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For thirty years, the Free Software Foundation has been seen as a guiding light for the free software movement, fighting for user freedom.

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Free GNU/Linux distributions

This page is maintained by the Free Software Foundation's Licensing and Compliance Lab. You can support our efforts by making a donation to the FSF. Have a question not answered here? Check out some of our other licensing resources or contact the Compliance Lab at licensing@fsf.org.

The Free Software Foundation is not responsible for other web sites, or how up-to-date their information is.

This page lists the GNU/Linux distributions that are entirely free as in freedom. All of the distributions that follow are installable to a computer's hard drive; most can be run live.

The Free Software Foundation recommends and endorses these GNU/Linux distros, although we do not try to judge or compare them based on any criterion other than freedom; therefore, we list them in alphabetical order. We encourage you to read these brief descriptions and to consult their respective web sites and other information to choose the one best for you.

These distros are ready-to-use full systems whose developers have made a commitment to follow the Guidelines for Free System Distributions. This means these distros will include, and propose, exclusively free software. They will reject nonfree applications, nonfree programming platforms, nonfree drivers, nonfree firmware “blobs”, nonfree games, and any other nonfree software, as well as nonfree manuals or documentation.

If one of these distros ever does include or propose anything nonfree, that must have happened by mistake, and the developers are committed to removing it. If you find nonfree software or documentation in one of these distributions, you can report the problem, and earn GNU Bucks, while we inform the developers so they can fix the problem.

Fixing freedom bugs is an ethical requirement for listing a distro here; therefore, we list only distros with a development team that has told us it will remove any nonfree software that might be found in them. Usually the team consists of volunteers, and they don't make legally binding commitments to users; but if we find out a distro is not properly maintained, we will de-list it.

We hope the other existing GNU/Linux distributions will become entirely free software so that we can list them here. If you wish to improve the state of free distros, helping to develop an existing free distro contributes more than starting a new one.

All of the distributions that follow are installable to a computer's hard drive; most can be run live. Not all hardware works in the free world; each distro's site should say which hardware it supports.

We endorse these distros only for freedom. We do not try to judge or compare these distros based on any other criterion; therefore, we list them in alphabetical order. We suggest you consult their respective web sites and other information to judge which one is most convenient for you.

Distribution Description
BLAG Linux and GNU BLAG Linux and GNU, a GNU/Linux distribution based on Fedora.
Dragora Dragora, an independent GNU/Linux distribution based on concepts of simplicity.
Dynebolic Dynebolic, a GNU/Linux distribution with special emphasis on audio and video editing.
guix Guix System Distribution is an advanced GNU/Linux distro built on top of GNU Guix (pronounced “geeks”), a purely functional package manager for the GNU system.
gNewSense gNewSense, a GNU/Linux distribution based on Debian, with sponsorship from the FSF.
Musix GNU+Linux Musix, a GNU+Linux distribution based on Knoppix, with special emphasis on audio production.
Parabola GNU/Linux Parabola GNU/Linux, a distribution based on Arch that prioritizes simple package and system management.
Trisquel Trisquel, a GNU/Linux distribution based on Ubuntu that's oriented toward small enterprises, domestic users and educational centers.
Ututo Ututo XS, a GNU/Linux distribution based on Gentoo. It was the first fully free GNU/Linux system recognized by the GNU Project.

Below is a list of small system distributions. These distributions are meant for devices with limited resources, like a wireless router for example. A free small system distribution is not self-hosting, but it must be developable and buildable on top of one of the free complete systems listed above, perhaps with the aid of free tools distributed alongside the small system distribution itself.

Distribution Description
libreCMC libreCMC is an embedded GNU/Linux distro for devices with very limited resources. While primarily targeting routers, it offers support for a wide range of devices and use cases. In 2015, LibreWRT merged with libreCMC.
ProteanOS ProteanOS is a new, small, and fast distribution for embedded devices. Its platform configuration feature allows binary packages to be configured at build-time and run-time for different hardware and use cases.

In addition to their own sites, many of these distributions are available from mirror.fsf.org. Feel free to download or mirror the distributions from there, preferably using rsync. Free distribution maintainers can request a mirror for their project by mailing the FSF sysadmins.

Non-GNU-based free system distributions are listed in a separate file.

We list companies that sell hardware preinstalled with a free GNU/Linux distribution separately.

Individual GNU packages (most of which are included in the free distributions here) are described separately.

See something we missed?

Do you know about a distribution that you expected to find on our list, but didn't? First, check our page about why we don't endorse some common distributions. That page explains the reasons why several well-known distributions don't meet our guidelines. If the distribution isn't listed there either, and you think it qualifies for a listing under our guidelines, then please let the distribution's maintainers know about this page and encourage them to get in touch—we'd like to hear from them.

If you maintain a distribution that follows the Free System Distribution Guidelines and would like to be listed here, please write to us at <licensing@fsf.org> with an introduction and a link to the project Web site. When you do, we'll explain more about our evaluation process to you, and get started on it quickly. We look forward to hearing from you!

 [FSF logo] “Our mission is to preserve, protect and promote the freedom to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer software, and to defend the rights of Free Software users.”

The Free Software Foundation is the principal organizational sponsor of the GNU Operating System. Support GNU and the FSF by buying manuals and gear, joining the FSF as an associate member, or making a donation, either directly to the FSF or via Flattr.

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