Are you interested in trying out different Linux distributions but don't want to go through the hassle of installing them on your machine? Look no further! In this guide, we'll show you how to test Linux distros online using DistroSea. Whether you're a seasoned Linux user or just getting started, testing distros online is a convenient and risk-free way to explore different flavors of Linux and find the one that best suits your needs.
Before getting into the topic, let me give a short introduction to DistroTest, which is the predecessor of DistroSea.
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DistroTest was a website that offered a free service to test and evaluate various Linux distributions online without the need to download or install them. It provides a virtual environment for users to test and try out different Linux distributions, desktop environments, and applications before deciding which one to use.
DistroTest offered a user-friendly interface that allows users to launch the virtual machine and test the Linux distribution from their web browser.
It also provided a variety of options for customization, such as changing the screen resolution, keyboard layout, and language settings.
As far as I tested, DistroTest was an useful tool for Linux enthusiasts, developers, and beginners who want to experiment with different distributions without the hassle of installing them on their system.
Unfortunately, everything comes to an end at some point. DistroTest has been discontinued and shut down for quite some time now.
Fortunately, someone has picked up the torch and launched a new, similar service named DistroSea. In this tutorial, we will cover what DistroSea is and how to use DistroSea to test different Linux distributions online.
Say Hello to DistroSea
DistroSea is a web-based platform that allows users to test various Linux distributions online, similar to what Distrotest used to offer.
With DistroSea, users can try out different operating systems without having to install them on their own machines. This makes it a convenient and hassle-free way to explore various Linux distributions and their features.
DistroSea is a relatively new service, so you might expect some glitches. However, the developer of the site claims that it is nearly ready for real-world use.
Test Linux Distros Online with DistroSea
Go to the DistroSea site by clicking on the following link.
This is how DistroSea website looks like.
As you can see, the interface is very simple and neat. There are many popular operating systems, such as Alma Linux, Arch Linux,CentOS Stream, Debian, Fedora, Linux Mint, openSUSE, Slackware, Ubuntu and many, are available in DistroSea. Just click on any distribution you want to try. I am going to try Arch Linux, so I clicked Arch Linux link.
Next, choose the version of the OS. Arch Linux has only one version, which is latest, so I clicked on it.
You will have to verify that you're a human and click Start Arch Linux button. DistroSea will now start the selected OS. After a few seconds, a session running Arch Linux will be started for you. Simply click Continue to access your session.
By default, all VMs start in full screen mode. You can switch to normal screen by pressing the ESC or F11 buttons.
Start playing with the VM. After done with it, simply shut it down. The virtual machine (VM) in DistroSea will automatically shutdown after a period of inactivity.
How DistroSea Works?
I can't find much details about this project right now. From this Reddit thread, it appears to be the majority of distro ISOs are downloaded through the quickget script from the quickemu project, which is an useful tool for quick and easy emulation. And the novnc libraries are used to render the screen in a web page. Apart from these details, I couldn't find anything about this project.
As of writing this guide, there are less than 40 VMs available to try. The developer has plans to add more distros in the future.
The server for DistroSea is currently located in India, which may cause some latency issues when accessed from other countries. However, the developer plans to add a server in the US/Europe in the days to come to improve the user experience.
In conclusion, DistroSea Online Linux Distro Testing Tool provides a decent web-based platform for testing and trying out different Linux distributions online. With the ability to select different OS versions, I believe DistroSea can provide a good experience for Linux enthusiasts and developers.
Despite being a new service, it offers a user-friendly interface, and a good selection of popular distributions. While there may be some glitches due to its newness, the developer is continuously working on improving the service and adding more features.
In my opinion, DistroSea is a nice alternative to the now-discontinued DistroTest and a valuable tool for anyone looking to experiment with different Linux distributions.
Give it a try and let us know what you think of it in the comment section below.