Distribution Morphing - Transforming of a Linux Distribution into Another Linux Distribution

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A visual representation of distribution morphing

Distribution morphing refers to the process of transforming an existing Linux distribution into a different, usually derivative, distribution by installing specific packages and making necessary configurations.

Overview and Methodology[edit]

Distribution morphing is a procedure that allows users to effectively transform their current Linux distribution into a different one, which is often a derivative of the base distribution. This can depending on the distribution entail:

  • Updating the system's repository list to point to the new distribution's repositories.
  • Installing key packages from the new distribution, which may include core system components, default applications, and desktop environments.
  • Removing or replacing any packages that are specific to the old distribution and not needed or compatible with the new one.
  • Applying necessary system configurations to ensure the new distribution functions properly.


Examples of distribution morphing include transitioning from:

Moreover, it's possible to morph from one fork to another provided they share the same base distribution, such as:


Within the context of Kicksecure, the term "distribution morphing" may seem grandiose and could suggest a range of unintended changes. However, it is crucial to understand that Kicksecure remains fundamentally based on Debian. It is binary-compatible with Debian, continues to utilize the packages.debian.org repository, and encourages the reporting of any bugs found within Kicksecure to the Debian project directly, provided they pertain to Debian's own packages.

Kicksecure's methodology is rooted in practices that, in principle, could be replicated by a skilled system administrator. These practices include:

  • Modifying configuration files to tailor system behavior.
  • Installing additional software, which encompasses both third-party applications and proprietary in-house developments.
  • Implementing custom branding to distinguish the system's user interface and experience.

Each of these steps aligns with standard system administration tasks and does not inherently involve deep modifications at the distribution's core level. This approach underscores Kicksecure's philosophy of transparency and reproducibility, illustrating that the changes made are accessible and understandable to those with the necessary technical expertise.

This may stand in contrast to the relationship between Debian and Ubuntu. According to the author's knowledge, it is not feasible to morph Debian into Ubuntu due to the lack of binary compatibility. Ubuntu maintains its own package repository at packages.ubuntu.com, which means users connect to a separate repository, distinct from packages.debian.org. This represents a significantly broader scope of software forking and package management. Ubuntu has numerous full-time employees who have developed Ubuntu for decades. The complexity and scale of Ubuntu's development have surpassed what could be replicated by a skilled system administrator alone.

See Also[edit]

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