Linked by kvaruni on Mon 11th Jul 2005 14:48 UTC
Linux The true reason for this article is to point out some sensitive points and to start a discussion. Hopefully, this discussion will produce some useful outcome and if some people in the Linux community are willing to listen to them, I would already be very enthusiastic. Let's start, shall we?
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RE: Waste of time
by John Nilsson on Tue 12th Jul 2005 23:08 UTC in reply to "Waste of time"
John Nilsson
Member since:
2005-07-06

The rest of the article boils down to "choice is bad" and "to many options confuse the users". Those "arguments" have as always a very minimal validity, and using them generally to fit his conclusion does not help either.

Even though I think the authors isn't aware of it. I think there is some truth in the "choice is bad" argument.

Choice, per se, isn't bad, but uninformed vs. informed choices, important choices and nonsense choices all can have a negative impact on the end-user.

I, f.ex., choose to run Gentoo (my choice, good choice) which in turn presents me with a "meta-distribution". In beeing a "meta-distribution" it is expected that I make all the choices necessary to turn it into a distribution and then from there to a operating system.

While installing I'm forced (not entirely forced, but it will suffice for this argument) choose how to compile my packages, choose what implementation of standard components I want (I think there was three diffrent crond implementations) and choose what DE to stack ontop of it all. All these choices have a high probabillity of beeing uninformed (the Gentoo documentation does an honest effort in minimizing this though) and are, from any point of view, totaly nonesense. It was my choice to be confronted with all those choices thought so I won't complain.

In the other end we have Ubuntu and a few others. They are for all intents and purposes complete operating systems. The end-user is only confronted with the choice of running Ubuntu, or not running ubunutu. The rest is taken care of by the developers. The probabillity of taking informed choices is much higher this way, and the end-user is not confronted with nonsense.

The problem layes in between. This is where debian, redhat and other "distributions" lives. They market their products as if they were operating systems, but in reallity they are more like... distributions. What they do (and do well, mind you) is to distribute OS components that is meant to work reasonably well together.

The real market for these products are OS developers who pick components to further integrate into a polished OS. Note that by OS developer I'm not only referring to companies such as Cononical whow mainly create an OS for mainstream consumption, but also consulting companies who sell complete sollutions and all the inhouse IT-departments and server administrators.

The problem as I understand it is that many new Linux users (as the author seems to be) is confused and tries to treat a distribution as an OS.

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