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Consumer hardware shipping too many Linuxes by default

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At the top of my head now, Linux is hitting the mainstream desktop market, in many variants:

  1. Xandros, on the ever popular Asus EeePC’s

  2. Foresight Linux, on the new Shuttle KPC’s (USD$199), which are basically small form-factor desktops
  3. Fedora, a modified variant anyway, running on the OLPC’s
  4. gOS, a variant of Ubuntu, running on the gPC’s
  5. Maemo, via scratchbox, on the Nokia n-series handhelds (n770, n800, n810, and presumably more in the future)
  6. Ubuntu shipping on some Dell laptops, in select regions

I’m sure I’ve missed out some really amazing devices. But that’s not the point. Do you see a problem with the above?

Xandros, gOS, Ubuntu and Maemo run DPKG, using APT/DEB’s for package management. Fedora, uses RPM. Foresight uses their own Conary based system. OK, lets scratch the package manager woes, now noting that they’re all different. Let’s focus on the desktop environment.

Xandros is some form of KDE, locked down on the Asus. Foresight presumably ships with GNOME by default, as do the Ubuntu on Dell machines. The OLPC ships with Sugar (granted, its market is specific). gOS ships with XFce. Maemo uses GTK, but is remarkably different from a regular GNOME desktop. So now we’ve got different desktop environments too.

Should I then go into package managers? Or down to the nitty gritty, where the init scripts are in a different location? Or that they all use a different method to connect to a wireless network?

So what am I getting at? Complexity.

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