a "distro" usually refers to one of the hundreds of "gnu[lit]/[lit]linux distributions," which are versions of the gnu[lit]/[lit]linux operating system-- in a sense that is similar to the make and model of a car.
some distros are completely unique (except that they are generally based on the gnu operating system and the linux kernel) and do not belong to a larger distro family.
many are part of a the six largest distro families, including slackware, redhat, debian, opensuse, arch and gentoo. [url]https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Linux_landscape_2016_II_(and_bsd%27s).png[url]
a gnu[lit]/[lit]linux distribution is most often downloaded as an .iso file. this file can be used to write a cd, dvd or usb drive that can start the computer with a system that runs or at least installs the distribution.
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