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This document is copyright 2001 by Martin S. Wheeler. You may use, disseminate, and reproduce it freely, provided you:
do not omit or alter this copyright notice.
do not omit or alter the version number and date.
do not omit or alter the document's pointer to the current WWW version.
clearly mark any condensed, or altered versions as such.
These restrictions are intended to protect potential readers from stale or mangled versions. If you think you have a good case for an exception, ask me.
This document was originated by Bill Riemers. Matt Welsh maintained the second version. Erik Troan then maintained the document to release 3.0.
In January 1995, Eric Raymond, while unaware of the existence of this document, began to develop a similar FAQ in the format of his not-quite-yet-discontinued PC-clone UNIX Software Buyer's Guide, which covered mainly System V UNIXes and BSD/OS. (This Buyer's Guide should still be available on Eric's site somewhere, if he has not yet turned it into a useful HOWTO.)
In March 1995, Eric approached Erik about cooperating on a merged version. In early April 1995, Erik went to work for Red Hat Software, and (wishing to avoid a conflict of interest) handed the document to Eric. Eric merged in a lot of new information and added several new fields to the distribution entries, taking the document through releases 4, 5 and 6.
In January 2001, Martin Wheeler took over editorship of the document, which with the enormous expansion in numbers of distributions available, had become extremely time-consuming to maintain, and which Eric had decided to abandon.
Accordingly, this document is the result of serial collaboration. The editorial `we' generally tags observations by all the maintainers; `I' is Martin (the current editor/maintainer) speaking.
We are delighted to acknowledge the contributions of all the Linux users and Internet hackers who have contributed information and feedback.