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Linux Vendors to Standardize on Single Distribution

Hemos posted more than 12 years ago | from the one-ring-to-bind-them dept.

Linux Business 497

Jon James writes "eWeek is reporting that a number of Linux vendors will announce on Thursday that they have agreed to standardize on a single Linux distribution to try and take on Red Hat's dominance in the industry. " The vendors in question are SuSe, Caldera, Conectiva, and Turbolinux. However, as the article also points out - Red Hat has a very well established lead in the corporate market - and Sun's decision to create Yet Another Linux Distribution (Sun Linux! Now With McNealy Vision!) will make the waters even more muddy.

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xxx reports, linux is dead. (-1)

Fucky the troll (528068) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601129)

So it's true then. Some variations of Linux are actually dying? :)

Re:xxx reports, linux is dead. (4, Interesting)

justsomebody (525308) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601280)

Actually not, they are just adapting to a new form of existance. Targeting geeks it was simple, every geek has it's own needs and would like it's own distribution.

Targeting masses actualy defines being more organized and more uniform. This way linux development actualy speeds up, what's one of the main things of this merging.

Setting one standard and deploying jobs across few companys that had to do all the work untill now. Speed is increasing, uniforming gets better and most importantly. There is a higher organisation level

Re:xxx reports, linux is dead. (0)

GafTheHorseInTears (565684) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601299)

It is official; Netcraft confirms: some variations of Linux are dying

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered some variations of Linux community when IDC confirmed that some variations of Linux's market share have dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all servers. Coming on the heels of a recent Netcraft survey which plainly states that some variations of Linux have lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. some variations of Linux are collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last in the recent Sys Admin comprehensive networking test.

You don't need to be a Kreskin to predict some variations of Linux's future. The hand writing is on the wall: some variations of Linux face a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for some variations of Linux because some variations of Linux are dying. Things are looking very bad for some variations of Linux. As many of us are already aware, some variations of Linux continue to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood.

Freesome variation of Linux is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its core developers. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time Freesome variation of Linux developers Jordan Hubbard and Mike Smith only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: Freesome variation of Linux is dying.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

Opensome variation of Linux leader Theo states that there are 7000 users of Opensome variation of Linux. How many users of Netsome variation of Linux are there? Let's see. The number of Opensome variation of Linux versus Netsome variation of Linux posts on Usenet is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 7000/5 = 1400 Netsome variation of Linux users. some variation of Linux/OS posts on Usenet are about half of the volume of Netsome variation of Linux posts. Therefore there are about 700 users of some variation of Linux/OS. A recent article put Freesome variation of Linux at about 80 percent of the some variations of Linux market. Therefore there are (7000+1400+700)*4 = 36400 Freesome variation of Linux users. This is consistent with the number of Freesome variation of Linux Usenet posts.

Due to the troubles of Walnut Creek, abysmal sales and so on, Freesome variation of Linux went out of business and was taken over by DBI who sell another troubled OS. Now DBI is also dead, its corpse turned over to yet another charnel house.

All major surveys show that some variations of Linux have steadily declined in market share. some variations of Linux are very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If some variations of Linux are to survive at all it will be among OS dilettante dabblers. some variations of Linux continue to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could save it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, some variations of Linux are dead.

Fact: some variations of Linux are dying

Gutentag (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3601131)

Two midgets go to Atlantic City and gamble all night. They hit it big with every bet and are up thousands of dollars. To celebrate they get piss drunk and find two hookers to go back to their suite. As they enter the suite each midget gives a wink and takes a hooker to his room. The first midget takes off his clothes...gets into bed...and is just his getting ready to fool around when he hears through the wall a loud...
One-Two-Three-UUUUGGGHHHH, pause, One-Two-Three-UUUUGGGHHHH, pause, One-Two-Three-UUUUGGGHHHH. The next morning rolls around and the two midgets are having breakfast. One midget turns to the other and asks - "So how was your night?" - 'Terrible...I was so piss drunk I wasn't able to get it up for the first time in my life, but it certainly sounds like you had a wild night'- "Why do say that?" - 'Come on...I heard you all night long through the wall...One-Two-Three-UUUUGGGHHHH, One-Two-Three-UUUUGGGHHHH, One-Two-Three-UUUUGGGHHHH'. The other midget looking all pissed says "Yeah...I couldn't get on the bed!

what's the point? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3601136)

linux sucks...doesn't matter how much you wanna slice it..


Red Hat's dominance in the industry (5, Funny)

delphi125 (544730) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601141)

Lucky for Red Hat there are no bigger OS companies around!

Re:Red Hat's dominance in the industry (1, Insightful)

forged (206127) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601322)

Well it's funny you should mention that.

Have you heard of these small companies called IBM or Sun Microsystems ?

why would sun make their own version of linux? (0, Flamebait)

devzerous (445499) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601143)

just way too many linux distros out there

More RPMs for more things more timely? (5, Insightful)

dinotrac (18304) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601145)

I've used SuSE for some time, and been happy.
However, many is the time that I wanted a newer version of software than was available from SuSE. An "uber" distribution, compatible with the assorted branded distros catches my interest because it may increase the likelihood of finding new software in rpm form that may actually work on my system.

Worth watching.

Re:More RPMs for more things more timely? (3, Redundant)

uebernewby (149493) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601254)

I've been very happy with SuSE as well - it's very beginner friendly.

Unfortunately, once you start looking at installing stuff that *didn't* come with the distro, it gets ver ugly very fast. Apparently, they've got a non-standard layout that many ./configure scripts choke on.

Hopefully this standardization effort (which I've yet to read the details about - it's /.-ed) will put an end to this.

Although I must say it's too late for me - I'm downloading Red Hat ISOs now, hopefully Red Hat will be a bit more usable.

Re:More RPMs for more things more timely? (2, Insightful)

geschild (43455) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601260)

I've used Debian and have been fairly happy.

Things we would like from this new and improved distro:
- Debians packaging format but with signatures from day one and perhaps some other things. (I don't care if it's not going to be debian compatible, if it's good enough Debian will adapt it too.)
- LSB compliant
- A fingerprint database like Sun's for all files/binaries.
- An overall maintainer for the format of this packaging standard.


Others have said it before but now that they are going for a change they better make it a big change for the better...

wow (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3601146)

Brilliant, who would have thought that free software would create fragmentation?

And?? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3601147)

And... we care because ...???

This is neither "news for nerds", nor "stuff that matters".


too late? (0, Troll)

tps12 (105590) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601148)

My first reaction to this was, "great! Finally someone to take on Red Hat!"

But I have since reconsidered.

Basically, there already is a standard distro. It's called Red Hat. Like it or not, Red Hat is a de facto standard in the all-important workstation and server markets. Mandrake and other popular distros are already based on it. Even Debian's package system is loosely based on the popular and reliable RPM system invented by Red Hat.

I'm all for competition, but it seems to me that we've already dealt with this particular issue.

Re:too late? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3601177)

I agree. There's been way too much fragmentation in the Open Source community lately. Branching Linux like this is only going to harm adoption down the road.

I think it's time to clean up a bit. One package format (how many times do we need to reinvent the wheel?), a rewrite of X with the display manager, 3D acceleration, and event processing in the core so that we can resolve the speed issues that the competition just doesn't have to contend with because of their targeting of one platform, and digital signing of all drivers by a trusted Linux entity (Red Hat seems pretty standard) so that we can avoid 'amateurish' code from causing hardware locks and drive failures.

Then it'll really be a contender on the desktop.

Re:too late? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3601180)

> I'm all for competition, but it seems to me that we've already dealt with this particular issue.
This is a very North American way of looking at the Linux marked. Fortunately, the rest of the world have another view of the Linux marked.

One Operating System is enough? (2, Insightful)

GerardM (535367) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601183)

When one OS or distribibution is enough, then you might opt for Windows. There is a need for standardisation, standardisation with Unix, for security, for standard Linux. Competition keeps everybody on their toes. With the combination of several distros a lot of duplicate effort will not be done any more. Less duplication of effort is good for all.

Re:One Operating System is enough? (2)

forgoil (104808) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601281)

Exactly my point! I look at it like his:

"Base" distro does this (among other things):

* Common package format (so you only have to create one package if you distribute linux software outside of the distros)
* Core services (kernel, shells, etc)
* Common bug DB for base distro
* Standard on versions, paths, etc
* Standard packages (KDE, gn0m3, etc)
* Online help

Branded distro:

* Brands GUI environment of choice (for example Caldera KDE theme)
* Adds value (package management, office packages, browsers, etc)
* Packages, builds, support, etc
* Tailors for certain products (laptops, Compaq Servers, etc)
* Tests (and keeps logs on the tests)

This way the core of each distro is the same (just like now, just without the minor incompatabilites that screws users over, and without doubling effort needlessly. Each distro gets more than before), yet they can all stand out like the day today. One might go KDE all the day and opimize the system for that, another might go for general purpuse, a third just for IBM/Compaq/etc servers, and a fourth might make the Linux Laptop Distro. Heck, some might go for several of them.

Now I am sure a bunch of you will scream about freedom and how generally evil I am. But hopefully the others will see my point, think about it, tell me parts I'm wrong about, and add other good stuff. If you are of the second category, please post.

(Disclaimer: I use XP as desktop OS, but I've used linux for many years, and use it on a daily basis, just not on my desktop.)

What? (2, Informative)

morbid (4258) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601282)

Since when was the debian packaging system based on RPM? It may be similar to RPM, but it isn't RPM.
And as for De Facto standards, one only has to look at IBM and Microsoft and the state the computer industry is in today. Fair competition is the Best Way(TM) to keep the market in check. We wouldn't want Red Hat to become the M$ of the Linux and UNIX world, now,would we?

Cool.... (1)

RazorJ_2000 (164431) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601150)

I hope that they standardize on SuSE and add Turbolinux's clustering capabilities...that would be cool. Caldera blows and personally, I think that they've let SCO die a violent and unnecessary death.

This actually seems to be a good thing. (2)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601153)

If they actually come through on LSB compliance, that'd be awesome. I added Linux support to a product I work on, but the install script had me stumped. There are too many different ways of setting up something to run at boot. I finally had to punt and just tell the user "you've got to read the docs and do it yourself."

The number of distributions needed soe pruning anyway. In theory, you could have as many dists as there are Linux users, but in practice it seems the "supportable number" is far less.

Three minnows and one pike (2)

DrXym (126579) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601154)

Hmm, I wonder which distribution these four will standardize on.

Re:Three minnows and one pike (2)

Zocalo (252965) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601179)

Hopefully none of the above, as such. It seems like an ideal moment to build a fully LSB compliant distro to me - anything else is a missed opportunity. I'm guessing it'll be primarily Connectiva's purdy icons and SuSE's customised config tools though.

LSB (4, Informative)

rmstar (114746) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601212)

If somebody is wondering what LSB is, well no, its not the pre-precursor of LSD; it is the Linux Standard Base []



Re:Three minnows and one pike (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3601319)

Good point. But, TurboLinux, which lagged in producing a GUI installer for its distribution, now has the most logical and easy to use GUI installer. Doubt it? Give it a try, it's pretty cool. Too bad the finished product leaves much to be desired.

The point really, is this: Each of these four, with perhaps the exception of Caldera, has some areas in which it excels. And, even Caldera forms the base for Lycoris, which seems to be the darling of many a reviewer, these days. It would be really nice to see them pick and choose to build a better mousetrap... or Linux distro...

However, even if they do build a better distro, there's something else worthwhile to point out: Except possibly for Connectiva, this group has a less than stellar devotion to free software. Check out some of Ransom Love's quotes on the matter. Although Red Hat has strayed from LSB and has made some less-than-gracious efforts to protect its brand name, it has never backed off from making its software free or freely available. ("Now, where did I put my "Live Evaluation" copy of SuSE? I need to get some work done...") Personally, for this reason, I can endorse (with appropriate caveats) Red Hat, Mandrake, Debian, or Slackware (or countless minor distros), but none from this group. Maybe this will change things...

Package Management? (3, Funny)

loply (571615) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601156)

/Me prays its Debian inspired. Perhaps this will put more momentum behind the campaign for destroying the useless (read: Surpassed long ago) RPM standard.

Re:Package Management? (0)

linatux (63153) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601184)

/Me2 - RPM blows and I can't see it getting better in a hurry. I've updated hundreds (thousands?) of packages with APT ... completely pain-free. RPM fails me so often it's unspeakable. Compiling it yourself is often easier.

Re:Package Management? (1)

nirvdrum (240842) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601265)

I wish I had your luck. Personally I prefer apt to rpm, but I've had my apt db get corrupted several times. Sure, it only happens with sid, but I want new packages, and woody ain't getting them during the freeze. (and before anyone suggests it, apt-pinning in this case is really more trouble than it's worth).

Re:Package Management? (4, Informative)

ZaMoose (24734) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601323)

You do realize that there is APT for RPM [] , don't you? Connectiva ported it, so maybe there's a chance that this MegaDistro will be apt-rpm based.

It works like a charm, esp. if you use the FreshRPMS [] repositories.

What's the deal with Sun? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3601159)

McNealy is running it into the ground.

why does sun need to make their own linux distro? (-1, Redundant)

devzerous (445499) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601160)

does solaris suck that bad? damm there are too many
linux distros

Re:why does sun need to make their own linux distr (1)

Chicane-UK (455253) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601203)

Well.. coming from someone who has had frequent use of the following OS's :

Windows 9x/NT/2000/XP,
Red Hat Linux since Red Hat 5.0,
Silicon Graphics IRIX (6.2 & 6.5),

..i think Solaris has to be one of the most ugly and tough to work with distributions of *nix that I have ever seen.. but I guess to those who have used Solaris since day one, it makes perfect sense to them.

Not only that, but it runs soooooo sloooooow... earning the classic nickname of Slowaris :)

Re:why does sun need to make their own linux distr (1)

guacamole (24270) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601208)

No, Solaris doesn't suck. It is a damn good, mature, robust, stable OS tailered for enterprise use. Linux doesn't touch it and probably won't even get close any time soon. However, Sun's first problem (and reason for a Sun Linux distro) is that the price/performance of the low-end Sun/SPARC servers is pretty bad. Sun has been loosing market in the segment to other x86 vendors, and so, they decided to start making x86 servers too. As to why they choose to run Linux instead of Solaris/x86 on those machines is still puzzling. Most likely Sun decided to get a free ride from the hype that surrounds Linux. I can't think of technical reasons why Solaris x86 couldn't be used instead. It's all about the hype.

Re:why does sun need to make their own linux distr (1)

FyRE666 (263011) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601246)

I can't think of technical reasons why Solaris x86 couldn't be used instead. It's all about the hype.

Maybe because there are next to no device drivers for solaris, and previous X86 versions have suffered from laughably slow performance?

It may be a decent enough OS for huge multiprocessor enterprise level servers, but it's an absolute slug on a desktop or the average web server (single or Dual P3/P4/Athlon, 512-1GB RAM etc). I've ever used it on Ultra 10s and its abysmal (and UGLY) performance on its native hardware didn't exactly have me running to the store to pick up Solaris for my PC! The standard install misses most of the nice touches of a base level linux install, and most executables seem braindead for anyone used to the gnu derivatives. Nice GUI daemon/service config tools? Non-existant.

Sounds good (2, Insightful)

kvn299 (472563) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601162)

If they can pool the strengths of each distribution into the new one, that will make it stronger.

I think some major consolidation is way overdue for Linux. Of course, new distributions will always appears to fill in the empty spaces.

Muddy, yes. (1)

Penguinoflight (517245) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601164)

While all these big corporations are messing around, a lot of us will still keep using Slackware, and Debian. Proof you don't have to be a big corporation to survive in the linux market.

Correction .... (3, Insightful)

evil_roy (241455) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601165)

It should read .."cash in on redhat's dominance"

These companies came in on the wave of redhat

So they wont use rpm then ?

oh man (1)

paradesign (561561) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601166)

and al along i thoought that linux wasnt about being a megacorporation, great convictions guys!

To be honest... (3, Funny)

Bnonn (553709) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601169)

...I didn't realise Red Hat had much dominance. I'd always thought of it as the "crappy Linux distro" (which I know is unfair). I run Windows 2000 at the moment, and have been looking into which distro would be best for my needs. Essentially, Mandrake and SuSE were the two that seemed most useful. RedHat never featured.

However, when I think about it, perhaps that makes sense; I'm looking to run a desktop (mostly), whereas I'm presuming that when Linux is used in the corporate environment it is basically only on servers.

Is RedHat really such a good distro for corporate needs, or is it merely that it has a big name so everyone buys it? I always think of RedHat as the distro that's been around forever, even though no one seems to use it (here come the RedHat users to set me straight...) Guess I've been talking to the wrong people.

Corporations never did make good friends to talk to though.

Re:To be honest... (5, Insightful)

say (191220) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601273)

" Is RedHat really such a good distro for corporate needs, or is it merely that it has a big name so everyone buys it? I always think of RedHat as the distro that's been around forever, even though no one seems to use it (here come the RedHat users to set me straight...) Guess I've been talking to the wrong people."

Well, most die-hard linux hackers do not say they use RedHat (Notable exception: Linus Torvalds). Most have used RedHat, though. Why don't they admit it? Because there is not very much to hack on RedHat. Red Hat's strength is that the stuff they throw in actually works. More or less out of the box.

However, I don't use RedHat today. I used RedHat up to 6.2. Then I started looking at other distributions. At that time, I did not know much about how GNU/Linux _really_ works. I never made my own startup scripts. I did'nt compile programs. Heck, I didn't know where my libraries were or how I inserted a kernel module from the command line!

I started testing different distros. Mandrake. TurboLinux. SuSE. Many others. I tried at least seven or eight distros before I met Slackware. At first, the entire Slackware system seemed awkward. But after a while, I experienced a lot and learnt even more.

Now, I'm most productive on Slackware. Because I know the system so well that doing stuff from scratch is _easier_ and _faster_ than using tools like rpm and linuxconf. (overall, of course, some things are still faster with linuxconf).

RedHat is a distro for those that want a GNU/Linux that works - not for those that want to get a GNU/Linux to work. It is a good distro, but not what I want from a GNU/Linux system.

As a last addition: It is not a funny OS either. Mandrake is. Cute little penguins and round, purple install buttons. Colors and fun. RedHat is grey and red. Only a few, boring games. A corporate-type webpage. RedHat has lost the childishness of linux jokes and internal humour. It has grown up.

Grown-ups are easy to communicate with - but children are much more fun and can be adjusted and tweaked more easily.

Re:To be honest... (-1, Offtopic)

OSSTwitSpotter (570888) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601301)

This deserves to be modded up but alas I have no modpoints because Slashcode SUCKS!

Re:To be honest... (2, Informative)

FreeUser (11483) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601279)

...I didn't realise Red Hat had much dominance. I'd always thought of it as the "crappy Linux distro" (which I know is unfair). I run Windows 2000 at the moment, and have been looking into which distro would be best for my needs. Essentially, Mandrake and SuSE were the two that seemed most useful. RedHat never featured.

If you are not afraid to get your hands dirty, and don't mind compiling stuff, you should give Source Mage [] or Gentoo [] a gander. Both are "source-based" distros, meaning their packaging systems have been designed to automate the download-compile-install procedure. The result are packages that are compiled against the libraries already on your system (read: no subtle binary compatability issues between library versions, etc. as crop up with binary distros from time to time, and is the reason redhat RPMs often don't work with Suse and visa versa), and which are optimized for your hardware. Systems so constructed are typically 20-30% faster (based on anecdotal benchmarks people on the mailing lists have run. It matches my own experience ... my video capture, editing, and playback tools run much more smoothly on a Source Mage or Gentoo system than any other binary distro I've tried, and I've tried a bunch of them).

* installation takes time
- time to download sourcecode packages
- time to compile said packages
* you have to get your hands dirty
- no easy X config a la Mandrake/Suse/RH
- no hardware autodetection a la Mandrake


* stable, rock solid system
* fast, optimized system
* very current versions of the software
* ability to keep current fairly easilly (no waiting for months, perhaps even a year, before getting the current version of xfree or KDE)
* utter flexibility as to what you choose to include or exclude from your installation ... little to no cruft
* package system takes most of the pain out of compiling and installing packages by hand

Re:To be honest... (1)

bobdown2001 (528975) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601311)

Um well to start with Mandrake is based on RedHat. It's probably better suited for desktop use than for a server because in my experience I found it had loads and loads of bloat! There's only so many things you can put the Mandrake logo on without reducing system performance :0P

I haven't had a lot of experience with SuSE but from what I've seen it's target at the less experienced user and again it's better suited for desktop use.

RedHat just keeps getting easier and easier to set up and use. It's fine to use for a desktop with out so much bloat as other distros (that's not to say it doesn't have bloat at all though). I've been using it on servers for years (since versionn 5.2) without a problem.

Of course you do need to bare in mind that the more popular a distribution is the better supported it is. One of the good reasons for choosing RedHat is that because there are so many people using it if you ever run into a problem chances are someone else has had the same problem before and found the answer.

Some of the other distros do have great reputations, such as Debian, but they also have a rep for being less user friendly. I guess it depends how much free time you have for playing around with things.....In a corporate environment there ain't a whole lotta time!

Red Hat Rocks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3601314)

Bottom line: red hat rocks. I've been in two different university settings recently and both use standardized redhat on all their machines (at least in the departments I've been in). Even on the sparcs. The solaris to linux switch really is easier with redhat.

Plus, it's a snap to make custom install discs to get the machines and networks setup right. I'm not saying that SUSE or Mandrake are bad choices if you've got a machine at home that you want to put Mozilla on and surf the web with a decent desktop, but for large networked systems, I'd have to recommend redhat.

Cobalt uses Redhat + extras anyway (1)

Dug (9395) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601171)

Sun Linux will just be Redhat with a few tweaks, Cobalt already uses SGIs XFS filesystem for example.

Why would any distribution vendor want to ignore all the GPL work done by another.

They will just pick and Choose the extra features they want to add / delete.

They should *all* be co-operating (2)

pubjames (468013) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601172)

This is great. What would be even greater would be if all the Linux vendors could standardize as far as possible on the core distribution. They should compete on the nature of their services.

Re:They should *all* be co-operating (2)

squaretorus (459130) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601193)

Agree. This would take some pretty sophisticated management from all players - and probably force the minnows to spend a lot of time just bending over - but if it could be made to work would have great benefits.

It won't happen if these companies behave too traditionally - but it might if they think outside the normal parameters for a bit. A commonly funded core - surrounded by each company individually producing 'their own bits'.

Nah - not going to happen!

That's Slashdot... (4, Funny)

HiQ (159108) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601181)

They will announce ... on thursday. But to take the pleasure out of their announcement, Slashdot pre-announces it on wednesday. There goes their 5 minutes in the spotlight. How inconsiderate!

Re:That's Slashdot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3601289)

How is it Slashdot's fault? The article is already out on eWEEK. While the slashdot "Editors" (hard to call them that without laughing) do make quite a few fuckups, I don't think this is one of them.

It's not the quality of the ditribution (5, Insightful)

NicolaiBSD (460297) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601182)

RedHat's success with businesses is not that their distribution is better than others; - although it's a fine distribution tailored for businesses - it's that they give manager's what they want - support contracts, courses and certificates for employees etc.
Businesses don't like to take risks, they want to see a shiny reliable company selling them a reliable product, instead of "some freeware distribution written by no good hippies in their spare time". RedHat gives them the comfort of that illusion.

Re:It's not the quality of the ditribution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3601194)

The other major distributions deliever the same services. Where does RedHat stand out from the rest? I don't see anything other than a bigger mouth.

They don't exist (2)

mgkimsal2 (200677) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601292)

Show me Caldera's certification program. Show me Mandrake's certification program. I won't even bother with the other two. Caldera's certification is primarily around certifying that your apps and hardware work with their software. The 'education' part is pitched as standard linux admin stuff, nothing specific to caldera. Hardly inspiring, but in 2002, would someone spend money on Caldera-specific training? Probably not.

hmm (5, Insightful)

HeUnique (187) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601186)

There are few details that I don't see being resolved yet..

All those companies mentioned don't give free ISO's just like RedHat (and Debian for that matter, as well as Mandrake) which kind of makes sense - a customer who downloads and uses the downloaded ISO's is one less customer who would like to pay for the distribution (not all of them - but most of them)..

I can understand RedHat point - they don't give a shit about people using Linux on the desktop - their eyes are focused only on the enterprise - thats why you won't see RedHat Advanced server available for free download, and you'll need to pay $800 for it (with the bare 30 days support - installation support) so how they're going to compete with RedHat??

This reminds me the LPI exams (which everyone but RedHat stands behind it) VS. RHCE training/exam - how many people here passed the LPI? how many passed the RHCE? somehow I got the feeling that RHCE is WAY more preffered then LPI..

Re:hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3601202)

Here in Norway the LPI is MUCH more popular than the RHCE. RHCE is seen as a distribution dependent certification and therefore less valuable in a marked where RedHat don't dominate.

Re:hmm (1)

TallGuy (12087) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601216)

I've done and passed both. I've got LPIC 1 and 2 under my belt, and passed my RHCE exam with flying colors.

It's just that I think LPI doesn't quite cut it. Anyone with some time on their hands can cram an exam. Actual hands on experience can't be tested with just a written exam. RHCE gives you that practical thing, where you actually have to show that you know what you're doing...

Bas Vermeulen
RHCE Certified
LPIC 1 & 2 Alumni

Re:hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3601252)

Look at you guys... What you are doing is just growing another Microsoft. And Slashdot is ill-qualified to be objective on this matter.

Debian ISOs (1)

six809 (1961) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601250)

All those companies mentioned don't give free ISO's just like RedHat (and Debian for that matter, ...)

No free ISOs for Debian? There's some right here [] !

Re:Debian ISOs (1)

six809 (1961) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601264)

Erk, unless you meant they don't give free ISOs just like Red Hat do and I mis-parsed.

Re:hmm (1)

RJHill (309414) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601330)

All those companies mentioned don't give free ISO's just like RedHat

I don't know what would lead you to believe this. All four vendors named in the article, among many others, have downloadable ISO images available (see, for example LinuxISO [] ). Granted, the commercial CDs often contain many more goodies than the free (as in beer) versions, but at least one can get an indication of what each distribution has to offer prior to making a purchase.

Re:hmm (1)

asr_br (143523) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601333)

You can find all Conectiva Linux full isos in a mirror close to you. My favorite: []

"Unfortunately, no-one can be told what Linux is... you have to see it for yourself."

Why am I not impressed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3601187)

I don't know about anyone else, but I can't get terribly excited about a phantom "number of Linux vendors" trying to "wrest control" from RedHat.

It smacks to me of small-time fluff. When you hear the names of the companies, your response will probably be, "Who? And why are we bothering to discuss it?" The big boys like IBM, HP/Compaq, etc... who might possibly matter in the slightest in this kind of thing aren't interested in getting their hands dirty.

Linux Standard Base? (5, Insightful)

Greger47 (516305) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601192)

Is it just me, or is this article just deranged marketing hype munged by a so called journalist?

My guess is that what we will see is a simple announcement that the named vendors will adhere to the LSB.

This HAS to be good news. (1) (455481) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601196)

Instead of all pulling in different directions, they can now work together in creating something great.

Now if only RedHat would throw their (red) hat into the ring too.

more power to them ...but... (2, Flamebait)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601197)

I'm not RedHat's biggest fan... espically after their stunt at adding the equivilant of a clickwrap license on their product... (Open this package to agree to everything in our User License agreement.. Guess what ... NO I dont agree! only because of the forced acceptance.)

But, all the other distros have a really long way to go, up2date is braindead to use, redhat 7.3 is braindead to install and operate.. Even a windows user could install+use it ... (Although it may be too difficult for MCSE's.. requiring a small amount of thought... sorry, I couldn't help myself)

Mandrake is on it's way, but it isnt there.. I know I tried, I tried really hard to find a new distro for my Linux newbies/converts...

Redhat has it locked down not by market-share... but by the pure fact that they have acceptance in the workplace, and they have refined the install/maintaince aspects to the point that it's simpler than a microsoft product to maintain.

Re:more power to them ...but... (2)

pwagland (472537) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601290)

I'm not RedHat's biggest fan...


But, all the other distros have a really long way to go, up2date is braindead to use, redhat 7.3 is braindead to install and operate.

You know, there are some people who would disagree with you... try these for starters:
  1. YOU (Yast Online Update) is extremely simple to use. You do have to press three buttons, as opposed to up2dates one, but it is not more difficult.
  2. SuSE 8.0, KDE 3.0 first look []
    [Installation] was a delightfully boring affair which went off without a hitch.
  3. Mandrake 8.2 first look []
    The installation is about as easy as it's humanly possible to make it.
  4. SuSE 8.0 beta 3 Review []
    SuSE 8.0 represents an excellent choice for a typical Linux user, and especially for a new user.
And YOU (Yast Online Update) updates SuSE quickly, easily and painlessly. It is a point and click operation and I am not sure how to run it in automatic mode (ie. from a cron job) but it is simple for an end user to run it.

I really think that your comments indicate that you have not used the other distributions in some time...

What are they going to call it? (2, Funny)

perp (114928) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601209)


Re:What are they going to call it? (2, Funny)

HiQ (159108) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601233)

What about Frodo Linux: one distro to bind them all?

Re:What are they going to call it? (1)

FyRE666 (263011) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601258)

You forgot to add the regulation "Gnu-" prefix ;-)

Re:What are they going to call it? (2, Funny)

karmawarrior (311177) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601274)

Apparently the preliminary name is "Open Business-ready Standardized Distribution", or OpenBSD for short.

Joining forces to gain.... what? (2)

jukal (523582) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601215)

To form another RedHat? All of these distributions surely have something good in it, but it does not mean that stuffing them together makes something cumulatively better.

I don't think there's anything good in this, I think it's just the fact that these little players noticed that they have to do something or otherwise they are out of business. They are struggling against time. Instead they should continue what they are doing and specialize in something in which they can be better than RH. If they want to be serious, then their decisions have to last.

Re:Joining forces to gain.... what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3601232)

Little players? Combined I should think they are a lot bigger than RedHat.

Re:Joining forces to gain.... what? (2)

jukal (523582) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601266)

They are not combined.
Little players combined, does not automagically make a big player. What it is more likely to make is layoffs, strategy messups, and confusion.

Dang (-1, Offtopic)

GafTheHorseInTears (565684) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601218)

I shaved my scrotum this morning. Now it itches like you wouldn't believe. I think I'll spend pretty much the whole day just sitting around scratching my balls.

BTW, if you ever need to wake up and don't have any coffee in the house, I recommend shaving your balls and then splashing on some aftershave. Yow.

Re:Dang (-1)

News For Turds (580751) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601227)

You learned that from Jon Katz, didn't you?

Re:Dang (0)

GafTheHorseInTears (565684) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601267)

No, Katz would shave his scrotum, then write a 5,000 word Slashdot article explaining why you should buy his book about scratching your balls in a post-Columbine, post-9/11 world.

Remember Unified UNIX? (5, Interesting)

Brown Line (542536) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601220)

This reminds me of the time in the late 1980s, when hardware manufacturers tried to unify UNIX. They just screwed matters worse. Fragmentation is a sign of a healthy market, after all: if we wanted unity, we could all just bare our throats to Microsoft.

What about slackware? (1)

Gerrioholic99 (309014) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601228)

Sure Red Hat is a nice distro and all, especially for new linux users. But from my experience I really see slackware as more dominant among Linux users than Red Hat. Perhaps it should be considered in the running of the "Big Distros"

Gentoo (1)

bdowne01 (30824) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601229)

Gentoo Linux my friends...less is more!

Re:Gentoo (1)

tacocat (527354) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601320)

I've been hearing more and more about this one. It seems to me that we will eventually end up with approximately 5 distributions:

  • RedHat
  • Suse
  • Debian
  • Gentoo
  • [mandrake but it's too much like RedHat]

With the only real difference between these different distributions is the package management and release cycle philosophies that each employs.

The others will muck about in the background until one of them comes up with a revolutionary enough idea to succeed one of those listed. And to go with that, these forerunner distros will muck about until one of them becomes to misdirected that it becomes easy prey and it consumed in a feeding frenzy.

Re:Gentoo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3601324)

Less is more, as in less stable? After a few months of running Gentoo, it started getting weird on me. Each emerge introduced new problems.

I really like Gentoo, and I am hoping that a full, clean reinstall will fix it it won't happen again. (My original install was pre-1.0, maybe thats part of the problem...)

More on topic, if Caldera, Conectiva, SuSE and Turbolinux can help move standardiation along, great. I am all for it. I'll even try CalConSuboLinux when it comes out.

(Slackware still rules. I'm just too lazy to use and maintain it anymore)

Re:Gentoo (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3601327)

When Gentoo first started making waves, my ears pricked up, I got interested, and then subscribed to the Gentoo mailing lists. And it didn't exactly fill me with a great desire to rush out and install it, because nobody seems to actually /do/ anything with it, people just post messages everywhere saying "Gentoo r0ckz", but nobody seems to actually do any real work with it.

Debian perfect as a standard. (5, Insightful)

reaper20 (23396) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601230)

Linux Magazine [] has an article on why Debian would fill in a good role as 'arbitrator' amongst the distributions and why HP chose to use Debian as their standard distro.

A distro free from vendor squabbling and influence, that's exactly what the Linux 'standard' should be. Now all we need to do is get some LSB action going.

Why are they bothering to come up with a single uber-distro when Debian provides a solid foundation for this kind of work? If I were a Linux distributor, and was starting to realize that I can make money selling services and a name, why would I waste all this money making up yet another installer - hell, I'd hire 10 guys, slap a commercial release on top of Debian every 6 months, and let the community do the heavy lifting - all the while earning open source karma for supporting Debian.

Re:Debian perfect as a standard. (2)

mgkimsal2 (200677) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601271)

You wouldn't earn goodwill - you'd earn scorn from people because you'd be seen as a leech. No doubt in my mind about it. And it wouldn't really be 'debian' if you included any 'non free' stuff, which you'd have to do to make something commercially viable.

Re:Debian perfect as a standard. (2)

forged (206127) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601278)

Debian has been running on my main machine for a few years, and Slackware on other PCs for even longer. After reading the article and the announcements I am wondering what are going to happen to those. And to some degree, to the lesser known distributions packed with good ideas (Sorcerer among others).

I am afraid that these unique distributions will eventually be singled out because there will be either RH and followers, or the members this new alliance and their common distro. Of course, this has no influence on how good Debian and other smaller distros actually are, but these will become smaller in terms of `market share' because of this.

Did I mention how dpkg, apt-get and dselect rule ? :)


Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3601231)

For great Linux! All your distro are belong to us!

Linux Unites? (1)

LagDemon (521810) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601236)

OMG!! the world is ending! Seriously, Whgen i read this, I didn't beleive it...can the different vendors unite? i doubt they'll ever agree what features and things to include in this one it turn into a flame war!

Needed, but Redhat still meets more business needs (5, Insightful)

mgkimsal2 (200677) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601237)

I read about this last night, and had mixed feelings. It's certainly overdue in the market - there definitely needs to be simpler 'cross-distribution' compatibility for installing packages. Yes compiling from source is generally compatible, but not everyone wants to do that, nor should they have to. It's a waste of someone's time to do that in many cases.

I think it may be too little, too late, however. This should have been done over a year ago, and there still seems to be too little information on the specifics of the deal(s). Figure it'll take *months* before this has any impact on the installed base out there, it'll be a miracle if this actually 'saves' any of these distros from further marginalization.

Someone else mentioned Redhat feeds into an 'illusion' that businesses want - 'shiny support', etc. It's no illusion. It may cost money, but damn it - if someone in a business needs support for something (driver doesn't work, upgrade broke, whatever) having a *real person* to call who's been trained on that particular distro is invaluable. Yes, it may cost $200. Yes, you 1337 geeks out there could hang around in IRC for a few hours waiting to get an answer. *Businesses* can't afford to do that. Furthermore, they shouldn't have to put up with those channels of support (not reliable enough - quality of support is hit and miss, and they can't afford to wait for the 'hit' all the time). Whether or not they ever need it ('linux is so stable!') the fact that it's there is more than comfort enough to persuade people to go the Redhat route.

Furthermore, the Redhat certification and training and all the other secondary services simply help to bolster their lead in the mindshare of the business market. Maybe it's just that they had more cash to play with after their IPO - if so, they've put it to good use.

Halfway measure (1)

xtheunknown (174416) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601240)

I thought the whole point of Linux was that it was the same OS and any app written for Linux should run on all Linux distros. We all know this isn't true. Stuff is in different places in different distros, different libraries are included and at different version levels. Even though the kernels may be at the same version, an app written for Red Hat, may not work on SuSE.

Combining the other distros into one uber-distro makes some sense, but it seems that we really have the same old thing all over again. Has anyone ever heard of OSF/1? It was supposed to be a common Unix "distro". One Unix distro that all the vendors would support and could customize to make theirs stand out, but still be compatible with the others.

Yeah, right. It isn't possible and it will fail miserably.

"One distro to rule them all,
One distro to find them,
One distro to bring them all
and in the darkness bind them.
In the land of Linux where the shadow lies"

Support Companies (2)

chill (34294) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601248)

This should make companies like IBM that officially support 3 or 4 different Linux versions happy. This should consolidate things and make life a little easier.

OTOH, is this going to be like the OPEC of Linux? They "standardize" on one distribution in public, claiming to fight the common enemy but in private they still stab each other in the back and snipe at each other?

SEC approval? (2, Insightful)

Hampo (576776) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601251)

So, will the SEC have to step in an approve this?

Seriously, though. Would any of us be happy if Volvo, Volkswagon, Ford, Hyundai, and Chrysler decided to "standardize" their automobiles to compete with one big vendor? I for one would say no. It would make some innovative new idea, like say a zero emmissions fuel cell car, that much more unlike the standard. New ideas will seem more outrageous if there's such a baseline from which to deviate.

Do many people use more than one distro? (1)

perp (114928) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601255)

I use Red Hat at home an SuSE at work and I frankly don't see any technical reasons why Red Hat has such a such market dominance here in North America. As a matter of fact, my home Red Hat box is less stable that all my work SuSE boxen, though this is probably because I am always installing weird experimental shit on my home box and they frown on experimenting with the corporate mail and web servers at work for some strange reason.

The main problem I have with running two distros is remembering which utility to use on which box; I occasionally look for rc.config on my home box or try to find up2date on my work machines.

Too many distros! (1)

tunah (530328) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601262)

I see this as a good thing, if only because it will reduce the number of weakly-differentiated distros out there. Now I've got nothing against every man and his dog having their own distribution, but as someone's sig says, to have the right to do something is not the same as being right in doing it - the current situation can be chaotic and confusing (bug or feature?).

I think what we are starting to see, and what this development may reinforce, is certain distros becoming dominant in certain niches. We have:

  • The business market, nicely covered by Red Hat.
  • The newbie distro, currently dominated by Mandrake, some competition from Lycoris
  • The Pure distribution, Debian, guardians of the free software spirit and all that
  • The source based distro. Gentoo is doing very well, slackware is dying (jk), sorcerer seems to have forked in a million directions, LFS is the choice of the hardcore.
  • Specialised distros, eg tailored to some country/language, mini-firewalls etc
  • Now I have to admit, I don't know where SuSE fits in here (I hear it has a strong German following). Perhaps there's another category: nice graphical desktops for users who want control.

    Anyway I'm sure I had a point when I started rambling but it's 1am and I had no coffee yesterday...

A single distribution? (3, Interesting)

MichaeLuke (50412) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601263)

If they're going to standardardise on one distribution, why don't they standardise on Redhat? No, Seriously.

LSB is the real key issue (5, Insightful)

dpilot (134227) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601272)

Something needs to be done, because the Linux community is allowing itself to get slipped into the Microsoft mindset. With the LSB in place, there should be none of this business of "targetting a distribution" or other Microsoft-like lock-in nonsense.

1: The LSB needs to be in place.
2: All major distributions need to adhere to it, and the minor ones should too, for that matter.
3: Education is key, that LSB-compliance is the real crux of the matter, not some specific distribution.
4: Packaged software should state its requirements relative to the LSB. LSB+foolib+barlib, etc. Some distributions may choose to distinguish themselves by including foolib and/or barlib out of the box. The ISV should also have copies/pointers for foolib and barlib on their web site.
5: Distributions are good. More are better, as long as LSB can solve the interoperability and installation problems.

I'm disappointed to see LSB mentioned only once as of my writing this post.

Bad feelings (2)

theolein (316044) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601275)

I have bad feelings when I read about the infighting between the various distributions. While it's certainly positive that SuSE, Caldera etc are standardizing their distribution, RedHat's recent competitive upgrades move and the bickering amongst the vendors reminds me only too well of the Unix infighting and splitting in the 70's and 80's. I worry that in the end the winner will once again be Microsoft.

Please... (0)

OSSTwitSpotter (570888) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601276)

Don't let it be Caledra.

If SuSe get their disto synched with the LSB (a few changes in the locations of configuration files) then they will have the strongest distribution. The SuSe installer totally rocks.

Debian? (0, Flamebait)

pstreck (558593) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601284)

Stay true to GNU go Debian!

Technical reasons behind the announcements? (2)

forged (206127) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601306)

Quoting the original article:
  • "It is clear that Red Hat is the 300-pound gorilla in this market, and the other vendors are all struggling from a revenue and shipment perspective to remain relevant on a worldwide basis"

I don't see technical reasons behind this. In fact, most of the article goes on about market share, revenue, strategy etc., but it remains unclear to me how the vendors are going to tackle the technical issues and what pieces from which distributions will be retained to make this patched-up Linux distro.

Big deal? Or not. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3601310)

This isnt as bg a deal as it seems, and yet it is also a a bigger deal.

1. So some companies that make a Linux distro are changing strategies, maybe to better compete with the other(s). In the end, linux will be better.

2. The big deal is, that this is possible, and even routine. Can you imagine anything even remotely similar in the Windows world?

What needs to be standardized (1)

say (191220) | more than 12 years ago | (#3601325)

These are my opinions of what needs to be standardized on GNU/Linux:
  • Installation. Red Hat's RPM, Debian's system, Slack's tar.gz - we need only one. This is not hard.
  • Boot scripts. There should at least be a common _interface_ to the boot scripts for installation programs, so that a distributor can ask the question "want it to start on boot-up?" and it will work.
  • Automatic Kernel Updater. A must. From the config-file of the original distro, it downloads, asks if you want to include new feature A, B or C , compiles and installs. No matter what distro you have.
  • Printing. If I know how to setup my printer on a RedHat box, I should know that it works on Slackware too.
  • Except this, we need the different flavours that the different distros provide. It is a strength that GNU/Linux comes in many flavours - but if RedHat is a different OS than TurboLinux, it has gone too far. Then there is no benefit from having GNU/Linux experience - you have to have specialized RedHat og TurboLinux experience.

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