A traditional operating system lets users use identical but redundant versions. Linux has a little something for different users that are commonly known as Linux distributions. There are hundreds of Linux distributions for various uses like gaming, education, software development, etc.

While most Linux distributions are similar to each other, some distributions have unique user interfaces and different features. These distributions offer more features than their Debian or Arch-based competitors, but only an experienced user should use them because of the steep learning curve that accompanies them.

Let's deviate from the usual standard distributions and explore the lesser-known operating systems that deserve a mention.

NixOS desktop

NixOS uses its own package manager known as the Nix package manager. It uses a unique approach to manage all packages within the system. It isolates all packets from each other so that there is no interaction between them.

This isolated approach is perfect for a user who loves having different packages installed on their computer. You can install anything from the internet without worrying about how it will affect other files on the device.

This approach also ensures the reproducibility of the packaging; If a package works on one computer, it will also work on another NixOS-enabled device. You can easily revert to a previous version. This ensures that no package is in an inconsistent state during an upgrade.

Related: Linux Operating Systems That Offer Bleeding Edge Updates

Invalid desktop

Void Linux is not one of the fastest Linux distributions, but it is undoubtedly one of the most stable. Like NixOS, Void ditched a pre-built Linux distribution because it was designed from the ground up.

This operating system comes with its own XBPS package management system that is useful for installing various packages on your computer. This unique package management system also allows you to create a package from scratch.

XBPS-SRC is the XBPS package builder that comes with a 2-clause BSD license. The XBPS package creator creates the software in containers using Linux namespaces and offers, among other things, the isolation of processes and bind mounts.

Void uses runit as an init system and service supervisor. Runit is a practical and straightforward approach to initializing the system with reliable service monitoring. This is another reason that makes Void suitable for power users. If you're looking for a stable distribution, Void Linux can fill the void.

Slackware is one of the oldest Linux distributions out there. While most Linux distributions have a GUI, Slackware mainly uses its command line executions for every action. Slackware draws its inspiration from the Softlanding Linux system released in 1992.

Slackware aims to provide its users with a "UNIX-like" experience. This operating system includes updated versions of KDE and Xfce because both desktop environments installed their native capabilities as component packages rather than larger bundles.

This arrangement enables a user to easily remove unwanted software, making the management process a breeze. This groundbreaking feature in Slackware is one of the essential building blocks of the package installation systems available in modern Linux distributions.

Slackware has been the first choice for many advanced users over the past three decades, and you should give it a try if you want to enjoy this software's legacy.

Related: Is Slackware the Right Linux Distribution for You?

Gentoo Linux desktop screen

Gentoo takes its name from the fast moving penguins from the South Pole. This name is symbolic of the fast performance Gentoo brings to the table. Gentoo comes with a highly configurable and fast software distribution system also known as Portage.

This magical distribution system creates a custom script based on the behavior of the user. Portage uses this script to optimize the installed packages according to the user's preferences and hardware.

The latest updates in Gentoo have brought stage downloads to a much larger pool of hardware, including amd64, x86, and ARM. This high speed operating system is relevant especially if you have a slow computer and need some extra speed for free.

Delete Linux desktop

Clear Linux is primarily not intended for general-purpose users. Intel developed the distribution for professionals who specialize in IT, artificial intelligence and DevOps. Clear Linux is heavily optimized for Intel platforms, which gives it extra speed and performance.

There is nothing typical about the package management system as such. Clear Linux usages swupd, but the installation process is fundamentally different from other package managers. This distribution zeros all files on an individual level. In this way, a new version of the operating system is generated for every software optimization of the system.

The latest update in Clear Linux brings the Fanalyzer as a new security pass to the platform. Fanalyzer enables a new static analysis run and associated warnings. This pass explores paths throughout your code in hopes of spotting various common mistakes.

Some out-of-the-box features and a completely different user interface make Clear Linux an excellent choice for power users.

Linux from scratch desktop

As the name suggests, Linux From Scratch lets you create a personalized version of Linux "from scratch". From the installation process onwards, you must use low-level commands for each individual action.

Linux From Scratch is very different from any other Linux distribution and comes with a precompiled code set. This operating system guides you through the steps of building your operating system while integrating elements according to your needs.

This operating system continues to be a great way to learn the core features of the Linux system, and it is handsomely not for the faint of heart.

Mastery of Linux platforms for power users

These advanced Linux distributions offer unique features such as isolated packaging and custom scripts based on user preferences. These features are hard to find in widely used Linux distributions, especially those based on more popular distributions like Debian.

If you think you have the time and energy to invest in learning a good, unique distro, you need to look at these distro options. The functionality is different for each distribution, but they promise to give you a much better understanding of the nuances of the Linux system.

Choose the right Linux distribution

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About the author

Wini Bhalla
(20 articles published)

Wini is a Delhi based writer with 2 years of writing experience. While writing, she was associated with digital marketing agencies and technical firms. She has written content on programming languages, cloud technology, AWS, machine learning, and much more. In her free time, she enjoys painting, spending time with her family and traveling to the mountains whenever possible.

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