Linux is getting extremely popular among servers. It keeps gaining market share at the expense of Windows. Do you know what other purposes you can use it for? There are plenty of Linux distributions and they can serve pretty much any purpose you can think of.
Linux for Servers
This is the obvious answer. Linux for servers has many faces: Ubuntu Server, Debian Stable, OpenSUSE, Fedora Server, CentOS and more. What you can expect is a stable OS that is upgradable, secure, free* (most of the distributions are open-source and free with some exceptions), with good community support. You can mold the OS, the way you need it. It is far more customizable than Windows.
Linux can be a great choice for new computer users. It can work on really old computer configurations and it is common to include various free programs for office work and media consumption. Here we recommend that you try out Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Elementary OS, MX Linux. These are really great alternatives to Windows and Mac OS – easy to start using and pleasant to the eyes. The interfaces of these distros are not hard to understand.
When we talked about really old and underpowered devices, there is no better OS for them than Linux. Even with a 20-year-old computer, you will still be able to install a Linux distro.
Tiny Core Linux is maybe the most extreme. It requires less than 200mb of storage (106mb, 16mb and just 11mb if you want just a command line), 48mb of RAM (64mb recommended), and 32bit Pentium II (from 1997) or a newer processor.
Puppy Linux is another option. It works on 32bit processors (minimum 233Mhz), 128mb RAM, and between 300 and 500mb storage space. It has puppies for wallpapers so why not check it out?
For a media center server
You can use one of these cheap ARM-based computers or an old device and create a media center for your home or office.
Pi MusicBox for Rasberry Pi for organizing your music and your streaming music services. You can control it from your smartphone.
Kodi for a complete media server. It can show pictures, videos, organize TV series and music. You can install it on a regular computer or a Rasberry Pi.
For those of you who need a secure NAS solution, you can try out CryptoNAS. It is available as a package for Ubuntu and Debian Linux. It provides a NAS encrypted server. You can use it to safely share files in the office or secure your personal data at home.
Another great piece of software is Openmediavault. It is based on Debian Linux and comes with a web-based interface, the ability to manage users, excellent volume management and monitoring. It uses SSH, FTP, TFTP, NFS, SMB/CIFS, and RSync. You can add extra functionalities with plugins.
For the Internet of Things, you can also use Linux. There is Embedded Linux that you can use for smart TVs, smartwatches, routers and more.
Another good option is Tizen RT. It uses C, C++, and HTML5 and is lightweight.
And for the Ubuntu fans, check out Snappy. Inside the Ubuntu core. It is often updated, provides good security and you can add multiple functionalities.
For network testing
Kali Linux. It is used mostly for network penetration testing. It has more than 600 already installed programs for testing. Use it to test your work network and see if it is safe enough.
You can run it from a USB drive so you don’t need to permanently install it on a device.
Debian. The purpose of this distro is to deliver a stable system. There is plenty of information about programming on it. If you want to test some more advanced codes, you can check the Debian testing branch.
We will once again mention Ubuntu. It is a great distro. There is plenty of support from the community and another nice addition is the support of the Android Open Source Project for those of you who want to get in deep with Android.
This article was just an initial glance at the different purposes that Linux distributions can offer. Now go and explore! Find the best distro for your needs!