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I doubt that the user base of Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora (or better Red Hat at past times) and Slackware were instantly as big as they are today. They all started as small distributions and would everyone have decided that it is not worth running them because they have a small user base they would still be so small or even dead.
Other than a desire to just experiment and play around, I've never understood the motivation to use one of these "little known" distros, eventually you're going to run up against problems, and with a very small user base, you might be stuck for a solution. The large user bases of Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, and yes, even Slackware, serve as a huge problem-solving machine that works by and large for free.
Actually, it doesn't work like that. Take a look at the Ubuntu forum and see how many unanswered posts there are: and how many Ubuntu users are helped here by people who don't use it. With many small distros (Fuduntu, Salix, Foresight), when you post a question you may end up being helped by a real, live developer; how many Fedora developers hang out at the Fedora forum? I'd always suggest people look at the forums when choosing a disto: how any unanswered questions are there, is the tone friendly or condescending?
Can you at least respect the motivation of enthusiasts who release a nonknown distro in order to appeal to a specific, new (new to linux) audience? "Taylor" Swift linux and "Minnesota" (or whatever) and, I suppose, Bierberator Linux... may effectively woo new users. Who can guess whether they will stick with that distro, or will stepping stone to another (better-known, better supported) distro?
How about some respect toward the motivation to TRY off-the-wall distros, to see the computing environment from another point of view? Ya just might learn sumpin...
Agreed, many of the "respins" provide little added value. Agreed, many are poorly supported. However, nowadays most of 'em are also LIVE distros, and most of the isos are isohybrids. Install to pendrive, power down, unplug your hard drive(s), and boot to USB for a look-see. Heh, at least it keeps me outa the bingo parlor.
FWIW, USA Linux User Group forum (usalug.com) does a good job of finding/announcing lesser-known distros.
Regardless what (else) you might you might say about 'em, some of the lone wolf devs creating respin releases sure are AGILE! For instance, nearly a dozen releases by linuxbbq.org in the span of a few weeks (including revisions which incorporate user feedback) ~~ releases representing 32bit and 64bit, separate releases representing KDE and MATE and xfce DE's... and even one "far-out" release which includes THIRTY SEVEN wm's
Howabout "exton" (linux.exton.net) ?
Across the span of several years, he has turned out many "respins" which are, IMO, definitely value-added versions -- often PREFERABLE to to their original counterparts.
I've just found a new one — well, it's just been added to Distrowatch — Exe GNU/Linux. That's Exe pronounced ex, named after the river in Devon, where the lucky developer lives in Exemouth. Debian Stable + Trinity desktop: now that's original and actually fills a gap in what's currently available. http://www.linuxquestions.org/review...page/15/sort/7