The OS of Choice for the "Elite Hacker"

Windows & Macintosh OSes are often used for very specific hacks & research. If the question were to be more specific about which hackers are of interest to them, I would suggest a few more options.

I build penetration systems on OS X. It allows me to patch for a lot of the issues I find, whether it be on OS X VMs in my VEs or Apple Inc. Development OS, Darwin.

If you are talking about the "elite hackers", I would suggest they use Linux From Scratch builds, just as I do. If you want to run sophisticated hacking machines or VMs, you cannot go wrong with an optimised Linux build.

I would love to be able to build from Darwin, Apple From Scratch would be wonderful, but I hope to cover that later in life.

Mainstream Linux distributions are not applicable to the "elite hackers". I have two Ubuntu training laptops for my family, but that is it. All other hardware is Apple or custom Linux. There are Windows VMs, but very little run Windows locally, with the exception of a professional workstation laptop running VM Ware Workstation 10.

Fedora is a difficult one, so too are CentOS, SUSE & SLES. I would like to say these are less of an issue than Ubuntu, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Linux Mint & Debian.

BSD builds are a solid bet too. BSD From Scratch, like (H)LFS, is how BSD works out of the box. You can use FreeBSD Jails in a similar way - FreeBSD Jails are fantastic & very easy to configure ready for deploys.

This post is in response to John Weintraub's answer on this Quora question