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When Is More Open Source Too Much?

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It seems like once every few months there's another round of muttering about whether or not the open source world is just too diverse for its own good. Matt Asay at CNet (NSDQ: CNET) called it the "too many scratches for too few itches" problem. And my own colleague Alex Wolfe so memorably described the world of Linux distributions as "a forking mess" a while back. So, is more really too much, especially now that Linux is edging into the mainstream?

Like a lot of questions, the answer you get seems to depend not on who you ask, exactly, but what they want to do at any given point. The folks who grouse about duplication of effort and redundancy of functionality in open source are not doing so at the sole exclusion of the people who want diversity and choice, because there's nothing that says they're the same people at different points in time.

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