In the Linux-verse, a re-spin is basically a new distribution that has been “spun off” from another distribution. We’ve already seen the likes of this with just about every major distribution. Ubuntu is one of the distributions that has enjoyed a number of good re-spins. Based on what is going down with the current releases of Ubuntu, this favorite distribution of new users will be in need of a few newer re-spins.
With that in mind, I thought it would be a fun exercise to come up with a few re-spins of my own that would combine various bits and pieces (and a few philosophies) from other operating systems or developers. Some of these distributions would be quite possible, whereas some may not. I’ll leave it up to you which of them should actually happen.
Enlightenment E17 and Ubuntu. We have already seen OpenGeu pretty much come and go. The last update to this version of Ubuntu was 9.10 and no one wants to go backwards. Another attempt at combining one of the best Linux desktops with Ubunt was Elbuntu (which was completely abandoned.) With the state of the GNOME desktop on Ubuntu undergoing some major changes, a desktop that offers a seriously equal flexibility to usability ratio is in need.The perfect desktop for that is Enlightenment E17. Although there is already a very good take on this using Debian (Elive), it does not enjoy the latest, greatest such that the combination of Ubuntu and E17 could enjoy. Plus, having Ubuntuone on E17 is a definite win-win.
An Ubuntu re-spin dedicated completely to tablet PCs. This distribution would focus completely on the touchscreen and hardware dedicated to tablets, allowing the owner of any of the current crop of tablets (minus the iPad of course) to install a touch-ready flavor of Ubuntu. Although it seems like Ubuntu on the tablet is very Unity-centric, I would like to see an alternative desktop or just go straight for GNOME 3.
I know this is going to sound a bit odd, but I would like to see someone create a re-spin of Ubuntu that looks and feels exactly like Windows 7. With this re-spin new users would think they are using Windows, but in fact would not be. This would be a great way to covertly get Linux on more and more machines. And imagine what joy you would receive hearing the target proclaim how much better their PC is running now that you “fixed” it.
Same thing as Winbuntu, only mimicking the look and feel of OS X. This, of course, would have to work on Apple hardware, but it would be sweet to have a pseudo-Mac clone that offered the flexibility of Linux.
This distribution would have one purpose and one purpose only - be the Swiss Army Knife of game consoles. I would pack every console emulator available into this spin as well as Cedega (for playing Windows games) and standard WINE. The hardware requirements would have to be sky high in order to make sure anyone that loads up this spin would have absolutely nothing to complain about and all of their games would work.
I want a Linux distribution dedicated to every crazed sports fan out there. This re-spin would have tools to help fans keep track of their fantasy and reality teams as well as offer themes for nearly every team available. You could re-spin this into NASBuntu, NFLbuntu (although you might have to skip 11.04 and wait for 12.04 to make this useful), NBAbuntu, MLBuntu, NCAABuntu, BASSbuntu, and more.
Keeping up with the Sports nut, a distribution focused on the arts would be nice. This re-spin would include every possible tool for the aspiring artist (including performance and non-performance arts) as well as applets that connect to Art-based Wikis. The multimedia player would specialize in show tunes and connect to Hulu to play every season of Glee and Fame.
An Ubuntu specifically for writers. This re-spin would include Writer’s Cafe, Basket Notes, a full-screen text editor, LibreOffice, The GIMP (for creating covers for their books), Calibre (for managing books), OpenShot Video Editor (for creating promo videos), and a local Wiki that included how-tos on self-publishing as well as names and contact information for every publisher and agent in the country. Also included with this spin would be timers, dictionaries, thesauruses, and every possible recipe for coffee imaginable.
Imagine an Ubuntu respin targeted specifically for small to medium size businesses. This take on Linux could not only include tools to help integrate Ubuntu into a Windows environment, but also include tools necessary to run a business. This re-spin could include GnuCash, Lemon POS, HRM tools, CRM tools, and more. Also, this version would require the encryption of the /home partition, and have strict password policies in place for all passwords used on the system.
Simply put, a distribution of Ubuntu made specifically for developers. This respin would include solid IDE’s, every necessary command line tool for building C and C++ applications, Bluefish, vim, website development tools, OpenJDK, as well as tools for building Android and even iPhone apps. This particular distribution might be one of the larger installations known to the Linuxverse, but it’s application would be incredible.
Which of these Ubuntu spins could actually be useful?
What about you? Have you ever thought of a Ubuntu re-spin that would make your life easier? Is there a Linux distribution you really need, but doesn’t exist? Let’s all get creative and come up with Linux flavors no one has seen, but some could use.