Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 14th Jul 2005 11:55 UTC, submitted by Swank1
Linux 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.
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Need Linus
by Milo_Hoffman on Thu 14th Jul 2005 15:15 UTC
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I have been a fully time Linux user since 1994, back when I used to download my Linux from usenet messages.

I think that the only way something like this will happen is if Linus steps up and says "we should concentrate on x" where x = package format, desktop envrionment, etc.

I DO believe that eventually there will be concensus around these things.

Linux acutally has a great idea for a standards body that created specs for a common Linux that guarenteed if developers coded for that standard then their programs would run on any distro that was compatible with that standard. This is what is really needed the same idea as that but stronger. Given a standard like that there is no reason that any program needs to worry about which distro their program is running on, they just need to ask "does your distro support the standard". The problem came in when commerical companeis like Oracle etc were too whimpy to attempt support like they should have so they teamed up with other commerical Linux companies like Redhat, SuSE etc. and ignored the "standard". If companies like Oracle had just stuck to the standards and not code their apps for particular distros we would be further along than we are today.

The only other way for any sort of consolidation to occur is if a particular free distros becomes the "defacto" standard and has a large majority of desktop users using it. If ubantu say or fedora become THE DESKTOP distro of choice then eventually they could push some standards. Right now things are equally divided according to the amount of people using the popluar distros, until one becomes more popular than the others this will not probably happen.

BTW, all of these issues really only affect desktops...Linux will still grow to be one of the most popular server OS's (maybe tied with windows in the future) in the world no matter if people are still using both KDE and GNOME, or some use RPM, some don't or not.

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