Test 200+ Linux And Unix Operating Systems Online For Free
A while ago we have covered about OSBoxes, a website that offers a collection of free, ready-to-use Linux and Unix VMs. You can download and try them on your Linux system using VirtualBox or VMWare workstation. Today, I stumbled upon a similar service named “DistroTest”. Unlike OSBoxes, DistroTest allows you to try the live Linux and Unix operating systems for free. You can test 200+ Linux and Unix operating systems online without having to install them locally. Just visit the website, choose the Linux/Unix distro of your choice and fire it up!
Two good Samaritans named Klemann Andy and Forster Tobias have hosted this web service on Debian using Qemu. There is no restrictions to use the public distros listed here. You can use all functions of the system as the way you do in your local system. You can install and uninstall software. You can test installed programs and
even delete or format the hard disk or system files. In a nutshell, DistoTest lets the distro hoppers to decide;
- Which distribution is the best for them,
- Which graphical interface they want,
- Which configuration options they have.
As of writing this guide, DistroTest is hosting 711 versions with 227 operating systems. I have been using Linux for years, however I never heard some of the Linux distros listed here. To be honest, I don’t even actually know this much of Linux operating systems exists.
Here is the list of available Linux distributions in DistroTrest website.
- antiX Linux
- Calculate Linux Desktop
- CentOS 7
- Damn Small Linux
- DragonFly BSD
- Elive Linux
- Endless OS
- Exe GNU/Linux
- Kali Linux
- Linux Lite
- Linux Mint
- LXLE OS
- MX Linux
- OSGeo live
- Puppy Linux
- SwagArch (18.03)
- Tiny Core
- TurnKey Linux
- Ubuntu and its official variants
- Zorin OS
How does it work?
To test any operating systems, head over to the following link:
In this website, you will see the list of available OSes. Click on the name of the distribution you want to explore.
For the purpose of this guide, I am going to test Arch Linux.
Once you clicked on the distribution’s link, you will be then redirected to the next screen where you can start the OS by clicking on System start button.
Now, the live system will start in a new browser window and you can access it from the built-in noVNC viewer. Please enable/allow the pop-ups in your web browser for this site, otherwise you can’t see the noVNC application.
Hit ENTER to boot into the live system.
Here is the Arch Linux live system:
You can use this system for an hour for free. You can now test the live OS, install applications, remove applications, delete or modify system files, and test a configuration or script. After every shutdown, everything is back to the default settings.
Once you’re done, go back to the DistroTest page and stop your test system. If you don’t want to enable the pop-ups in DistroTest page, just use any locally installed VNC client applications in your system. The VNC client login details are given in the same page itself.
DistroTest service can be useful for those who wants to test a Linux/Unix operating system online or for those who don’t have the live ISO of the preferred OS. It works just fine as far as I tested in 4G Internet connection.
Actually, I can’t install new software in the VMs
One problem I noticed while testing is the VMs are not connected to the network. There is no network interface available, except the loopback interface. I couldn’t figure it out how to download and install new software without connecting to Internet or local mirror. I don’t know why/how they claim we can install software. May be I am missing something here. All I can do at DistroTest is take a look at the existing systems, test them live and without any installation.
- Learn And Practice Linux Commands Online For FREE!
- Run Linux And Other Operating Systems In Your Browser
And, that’s all for now. I don’t know how the DistroTest team managed to host this much of operating systems. I am sure it would have taken a lot of time. It is really a commendable work. I really appreciate the self-less act of the project members. Kudos to you guys. More power to you!