Linux Distributions

Alpine – small, simple and secure Linux distribution

Alpine Linux is an independent, non-commercial, general purpose Linux distribution.

Alpine Linux is built around musl, libc OpenRC, and BusyBox in replace of glibc, GNU Core Utilities, and systemd. This makes it small and very resource efficient. A container requires no more than 8 MB and a minimal installation to disk requires around 130 MB of storage. Not only do you get a fully-fledged Linux environment but a large selection of packages from the repository.

It uses its own package manager called apk, the OpenRC init system, and script driven set-ups. This provides you with a simple, crystal-clear Linux environment without all the noise. You can then add on top of that just the packages you need for your project, so whether it’s building a home PVR, or an iSCSI storage controller, a wafer-thin mail server container, or a rock-solid embedded switch, nothing else gets in the way.

Alpine Linux was designed with security in mind. All user-space binaries are compiled as Position Independent Executables (PIE) with stack-smashing protection. These proactive security features prevent exploitation of entire classes of zero-day and other vulnerabilities.

It’s a base system for many enterprise routers, and used in embedded devices.

Working state:Active
Init Software:Busybox, OpenRC
Package Management:APK
Release Model:Fixed
Platforms:x86, x86-64, ARMhf, ARMv7, AArch64, ppc64le, s390x
Developer:Alpine Linux development team
This article is part of our Big List of Active Linux Distros which is currently under development.

What's a Linux distribution ("distro")?

A distro provides the user with a desktop environment, preloaded applications, and ways to update and maintain the system.

Each distro makes different choices, deciding which open source projects to install and provides custom written programs. They can have different philosophies.

Some distros are intended for desktop computers, some for servers without a graphical interface, and others for special uses. Because Linux is an open source operating system, combinations of software vary between Linux distros.
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