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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Derived Distributions

Derived distributions usually work outside of the Ubuntu community and usually have their own package repositories. They may not release at the same time as Ubuntu. In the past, several derived distributions have been built upon other distributions such as Arch or Debian. The list of derivative distributions is quickly growing, and this list will be both incomplete and out-of-date by the time you read it.


Guadalinex is the GNU/Linux distribution promoted by the regional government of Andalusia, the most populated autonomous community in Spain with almost 8 million inhabitants. It is currently one of the biggest free software implementations worldwide, with more than 200,000 desktops—and increasing. The project is a consequence of the unanimous support of the Andalusian Parliament on the Information Society and Innovation policies approved in 2002 and 2003, urging all the regional institutions to promote and use free software and open licenses. This makes the Guadalinex initiative unique in the world.

Guadalinex was initially released in 2003, and the first two versions were based in Debian. In 2005 the Guadalinex project decided to develop the third version deriving from Ubuntu. Guadalinex V3 was released in January 2006 based on Ubuntu 5.10 (Breezy Badger), and the Andalusian upgrade to this most recent version is being done during the year. The project is part of a government plan to implement free software as the default option in the public schools. At the beginning of 2006 this project involved 500 schools and an approximate total of 200,000 desktops equipped with Guadalinex and free software only. These numbers are increased every year as new courses start every September and new computers are purchased (about 40,000 planned for 2006). This initiative alone puts Guadalinex in the top position as the biggest free software implementation worldwide. Additionally, the software is used in public Internet access centers, senior centers, libraries, women's associations, as well as direct to citizens for use at home.


Xubuntu takes Ubuntu and places the Xfce desktop environment on top. The Xfce desktop is primarily designed for older machines because it uses much less memory than its bigger cousins, GNOME and KDE. Unlike the other derived distributions listed here, Xubuntu uses Ubuntu repositories as its base. As a result, the kernel and other underlying pieces are security supported, but the graphical and desktop pieces driven by Xfce are not.


Nexenta is unique among the derived distributions in that it does not use the Linux kernel but bases its work on OpenSolaris, a version of Unix, which is developed by Sun Microsystems. The word Nexenta is a contraction of "next" and "cento." The latter is a Roman poetic form meaning "stitched together." Each line of the poem is taken from a different source. In appearance, Nexenta differs little from Ubuntu due to both using GNOME. Nexenta was created by and is supported by Nexenta Systems, based in San Francisco, California.

As Nexenta uses the OpenSolaris kernel over the Ubuntu one, there have been a number of issues that have been raised, both technical and legal. Technically, the Linux and Solaris kernels are quite different with corresponding changes in other layers. This means that programs generally need to be ported to the Solaris kernel.


nUbuntu is a collection of security and networking tools that was first released in January 2006. Created by a group of three developers from the United States and the United Kingdom, nUbuntu is aimed at security and networking professionals.

Ufficio Zero

Ufficio Zero is an Italian distribution funded by CreaLabs. It includes only a live CD version. Ufficio Zero only changes the default language (from English to Italian) and the default theme. The idea behind Ufficio Zero is to showcase a Linux desktop for the modern office environment. Until 6.06, Ufficio was based on Arch Linux. Recent versions switched to Ubuntu as the base.

The Open CD

The Open CD is a set of Open Source programs that can be installed on Microsoft Windows, such as The GIMP, OpenOffice.org, Battle for Wesnoth, Firefox, and Thunderbird. The project is led by Henrik Omma, who works for Canonical Ltd. It is actually a modified and rebranded Ubuntu live CD and, thus, can be booted into Ubuntu as well.


Baltix is a Lithuanian and Latvian distribution. It also includes support for Estonian, Russian, English, and Norwegian languages. As with Ubuntu, Baltix uses the GNOME desktop environment and many of the same programs.


ImpiLinux is a South African distribution designed as a commercial derivative of Ubuntu. Charging money allows ImpiLinux to ship software that Ubuntu cannot legally ship, such as MP3 and DVD support. Originally based on Debian for version 1, it was then built from scratch for version 2. The next version, not yet released as of this writing, will be based on Ubuntu after it was announced that in 2005 that Mark Shuttleworth had invested 10M South Africa rand in ImpiLinux (Pty) Inc. ImpiLinux will be available in English, Xhosa, and Afrikaans, and there are plans to add more languages.

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