and functionality, I also changed every file type to open with the right program, like for some reason by default .iso are opened with Archive Manager so I changed that to Brasero Disc Burner.
All the multimedia codecs are there. So there is Oracle Java and Adobe Flash player.

Pinguy OS also helps reduce your carbon footprint because it runs Granola in the background. Granola is a free tool that helps reduce the power consumption of your computer without affecting its performance. 
So this distro is really suggested if you are not used to Linux or don't want to spend time in tweaking/configuration


Aptosid

 
is an operating system based on the Debian GNU/Linux unstable branch, codenamed sid. The project stems from criticism by users of Debian Linux newbies (too difficult toinstall, configure and maintain, requiring the use of console commands or editing configuration files) are the basis of Aptosid, whose purpose is to offer tools and support to make Debian Sid easy to configure and stable enough for the user desktop for the professional. Aptosid supports 32 and 64 bit architectures, graphical user interface KDE or Xfce, lite or full version.
The full ISO is around 2gb, but it has really everything, both for new and expert users. Despite its size, loading from a live dvd is really fast and stable, just like his distro "mother" Debian.
if you like Debian, but want updated software this is a good choice for sure.


Bodhi Linux

 
This is a fresh new project, Bodhi is a minimalistic, enlightened (the Desktop Environment), Linux desktop. Bodhi is built on top of an Ubuntu 10.04 core, using the latest, elegant Enlightenment desktop, all accessed by the light weight LXDM login manager. Bodhi uses dpkg and apt-get for package management.
Bodhi Linux is a very minimal Ubuntu based Linux distro with Enlightenment(E17) as the default desktop(window manager). Standard ISO size is just around 350MB and the latest release is based on Ubuntu 10.04 "Lucid Lynx". System requirements will tell you the whole story. Bodhi Linux requires just 1.5GB HD space, 300mhz i386 Processor and just 128MB of RAM! Thats how minimal things can get.
One of the first things you are going to notice while logging into Bodhi Linux is a prompt that will ask you to choose the theme and the applications you would like to have in your desktop as default.
Dock application at the bottom is called “Shelf” and like Docky or AWN, Shelf is quite easy to use and configure. Bodhi Linux has Nautilus as the default file browser and also has Synaptic Package Manager as a default option. Nautilus in Bodhi Linux is already powered by awesome Nautilus Elementary hack.

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