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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Separately downloading .exe installers and running them is a maintenance nightmare!. Let me give you an example.

I run Debian @home, W2K and Debian @work. Consider this 3 installations of an OS. On all of them I have Firefox, Thunderbird, Gaim, Gimp, Vim (only picking that SW, which is present on all). If I want to update my Debian machines, I only need to run two commands to update all the software installed, including the 5 packages mentioned previously. On Windows, I need to find 5 files on the web, download them, unzip some of them, start 5 executables, 5x click through some dialog windows.

Now tell me, which of the two ways is faster and more convenient. Hint: if you don't want to type "aptitude update" and "aptitude upgrade", you can start Synaptic from menu and click a small number of times. I guess it would take max. 5 clicks. That's much less clicking than the W2K way. Hint 2: It stays two commands/five clicks on Debian for any number of packages. For W2K, the number of clicks grows linearly with the number of packages. Same applies for newly installed software. So much for "easy-to-install software".

Standalone installers are remains of an off-line world, where distributing files on CD was the primary method.

If somebody wants to bring commercial SW into the discussion, consider this: Unless you specifically ask, you are expected to download the Oracle database from the web. And though Oracle ignores the system-specific package database, it has it's own. Not an ideal solution, but it shows that package databases are used by commercial software as well.

P.S. Guess which of the installations mentioned do already have the latest patched Firefox, Thunderbird and Gaim and which do not?

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