Alpine Linux is an open source Linux-based operating system that provides users with a server-oriented secure computing environment. It is lightweight, small and simple Linux distribution built on top of the Busybox and musl software packages.
Distributed in multiple editions
The project is distributed in multiple editions, each one with its own purpose and abilities. The main edition is called Alpine Linux Standard, it includes some of the most commonly used packages and it is geared towards servers and routers that run directly from RAM (system memory). The second edition is called Alpine Linux Mini and it’s actually a minimal version of Alpine Linux Standard. It comes with only some basic packages and can be to install the operating system from network.
The third edition is called Alpine Linux VServer and includes only Vserver host packages. Network professionals can use this Alpine flavor to deploy VServer hosts that run directly from RAM. It can also be installed to a local disk drive. Lastly, the Alpine Linux Xen edition provides users with a Xen Dom0 Live CD and Xen packages. It is supported only on 64-bit hardware platforms.
Supports 32-bit and 64-bit architectures
As mentioned, the project provides users with multiple editions distributed as Live CD ISO images and supporting both 32-bit and 64-bit architectures. Alpine Linux’s network configuration is similar to Debian’s, but those of you who used a BusyBox-based operating system before should have no problem working with this distro.
The Alpine Linux developers have contributed a number of enhancements to BusyBox, in order to make the operating system run like any other. Keep in mind, though, that it doesn’t have a graphical environment.
Whether you use it to deploy your own server or router, VServer hosts and Xen-powered domain zero environments, Alpine is always here to help you. It can also be used to deploy a feature-rich ownCloud server.