TLWIR 6: What City Is Your Distro?

by Rex Djere on June 28, 2011 · 2 comments


Which GNU/Linux distribution a person prefers is a very individual choice. Some people like distributions that give them total access: the freedom to do whatever they want. Others want a desktop OS that will hold their hand if they run into problems. There is no single distribution that provides all of the right answers; each GNU/Linux user has to find the operating system distribution that best meets their own needs. In this week’s TLWIR, I will look at some of the best GNU/Linux distributions with a unique twist: I will compare the distribution to the city that I think most embodies its fundamental spirit. This week’s stories are as follows:

  • Mepis Mirrors Memphis
  • Sabayon’s Sicilian Serendipity
  • Arch: As Advanced As Abidjan
  • FreeBSD’s Fagernes Freedom

Mepis Mirrors Memphis

Memphis, Tennessee was born from an ancient Native American civilization, the Chickasaw Nation. The Chickasaw Nation occupied modern day Memphis for thousands of years before Europeans first set foot on the North American continent. Their understanding of the land, and their great wisdom, was passed along to settlers, slaves, and other people who became the inhabitants of modern Memphis. As Memphis arose from the combinations of Native American, European, African, and South American cultures, Mepis arose from the Debian GNU/Linux project.
In the early part of the twenty-first century, Warren Woodford was dissatisfied with the popular GNU/Linux distributions of the time: Red Hat, Suse, and Mandriva. He decided that he could develop his own distribution that would better meet his needs: the Mepis project was born. The name Mepis was basically a result of a mispronunciation of the original name of the project: Memphis. Woodford liked the new word because it was short, and not in use as a trademark, so the name Mepis stuck. Mepis was originally based on Debian packages, then it switched to Ubuntu, only to later switch back to Debian. Mepis is a great GNU/Linux distribution for usability and stability, supported by Woodford and a small community of volunteers.

Mepis quotes: “Many don’t realize the power of Mepis and its community. The Mepis community makes even a late comer to computers feel like an “expert” in my own small world of limited knowledge and understanding.” (Hermie)

Sabayon’s Sicilian Serendipity

No place on earth is a more prototypical reflection of Italian culture than Sicily. Lying in the alluring isolation of the Mediterranean Sea, Sicily embodies the Italian love of life, culture, relationships, and community. Sabayon Linux was the brainchild of Fabio Erculiani, who named his new distribution after a desert in his beloved Italian homeland, Zabaione. Sabayon brings ease-of-use and a strong sense of community to the Linux landscape. It complements the bigger GNU/linux distributions very well, and Sabayon is based on Gentoo Linux.
Sabayon Linux recently made news by refusing to upgrade its latest version, 6.0, to Gnome 3.0. Instead, the Sabayon team decided to stick with the more conventional and less controversial Gnome 2.32.2. Sabayon also decided to dump OpenOffice in favor of Libreoffice, as have most distributions. Sabayon also recently added support for the popular btrfs file system.

Arch: As Advanced As Abidjan

Abidjan is a beautiful African city. It is the former capital of the Ivory Coast, and it is known for its exotic beaches along its Atlantic Ocean coast. Abidjan’s combination of traditional African culture with a strong French influence make it one of the most fascinating travel destinations in the world. Arch Linux and Abidjan share much in common: both mix elegant simplicity with very advanced components.
Arch Linux was started in 2002 by Judd Vinet. He turned over the project to Aaron Griffin in 2007. Arch Linux has a great development community, one focused on maintaining a GNU/Linux distribution that is simple to use, easy to maintain, and built for high performance. Arch Linux is part of what makes free software so wonderful: the ecosystem is so diverse that you can always find a distribution that is well matched to your particular needs.

FreeBSD’s Fagernes Freedom

Fagernes, Norway is a small community 3 hours northwest of Oslo. It is clean, beautiful, and very functional. Fagernes is the FreeBSD of Europe: it is a little bit different, but its uniqueness is so breathtaking that it is attractive to those tourists that are looking for an exotic alternative.
FreeBSD is THE operating system that many GNU/Linux are curious about. I know this for a fact because I wondered about FreeBSD myself for many years. A couple of years ago, I finally broke down and burned a FreeBSD live CD. When I booted it, to my surprise, it looked just like GNU/Linux! The reason for this is that FreeBSD typically uses the Gnome desktop so familiar to GNU/Linux users. However, beneath the hood, FreeBSD is very different.
FreeBSD was born in 1993 as a child of the old BSD Unix. It rapidly became one of the most successful and popular free software operating systems. In fact, FreeBSD is probably the second most popular free operating system in the world after GNU/Linux. FreeBSD is also largely the basis for the Mac OSX operating system.


I decided to write a very different article for this week’s edition of TLWIR. I always strive to be honest, so I will reveal the reason for this. I love Fedora, Centos, and Ubuntu, the three main GNU/Linux distributions that I use. However, I admire and respect the fact that the GNU/Linux community is so diverse. There is a lot that I DO NOT know about GNU/Linux distributions. Writing about distributions forces me to do my research so that I can talk intelligently about them. I learned a great deal about the distributions featured in this week’s edition. Hopefully, this article will serve as a starting point for you find out more about distributions that you are curious about. Have a great GNU/Linux week, and enjoy the world of free software until the next TLWIR!

Abidjan. (2011, June 25). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 04:42, June 28, 2011, from
Arch Linux. (2011, June 19). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 04:39, June 28, 2011, from
Fagernes. (2011, April 16). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 04:43, June 28, 2011, from
FreeBSD. (2011, June 20). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 04:40, June 28, 2011, from
MEPIS. (2011, June 22). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 03:27, June 28, 2011, from
Memphis, Tennessee. (2011, June 24). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 03:26, June 28, 2011, from,_Tennessee&oldid=435996975
Sabayon Linux. (2011, June 27). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 04:41, June 28, 2011, from
Sicily. (2011, June 25). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 04:38, June 28, 2011, from

We’d love to hear what you think. What city best represents your distribution?


Linux-news June 28, 2011 at 11:45 am

This is a different article for sure ;)

Nice one.

Marco July 4, 2011 at 8:15 am

Sabayon & Sicily ?!?!?

In fact the boys live 1.000 km far from Sicily, in the North of Italy, in a very different culture.

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