About Compute Freely

Compute Freely was started to be an approachable and friendly jumping in point for people completely new to or curious about the world of Free and Open Source operating systems and Linux distributions with a focus on introduction and curation.


Many people have no familiarity with Linux operating systems or the whole ecosystem of Free Software that surrounds it. By answering “What is Linux?” and “Why Use Linux?” Compute Freely aims to introduce people to some of the basic ideas and principles behind Linux and Free Software in an effort to get people to switch away from proprietary systems.


Unlike some sites, Compute Freely does away with most of the technical jargon, detailed specifications and page-ranking to determine popularity when presenting distributions. Instead, each distribution gets a simple page with some essential information and a brief description and through the use of tags people can explore or browse related distributions.

Compute Freely provides a curated selection of distributions, not a comprehensive list, as there are thousands out there and that would be overwhelming. The aim is to present the breadth of possibilities and cover a variety of interests and levels of familiarity with Free Software and Linux in general, which is broken into a few simple categories:


These are distributions that aim for the widest possible audience. Built for use as desktop operating systems, these tend to focus on ease of use and are often fairly straightforward to use and don’t require much prior knowledge about Linux to get going.


If you have some familiarity with Linux systems these distributions are good jumping off points, but require a bit more work out-of-the-box to get set-up. Distributions in this category can be somewhat niche, come bundled with some more technical tools, or focus on a specific category of use.


These are distributions that are very niche or specialized and require a lot of prior knowledge about things like package management, navigating a terminal and overall familiarity with Linux systems. It’s here where you will find yourself doing a lot of the configuration yourself and tailoring your system to your needs or even building one from scratch.