Are there too many versions of Linux? No.

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Linux

Gene over at Errac webload recently posted (as many others before him have) that there are too many versions of Linux. At one time I would glady have agreed with him.

Given that there's some 350+ distributions, that's an easy assessment to come by. The problem is, it's wrong. Dead wrong. And there's several reasons why that's true. First off, FOSS (free open source software) thrives on variety. Without it, FOSS wouldn't truly be FOSS.

Ok, so it would still be FOSS, but how is the Henry Ford principle (you can have any color, so long as it's black) of distribution right? Or good for that matter. Choice drives freedom and innovation by driving competition.

It's like a fire. Take away any one component (heat, fuel, and air) and the fire dies. In the case of FOSS it's choice, freedom and innovation. Now unlike fire, take one away and the other two can survive, but nowhere near as well as if all three are present.

So that brings us back to Linux. How is limiting choice good?