Software distribution

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Software distribution is the process of delivering software to the end user.


A distro is a collection of software components built, assembled and configured so that it can essentially be used "as is". It is often the closest thing to turnkey form of free software. A distro may take the form of a binary distribution, with an executable installer which can be downloaded from the Internet. Examples range from whole operating system distributions to server and interpreter distributions (for example WAMP installers). Software distribution can also refer to careware and donateware.

In recent years, the term has come to refer to nearly any "finished" software (i.e. something that is more or less ready for its intended use, whether as a complete system or a component of a larger system) that is assembled primarily from open source components.

Examples of distros

Examples of software distributions include BSD-based distros (such as FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, and DragonflyBSD) and Linux-based distros (such as openSUSE, Ubuntu, and Fedora).

Distro support

Technical support is a key issue for end-users of distributions, since the distribution itself is typically free and may not be "owned" in a commercial sense by a vendor. Depending on the distribution, support may be provided by a commercial support vendor, the developers who created the distribution or by the user community itself.

Free software distribution tools

GNU Autotools are widely used for which consist of source files written in C++ and the C programming language, but are not limited to these.

Commercial software distribution tools

Distribution tools for mobile devices

Distribution of software to small mobile devices such as phones, PDAs and other hand-held terminals is a particular challenge due to their inconsistent connection to the Internet. Some tools that cater to this category of devices are:

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Free software Software licensed to preserve user freedoms

Free software is computer software distributed under terms that allow users to run the software for any purpose as well as to study, change, and distribute it and any adapted versions. Free software is a matter of liberty, not price; all users are legally free to do what they want with their copies of a free software regardless of how much is paid to obtain the program. Computer programs are deemed "free" if they give end-users ultimate control over the software and, subsequently, over their devices.

Linux distribution Operating system based on the Linux kernel

A Linux distribution is an operating system made from a software collection that is based upon the Linux kernel and, often, a package management system. Linux users usually obtain their operating system by downloading one of the Linux distributions, which are available for a wide variety of systems ranging from embedded devices and personal computers to powerful supercomputers.

Operating system Software that manages computer hardware resources

An operating system (OS) is system software that manages computer hardware, software resources, and provides common services for computer programs.

Xandros Linux distribution

Xandros, Inc. was a software company which sold Xandros Desktop, a Linux distribution. The name Xandros was derived from the X Window System and the Greek island of Andros. Xandros was founded in May 2001 by Linux Global Partners. The company is headquartered in New York City.

Live CD

A live CD is a complete bootable computer installation including operating system which runs directly from a CD-ROM or similar storage device into a computer's memory, rather than loading from a hard disk drive. A Live CD allows users to run an operating system for any purpose without installing it or making any changes to the computer's configuration. Live CDs can run on a computer without secondary storage, such as a hard disk drive, or with a corrupted hard disk drive or file system, allowing data recovery.

This is a list of operating systems specifically focused on security. General-purpose operating systems may be secure in practice, without being specifically "security-focused."

Unified Extensible Firmware Interface Specification that defines a software interface between an operating system and platform firmware

The Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) is a specification that defines a software interface between an operating system and platform firmware. UEFI replaces the legacy Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) firmware interface originally present in all IBM PC-compatible personal computers, with most UEFI firmware implementations providing support for legacy BIOS services. UEFI can support remote diagnostics and repair of computers, even with no operating system installed.

MythTV Free and open source home entertainment application

MythTV is a free and open-source home entertainment application with a simplified "10-foot user interface" design for the living room TV. It turns a computer with the necessary hardware into a network streaming digital video recorder, a digital multimedia home entertainment system, or home theater personal computer. It can be considered a free and open-source alternative to TiVo or Windows Media Center. It runs on various operating systems, primarily Linux, macOS, and FreeBSD.

Asterisk (PBX) PBX software

Asterisk is a software implementation of a private branch exchange (PBX). In conjunction with suitable telephony hardware interfaces and network applications, Asterisk is used to establish and control telephone calls between telecommunication endpoints, such as customary telephone sets, destinations on the public switched telephone network (PSTN), and devices or services on voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) networks. Its name comes from the asterisk (*) symbol for a signal used in dual-tone multi-frequency (DTMF) dialing.

These tables provide a comparison of operating systems, of computer devices, as listing general and technical information for a number of widely used and currently available PC or handheld operating systems. The article "Usage share of operating systems" provides a broader, and more general, comparison of operating systems that includes servers, mainframes and supercomputers.

LAMP (software bundle) Software bundle

LAMP is an acronym denoting one of the most common solution stacks for many of the web's most popular applications. However, LAMP now refers to a generic software stack model and its components are largely interchangeable.


NDISwrapper is a free software driver wrapper that enables the use of Windows XP network device drivers on Linux operating systems. NDISwrapper works by implementing the Windows kernel and NDIS APIs and dynamically linking Windows network drivers to this implementation. As a result, it only works on systems based on the instruction set architectures supported by Windows, namely IA-32 and x86-64.

A proprietary device driver is a closed-source device driver published only in binary code. In the context of free and open-source software, a closed-source device driver is referred to as a blob or binary blob. The term usually refers to a closed-source kernel module loaded into the kernel of an open-source operating system, and is sometimes also applied to code running outside the kernel, such as system firmware images, microcode updates, or userland programs. The term blob was first used in database management systems to describe a collection of binary data stored as a single entity.

Linux Family of free and open-source software operating systems based on the Linux kernel

Linux is a family of open-source Unix-like operating systems based on the Linux kernel, an operating system kernel first released on September 17, 1991, by Linus Torvalds. Linux is typically packaged in a Linux distribution.

FreeBSD Free Unix-like operating system

FreeBSD is a free and open-source Unix-like operating system descended from the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD), which was based on Research Unix. The first version of FreeBSD was released in 1993. In 2005, FreeBSD was the most popular open-source BSD operating system, accounting for more than three-quarters of all installed simply, permissively licensed BSD systems.

Software remastering

Software remastering is software development that recreates system software and applications while incorporating customizations, with the intent that it is copied and run elsewhere for "off-label" usage. The term comes from remastering in media production, where it is similarly distinguished from mere copying.

Proprietary software, also known as non-free software, is computer software for which the software's publisher or another person reserves some rights from licensees to use, modify, share modifications, or share the software. It sometimes includes patent rights.

NetBSD Open-source Unix-like operating system

NetBSD is a free and open-source Unix-like operating system based on the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD). It was the first open-source BSD descendant officially released after 386BSD was forked. It continues to be actively developed and is available for many platforms, including servers, desktops, handheld devices, and embedded systems.