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The aggregation of a Linux kernel, other system software such as a boot loader and applications are called distributions Distributions differ in their philosophy such as being for free or commercial, the targeted audience, distribution medium, added value for example in form of software for installation and system maintenance and the way that support is handled. Another differenciating factor - and the reason for the existence of this page is the degree of support for amateur radio. This page is trying to give an overview.

Live CDs for one thing are meant for trying out things for Linux beginners as they usually don't change the existing system. They also are useful for testing to what degree a computer system is supported by Linux. Live CDs are usually for the i386 architecture and are frequently based on Knoppix (http://www.knopper.net/knoppix/) which against is rooted on Debian. Live CDs are interesting because some are optimized for amateur radio.

Full distributions


Debian is supporting 11 different hardware architectures and comes with a vast collection of amateur collection. Basically there are three version of Debian available:

Mailing list: debian-hams


Novell-SuSE / openSUSE =

For Novell-SuSE 9.3 and 10.0 i386 amateur radio software packages are getting maintained by Jörg, DL1BKE in his spare time. They can be installed through SuSE's system managment tool YAST. All it takes for example for SuSE 9.3 is adding


as an installation source.

Upto SuSE 9.0 or 9.1 amateur radio applications were still shipping on all installation media. Later versions have them only on the DVD version. For SuSE Live CDs amateur radio software has to be installed from the internet.

SuSE has changed the "time base" in their kernels for SuSE 9.2 and 9.3 without fixing the timing for AX.25 under /proc/sys/net/ax25. With change a connection attempt will already timeout after 0.3s instead of 30s.

Mailing list: suse-ham-help@suse.com

The PPC architecture is supported since openSUSE 10.0

Redhat / Fedora Core

None of the Redhat Linux rsp. Fedora Core distributions did every ship with amateur radio software. For packet radio even the kernel will have to be replaced with kernel that has the necessary features built in since the distribution kernels don't come with AX.25 and the necessary drivers.