Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 4th Feb 2009 14:11 UTC
Linux With Linux traditionally coming in many, many flavours, a common call among some Linux fans - but mostly among people who actually do not use Linux - is to standardise all the various distributions, and work from a single "one-distribution-to-rule-them-all". In a recent interview, Linus Tovalds discarded the idea, stating that he thinks "it's something absolutely required!"
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BUT, the fact that every single one uses a different layout of the file system, puts configuration settings in different places, uses a different packaging system (and makes it impossible to use packages across distros), its TOTALLY FRICKING INSANE AT THIS POINT.

False. And if you have used Linux since 1993, surely you know that.

And this is what most people get wrong when they whinge about the length of the various lists of Linux distros. The vast majority of distros fall into just a few "families", and are, by and large, variations on a theme. Furthermore, there are really only a few of all those distros that a significant number of people care about. It's not as though software providers have to target "Gelugpa Linux". If the Gelugpa maintainers want Gelugpa to be supported by ISVs they will ensure compatibility with a distro that the ISVs care about.

One thing I find very strange about these discussions is that there seem to be 2 major schools of complainers. Those who complain because all the distros are supposedly different, and those who complain that all the distros are really just the same.

On the topic of "choice is good, choice is bad", I would walk a middle path between the two. Lack of choice is bad. Total chaos is bad. Having a limited number of major families of choices, with further refinements available, to those who look, within those families are what is good. To a great extent, that is exactly what we have. Though one could reasonably quibble over the details of what numbers would be optimal.

Edited 2009-02-04 16:31 UTC

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