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Time for a Linux Consolidation?

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the mebbe dept.

Linux 490

An anonymous reader writes "Are there too many Linux distributions currently available? Can there be too many? This article explores the effect of the large number of distros out right now and suggests that progress could possibly be made through a consolidation. The article is more focused on Linux on the desktop but the ideas presented would impact the entire community, especially as it is seen as a rival to Windows." From the article: "One of the less widely recognized reasons why Linux has not yet toppled Windows, despite it many advantages, is how divided the resources available to Linux are. With dozen of different distributions the Linux community is so diffuse that the power or significance of any specific entity is severally limited."

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You mean like... (5, Insightful)

ylikone (589264) | more than 9 years ago | (#13082885)

... the success called "United Linux"??

Re:You mean like... (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 9 years ago | (#13083097)

Yeah. What people fail to realize is consolidation is usually an euphemism for monopolization, technological stagnation and, of course, profit increases for shareholders. The customers be screwed.

The ultimate consolidated economy was the Soviet Union. Is this what people want?

Tabloid news that matters (-1, Troll)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 9 years ago | (#13082886)

What the hell? This is what, three tabloid stories in one week? It's pretty apparent that the quality here at slashdot has gone downhill, but it can always get worse! Here's a glimpse into a possible future after cmdr taco realises that he gets more 'views' from the weekly world news crowd than he does from the ars technia crowd:

Windows XP; the terrorist OS? Posted by in The Mysterious Future!
This article printed in reliable web log recently uncovered the shocking
truth about 9/11. The tickets bought by the terrorists were purchased online using The Devil's Own Windows XP. Could it be time for Homeland Security to start looking into the shenanigans going on in Redmond?

ESR's Gay Lover Speaks! Posted by in The Mysterious Future!
The computing world was rocked today when obscure web journo John Cats announced to the world that he was the former sex slave of ESR. "I can't keep this to myself any longer." the tearful author of canine americana wrote "It was one degrading act after another, finally I had to leave after ESR made me Take The Knot while he swilled jagermiester and masturbated to pictures of young afghanistan boys"

Bigfoot Shaves it off! Posted by in The Mysterious Future!
Shoppers at a rural S-Mart were shocked today when Bigfoot (previously covered in this slashdot article) walked in an bought $300 worth of cologne and hair cutting supplies. "I've had enough of the 'natural' look" He was quoted as saying "I'm tired of people confusing me with Richard M Stallman, no one takes me seriously anymore". Stallman responded by saying that the proper term was 'GNU/Bigfoot"i

Batboy to take over OpenBSD Project Posted by in The Mysterious Future!
The BSD world, still reeling from the sudden disapperance of OpenBSD cult leader Theo DeRat sighed a collective sigh of relief today as Batboy made the following press statement "Today, I'd like to announce my intention to take over the day to day management of the OpenBSD project, which I will run from my secret underground cave in albania". While reaction was mixed, the general consensus is that Batboy will provide a much saner and cooler leadership style to the beleagured project.

Re:Tabloid news that matters (1)

pj-allmod (822913) | more than 9 years ago | (#13082912)

How long have you been waiting for the right article to post those?

Re:Tabloid news that matters (1)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 9 years ago | (#13082924)

I wrote that while this was in 'the mysterious future'.

Re:Tabloid news that matters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13082931)

Brilliant LOL, spot -on!

UNITED LINUX (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13082896)

FTW
headshot.

Do we rally want this? (1)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 9 years ago | (#13082900)

Are we sure consolidation is what we want? Isn't diversity better? And are we even sure that the problems that make Linux not widely used on the desktop are solvable by unifying distros? How would that attack MS's monopoly? How would that make Linux more appealing to the unwashed masses? And, WHY SHOULD WE CARE that the masses use it?
I wonder.

Re:Do we rally want this? (1)

Zo0ok (209803) | more than 9 years ago | (#13082974)

I agree with you! Linux is "big" because it solves real problems for real people and organisations. Often it does it because it is customisable, and because you can choose the parts you need for your problem. The diversity reflects that Linux is more of a toolbox collection for OS/Development/Productivity/Server than a "product".

I think that is how BSD and Linux differs in the most significant way. Install OpenBSD, and you get the impression you bought something. It is not so with Linux (Slackware, Debian and Gentoo - are there others ;)

just for some things (4, Insightful)

diegocgteleline.es (653730) | more than 9 years ago | (#13083003)

Well, no, we don't really want this. What we need, more compatibility between different distros, not a single distro

DEB vs RPM vs ebuilds vs ..., for one. And then, even if we'd use the same packaging format, we'd have lots of troubles anyway: The "package namespace" is different in each distro, xorg can be split up in 50 different packages called "lib$FOO" in debian xand in fedora 25 called "xorg-lib-$FOO", or some shit.

That's the biggest problem for inter-distro compatibility IMO . And the one way that it can be fixed is by moving the "packagin work" to developers (ie: let the developers write the spec files / debianize them, don't redo all the packaging work yourself as ALL distros currently do). But then, the one packaging format that encourages developers that is autopackage, which nobody is going to use because it's not .deb or .rpm. Sight....

The masses will always be with us (1)

HermanAB (661181) | more than 9 years ago | (#13083088)

Linux is not dependent on traditional market forces to survive. It gets wide support because it is good, not because it is cheap, or flashy, or easy to use, or whatever the reason is why the masses buy computers. Consequently Linux market share is an indication of the health of the project, but world domination is neither a goal, nor necessary. However, Linux allows knowledgeable people to get a big leg-up on the competition. The old Army Maxim applies to MS users: If you are shit, then you shall suffer...

We need standards. Driver writers are flippin out (2, Insightful)

zymano (581466) | more than 9 years ago | (#13083101)

My emachine intel extreme graphics chipset is NOT supported by UBUNTU . I go to the intel site and they only have drivers for a certain kernel for Redhat or Suse and no other distro. Get this. I read a suse messageboard and they can't even get it to work. Bahhhh.

We need to make it easier for hardware support which is another reason for people pulling their hair out with linux.

Politics? (3, Insightful)

rob_squared (821479) | more than 9 years ago | (#13082905)

Even though open source code promotes a homogeneous enviornment. The companies that are behind the major distros are just that, companies. They happen to be fine with the F/OSS mindset, but they still want to maintain a name. Don't cluster the beads of water that have spilled everywhere, let the small ones evaporate and the rest of them pool on their own.

I got it! (5, Funny)

captnitro (160231) | more than 9 years ago | (#13082906)

We should form a committee to consolidate and leverage synergy for our information technology solutions in the marketplace!

THIS IS A PERFECT OPPORTUNITY FOR BUREAUCRACY!!1

Re:I got it! (1)

Quantam (870027) | more than 9 years ago | (#13083073)

Okay, hands up: who're the mods that didn't realize parent was a joke and modded it insightful?

Look, the fact is (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13082910)

Linux is never going to reduce the number of available distributions, even if it's what's good for Linux, because the people making these distributions aren't doing it for the benefit of "Linux". They're doing it for the benefit of themselves.

It's all very well and good to be some kind of columnist, standing outside of Linux and going "well, Linux would be better if Slackware and Gentoo would combine". That's easy to say. But this doesn't help you much if you're a Slackware user; it might be better for Linux if that happened but it wouldn't be better for Slackware and to the Slackware developer, what's better for Slackware is what matters because Slackware is what they want to use. If it wasn't, they'd be using Gentoo instead in the first place.

Linux development, as an open source process, is fueled by self-interest. This is its greatest strength. That it indirectly produces weaknesses is unavoidable.

Re:Look, the fact is (1)

idonthack (883680) | more than 9 years ago | (#13082953)

If Slackware and Gentoo combined, I wouldn't feel guilty about wanting to move away from Slackware to Gentoo after using Slack since I was about three.
---
I'm actually just a script.
Generated by SlashdotRndSig [snop.com] via GreaseMonkey [mozdev.org]

Re:Look, the fact is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13083094)

How about if we add a package to Gentoo that methodically goes through and replaces all references to the name Gentoo with the name Slackware? Voila! It's Slackware now!

Common technologies (2, Interesting)

fulldecent (598482) | more than 9 years ago | (#13082913)

Solution:

1. Autopackage: autopackage.org becomes more popular and supports integrating natively with major package managers. Binaries are distributed as autopackages.

2. Have additional levels of optional LSB and make them popular.

3. ...

4. Profit

Re:Common technologies (1)

Soko (17987) | more than 9 years ago | (#13083125)

Autopackage is really, really nice, but IIRC it requires one to re-package everything in order to be effective.

What I'd like to see is a GUI based package manager that could just bloody well figure out that your repos are .deb based or .rpm based, and act accordingly. Each distro would delare in a config file "I put admin stuff in this directory, apps in this directory, and all other stuff in that directory" or somesuch to get around the "where files go" problem. Wallah, a common front end for all distros.

Having the Debian package archives and apt natively available on Fedora would be so, so nice.

Soko

Maybe Not (4, Interesting)

the_weasel (323320) | more than 9 years ago | (#13082916)

I am a windows apologist - look at my history and you will see I entirely willing to point out the failings of Linux to the Zealots as the next guy.

But even I can see that the diversity of Linux is one of its strengths, as well as its weakness right now. Thanks to the sheer variety of work done in exploring slightly different approaches to the same task, we get to experiment with a multitude of approaches and ideas.

While that may not be a truly better product now, it can only lead to an excellent one in the future.

I am in no hurry for Linux to take over - I am not even sure that the operating system that does take over will be called Linux. Windows will have to sink a lot lower before its abandoned by the masses.

I am entirely certain that the work done in Linux over the past 10 years will shape the next generation operating system that finally does defeat windows though.

Re:Maybe Not (1)

mythicflux (794321) | more than 9 years ago | (#13082968)

And wouldn't that be the point, that having many different people all working towards a similar or even different goal all of which leads to some kind of innovation.

Re:Maybe Not (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 9 years ago | (#13082985)

Thanks to the sheer variety of work done in exploring slightly different approaches to the same task, we get to experiment with a multitude of approaches and ideas.
Yeah, but eventually one of those approaches needs to win and become standard, so that instead of wasting time figuring out how to get all of our multitude of approaches to work together so that we can actually use the system, we can move on to exploring new tasks.

I'm really tired of having to think about tar files vs. rpms, and gtk vs. qt; I just want the software to install and work so that I can get on with using it to do something else.

Welcome to 2005 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13083086)

I'm really tired of having to think about tar files vs. rpms, and gtk vs. qt; I just want the software to install and work so that I can get on with using it to do something else.

Welcome to 2005. We, the Windows users, have been able to do this for a good 10 years now. You should try Windows 2000. You'll save yourself a lot of time, money, and frustration.

Re:Maybe Not (1)

someone300 (891284) | more than 9 years ago | (#13083095)

Rather than winning or loosing, just make them more interoperable. Lots of people I know like KDE/Qt, lots of people I know like Gnome/GTK+ (or Xfce or something), why should they be forced to use the one they don't like?

It would be better if there was a way to make Qt apps behave like GTK apps, and GTK apps behave like Qt, through themes and swapping default button positions and stuff, then everyone'd be happy. That with the freedesktop specs and we have a nice combination.

I read somewhere about an effort to make other toolkits look like Gtk, so the developer can choose and the user won't be affected.

A "win" probably wont happen anyway. There's no way that one solution will suit all people, and the other people will start on their own solution, then some people will prefer that solution and it will gain momentum.

Trying to consolidate all that would be like trying to make all OSX, BSD, Windows and whatever else users use linux.

And anyway, if there is no competition between different systems, innovation and improvement will slow down...

Re:Maybe Not (1)

thegoofeedude (771803) | more than 9 years ago | (#13082997)

But even I can see that the diversity of Linux is one of its strengths.... Well said. If Linux stops being diverse, it won't be true to its nature. Linux fills a necessary void in computing, and by consolidating distributions, a lot of creativity would be lost. I would imagine newer projects would fill the creative space that Linux currently does if Linux were to be consolidated.

Re:Maybe Not (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 9 years ago | (#13083001)

I am a windows apologist - look at my history and you will see I entirely willing to point out the failings of Linux to the Zealots as the next guy.

"I am a Ford apologist - I'm willing to point out the failings of Toyota".

Re:Maybe Not (4, Insightful)

The_Mystic_For_Real (766020) | more than 9 years ago | (#13083112)

One of the reasons that the number of Linux distros is impairing its growth is that it hasn't presented any one competitor to Windows. If people want Windows, they get Windows. If they want to try Linux, should they use Gentoo, Slackware, Knoppix? Which one supports their hardware better, which one is more user friendly, which one is more secure, which one has a helpful userbase? It's not really easy to answer any of these questions, even for those experienced with Linux. Furthermore, there is no face to Linux (no offense Tux), it becomes something that occasionally goes from one to two percent of the market for much of the other 98%.

Yes. (4, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 9 years ago | (#13082917)

I think there are too many distros, but moreover, I think there are too many competing technologies: QT vs. GTK, dpkg vs. rpm vs. ebuild vs. tgz, etc. If we could work out some good standards -- that everybody followed -- we could have all the distros anyone wanted and it wouldn't be a problem.

Re:Yes. (2, Insightful)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 9 years ago | (#13083027)

Yeah, having to make a choice on the technical merits of a particular technology sucks.

Your complaint is the reason why easy to use distros like Mandriva and Ubuntu exist. They make the hard choices so you don't have to. If there were less diversity among Linux distros, the "beginner" end user would have a far harder time making his way into linux.

Standards are key (1)

tolkienfan (892463) | more than 9 years ago | (#13083099)

You mentioned standards, but glossed over them.

IMHO standards are key.

And many distro's are working towards a single standard.

Remember, because the software is free software the vendors don't feel compelled to "embrace and extend" to differentiate their products. They are less inclined to compete on a feature by feature basis. They compete more on services and other criteria.

So working towards standards is a win-win, and is inevitable.

Re:Yes. (1)

AArnott (751989) | more than 9 years ago | (#13083122)

I agree, but I'll take this chance to point out...

FOSS claims that commercial, "proprietary" software inhibits collaboration in favor of competition, whereas open-source promotes collaboration. The fact of FOSS is that competition is rampant. QT vs GTK, Mono vs. Gnu.NET, etc. etc. These programmers who work for free want THEIR product out there for prestige. Collaboration within projects exist of course, but that's true for Windows as well. Developers of Windows work together just like developers of GTK. But GTK and QT compete just like Windows and Unix competes. Why can't open-source programmers get off their prestigeous high-horses and start working TOGETHER rather than competing??

Answer 1: Because with no money to work for, open-source programmers work for prestige. Take that away, and you lose development help.

Answer 2: These obligating and non-free "open source licenses" are stuck onto projects, and the only way to get around them is to duplicate the project with another license. If you need a project, but it's already been created as GPL, and you need a X11 license, you have to start over, and collaboration will be strictly forbidden! Call that free, will ya?! So until we all consolidate on one license (MIT X11 [opensource.org] , please, since it's a truly free license), there will always be a lack of collaboration, and multiplicity of competing projects.

Missed the point (4, Insightful)

Bloater (12932) | more than 9 years ago | (#13082923)

> With dozen of different distributions the Linux community is so diffuse that the power or significance of any specific entity is severally limited.

The author clearly missed the point of Open-Source. *The power or significance of any specific entity is severally[sic] limited* so the users have control. That is *why* people want to use Open-Source. Indeed there are few reasons apart from that one.

Re:Missed the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13083129)

My solution to the Linux desktop mess:

1) A severe beating for anyone who uses these terms together in a Linux desktop discussion:

Open-Source
point
of
power

2) Can't really think of a number two, but that would be good start...

Consolidate what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13082926)

Any suggestions on which to choose? The reason there's so many is there were groups of people who decided it didn't quite meet their needs so they release a new version.

What would be nice would be the ability to download linux binaries that are distro independant (although that again leads to the question of which to choose). But that's the beauty in Linux for me - it's so open and flexible, it's definitely a system designed for the developer first.

Wrong questions (2, Interesting)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 9 years ago | (#13082928)

Are there too many Linux distributions currently available? Can there be too many?

As long as there are "professional" distros out there (Redhat^H^H^H^H^H^HFedora, Debian, and the other big names), how can there be too many distros? If you don't like a distro, chose another one.

The argument would be different if there was no good distro, but a multitude of not-so-good ones, but it isn't the case, so more doesn't hurt.

As for unifying Linux, this is an old issue that resolved a long time ago: all distros use one or another variant of the BSD init, they all more or less follow the standard way of putting things on the filesystem (/usr, /lib, /bin, /usr/bin, ...), they all more or less agree on what should go where, etc... Minor differences between distros are easily resolved, as distros where .deb and .rpm coexist prove.

Re:Wrong questions (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 9 years ago | (#13083011)

Minor differences between distros are easily resolved
Perhaps, but as long as they exist we have to waste our time resolving them over and over and over again.

Re:Wrong questions (1)

maxpublic (450413) | more than 9 years ago | (#13083059)

Perhaps, but as long as they exist we have to waste our time resolving them over and over and over again.

The people actually doing the programming don't see this as a waste of time, and in the end the only opinion that counts is theirs. They aren't reponsible to anyone but themselves, and no one can reasonably claim otherwise.

It isn't *you* who's 'wasting time'. You can't make the claim, nor can you insist that others conform to your view on How Things Should Be In The Linux World(TM). If you don't get this perhaps you'd be better served by using Windows.

Max

Re:Wrong questions (5, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 9 years ago | (#13083070)

Perhaps, but as long as they exist we have to waste our time resolving them over and over and over again.

The question is more like: how much time do you spend working on installing/configuring/repairing the Linux (or BSD or whatever *nix) box of your choice, versus how much time you spend installing/configuring/repairing Windows?

For me, it's easy:

1 - Installing Linux: maybe twice as much time as Windows, due mainly to the lack of prepackaged drivers for this or that

2 - Configuring Unix: 10 times as much time as Windows, because I want to have everything neat and well installed, and KDE can be non-obvious at times.

3 - Maintaining Unix: 0. Maintaining Windows: it's an endless pain in the butt (patching, running Norton, de-spyware-ing, de-virusing, renewing licenses, etc etc...)

So, in terms of time, I spend a lot more time installing and configuring Unix, but then after that I'm done for good.

So even with the minor differences in distros as they are, I'm winning over using Windows anyway. And I'm not even talking about the hard-dollar price of Windows and Windows software, so that's why I'm saying that, for moderately technically-savvy people, Linux is already a better choice than Windows, even with its flaws.

They don't use BSD init. (1)

Some Random Username (873177) | more than 9 years ago | (#13083030)

Most distros use some variation of sysv init, claiming that "all distros" use a BSD init system is completely absurd.

And you seriously over-estimate how consistant filesystem layouts are from disto to distro, its still a huge mess.

Re:They don't use BSD init. (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 9 years ago | (#13083121)

Most distros use some variation of sysv init, claiming that "all distros" use a BSD init system is completely absurd.

Yes indeed, you're right, I mistyped. Serves me right for not using the preview button ;)

Ubuntu (1)

FlameboyC11 (711446) | more than 9 years ago | (#13082929)

I think Ubuntu is doing a great job of consolidation, current updates and ease of use. I really wouldn't be surprised if it became the linux distro for the non-techie.

Re:Ubuntu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13082979)

I'm a SUSE user who loaded Ubuntu on a second machine to try it out. I was pretty impressed with the ease of installation. The big difference between the two is that Ubuntu uses Gnome and SUSE KDE. I'm a KDE fan and really wouldn't consider switching to Gnome. I'm sure Gnome fans feel as strongly as well. Would you say this simple issue might be divisive enough to prevent a true consolidation?

Re:Ubuntu (1)

ylikone (589264) | more than 9 years ago | (#13083006)

The funny thing is, both Ubuntu and SUSE can be easily setup to run the "other" desktop (or ANY of the smaller ones). Why are so many people hung up on what is set as the default?

All distro's are the same when you strip them of their branding.

How different is UBUNTU compare to million others? (1)

zymano (581466) | more than 9 years ago | (#13083137)

Debian kenel is a nightmare for hardware support.

Redhat and Suse have more support.

Whats so special about Ubuntu compared to hundreds of other distros ?

They all seem the same to me.

Drastically unconvinced (5, Insightful)

oneandoneis2 (777721) | more than 9 years ago | (#13082934)

Most of the people that *I* talk to who are considering switching to Linux are concerned with nothing but GUIs: So long as there's a decent desktop and the package management has a nice frontend, they couldn't care less about the inner workings of the distro.

DEs are freely interchangeable between distros, and even package manager GUIs are fairly universal - There may be hundreds of distros, but how many are there that don't use RPMs, apt-get or source code?

The amount of community time spent on distro-specific stuff is miniscule compared to the time spent on projects that can be used on a wide variety of distros. The number of distros is therefore largely irrelevant, rather than some community-draining problem like TFA says.

After all, that's the whole point of Open Source, isn't it. . ? Sharing code amongst projects. . ?

Ford? (0)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 9 years ago | (#13082937)

And the reason that Ford does not sell enough cars is that it has too many models?

There may be a problem with end users being unable to understand what is different about the various distributions. That suggests that the Linux people should spend less time saying "Its Linux, Stupid!" and more time saying "We offer more X and better Y" (or maybe "less X" as the case may be).

What do I care, I am a dead *BSD user

Re:Ford? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13083012)

Actually, that's one of GM's major problems right now.

Show Me! (1)

ThisIsFred (705426) | more than 9 years ago | (#13082938)

Hey, I've got an idea, why don't Microsoft, Apple, Sun and all the Linux distros merge? Please. Show me one example of massive centralization that ever made something better.*

* if your idea of better is to be able to sit atop that massive organization, control it, and wield the power, then don't bother to reply; that's the only reason someone would suggest it, anyway.

Re:Show Me! (1)

aixou (756713) | more than 9 years ago | (#13083016)

Umm.. Did you really just use an asterisk and them immediately dereference it? *

* That's a little bit bizarre.

Anyway, yeah simplifying the Linux desktop would be nice, but I think it's something that's going to happen naturally, so to speak. i.e. no group/consortium would be able to govern the consolidation, it's something that the users will decide.

Strong distros will rise above the rest and eventually marginalize the competition. You can already see this happening with distros like Ubuntu. Check out the page hit ranking at distrowatch [slashdot.org] . Ubuntu is less than a year old, but already it has a massive lead over any competitor.

Re:Show Me! (1)

Some Random Username (873177) | more than 9 years ago | (#13083066)

Did you really just say "dereference" when talking about an asterisk used in ordinary english text? That's very bizzare, dereference involves pointers, which languages like C and C++ have, but languages like english don't.

Re:Show Me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13083069)

USSR? Oh, wait...

True of me - a newbie (1)

Sawbones (176430) | more than 9 years ago | (#13082939)

I've tried to start using linux a few times and one of the stumbling blocks has been the choice of distributions. Perhaps a halfway approach would be a consoldiation of those distros aimed at the linux newbie. The first time I wanted to start it was RedHat all the way, unless it was Suse. Now it appears to be Mandrake hands down, if I choose not to go with Core or Linspire or Ubanutu. I've asked on boards too and there doesn't seem to be a consistant response nor is there a compelling reason to choose one "newbie" distribution over the other. I wouldn't mind having a choice once I was alredy familiar with the operting system's metaphors (hello gentoo) but I just don't ever seem to be able to get to that point.

I'd say a compelling argument for it would be that it seems to have worked for OSS on the desktop. Want to rip videos? AutoGK. Once you're comfortable with how those types of programs work switch over to something more complex (normal GK) and start twiddling.

My Math.floor(e) cents.

Re:True of me - a newbie (2, Insightful)

nick0909 (721613) | more than 9 years ago | (#13082998)

Same here... I have installed a few flavors of linux but never had enough time to figure out why one was better than another and always wondered if I was missing something cool on another distro. Currently I am running an XP install that I have to bitchslap to get how I want, but once done it just works. I already know how to do that, and even if it is worse than were I could be with linux I am productive on XP *right now*.

I would love to have the time in my life to satisfy those that say "if you don't like one version of linux, pick another" but there are other things to do than install distros all day. Yes I know this is slashdot.

Re:True of me - a newbie (1)

maxpublic (450413) | more than 9 years ago | (#13083087)

I would love to have the time in my life to satisfy those that say "if you don't like one version of linux, pick another" but there are other things to do than install distros all day.

And in this case you're better served by sticking with Windows than switching to Linux. Look, only the fanatics who view the "Linux vs Windows" thing as some sort of religious crusade actually care about converting you; the rest of us don't give a damn what OS you use.

Choose what's best for you, stick with it, and ignore the zealots on both sides of this non-issue.

Max

Re:True of me - a newbie (1)

Nogami_Saeko (466595) | more than 9 years ago | (#13083091)

I also went with Mandrake when I moved from my Win2k/apache server to a Linux system.

Their installation process is very intuitive and the system (running in secure server mode) seems pretty solid. I'd rather spend some time figuring out how to poke holes in the security to allow stuff I want to happen, rather than having to spend time figuring out how to make the system secure in the first place.

I tried debian a short time later, but I was kind of surprised how poor their installer was. Not taking cheap shots here, but put side-by-side, mandrake was much easier to use and understand.

(Now, I realize that the underlying OS is different in various ways that I'm not going to be familiar with, simply from installing a system, but as someone who's sort of comfortable in a unix environment from a user's pespective, if not an admin perspective, Mandrake made a much better "first impression" on me than any of the others that I tried).

I think many of these distros would benefit from placing someone who is comfortable in windows, but has never even heard of linux, in a closed room by themselves with a computer and see where they have problems when it comes to installing the system and setting-up applications.

N.

The opposite is true for me. (1)

Some Random Username (873177) | more than 9 years ago | (#13083096)

I'm not a newbie, I've used unix for years. I don't use linux because I have yet to find a distro that I like, and suits me. I would rather see far more distros so that everyone can find a distro they like.

For what its worth, choosing a distro based on uninformed blathering from random forums is not a good idea. Who cares what is the most recommended distro by people who have no business recommending anything right this second? Use one, if you like it keep using it, if you don't then try a different one.

wich part of... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13082940)

"free sofware" was unclear to the author?

We are at war! (1)

ylikone (589264) | more than 9 years ago | (#13082942)

Microsoft has been trying hard to kill Linux using every underhanded tactic they can think of... but nothing has worked yet. Articles like this are ridiculous. When you're being hunted by the enemy, you don't all lump together! That way you become an easy target. You stay spread far apart and keep making small inroads. War of attrition. Eventually, with the continueing efforts of the open source community and never-ending new distro's, new battle methods, etc..., Microsoft will have to give up and die.

Re:We are at war! (1)

Tape_Werm (857873) | more than 9 years ago | (#13083060)

*ahem*

I don't care if this costs me points or not, this is so fucking sad and one of the symptoms of why most people don't take the linux/OSS community very seriously...

It's NOT a war. The fact that you would try to glorify it as some heroic battle of good vs. evil is quite pathetic. "Being hunted by the enemy", dear christ, are you for real? Usually people with such delusions end up seeing a shrink. Do you seriously see yourself (or other linux users) as glorious warriors or something? I'm sorry, the average linux zealot is hardly heroic. Hell, the average linux zealot can barely handle normal social interaction outside of computers. Please get over yourself, and check yourself into a nice hospital and get some help. I know it's hard to believe, but it's just operating systems and business.

Re:We are at war! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13083132)

Certainly. In any struggle between an established monolith and diverse and distributed 'guerillas' the advantage is with the latter if they exploit it.

The extent of the Free software spectrum is a even wider than the scope of this Linux question. Don't forget BSD, Plan9, Hurd, and others. Have you heard of emdebian? There are scores of embedded Linuxen/Lini(?) and BSD variants you have probably never heard of. And thats just Operating systems. What about languages and compilers out there under development? O'Reilly will run out of animals taht exists before we run out of new scripting languages beginning with P. They will have to start inventing new ones and putting a tripple billed platipusaurus on the cover.

I interpret the question in the light of all that diversity. Perhaps there is room to consolidate and standardise a one Linux to rule them all, a flagship standard, without hurting the larger effort. If it fails there will be others.

Mod Article -1 Troll (5, Insightful)

dokebi (624663) | more than 9 years ago | (#13082945)

First, the hyperlinks in the articles are actually advertisement links. Second, you cannot consolidate distributions when I can start my own distribution tomorrow.

Dear editors, can we please mod articles? Recently there have been numerous articles that are just thinly disguised advertisements and click-through magnets. Slashdot as a community deserves better.

Re:Mod Article -1 Troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13082996)

You actually think they'd eliminate a source of revenue for your benefit? The editors barely even read the site themselves, what makes you think they give a fuck about your opinion? They've consistently shown over the years that they could care less about the user-base (e.g. the "unmentionable comment" that had some people's accounts affected permanently, metamoderation, even hiring Michael in the first place).

Re:Mod Article -1 Troll (1)

CosmeticLobotamy (155360) | more than 9 years ago | (#13083127)

It's Zonk, mostly. He's incompetent. Every third article he sends through is "Rapists Choose Windows", and then you click the link and it's a story about a prison picking Windows. I don't have time to find actual examples right now, but he's an idiot.

Many of the people..... (3, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 9 years ago | (#13082946)

Competition is good. Ubuntu is a latecomer that just came out September of 2004 and it's one of the best distros for newbies. And most popular.

Knoppix is good and for a different audience/purpose. Imagine if either weren't out there.

A little known distro LFS (Linux From Scratch) is great for learning linux deep down inside and for ultimate configuration, but serves neither market the above two do.

The people who make distros, especially the ones not in the top 20, are people who are doing it for fun. You will not be able to funnel their effort without them feeling forced and ultimately quiting.

I would also like to have more cooperation in the *nix world, but this would have to do purely with standards and how drivers work, etcetera so that there is a reduction on overlap on projects few people want to work on (to get things working right).

But Linux's strength comes from diversity, otherwise it wouldn't have come so far. Just look at the Window Managers - specifically KDE and Gnome - without the one, the other wouldn't have been pushed to be better or as good as it is today.

We don't want to be Windows. A one-size-fits all approach wouldn't have let linux run on servers, as well as PCs, as well as in PDA's and other embedded applications as well as it does.

Has Windows really improved since 95 that much in any significant way? Is their one-size-fits-all solution what we want?

Re:Many of the people..... (1)

deaddrunk (443038) | more than 9 years ago | (#13082984)

XP SP2 is an enormous improvement on 95, but then that's a very low standard to judge by.

Re:Many of the people..... (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 9 years ago | (#13083025)

You're right. I wasn't being clear. Because the article pointed out the division of resources among distros, I wanted to counterpoint whether Windows has improved at the same rate as Linux if you were to compare today's offerings with their '95 offerings.

Diversity is great.... (2, Interesting)

$cullyshouse (684136) | more than 9 years ago | (#13082957)

What linux really needs i something a bit like the Milk marketig board here in the UK. All the companies and individuals should pool together to fund marketing into why linux is so much better. Maybe we can have linux tv adverts rather than those shit abstract M$ ones we get.

A Leason in marketing
There once was a leading brand of soap powder than had about 80% of the market the brand owners decided they didnt need to market it anymore so they stoped. Within a year their market share was down to 20%! proof human beings are sheep!

Yeah right... (4, Insightful)

One Louder (595430) | more than 9 years ago | (#13082959)

I see.

So, a consumer walks into a computer store to buy a computer, and they're overwhelmed by too many choices of Linux.

Sorry, I don't buy it.

The problem is that, with few exceptions, you can't buy a machine at retail with *any* Linux on it. The only way Linux ends up on machines now is when a consumer decides to get rid of the OS they got for "free" on the machine.

Consolidating Linux distros doesn't do anything about getting it into the hands of users and onto machines - an effective sales and marketing organization does that.

Too much choice is BAD (1, Redundant)

Mantus (65568) | more than 9 years ago | (#13082960)

One of the things that has bothered me about many linux pundits is that they claim that choice between different distros, desktop managers and toolkits (particularly QT and GTK) is a good thing. While this may make a small number of computer users happier, many users see that as a significant shortfall to the overall usability.

Is there a choice in kernel? NO you build it to suit your needs from a common source tree, even though there are multiple X servers they all do the same thing and some (x.org and xfree) had the same code base, only a license change created the push for x.org, so why have so many desktop managers? I can understand a couple (1 for eye candy, 1 for speed) but only if they are using the same toolkit. Package management is another significant hurdle, there are many great managers out there, but why should a dev be expected to make a .deb and a .rpm?

Nah (1)

Evro (18923) | more than 9 years ago | (#13082964)

Linux doesn't need to be consolidated, it needs to be better. This crap about diverting resources is bunk when you're talking about GPL'd stuff. Anybody can borrow from anyone else. The one major exception I can think of for this is package management. There should be one package management system and it should be flawless. It should really be like MacOS X's bundle thing where there's one "file" that has the entire application inside it. Installing software on a Linux system is a pain in the ass compared to Windows, regardless of package management anyway. On windows, you download install.exe to your desktop, double click, answer some prompts that have common defaults, and the program is installed. If Linux is to compete with Windows (which I don't think any company even has a vested interest in anymore at this point, with RedHat getting out of the commercial desktop OS business) then it needs to be trivial to install programs and run them.

I use FC3 as my desktop PC at work and for the most part I think it's nice, but it's also way too easy to fuck things up for the average user. Deleting stuff from the panel, adding new panels, etc... Most lusers would be lost as soon as they accidentally deleted their panel.

Anyway, as I said above, I don't think the question of "why hasn't Linux hurt Microsoft" is even reasonable to ask. Apple hasn't hurt Microsoft and they have arguably the best desktop OS on the market today. There's very little corporate backing behind making Linux into a viable competitor to Windows now that RedHat has pretty much exited the market. Novell is doing good stuff with Evolution and all that, but there's still a long way to go.

Another Join Forces Article (3, Insightful)

flood6 (852877) | more than 9 years ago | (#13082967)

I'll go ahead and say it, "I didn't read TFA". But I'm confidant that I've read 20 just like it. The thing is, many of the maintainers and contributors to the "fringe" distributions do what they do because they enjoy it, to learn, or because there is some specific need that they want met.

They often have no interest in "rivaling" MS.

The larger distros like SuSE, RH, Mandriva, etc. are companies, they are going to keep trying to make a profit.

Then you have distros like Gentoo and Debian that are firmly established and will keep producing their fine distros because they have such enthusiastic communities.

Over time leading distros will emerge and fade away. Some people will see the benefits of consolidating their efforts and others will continue to pursue their goals on their own.

It's just the way it is; writing one more article about why all the distros (or GNOME and KDE) should "join forces to bring down MS" is not going to change that.

If I improperly categorized the article I didn't read, I'm sorry, but I still think it's a waste of time to try and "unite the troops".

What I don't like (3, Insightful)

Andrew Tanenbaum (896883) | more than 9 years ago | (#13082971)

is how much wasted effort is spent on "packaging" (which is a concept that doesn't really exist on other operating systems). For any given piece of software there are probably 30 people who all do the same work (more or less) putting it into some quasi proprietary format. That's where consolidation is needed.

Re:What I don't like (1)

concept10 (877921) | more than 9 years ago | (#13083044)

I agree with you on this. When I first heard about autopackage, I thought it was a great idea.

I simply don't understand why the Linux community hasn't taken advantage of this.

Never too many distrubutions (1)

concept10 (877921) | more than 9 years ago | (#13082972)


There could never be too many distros although I agree this confuses people new to the 'Linux genre'

One reason that so many distrubutions exist is that Linux allows you to customize and select packages and different processes that you want to run.

I believe that all developers of Linux distros should follow LSB and Filesystem Hierarchy Standards to make the filesystem uniform across the board.

I hate how some applications install in different
directories for different distros (Red Hat based vs. Debian based)

This topic has been discussed alot along with Linux is not ready for the desktop. I also think that the Linux community wastes alot of resources.

If I had Mark Shuttleworths money, I would just have a think tank sit down and come up with all of the desktop related applications and functions that Linux needs to get rid of the need for CLI for some purposes. I would make it very, very easy for the non-technical people.

The true reason that many distros exist is this:

When someone thinks that they can do something better than the next guy, they start a new project. Bottom line. I guess I would probably do the same. When I was in the military, I didnt like the way my division worked so I forked out and made a new division and took my men with me.

Consolidation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13082973)

With dozen of different distributions the Linux community is so diffuse that the power or significance of any specific entity is severally limited.

I think the author is talking from average user perspective. If that is the case, yes I think we need to consolidate Linux on aspects like
1. User Interface
2. Packaging standpoint etc.

From a business standpoint this diversifictaion is what making Linux so success from servers to settop boxes.

Look out, everybody! (1)

SamMichaels (213605) | more than 9 years ago | (#13082977)

Here comes the flood of lusers saying how their preferred distro is the king and everyone should get eaten up by it.

I've used 3 distros (only glanced at the rest...and it's been too long since I've used Slackware): Gentoo, Debian, Redhat.

Gentoo stands out on its own because it does something the others don't. Debian and Redhat are very similar. They have a canned installer, you grab precompiled packages, and viola.

Grouping according to similarity rather than announcing your distro is the best would get us somewhere.

I don't think there are enough distros. (1)

pardasaniman (585320) | more than 9 years ago | (#13082990)

Call me crazy.. But I want more distros!! More Choice!!

Yes it is intimidating to new linux users.. But I like having specialized distributions.

I like having varying filesystem heirarchies and all that shizzle.

It produces more robust code. Applications get tested on everything from XBoxes to Tea Kettles.

It allows for more specialization. If there was one distro targetting n00bs... Then what would happen to the 1337 people?

I think variety is awesome! Find a bug in one distro that is taking time to fix? Switch to another one.

Also, there is only so much development that can happen under one management. There is only one vision with one managing group. With the current system there are many visions for tomorrow, each one bold and new!!

Also, multiple distros mean competition!! Which we all know is great!

Yes, especially the division of help resources (1)

dara (119068) | more than 9 years ago | (#13083009)

I'm now struggling with a MythTV, HD-3000, FC4 installation, and I absolutely believe it would be easier if more people used a common platform to get this kind of thing working. I look at MythTV documentation and it says stuff like this information is only valid if you have compiled from source. So I can't even rely on the documentation because I use smart to grab the rpms from ATRPMS? Do they think detailed information exists for each distro? This kind of problem simply does not happen under Windows or MacOS and as much as I'd prefer to use Linux, I have a much easier time getting most things to work under Windows (I'll experiment with MacOS this fall when I have access to a new iMac). I won't give up, but this issue is definitely holding Linux back, not that I have any idea what can be done about it.

Dara

What Linux really needs is.... (2, Insightful)

concept10 (877921) | more than 9 years ago | (#13083018)

Consolidation of marketing efforts. I mean educating consumers and letting them know that alternatives to Windows and Mac OS X exist out there. I saw a comericial last night for the movie "March of the Penguin." I was thinking that it would be great if someone used this to advertise Linux to the masses.

Depends on what counts as a distribution (1)

jd (1658) | more than 9 years ago | (#13083023)

Is it a new Windows distribution, when an OEM installs extra tools, such as IBM's laptop utilities? I think there's a tendancy to see division above and beyond where there actually is any, when it comes to Linux.


Personally, what I would like to see is a "standard source library", where versions of packages known to work together are collected together. That would simplify the work of binary package maintainers and provide a level of unification on the baseline WITHOUT imposing unification in the installation or the experience.


I would ALSO like to see package maintainers work together a bit better. I use a number of the RPM distros that make up the RPMForge collaboration, yet I do run into lots of incompatibility issues. This is not necessary and definitely not desirable.


(Also, they could be a little more, ummm, communicative? I'm on the RPMForge mailing lists and to say they are quiet is an understatement. I also notice there have been suggestions and submissions to RPMForge with no response given. I may be being a little unfair here, but it does give the impression of being less than an open group.)


I think diversity for Linux is essential, but a software version of the Great Library of Alexandria would definitely help with not only maintaining those distributions efficiently but also make it easier for distros to be much more compatiable with each other.

Testing Grounds (1)

Mister Yoan (880832) | more than 9 years ago | (#13083024)

Let Linux remain the chaotic, rag-tag, fragmented testing grounds. I'll stick to FreeBSD.

I think we are slowly consolidating (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13083033)

Look at the distros that there are. I bet the majority of distros (taking into consideration the small ones too) are based on debian. Large organizations like Red Hat and Mandrake will continue in their own direction for a long time but I suspect everyone else will tend in the direction of debian. (I just took one of my boxen off Mandrake 10.0 because installing software is a pita. It keeps asking for disks and not believing that you put the right disk in.)

Consider office tools. Koffice is losing steam and the majority of people are going to OpenOffice.

Evolution and natural selection will continue and in a few years, 'linux' will be nicely consolodated.

I made it to page 2 of TFA (1)

lord sibn (649162) | more than 9 years ago | (#13083034)

I quit there.

Why? knock it if you must, but the author genuinely believes people choose Microsoft Windows XP(tm) over other alternatives, because it is actually superior as a desktop operating system.

Not mentioned at all is that XP is included "free of charge" with virtually all OEM computers, and that the operating system will never be replaced by the vast majority of users out there.

The question is: What makes XP so great? The fact that so many people use it, or the fact that so many people don't really care enough to actually look into other options?

Never "Cognized", Either (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#13083038)

Maybe that "reason" is "less widely recognized" is because it's wrong. Part of the Linux community model is its decentralization. I think that Windows users are taking a risk by depending on Microsoft. Because if Microsoft is forced to do something by a court, or by a competitor, MS users are forced to go along for the ride. But even if Linux users depend on a big, centralized company for their products and service, like Red Hat or Novell, they can much more easily switch to another distro, if RH or Novell change to a company on which they'd rather not depend. The rest of the Linux industry is similarly flexible. This allows it to adapt to quickly changing market conditions: The Linux species is better fit to any environment that changes. Which is why it is a better bet in the long run than, say, Windows. And why Microsoft must leverage its monopoly to compete however it can.

Cathedral or the Bazaar? (1)

the_bahua (411625) | more than 9 years ago | (#13083045)

I personally love the idea of countless groups building their idea of the eprfect distribution. It's a perfect example of combining freedom and competition.

While it can be said that consolidation allows for a meeting of the minds, and often faster and more effective development, it also inherently takes people's choices away.

Just like breweries, I prefer diversity, freedom, and competition. It tastes a lot better.

Linux is like LSD (2)

ScuttleEnough (898616) | more than 9 years ago | (#13083047)

it comes on many types of paper. linux is unlike lsd in the fact that it sucks and is very stupid.

Re:Linux is like LSD (1)

brxndxn (461473) | more than 9 years ago | (#13083056)

Ya troll.. but it really did make me laugh. Why oh why am I stuck with the sadistic sense of humor that only 3% of the population laughs hysterricly at while the other half thinks I'm psychotic.

Stubbornness (1)

Timbo (75953) | more than 9 years ago | (#13083050)

I think it should be obvious to any one remotely interested in linux on the desktop that some consolidation is required for things to go further. I think this is probably also obvious to the developers. The trouble is, in the absense of a marketting/direction body telling them what to do (as in a commercial environment), most development is geared towards what it the "best" "technical" solution.

There are disagreements about what the best solutions are. Each solution is conflicting and would require compromise in order to resolve. Now being a stubborn opinionated (software developing) bastard myself, it is quite obvious that such compromise is the number one reason linux is not consolidating.

I don't really see solutions like AutoPackage being particularly helpful. All they do is add another layer to the problem -- a meta-distribution almost. The problem of consolidation needs to be approached from the bottom up and not the top down.

There is another scenario where linux consolidates, and that is where one distro is so superior to the rest that it gains momentum such that the other distros become smaller and smaller until they effectively vanish. This seems unlikely to happen though, since each distro is simultaneously fed by upstream software developers and as such they will all tend to move lockstep.

Having said that, of the distros out there I believe Ubuntu is currently best placed for this.

Depends on what's important... (1)

MindNumbingOblivion (668443) | more than 9 years ago | (#13083053)

If the goal for Linux is to put it on the desktop, then yes, there needs to be some sort of consolidation; otherwise it looks chaotic to Joe User. If however the goal is a distant optimized OS that can handle anything, used mainly by root users, then the present model insures that good distros flourish while the bad waste away into obscurity (what is "good"? again, question of goals).

Who is the target audience for Linux? The average user who surfs the internet and plays solitaire? Or your typical computer savvy /. reader? One gets easily confused by chaos and will eventually seek One Big OS (ie Windows) while the other will prefer to be a sort of OS connoisseur.

Re:Depends on what's important... (1)

mr.mighty (162506) | more than 9 years ago | (#13083111)

For the average user who surfs the internet, checks email and plays solitaire, just about any Linux distro will do if it's preinstalled. There are several that are easier to install than windows XP (fedora's pretty easy if you let it handle the disk partitioning automatically, and choose the everything option) and you wind up with a ton of ready-to-use software. Beat that, Microsoft!

No (1)

t_allardyce (48447) | more than 9 years ago | (#13083062)

No and heres why:

Any kind of fork, distribution, customisation etc of any project must happen for a good reason. If it does happen then it should follow the structure of the system in such a way that lower level updates and improvements can filter into the forks. For example using libraries in a project means you're not re-inventing the wheel and any improvements to those libraries can filter through into your project. The same is true with distributions, using the same package manager and window manager for example. There might be two or three commonly used window managers because they all have different goals, some are better suited to PDA's, some to novice users etc.

When forking or distributing re-invent the wheel or serve no purpose then its clear that the developers didn't have the fore-thought to properly justify or plan the project, these developers need the experience of screwing up like this before they are ready to work on the 'main' forks or distributions. In short, if you make a stupid distribution for no reason you are just not good enough yet so its not like people are missing out on your skills, but it will certainly teach you a lesson and probably give you an insight into how the theory of the system that you developed works.

Listen up zealots (1)

Doug Tanner (45196) | more than 9 years ago | (#13083064)

If Firefox had a dozen different versions, each with different web locations/features/visuals/interfaces, it would not be as popular as it is today. This should be obvious.

The same goes for Linux, one (of many) reasons that people won't switch (or recommend their friends to switch) is that LINUX DOES NOT EXIST, merely several similar OSes that build on the same base.

I'm a Windows/MacOSX C/C++ programmer that might be interested by dual-booting into Linux one day, but that will never happen because I don't know which 'distro' to install. If a computer-savy person like me won't even bother, how can you ever expect a casual computer user to??

There is no way to "Consolidate" Linux (1)

dingletec (590572) | more than 9 years ago | (#13083065)

Linux is open source, everyone can make their own distro if they so desire. I am against any talk of there being one single distro. Diversity is the strength of open source.
If there are competing technologys, GOOD! The best will rise to the top, but there is always room for the inevitable niche. So called analysts always say diversity hurts Linux, but it is probably the one thing that will keep exploits, viruses, and worms from causing as much problems on Linux as it does on Windows. Innovation follows diversity and freedom.
There will probably only be a few Linux distros that have blanket support by the commercial software industry, but people like me will always be able to enjoy having the freedom to be different. There are several distros out there that no normal person would ever use (Gentoo, Slack, etc.), but those who do use it, love it! That's the beauty of open source, and it is a huge strength.

Competition (1)

fyoder (857358) | more than 9 years ago | (#13083078)

A dominant distribution could emerge, but if so it will be through competition, not 'consolidation'. The emergence of such a distribution could be facilitated by the nature of open source itself. I just escaped the clutches of the evil Mandriva (sorry, something about the new name just invites space opera imagery) to Fedora, and there are a few things I'd like to see Fedora take (turn about being fair play, Mandrake started by taking from Red Hat) from Mandriva. They probably won't, sadly, but point is, they could. It is possible, at least in theory, for a distro to 'consolidate' the best features of other distributions.

Consolidate Developer Talent, Not Distributions (2, Insightful)

reallocate (142797) | more than 9 years ago | (#13083089)

There's little or no code production going on in most distributions, so their consolidation would accomplish very little.

With a relatively few exceptions, Linux distributions are packaging efforts, making no contributions, original or otherwise, to the software they contain. Of those that do actually modify the software they've collected, most seem to be content with tweaking a theme or two. (The major exceptions, of course, are folks like Red Hat/Fedora, SUSE, Debian/Ubuntu.)

So, in that regard, consolidating the efforts of most distributions would result in more tweaked themes and very little actual new code. Not much benefit there.

A managed consolidation of developer talent is a different kind of thing. For example, identifying and putting the best human interface developers at work on the design of the Linux desktop mightt reap some benefits. Collecting and focusing talent is easier in the proprietary world than it is in the open source world, where developers self-identify their interests and work on whatever interests them, whether or not their skills might be better applied elsewhere.

Waste of time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13083106)

I like people that always want to manage something and be on the top of decision process without any related work done. And this 'consolidation' just seems to me as an similar attempt. Anybody capable can create unification framework, and if it's good, it will be used. But whining about variability of distros and competition against windows and macosx, althought really very popular now, is just waste of time, that could be used for the creativity and solving the problems. Maybe the article is another unfinished college midterm work for the management class, who knows...

Installing (1)

richarddshank (842901) | more than 9 years ago | (#13083115)

I've tried Linux several times (with different distros) and always run into a problem with getting all of my hardware to work and connecting to the net. I think could be a key to getting people to switching from Windows to Linux.

Idea (1)

PunkOfLinux (870955) | more than 9 years ago | (#13083118)

Instead of having 17k different distributions, all based off the same base (Debian ->Ubuntu for example) just have the bases and then development and then there's a subsect of that in there.

68 millionth verse, same as the first (4, Interesting)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 9 years ago | (#13083134)

More FUD of the "Eine Reich, Eine Volk, Eine Fuhrer!" variety.

I'd like to think I'm only going to have to explain this once (yeah, right) so here goes my attempt to explain a few things to the Windows using world.

1. Windows sucks. NT is probably the single most technologically inferior operating system to have ever seen the light of day. In terms of usability, on the surface it might seem great, but go even a few microns below the surface and it is revealed as an absolute dog. (Keep this point in mind, kids, cos it's a very important one)

2. Microsoft have taught the computer using world to think in a number of perverted, unnatural, and generally harmful ways. One of these ways is the insistence that one size has to fit all, i.e., the concept of a monoculture. There can't be more than one operating system in existence at any one time, goes the old saw. Unfortunately what Microsoft doesn't understand (aside from virtually everything else, that is) is that diversity is actually good for computer security, rather than bad for it. If different people run different operating systems, or even different versions of a similar or same operating system, it means that the anarchic 14 year olds wanting to break into said computers will have to work harder...because they will need to write versions of a given virus for a greater number of operating systems than just one. We could even hope that faced with that much effort, they won't bother.

3. Another one of these bad ways of thinking is the insistence that every GUI on the planet be identical to Windows'. You'll normally never hear me praising Apple (takes deep breath, wonders if he can really do this) but they also came up with some great ideas for user interface design, as well. The people currently designing KDE for Linux have even managed to come up with a few.

4. Yet another of Microsoft's evil ideas is the concept that programs should be designed monolithically. This actually follows on from the "Eine Reich, Eine Volk, Eine Fuhrer!" groupthink mentioned earlier. The Linux way of doing things on the other hand tends towards making various pieces which snap together, so that whoever works on a piece only has to worry about the bugs in said piece, rather than the entire program. Because the pieces are often fairly small, they're also usually a lot easier to understand than the sort of software Microsoft writes, and it's therefore easier to figure out how they work.

5. So from these few examples, we can see how Microsoft's ideology is bad. Therefore, I humbly beg you to kindly cease and desist authoring screeds about how Linux should supposedly be more like Microsoft's monstrosities...because it really shouldn't. Microsoft should be taking pages from Linux's book, not the other way around...for many different reasons.
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