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GNU/Linux, Virtualization, Cloud ...

You can view the full GNU/Linux family tree on Wikipedia.  Choose what suits your needs or whims.  Or try everything in virtual computers without even installing if you have a lot of RAM (4GB+) in your computing device as most of the GNU/Linux distributions are 'Live' these days i.e. you can boot up from an ISO image in a virtual computer or boot up your computer from a CD/DVD that is made from the ISO image, using the boot menu that comes up at 'power on' and run the OS.

If you are not ready for any of this, you could at least try GNU and X Windows on a machine with Microsoft Windows by installing CygWin.  This may be a good option if you are on a NetBook or on an old PC that needs to stay as is with its original MS Windows installation for family use or some other reason (i.e. not interested in taking risk with network access or other peripherals and their drivers). You will have access to C/C++/PERL/Python compilers/interpreters in a BASH shell environment and run any X Windows GUI programs installed as a part of the CygWin installation (text, vector graphics editors etc.) after starting the X server (shortcut installed in programs menu).  You can even do professional typesetting using TeX and its variants.  You can build software downloaded from most of the open source projects in this (CygWin) environment.
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Virtualization Virtual Box An x86 virtualization software package developed by Sun Microsystems. Distributed under either the GNU GPL or a proprietary license with additional features. 
Virtualization VMware Player Use VMware vCenter Converter to transform your existing Windows PC into a virtual machine. 
Virtualization Xen Hypervisor The Xen® hypervisor, the powerful open source industry standard for virtualization, offers a powerful, efficient, and secure feature set for virtualization of x86, x86_64, IA64, ARM, and other CPU architectures. 
GNU/Linux Swecha The prime objective of Swecha OS is to provide a complete computing solution to a population that speaks and understands only Telugu.  
GNU/Linux Knoppix Knoppix is a Live Linux CD / Live DVD based on Debian GNU/Linux. 
GNU/Linux CentOS The Community Enterprise Operating System. Aims to be 100% binary compatible with Ret Hat Enterprise Linux and it is derived from those sources freely provided by the vendor. 
GNU/Linux Linux Mint The purpose of Linux Mint is to produce a modern, elegant and comfortable operating system which is both powerful and easy to use. Based on Debian and Ubuntu, it provides about 30,000 packages and one of the best software managers. 
GNU/Linux Ubuntu Derivatives Ubuntu Studio, Xubuntu, Kubuntu, Edubuntu, Lubuntu etc. 
GNU/Linux Ubuntu Fast, secure and stylishly simple. Debian based. Ubuntu is an ancient African word meaning 'humanity to others'. It also means 'I am what I am because of who we all are'. The Ubuntu operating system brings the spirit of Ubuntu to the world of computers. 
GNU/Linux Fedora Spins Fedora spins are alternate version of Fedora, tailored for various types of users via hand-picked application set or customizations.  
GNU/Linux open SUSE The openSUSE distribution is a stable, easy to use and complete multi-purpose distribution aimed towards users and developers working on the desktop or server. It is great for beginners, experienced users and ultra geeks alike, in short, it is perfect for everybody! 
GNU/Linux Puppy Linux Light-weight. Live CD. lupu - Ubuntu Lucid based, slacko - Slackware based, or Wary Puppy for older hardware. 
GNU/Linux Fedora A Red Hat Sponsored Community Project. 
GNU/Linux Debian The Universal Operating System. Debian provides more than a pure OS: it comes with over 29000 packages, precompiled software bundled up in a nice format for easy installation on your machine. 
GNU/Linux Slackware Linux The Official Release of Slackware Linux by Patrick Volkerding is an advanced Linux operating system, designed with the twin goals of ease of use and stability as top priorities. 
Cloud Xen Cloud Open source software to build private and public clouds. 
Cloud Citrix CloudPlatform Powered by Apache CloudStack 
Cloud CloudStack Open Source Cloud Computing with CloudStack 
Cloud VMware vCloud Choose from the largest ecosystem of public cloud service providers. 
Cloud Amazon EC2 Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud is a web service that provides resizable compute capacity in the cloud. 
Cloud Oracle Cloud Enterprise Cloud for Business 
Cloud Ubuntu Cloud Ubuntu can power your public, private or personal cloud. 
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