Currently Maintained Distributions
The following distributions are believed to be currently maintained. (Listed in alphabetical order.)
A distribution based on the default Alpha 400 OS, Debian, and Xenium. (Xeniums was another distro for Alpha 400 and similar but is defunct.) More information at 3MX's home page or littlelinuxlaptop.com
AMiLDA is a distribution for ADM5120-based devices, which provides a user-friendly interface, along with a really secure environment. It evolves quickly, and every release includes major new features and bug fixes.
This is a distro for Consumer Electronics devices, and a slightly modified form of it is shipped with Skystone Alpha 400 and its numerous rebadges, with a Ingenics XBurst MIPS-II compatible CPU. More information at littlelinuxlaptop.com
Build your own Linux from the source code for the MIPS. Location for Cross-LFS is located at http://cross-lfs.org
Debian GNU/Linux supports both little endian ("debian-mipsel") and big endian ("debian-mips") machines. Information about it can be found in the Debian Wiki and at the MIPS Port page. Both 32bit and 64bit kernels are supported.
DENX Software Engineering provides the ELDK (Embedded Linux Development Kit), a commercial-grade distribution including U-Boot boot loader, Linux kernel tree, cross development tools and an extensive set of native tools. The ELDK which is Free Software is available for PowerPC, ARM, and MIPS processors and can therefore be downloaded for FREE. See http://www.denx.de/wiki/DULG/ELDK
emlix provides a collection of system software for the Au1100 based F+S NetDCU6 boards and the respective BSP (Board Support Package). It is a commercial-grade distribution including U-Boot boot loader, Linux kernel with an extended driver set, cross development tools for Linux/ia32 (including nano-X aka MicroWindows) and a ready-to-run filesystem for the target. Prior targets for emlix were the NetDCU3 and NetDCU5, upcoming targets (fall 2005) will be the NetDCU8 with an ARM cpu.
The goal of the Fedora-MIPS project is to provide support for MIPS as an official secondary architecture in Fedora. The secondary goal is to enable derivative distributions based on the Fedora package collection and repository that are more suitably optimized for embedded and mobile use-cases. https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Architectures/MIPS
Gentoo Linux is a source based distribution which suports many different architectures, including MIPS. Currently four platforms are supported; Silicon Graphics Workstations, Cobalt servers, Loongson based boxes/laptops and EdgeRouter Lite. Gentoo Linux also provides root filesystems (stages) for all the MIPS ISAs.
- #gentoo-mips on irc.freenode.net
- Gentoo Linux/MIPS Handbook
- Gentoo Linux/MIPS stages
KaeilOSÂ® (formerly Klinux) is a GNU/Linux embedded distribution GPL Open Source for industrial applications. It includes an integrated development environment (IDE) and debugging instruments for embedded and real time systems. KaeilOS is based on kernel 2.6.15 and 2.4.x. It supports all the processor families x86, ARM, and optionally MIPS, PPC...
Maciej W. Rozycki
A set of distributions is maintained by Maciej at ftp://ftp.linux-mips.org/pub/linux/mips/people/macro/. Included, in the order of decreasing completeness, there is a 32-bit little-endian, 64-bit little-endian, 32-bit big-endian and 64-bit big endian one. The 64-bit ones only support the (n)64 ABI.
The former mirror at ftp.rfc822.org is now gone. Thanks, Florian, for providing this service over the years.
Midge & ARLiX
Midge is a linux mini-distribution for ADM5120 based routers, such as Edimax BR-6104K. It includes basic tools such as sh, ssh, inetd, syslogd, telnet, netcat, tftp, wget, udhcpd, vi, etc. Also midge uses ipkg package manager, which can be used for installing new software.
Midge also have Amateur Radio (HAM) version - ARLiX (Amateur Radio LinuX). Support protocol: AX.25, SuperVozelj. Possible add support NetRom, INP3, Rose, FlexNet, etc. It includes basic AX.25 tools such as kissattach, kissparm, beacon, rxecho, ax25-call, call, listen, aprsdigi, aprsmon, axip, linsv, axgetput, uronode, conversd-saupp, etc. Support APRS (Automatic Packet/Position Reporting System) and CADTS (Crimean Amateur Digital Telemetry System).
NixOS has experimental support, among other non-mips platforms, for the Fuloong Mini-PC mips64 computer, with n32 ABI binaries. The Fuloong Mini-PC particular installation instructions sit in the NixOS wiki.
The Nix Packages collection has support for n32 binaries native building, and cross-building support in general for GNU/Linux and uclibc/Linux on multiple architectures.
OpenEmbedded is a source based meta distribution similar to Gentoo, but especially targeted for cross-compilation and embedded systems, including MIPS architectures. http://www.openembedded.org
OpenEmbedded is now incorporated into the Yocto Project - see below.
Instead of trying to create a single, static firmware, OpenWrt provides a fully writable filesystem with package management. This frees you from the application selection and configuration provided by the vendor and allows you to customize the device through the use of packages to suit any application. For developer, OpenWrt is the framework to build an application without having to build a complete firmware around it; for users this means the ability for full customization, to use the device in ways never envisioned.
T2 is an open source (GPL) System Development Environment supporting many different architectures including MIPS with both, little and big endian. Information about the T2 MIPS support can be found at MIPS and MIPS64 pages as well as on the general T2 homepage. The Open T2 SDE is suited to create specialized embedded Linux targets as well as run on SGI workstations.
Wind River Linux
Wind River Linux is based on pristine source kernel and code, fully tested and validated Linux offering, with optimized tools and development environment Wind River Workbench, an integrated, Eclipse-based development environment.
MIPS is an officially supported architecture of the Yocto Project.
The following distributions are not believed to be currently maintained.
RedHat 7.3 based
A complete distribution based on RedHat's 7.3, ported by H.J. Lu, can be found at ftp://ftp.linux-mips.org/pub/linux/mips/redhat/7.3/. (The package datestamps are mostly year 2003, when checked on 2011-05-03.)
MIPS used to maintain a version of Red Hat 7.1 which used to be available including complete installable CD-ROM images, at ftp://ftp.linux-mips.org/pub/linux/mips/redhat/7.1/. This distribution seems to have been lost in time and space. There are however packages that have been ported over for 7.1, at  for RPMS packages and  for SRPMS packages.
- 3MX http://taitaonline.co.uk/3mx.htm
- AMiLDA Linux http://www.amilda.org/
- CELinuxforum.org http://www.celinuxforum.org/
- Cross-LFS http://cross-lfs.org/
- Debian http://www.debian.org/
- ELinOS http://www.elinos.com/
- Fedora http://ww.fedoraproject.org/
- Lineo http://www.lineo.com/
- Littlelinuxlaptop.com http://littlelinuxlaptop.com/
- LynuxWorks http://www.lynuxworks.com/
- OpenWrt.org http://openwrt.org
- Red Hat http://www.redhat.com/
- TimeSys http://www.timesys.com/
- Wind River Linux http://www.windriver.com/