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This issue is a celebration of the best open source distros. We’re recognising the achievements of thousands of unsung developers, coders, testers, organisers and documentation writers. Day in, day out, they’re working on open source projects, making git commits, filing bug reports and packaging tirelessly to bring us a bounty of free and open source software to choose from.

I think it’s far too easy to take that for granted. So this issue we’re taking a while to stop and appreciate the best distros that have arrived in 2018. The sheer diversity that Linux and the GPL offer is staggering. It enables the same kernel to have software wrapped around it to specialise in every area of computing: cloud servers, security and penetration testing, NAS devices, IoT devices, scientific research, super-computing development and coding.

Not to forget everyday desktop use and beyond! Instead of just pontificating about the merits of each distro, we’ve decided to take another approach. We’ll be showing you how you can build and package your own distro, too. So you can appreciated just how involved a job it is. This has some genuine uses: if you’re deploying the same image over a host of systems then having the same software and configuration across them all is ideal. So as well as being hopefully interesting, it’s also useful to know. We’re big fans of win-win situations! It’s not just diversity that open source helps prevail.

We’re looking at how abandoned games can be given a second life using open source engines. Open Morrowind is an amazing example of how the spirit of a game can be kept alive, enhanced and extended for decades after its original release, through the combined efforts of a community. I say it every issue, but we’ve got another amazing mix of content, so enjoy!

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