ALT Linux

ALT Linux is a set of Russian RPM-based operating systems built on top of the Linux kernel and Sisyphus packages repository. ALT Linux has been developed collectively by ALT Linux Team developers community and ALT Linux Ltd.


ALT Linux Team arose from the merger of IPLabs Linux Team and the Linux community of the Institute of Logic, Cognitive Science and Development of Personality. The latter cooperated with Mandrake Linux and SUSE teams to improve localization, producing a Linux-Mandrake Russian Edition.
Mandrake and Mandrake RE became different distributions and thus the decision was made to create a separate project. The name "ALT" was coined, which is a recursive acronym meaning "ALT Linux Team".
The split led to the creation of the Sisyphus package repository, which is an unstable branch of the ALT Linux development. In 2007, the Sisyphus repository won a prestigious CNews award in nomination for Information Security.


Version history


Linux-Mandrake 7.0 Russian Edition, released in the beginning of 2000, was the first de facto independent distribution of IPLabs Linux Team. It kept the name Mandrake with permission from Mandrake developers.
Spring 2001 was the second IPLabs Linux team release, released several months later.

ALT Linux 1.0

Since the summer of 2001, ALT Linux Team has been formed and the ALT Linux name has been established.
The first ALT Linux release was ALT Linux Junior 1.0, released in summer of 2001, followed by the updated ALT Linux Junior 1.1 in autumn of 2001.
Junior distributions were 1CD releases.

ALT Linux 2.*

ALT Linux Master 2.0, released in May 2002, was the 4CD all-purpose Linux distribution targeted for software developers and system administrators.
ALT Linux Junior 2.0 was released in summer of 2002, as a 1CD desktop/workstation-oriented release.

ALT Linux 3.0

ALT Linux Compact 3.0 was released during autumn 2005, and consisted of 1CD/1DVD installable versions along with LiveCD. There were several subsequent OEM updates counting up to 3.0.5.

ALT Linux 4.0

These series changed the official naming somewhat to be «ALT Linux 4.0 $flavour».
There was also a more conservative «school 4.0 branch» maintained for the Russian schools pilot project, and several distributions specifically tailored for schools released using that as a base.

ALT Linux 4.1

The 5.0 branch was canceled mainly due to stormy conditions ; 5.1 community branch was created along with p5 «conservative» branch later in 2009. Somewhat confusingly, distributions based on the p5/branch were numbered as ALT Linux 5.0:
A small single-CD distribution for older/low-memory computers, with Xfce as default desktop. Available in normal and Live CD versions. Rather superseded by LXDE-based New Lite.


Compact is a series of ALT Linux distributions tailored for beginner users. It is mostly used on workstations, home computers, and notebooks. It includes additional means for easy configuration, many office and multimedia applications, and some games. Compact was also a popular choice for OEM whitelabeling, i.e. creating a specific edition for various hardware vendors to bundle with their hardware.


ALT Linux Server is a hardened server single CD distribution. It is certified by Federal department of technical and expert control of Russia in the following categories:
ALT Linux Terminal is a terminal server distribution based on ALT Linux Desktop and ALTSP5: a friendly/merging fork of LTSP which is usable on older hardware acting as thin/diskless clients. It was also adapted for Russian School Education National Project free software package.