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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Yeah, it's simple for you, but to somebody looking from the outside in, it is a massive clusterf**k.

While it's true that those in the '9 million distros or bust!' camp might be right, you have to ask yourself how important it is to be right vs whether or not you want more people to try out Linux and not be scared away by the number if distros that are out there.

Well, here's how I look at it. There are usually two ways someone is going to start Linux: either they are introduced or they are out looking for one by themselves.

If someone is introduced, then I stand by my earlier assertion that the person introducing them need to keep it simple by using what they are used to and can support. For example, Dell does not offer 200+ distributions: they offer ONE preconfigured Linux operating system, and that works fine. The same should be done with a person introducing another person. Again, what I do with Ubuntu + Wubi.

On the other hand, if someone is out actively and seriously looking for something such as an alternative operating system for a computer, then they are either ALREADY looking for choice and wanting to explore, or are looking for some thing supported (and sometimes free) because they are having problems with their current OS. If they are looking because they are having problems with their current, all you have to do is just spend a little time reading.

Every person who uses Linux NOW has had to make a choice. It took me a whole 20 minutes, looking at only the top few that were free (Fedora/OpenSuse/Ubuntu), and having chosen by their websites that detail their operating systems. If I didn't like it, I knew I could switch. I ended up liking it. Now, if someone is actively seeking a serious replacement, but doesn't want to do the research on which one, they can just order an OEM Linux machine.

So, if someone is "actively looking", if even after complaining about not wanting to look at any of the top distros, or don't want to get an OEM machine like they would with Windows or MacOSX, then they are not really actively seeking something new, they are just complaining about what they have, and want just what they have without the problems. And that, of course, is not what Linux is.

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