Alpine Linux is a community developed operating system designed for x86 routers, firewalls, vpns, voip boxes and servers.
Alpine Linux is and always will be free of charge. You do not pay any licensing fees. You can download, use and share Alpine Linux with anyone for absolutely nothing.
Alpine Linux was designed with security in mind. It has proactive security features like PaX and SSP that prevents security holes in the software to be exploited.
The C libary used is uClibc and the base tools are all in Busybox. Those are normally found in embedded systems and are smaller than the tools found in GNU/Linux systems.
Why the name Alpine?
Alpine originally stood for A Linux Powered Integrated Network Engine. The idea was that the distro would be focused on networking, and be a tiny “engine” or framework to build bigger systems on. Today, Alpine lives up to that name. The first open source implementation of Cisco’s DMVPN was written for Alpine Linux. Improvements to networking functions in the Linux Kernel have started from patches or needs from the Alpine Linux team.
On the other hand, there are a number of installations where Alpine Linux is used as the basis for enterprise servers running Postgresql, Postfix, Asterisk, Kamailio, iSCSI SAN. It is the little engine that could.
Anymore, Alpine is just a name.
Official Alpinelinux website : http://www.alpinelinux.org/
Installation/how to instructions : http://www.alpinelinux.org/
Alpinelinux Download : http://www.alpinelinux.org/downloads