Software distributions based on Debian

There are a number of distributions based on Debian. Some users might want to take a look at these distributions in addition to the official Debian releases. This is done for a number of reasons (better localization support, specific hardware support, simplified installation, etc.).

Debian welcomes and encourages organisations that want to develop new distributions based on Debian. However, in the spirit of Debian's social contract, we ask them to contribute their work to the main distribution so that ultimately, all users can benefit from improvements.

The following distributions are based on Debian (in alphabetical order, not chronological). This list is far from complete and might be out of date.

We also have a census page in the Debian Wiki, to gather detailed information about Debian derivatives.

Note: for more detailed information of these distributions including release dates, contents and reviews, please visit

The following distributions were based on Debian but are not active any more or are no longer available:


64 Studio is a GNU/Linux distribution tailor-made for digital content creation, including audio, video, graphics and publishing tools.


The Adamantix project aims to create a highly secure but usable Linux platform. To accomplish this, the project will use currently available security solutions for Linux (like kernel patches, compiler patches, security related programs and techniques) and knit these together to a highly secure Linux platform.


APLINUX was a distribution based on Debian GNU/Linux focused on web servers, DNS servers and mail servers. Its main goal was to automatize the tasks of installation and configuration of the system, with the purpose to achieve the maximum in trustworthiness, stability and security.


Astra-Linux is the first official security Debian derivative in Russia. It runs on the x86-64 hardware platform (amd64). Its structure includes many free software components and additionally also software decisions of the Astra Linux developers.


Canaima is a Venezuelan desktop distribution based on Debian GNU/Linux. It is used by a large community in Venezuela and various latin-american countries. It also continues to be the official operating system in the NPA and powers national projects as Canaima Educativo (Educational Canaima) for children.

More info...


Collax (formerly BenHur) is a server appliance based on Debian. It provides a firewall, e-mail server with virus protection, fax server, VPN gateway, SMS server, web proxy and remote access (RADIUS) functionalities.

Corel Linux

Corel developed a distribution based on Debian bundled with its WordPerfect and other Corel software. Corel chose Debian because offers an excellent fit with the company's existing customer base and Linux mission. Debian has a solid charter, a strong worldwide developer base and a thorough testing period as described in its FAQ (no longer available). It was released in November 1999, after a few public betas. This opened some discussion due to the fact that Corel had elected KDE for its GUI, and KDE license issues were not yet solved within Debian. Three different editions were published from 1999 to the end of the year 2000. However, in the year 2001 it announced its intention to spin off the Linux distribution.

Corel Linux was available from Users wishing to upgrade to newer Debian releases can use, as a guideline, the Corel to Debian micro-howto published in Debian support mailing lists.

However, afterwards it was licensed to a new company called Xandros Corporation (see the press release), a company which includes some of the developers and architects of the original Corel Linux. Read more about Xandros.

Cumulus Linux

Cumulus Linux is a Debian-based operating system that runs on Network Switches from a variety of manufacturers. It looks and feels like a Debian server with 64+ 10Gigabit/sec ethernet NICs, but behind the scenes, forwarding packets is done at line rate by a specialized ASIC. This lets you use the familiar and automatable Linux interfaces to run your network, replacing proprietary CLIs.

More info...

Damn Small Linux

Damn Small Linux is a 50M live CD based on Knoppix geared towards desktop use on weak hardware.

Debian JP

Debian JP is a volunteer-driven effort intended to provide a Debian-based distribution oriented towards Japanese end-users. Improvements include internationalization of the Debian distribution, with all changes being later contributed to the main project. The project started distributing a set of packages for the Hamm distribution and now provides CDs based on the official releases.

It can be retrieved from the Debian JP pages (mostly in Japanese).


Demolinux is a distribution that allows a user to run Linux without installation, disk partitioning or any related issues, since it works from a bootable CD-ROM. Demolinux includes the GNOME and KDE environments, Enlightenment, StarOffice, lots of games, development tools, and a full load of utilities. It is probably the best distribution to use if you want to just give Linux a try and see how it works and what can it offer you.

Since version 2.0 it is Debian-based (version 3.0 is also based on Debian).

DemoLinux is available from CD images can be obtained from (but first, please try some of the mirrors).


DoudouLinux is specially designed for children to make computer use as easy and pleasant as possible for them. DoudouLinux provides tens of applications that suit children from 2 to 12 years old and gives them an environment as easy to use as a gaming console. Kids can learn, discover and have fun without Dad and Mum always watching!

DoudouLinux is available from

ESware Linux

ESware Linux 365 was a Spanish commercial distribution that surfaced in 2001 (previous versions where derived from other GNU/Linux distributions, not Debian) it included 7 CDs (including StarOffice and some other non-free tools) and 1 source CD as well as four Spanish manuals. The installation (it had a graphic installation, a text-only installation and a remote web-based one) was in Spanish and provided automatic hardware detection.


Finnix is a bootable CD (Live-CD), aimed for system administrators, focussing on mounting and manipulating hard drives and partitions, monitoring networks, rebuilding boot records, installing other operating systems, and much more. And above all, Finnix is small; currently the entire distribution is over 300MiB.

More info...


Gibraltar was a project that tried to produce a router and firewall package directly bootable from CD-ROM (it can be installed on hardisk too, however). There were both commercial (with a proprietary web interface) and free versions.

Development of the Gibraltar OS has ceased, but downloads are still available on their website. More information available at


grml is a bootable CD (Live-CD) originally based on Knoppix and nowadays based on Debian. grml includes a collection of GNU/Linux software especially for system administrators and users of texttools. grml provides automatic hardware detection. You can use grml (for example) as a rescue system, for analyzing systems/networks or as a working environment. It is not necessary to install anything to a harddisk; you don't even need a harddisk to run it. Due to on-the-fly decompression grml includes about 2.1GB of software and documentation on the CD. You don't have to pay anything to use grml because it is free software!

More info...

Impi Linux

Impi Linux was a South African Linux distribution based on Debian (and Knoppix). It was created from the best software available in the open source world, to give South African users a stable, virus free and very cost effective business operating system. It focused on providing an office desktop system. More information was available at (which seems down, you can retrieve old versions through


Linex is a Debian-based distribution being developed by the regional government of Extremadura (Spain). The main goal is to migrate all the computer systems, from government offices, to businesses to schools into Linux. Read the official press release (also available in English).

Linex has drawn a lot of attention not just from non-Spanish newspapers like the Washington Post, but even from the European Parliament, where it was presented in several occasions, the latest one in the annual meeting of the European Regions Committee (news posted in February 2003 here or here, in Spanish only).

More information on Linex available at (Spanish only). It can also be downloaded from or using apt adding the following to your sources.list:

deb woody linex gnome2

More info...


Linuxin was a distribution based on Debian GNU/Linux 3.0 (woody) and was oriented towards the Spanish end-user (desktop) with a simplified installation that included hardware autodetection and a small package selection directed towards users with little experience.


Linux Mint is a GNU/Linux distribution. Its Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) is based on Debian Testing. It is available in both 32 and 64-bit as a live DVD and features a Gnome and an Xfce edition.

More info...


Morphix is designed as a modular framework to easily create and customize livecd's, with a range of modules for different purposes. Based on Debian and KNOPPIX, it emphasises ease-of-use, ease-of-install and, thanks to Debian and apt, ease-of-updating. In such, it is a hybrid: the usefulness of a regular livecd, and a dependable way to get a Debian install on your harddisk. It does contain certain non-free drivers (nvidia driver), which can be chosen at boottime, but these can be disabled for full Debian compliance.

Besides the custom-made opensource installer, the people behind Morphix are active on creating a number of extra tools and applications to increase the usefulness of Morphix for newer users. These tools are also licensed under the GPL.


Ordissimo is aimed at being easy to use (especially for the elderly) and is distributed preinstalled on laptop and tablet devices.

More info...

Parsix GNU/Linux

Parsix is a live and installation DVD based on Debian. Its goal is to provide a ready to use, easy to install, desktop and laptop optimized operating system based on Debian's testing branch and the latest stable release of GNOME desktop environment.

More info...


RAYS LX is a desktop distribution based on Debian sarge and sid and aimed for the mainland Chinese market. RAYS LX featured a GUI installer (based on the new debian-installer), GUI configuration tools, a simplified selection of best-of-breed desktop applications, and popular Chinese input methods, all designed to enhance the desktop experience. The distribution has now adopted an open development model, which carries out its development at the OpenRAYS community site.


Stonegate is a high-availability firewall with virtual private network, and load balancing capabilities. These capabilities are closed-source (proprietary) but the base operating system (even if it's not widely publicized) is Debian GNU/Linux.

Storm Linux

Storm was a distribution based on Debian GNU/Linux which appeared in 1999 (the first alpha was released in July). However, the manufacturer, Stormix Technologies, filed for bankruptcy in the year 2001 (some more information about this on Newsforge). Storm Linux received some good reviews but the distribution is no longer available.

Storm was available at Stormix Technologies' Storm Linux website, (no longer available)


Ubuntu is a Linux distribution that starts with the breadth of Debian and adds regular releases (every six months), a clear focus on the user and usability (it should Just Work, TM) and a commitment to security updates with nine months of support for every release. Ubuntu ships with the latest Unity and KDE releases as well as a selection of server and desktop software that makes for a comfortable desktop experience off a single installation CD.

Ubuntu is sponsored by Canonical Ltd.

More info...

Univention Corporate Server

UCS is a standardized and easy to operate Linux-Solution that includes an extensive management system besides the actual operating system which is based on Debian. With this identity- and infrastructure-management-system UCS provides, besides its standard services, every important function to manage smaller and larger IT-environments. It fits perfectly into existing systems and is extendable with a great number of certified applications (groupware, backup, fax, network-monitoring, virtualization etc.) by different producers.

If you like, you can get a test version at our homepage.

More info...


Xandros Desktop was another Debian-based distribution for the desktop market, which appeared after Corel Linux.

You can read a review on Xandros 1.0 at ExtremeTech, DistroWatch, and OSnews (beta preview).