Dr. Roy Schestowitz Latest posts | Real-time contact
Short bio: Software Engineer, interdisciplinary researcher, and an advocate of fair competition (read more)
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I like linux and use it on a simi regular basis, but find the number of distros mind boggling. I can see it working with 4 or 5 distors that work together to make writing and installing programs the same across all distros. I'm sure it can be done because KDE and Gnome have done it.
1. How do you think it affects you negatively that there are "too many" distros, other than that the list on DistroWatch is pretty long. Do you feel compelled to use them all and the mere thought of installing them all wears you down?
2. Which 4 or 5 distros deserve the "right" to live, in your opinion, and on what grounds do you base this on?
You write: "[...] work together to make writing and installing programs the same across all distros"
3. Are you aware that there are only three major ways of installing packages that are used on most distros? RPM, DEB and TGZ. You can stretch this list to four or five if you count Gentoo's portage and PacMan from Arch. I'm not saying there aren't more ways of installing packages, hell, some even prefer 'make && make install', but those are the major once. Which package manager(s) deserver to be used and why?
Does anyone of you who think there are too many distros really believe that the over all quality of GNU/Linux would be better if there where only two or three distros?
Without the right to "fork" other distros and make new once we would not have: OpenSUSE, Ubuntu, CentOS, PCLinuxOS, Mint, Fedora and a bunch of other popular distors which are used by hundreds or even thousands of people every day. Who's to tell them that their distro of choice does not deserve the right the exist, "because there are too many distros and it confuses the noobs coming from Windows"? Well fu*k the confused noobs, if they are at all confused. I was introduced to Linux by a friend who installed Redhat on a spare box for me and when that install broke after a few weeks (RPM hell) I decided to install a distro on my own, I took a look at the top 10 distros at DistroWatch and went with Gentoo after a little bit of reading. I was not confused at all even though I'd been using Windows exclusively on my desktop and I'm not smarter than the average person.
"Oh, but only the biggest and best distros should be allowed to be around." I hear you say... Well the "best" distros wasn't the best when they first launched where they? It takes time to evolve and become a good distro, and without permission to even start a new distro how can the next "best" distro ever come to life? One good example is PCLinuxOS, it's a fairly young distro and it has become a rather popular one with a large and happy user base. Who could predict that it would become just that when it was first announced? I'm sure there where quite a few people who thought: "Oh noes! Not another crappy distro, there are too many already." Linux distros follow a natural evolution, the strong and best survive, while the weak die, but none of us can predict which distros that is. (Except perhaps when you got a billionaire backing you, then your chances of are pretty good.)
Here's a stupid car analogy: "There are too many brands of cars out there, the consumers are getting confused. We should all drive Ford, Toyota or Honda."
Numerous distro's dilute the already minuscule market share - meaning no Name Brand App or major ISV will risk investing time, money, marketing or support porting over their app to Linux. Hence the lack of Photoshop or QuickBooks or Visio or AutoCAD or <.
So many distro's mean a mixed-at-best marketing message. Better to choose none, then risk choosing the wrong one.
So many distro's mean support problems. Does anyone really think there are many SysAdmins that KNOW everything about every distro?
If Linux is happy with the computer hobbyist market, then fork away. But if they want/expect/need to move into the business market, they need to have a much more unified approach and marketing message - all which is pretty much impossible when you have dozens/hundreds of distro's out there.
Businesses are risk adverse - if they don't know for sure what they are getting, and what their ROI on that decision will be - they probably will play it safe and stick with what they're currently using.
Choice is only good when making the wrong one doesn't matter (which is the problem with all the "candy shop" arguments). That's rarely (if ever) the case with businesses.
I have news for you who think you know everything about business needs.
Businesses will use whatever they feel is going to provide them with a stable, reliable OS.
And by the way, You seem to project the idea that many distros somehow 'dillute' a market. Linux is the OS. Just as Windows has multiple variants, just as Unix has many variants, no one ever seems to get confused or have trouble figuring out which Unix they wanted to use or which windows they want to buy.
The very 'competitors' you want to compete with have a similar issue. And that is taken on by choice. No one made MS create 7 different versions of Vista, and they already have plans to do the same with the next windows as well.
Unix has dozens on dozens of variants. That never stopped developers from writing apps for Unix.
I'm sorry Mr. Trump, your business thinking is flawed and you are fired.
The thing that bothers me about the 'Too Many Distros' way of thinking is that by amalgamating them/reducing the number, you might - JUST MIGHT - be stifling the work of that one lone developer, poring over code in his bedroom somewhere in the world, who could create the greatest Open Source project the world has ever seen.
Why stifle that kind of potential creativity?
Anyway, as Wolven said earlier, who is to decide which projects are worthy and which are not?
This is an Open Source COMMUNITY - the community decides which projects live and which don't, which are worthy and which are not, by their patronage of them.
It's an evolutionary process. Leave it alone.
Confused Windows users and newbies? Do some reading. Learn stuff - it's good for you.
It baffles me how every time this argument comes up, both sides are as passionate as they are pointless.
I use Ubuntu on my main desktop(a personal choice I'm happy to have) because of the awesome community support. Go ahead and compare it to Windows: a group of people who want to help and know what they're talking about vs. a low-paid inner-city youth or an indian named 'david' (sure) reading from a script that I could have written myself.
When it came time to refurb a cast-off laptop I tried puppy and MEPIS, settled on the latter because of the superior mix of lean, power-efficiency and pretty colors.
Why are multiple distros bad exactly? Your arguements make no sense. After 5 minutes on google I figured out how to install .rpms on Debian-based Ubuntu, which I only had to do once because everything else I've ever wanted was ported to .deb for me and already in my repo list, easily accessable from synaptic. I've also developed software myself using the now-standard SDL libraries and I can run my programs on Ubuntu, MEPIS, even the Xandros that came on my EEE. I'd go so far as to say that the compatibility of software across the Linux Distros is better than across 95/2k/XP/Vista. Hell, I can run more 16-bit windows software in Wine then I can on Vista.
The final retarded arguement is that commercial developers might somehow change their tune and release Linux-native commercial software if there were fewer distros. I say, eff the commercial software companies. The last thing I would ever want is for my beloved Linux community to become a cold money machine. You can have your invasive DRM and let your OS report home to his corporate master, I like being in charge of my PC, not the other way around.
I like having that choice, and I like knowing that whatever specific job I need my PC to to, I can go get a distro custom-taylored to do it.
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