Bio-Linux: A Stable, Portable Scientific Research Linux Distribution


Bio-Linux was introduced and detailed in a Nature Biotechnology paper in July 2006. The distribution was a group effort by the Natural Environment Research Council in the UK. As the creators and authors point out, the analysis demands of high-throughput “-omic” (genomic, proteomic, metabolomic) science has necessitated the development of integrated computing solutions to analyze the resultant mountains of experimental data.

From this need, Bio-Linux was born. The distribution, according to its creators, serves as a “free bioinformatics workstation platform that can be installed on anything from a laptop to a large server.” The current distro version, Bio-Linux 8, is built on an Ubuntu 14.04 LTS base. Thus, the general look and feel of Bio-Linux is similar to that of Ubuntu.

In my own work as a research immunologist, I can attest to both the need for and success of the integrated software approach in Bio-Linux’s design and development. Bio-Linux functions as a true turnkey solution to data pipeline requirements of modern science. As the website mentions, Bio-Linux includes more than 250 pre-installed software packages, many of which are specific to the requirements of bioinformatic data analysis.


Check out Jack Wallen’s roundup of “Linux Distros That Serve Scientific and Medical Communities”