Flavors: (revised Jan.2004) Both Windows and Linux come in many flavors. All the flavors of Windows come from Microsoft, the various distributions of Linux come from different companies (i.e. Linspire, Red Hat, SuSE, Ubuntu, Mandriva, Knoppix, Slackware, Lycoris). Windows has two main lines: "Win9x", which consists of Windows 95, 98, 98SE and Me, and "NT class" which consists of Windows NT, 2000 and XP. Windows actually started, in the old days, with version 3.x which pre-dated Windows 95 by a few years.
The flavors of Linux are referred to as distributions (often shortened to "distros"). All the Linux distributions released around the same time frame will use the same kernel (the guts of the Operating System). They differ in the add-on software provided, GUI, install process, price, documentation and technical support. Both Linux and Windows come in desktop and server editions.
There may be too many distributions of Linux, it's possible that this is hurting Linux in the marketplace. It could be that the lack of a Linux distro from a major computer company is also hurting it in the marketplace. Perhaps this will change with Novell's purchase of SuSE. IBM is a big Linux backer but does not have their own branded distribution.
Linux is customizable in a way that Windows is not. There are many special purpose versions of Linux above and beyond the full blown distributions described above. For example, NASLite is a version of Linux that runs off a single floppy disk and converts an old computer into a file server. This ultra small edition of Linux is capable of networking, file sharing and being a web server.
[Articles coutesy of Michael Horowitz].
The article is too long to repeat it. If it is of your interest then go to its original location for further reading.
If the above URL does not works then go to its home location.