OS Install Experiences - Introduction

Over the next few days or weeks I intend to install quite a bunch of free (as in beer) operating systems on one of my machines.

This has several reasons and benefits:

  • I want to get an overview of most popular OSes out there and hands-on experiences on how to install them and partly also how to administer and use them.
  • As I intend to not delete the OSes after the install, I'll have a massive-multi-boot system (>= 10 OSes) in the end. Managing to get this alone working might prove to be not exactly trivial... but definately interesting.
  • Recently I started a disussion on the debian-devel mailing list about which system users on a Debian system should get a valid shell (/bin/sh, for example) and which should only get something like /bin/false [1]. While I install all these OSes, I will create a comparison chart of which users have a valid shell and which don't on every other Unix-like OS I install. This will be quite interesting, I guess, and it might help others package maintainers to decide whether or not to give certain system users a valid shell.
  • It's a lot of fun :)

On the list I plan to install are most major (free) Unix-like operating systems, e.g. Debian, Ubuntu, Gentoo, Fedora Core, OpenSuSE, OpenBSD, FreeBSD, NetBSD, PC-BSD, OpenSolaris, and whatever else I can find out there. Basically, if I can download a CD image for free off the net, it's fine.

I'll be writing one small blog article per OS, stating my experiences, gotchas, pros and cons I noticed etc. If you have any suggestions for OSes or distributions I should look at, or ideas about other aspects of the OSes I could compare, please leave a comment.

[1] It has been pointed out that /usr/sbin/nologin or something similar is probably better than /bin/false, because it logs login attempts at these accounts (/bin/false doesn't).

Update: Articles published so far:

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how about kanotix as debian installer?

http://kanotix.com . It's a nice way to get a sid based desktop under 30'

also try OPENSTEP 4.2 and Debian GNU/kFreeBSD

don't ask, just do it.

OPENSTEP 4.2 and Debian GNU/kFreeBSD

I'll probably try Debian GNU/kFreeBSD, and if you can provide me a link where I can download a CD image of OPENSTEP, I might even have a look at that ;-)

Uwe.

Plan 9

If names like Ken Thompson, Brian Kernighan, or Dennis Ritchie tell you anything, you definitely should take a look at Plan 9.

Plan 9

Will do, thanks :)

please try

http://www.haiku-os.org/
http://www.reactos.org
http://plan9.bell-labs.com/plan9/ :)
http://www.vitanuova.com/inferno/
http://www.atheos.cx or http://www.syllable.org/
http://www.sics.se/~adam/contiki/
http://visopsys.org
http://www.riscos.com/
http://www.morphos.org/
http://newos.org/
http://brix-os.sourceforge.net/
http://www.minix3.org/
http://www.rtems.com/

http://dmoz.org/Computers/Software/Operating_Systems/

More OSes

Thanks a lot for the pointers. I'll surely not look at all of them (I have a life, you know ;), but I'll consider one or two which sound interesting...

Thanks, Uwe.

I like your to write up

I like your idea to write up about each of them, but have you considered Linux From Scratch? I'm guessing you can learn a lot more about Linux that way than installing 10-odd distributions. :)

LFS

Yeah, I'll probably try LFS, too. However, I know quite a bit about Linux already - no need to learn the basics or similar ;)

My main interest is to learn the differences of various Unix-Like OSes (not only Linux). I want to see how various things are handled by various OSes and vendors...

Uwe.

PCLinuxOS

Maybe also try PCLinuxOS. This distribution got quite popular in recent times.

And one small correction: There is no distribution called OpenSuSE. The distribution is simply called SUSE.

StefanB

PCLInuxOS

Never heard of PCLinuxOS, but I'll have a look at it. Thanks!