How Linux distributions are fighting COVID-19

Project Pandemic

© Lead Image © Iksana Mironova, 123RF.com

© Lead Image © Iksana Mironova, 123RF.com

Article from Issue 236/2020
Author(s):

Several leading Linux distributions are taking steps to address the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Distributions – aka "distros" – shape our experiences of Linux. All Linux distros use the Linux kernel, but the package managers, applications, and other components can vary dramatically. Currently, DistroWatch lists 273 distros, many designed for specialized purposes, such as video editing or retrogaming, and switching from one to another often feels like changing operating systems.

In the coming months, this column will explore the diversity of Linux distributions. At times, I will cover the plans for upcoming general releases. At other times, I may present a roundup of some of the projects that contributors to Linux distributions develop on their own. The distros on this month's DVD will always be featured – and other distros will be mentioned only as space and topics allow.

As I write this article, one topic that seems to be in the media is the spread of COVID-19. The ongoing pandemic has had a major impact on companies like Apple and Google, partly because of their business model and partly because most of their manufacturing is in China, which was hit early and hard. Many major corporations have met with the World Health Organization to discuss how to handle the accompanying infodemic of misleading news about COVID-19 [1]. Some tech companies have also announced plans to help combat the pandemic. Apple, for instance, is developing face shields, and auto companies like GM and Tesla [2] have plans for using automotive parts to produce ventilators for victims of the virus with respiratory problems.

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