Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 18th Aug 2008 23:33 UTC, submitted by Charles Wilson
Editorial GoboLinux is a distribution which sports a different file system structure than 'ordinary' Linux distributions. In order to remain compatible with the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard, symbolic links are used to map the GoboLinux tree to standard UNIX directories. A post in the GoboLinux forums suggested that it might be better to turn the concept around: retain the FHS, and then use symbolic links to map the GoboLinux tree on top of it. This sparked some interesting discussion. Read on for more details.
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RE: Inertia and stupidity
by kaiwai on Tue 19th Aug 2008 08:12 UTC in reply to "Inertia and stupidity"
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The reason Linux distros don't do someting sensible like changing the file system layout is inertia. It's the same reason so many people use Windows. They're stuck in their old ways. We Linux users like to tell Windows users how stuck in the mud they are and how they should join the 21st century and use Linux, a cutting edge operating system, with an out-dated, brain-dead file system structure.

In all seriousness, there is some use in keeping _some_ things separated. An app's binaries, local libraries (not system libraries), and data files should be kept in one place. But configuration files would likely go somewhere else so that you don't have to muck about in an app's internals to configure it. That brings me to the other major problem with Linux: All the config files are flat ASCII text in a custom format for each app. Switching to some standard XML format would make it easier to automate things like upgrades that need to combine config files from different versions of the app.

That reminds me of a question that was raised not too long ago - how come every 'competitor' to Windows is a UNIX clone. That isn't to say that UNIX is inherently bad or deficient, but it is a question that is posed in the hope that things would have moved on from there. Even BeOS had almost all the resemblance of a UNIX as one example - and that was meant to be a 'fresh start' and 'legacy free' operating system.

I have a look at things such as Plan9 and I shake my head with dismay when I see the hoards of programmers gravitating to the old and decrepit ideas such as *BSD and Linux. What is needed in the world to compete with Windows isn't yet another UNIX-like clone but something new, original, or atleast something which addresses the flaws in the old paradigm.

I'd love to see 100 of the smartest programmers in the opensource community throw up their hands, embrace Plan 9 and turn it into a viable desktop alternative. A single distribution build in the cathedral model with a single GUI built on under pinnings not based on concepts from 20 years ago.

I know I'm going to be slammed for this, but really, it is bloody depressing when the only thing competition can come up with is yet another UNIX-like clone, be it MacOS X, Linux, *BSD or some other OS. I'm a MacOS X user, and I love it - but I kinda expected a van guard of programmers working on the bleeding edge with freaky ideas rather than simply pounding out code in the 'same old way'.

Edited 2008-08-19 08:14 UTC

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