• Free and recommendable Operating Systems •
For the most of the listed Operating Systems you can get so called Live-CDs which could naturally be used by everyone who know how to burn ISO images and to boot up the computer from CD ... You can also create bootable USB-Sticks and Windows Live CDs or start a Linux image under Windows thru the program MobaLiveCD and other tools. Read more some lines below!
• Linux Operating Systems •
is an often used and popular Ubuntu and Debian respectively, derivative. It works very well, is easy to install, easy to use and it looks really pretty. The start menu (view Screenshots) is nearly the same as the one from openSUSE but you can replace it easily with the splitted or the main menu. When you start the system for the first time after installation you'll see a welcome screen which provides a list of features and a user guide in PDF. Featured Linux Mint Editions: Mate (GNOME 2 based) 32/64-bit, Cinnamon (GNOME 3 based) 32/64-bit, Xfce 32/64-bit), KDE (32/64-bit) and LMDE = Linux Mint Debian (Mate and Cinnamon, Xfce, 32/64-bit). OEM editions (32/64-bit) for computer vendors are also available. Advantage of 64-bit: No RAM limitation which is only important if you have more than 3 GB of RAM and a 64-bit compatible CPU. Otherwise, use the 32-bit edition!
MATE Screenshots: Control Center / Menu Firefox / Network
Cinnamon Screenshots: File Manager / Menu Settings / Menu
Linux Mint has a large community with Wiki, Forum, Blog and local Websites and Forums.
Visit the Linux Mint Homepage!
PCs and Laptops with Linux Mint and the mintBox!
There are more links to Linux pre-installed near the bottom of the page.
Download the ISO image, burn a CD and start working with Xubuntu. AbiWord for text processing, Gnumeric for working with spreadsheets (like LibreOffice presented on my Office related page), an image viewer and GIMP for advanced image editing, a reader for PDF documents, the web browser Firefox, the eMail Client Evolution and some more applications are already integrated. Additional programs like the FTP client FileZilla could be installed from the large online repository thru using the Software Center or Synaptic the Package Manager.
You can use Xubuntu (32/64-bit) on PC's, Notebooks as well as Netbooks.
Xubuntu works with the Xfce Desktop Environment.
Here is a Screenshot for you.
Get a lot of nice Backgrounds, themes and more: xfce-look.org
Visit the Xubuntu Homepage, get and discover your new Operating System!
Linux Mint and Xubuntu are ready for the efficient and everyday use and also recommendable for beginners and people who want to switch from Windows! Cause you get Live-CD/DVD you can test the system first and if you want you can install it after testing enough. Just click on the icon in the upper left corner and you'll be supported with a graphical installation wizard in many languages. If you have a Windows system installed on your machine: Don't worry! You only need enough free space on your hard drive. After the installation process is done, you have to reboot the computer and you can chose (up and down arrow keys) between Linux and Windows.
Check the Ubuntu derivatives page and discover Kubuntu, Edubuntu (designed for schools and pupils at home), Ubuntu Studio (designed for multi-media editing / creation) and more flavors.
Discover Ubuntu itself and maybe the Server Edition (32/64-bit).
Until this point i can recommend the featured Operating Systems without any restriction and with clear conscience for installation (also beside existing Windows systems) and for the efficient and everyday use for Linux newbies, cause these OS are really easy to install and to use! Naturally this applies also to Debian which is the base of Ubuntu and many other Linux based OS! Here is a Screenshot i made from Debian.
From this point on, the systems are more recommendable for advanced users!
easypeasy - A System especially made for Netbooks.
MeeGo - For Netbooks, Tablets, Smartphones, Satnavs, Smart-TVs and more devices.
Fuduntu - Made for Desktops, Laptops and Netbooks.
If you like the Cloud, try Jolicloud and/or peppermint.
KNOPPIX - The first time I used this great Debian based live system from Klaus Knopper was in 2004 and I found it to be very useful. Since ADRIANE started with KNOPPIX 5.3, the distro is also very recommendable to partially sighted and blind users. You can run the Live-CD (Screenshots) also embedded under Windows thru qemu! KNOPPIX works with the pretty looking LXDE (Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment). It's not only fast, it also eats less memory and CPU than other Environments like KDE and GNOME do!
Vinux - Ubuntu based system for visually impaired people with screen-reader and full-screen magnification. Available as a Live-CD, easy installable to hard disk and USB flash drives.
#! CrunchBang Linux - works with the lightweight Openbox Window Manager. You can get Live-CD images (32/64-bit) with option for hard-drive installation. It's not recommendable to new Linux users who want a stable environment for daily usage. Nevertheless, AbiWord and Gnumeric (featured like Libre Office on my Office related page), GIMP (Graphic), Evince (PDF), Chromium (Web Browser) and more programs are included. Test it if you want and decide yourself!
is very small (approx. 35 MB ISO-Image) and will load (like LessLinux) completely in your computers memory if there is enough RAM available. After SliTaz has fully loaded, remove the Live-CD and you can use the device e.g. for burning a data or audio disk. Add the applications you like thru the package manager, configure the applications and the system like you want and write a new ISO or put your new SliTaz onto an USB flash drive!
Zorin OS - is described as The gateway to Linux for Windows users.
Rescatux and Super Grub2 Disk - Start systems with corrupt or broken bootloader, recovery and repair operations on Windows 98 - 8.1, Linux, Mac and FreeBSD, 32/64-bit machines.
Redo Backup & Recovery - The Name says it all.
Ubuntu CE, Sabily and Ubuntu Buddhist Remix - are Ubuntu based systems especially customized for Christians, Muslims and Buddhists.
• Systems for Kids •
Safe internet for kids (LiveUSB) is a Browser-only-OS with content filtering based on Chromium.
Qimo 4 Kids - (Live-CD) is a derivative of Xubuntu for children ages 3 and up!
DoudouLinux (Live-CD/USB) is based on Debian for Children ages from 2 - 12 years.
Sugar on a Stick (SoaS) - OS for Kids installable on USB flash drives.
• Pupils and Students •
Skolelinux - is an educational system for schools and pupils at home which is really easy to install and to use. It's directly based on Debian and works with the K desktop environment (KDE). The network interface is pre-configured so that you can set up a network without advanced knowledge about (Linux) network technology.
Two other systems for pupils: Edubuntu and openSUSE-Edu Li-f-e.
UberStudent - Learning and teaching for students and learning institutions.
• Windows Live CDs and Multiboot •
WinBuilder - is a program for creating Windows based Live-Systems for system maintenance and data-recovery, which can be created in conjunction with an original version (CD/DVD) of a Windows OS. OEM / System Builder versions will work too but Recovery versions won't. With WinBuilder you can directly select a project like LiveXP (Screenshots) or a Win7PE which will be downloaded by WinBuilder. Then you can add software apps of your choice, create and burn the ISO-Image.
You'll find Win7, Win8 and Win8.1PE SE projects on CWCodes.net!
Gandalf's PE page with ready to download Win8PE ISO images!
BartPE and UBCD4Win (Live-CDs) will help you to save your important data if your Windows OS crashed or to recover a forgotten admin password. You have to download the program Pe Builder (you need a full version of Windows XP or an OEM CD) to build the ISO images. You can't download a ready to use image! Benefit: You can enable, disable, download and include additional plug-ins or build your own plug-ins.
I shot some screenshots, get an impression!
BartPe: Set1 Set2 Set3 Set4
UBCD4Win: Set1 Set2 Set3 Set4
Sadly the UBCD4Win website is not available yet (2014/08) but there a re a lot of sites where you can download (270 MB) the pe-builder vor UBCD4Win.
F4UBCD is a ready to burn ISO image with all the tools you need!
LiLi USB Creator - A Windows program which let you create a bootable Live system like Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Knoppix and openSUSE for your USB thumb drives, in a very easy and convenient way. LiLi USB Creator does support various languages and you can boot up your desired Linux OS from CD or USB flash drive embedded under Windows thru Portable-VirtualBox but I recommend using MobaLiveCD (some lines below) which is really easier and less to download.
MultiBootUSB - The same as LiLi but for multiple Systems and Tools, for Linux and Windows while embedded testing is done thru Qemu like MobaLiveCD do. Screenshots
YUMI - Like MultiBootUSB but without emulation. Screenshots
UNetbootin - Like LiLi but for Linux, Mac and Windows without emulation.
LiveUSB Install - The same as LiLi for Linux and Windows without emulation.
MobaLiveCD - A Tool for Windows to test ISO Images and bootable USB drives.
RMPrepUSB and Easy2Boot - The same as MultiBootUSB for Windows with emulation thru Qemu which is really easy to handle for advanced users. Build your pen-drive with RMPrepUSB or do it with the cmd file from _ISO\docs\Make_E2B_USB_Drive, view some screenshots below!
Easy2Boot: Main Menu/Antivirus Bootrepair/Linux Partioning/WinPE
RMPrepUSB and WinContig: RMPrepUSB/WinContig WinContig
It's really important to make all ISO files contiguous but you don't have to download WinContig separately, it's already bundled with RMPrepUSB!
Here is a step-by-step guide also for Linux!
• Mac Emulation •
Mini vMac - Run it on Mac OS and Mac OS X, Linux, Windows and more Operating Systems.
• Independent Systems •
MenuetOS is an alternative system, fits on only one floppy and is NOT based on DOS, UNIX or something else and is available for 32-bit and also for 64-bit Computer! Spin-off but a bit larger: KolibriOS
Visopsys - Also completely independent, only a 20 MB ISO or USB image but als downloadable as floppy image. With Easy2Boot (some lines upstairs) you can boot up your machine using ISO images as well as floppy images!
ReactOS - At a first glance it looks like Windows 2000 but it is a completel in-house development written from scratch but it is in alpha stage since years and therefore only recommendable to very brave users with a separate computer for this system.
• Floppy Images •
FreeDOS - is a DOS (Disk Operating System) compatible operating system but it's free (unlike MS-DOS). Only the floppy image is a Live-System, the ISO images are only for installation! Here is a list of DOS commands if you don't remember all commands. Read a detailed review with informations about graphical User Interfaces on the site of my friend Dmitri Rabounski.
Balder is based on FreeDOS, includes many useful tools and CD driver support.
BasicLinux and blueflops - are minimalistic operating systems which fits on two floppy diks. The system will run completely from RAM after loading from the two floppies. So, if you have no hard disk and no cd drive but a floppy drive, you can use them to work with your computer.
As you can see, there are various and very good Operating Systems which you can download and use free of charge. Why buy expensive ones??? Visit Distrowatch and Wikipedia, I'm sure you will find a system which fits your needs if I presented not the right one for you.
Find over 300 LiveCD Systems for Desktop, Server, Science, Security, Forensic, Development, Education and more: LiveCD List
Vendors where you can buy computers with Linux OS pre-installed:
Computers and Laptops: ThinkPenguin
Laptops, PDAs and Mobile Phones: TuxMobil
Desktops and Laptops: LXer
Vendors that sell computers with Debian pre-installed.