Linked by David Adams on Tue 13th Dec 2011 03:12 UTC
Editorial I was reading today about how Linux Mint developers altered the Banshee music player source code to redirect affiliate revenue from Amazon music orders to them instead of Banshee. They've reportedly made less than $4, which has caused a kerfluffle among those paying attention to that corner of the world. But it raises a larger point that has been swirling around for a couple of decades: an OS vendor has a lot of power to influence, and even monetize their user base. Where should they draw the line?
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RE: Drawing the line - fragmentation nonsense
by jabbotts on Tue 13th Dec 2011 18:03 UTC in reply to "Drawing the line"
jabbotts
Member since:
2007-09-06

This claim of fragmentation keeps coming up. Linux based distributions and Android devices are not really comparable though.

Manufacturers customize Android in an effort to differentiate while still claiming to ship Android. What you get from some manufacturers is clearly not Google Android but a fork based on the original. The problem is Motorola-Android and Samsung-Android claiming to be the original Google Android when incompatibilities have been added.

The only Android based device retailer doing it right outside of the Nexus line of devices is Amazon. When they customized Android to differentiate themselves, they didn't claim it was still Android and even setup there own separate repositories; just like a general purpose Linux based distribution fork does.

With Linux based distributions, you have separate products being represented as separate products though they use similar commodity parts in assembly. Red Hat and Debian represent themselves as separate products though they both happen to use the same commodity kernel. the product is the Red Hat distribution not what kernel it happens to run just like the product is Debian not what kernel it happens to run. Debian does not magically stop being the Debian distribution if one uses any of the other OS kernels available for it. Debian with the BSD is still Debian. Unlike Android, the distributions that happen to use the Linux kernel represent themselves as separate distributions.

Linux based distributions and the Android quagmire are not comparable in terms of fragmentation.

At the distribution level, developers need only target the parent distribution and let child forks inherit support if they're not going to allow distro maintainers to build packages from source. If the child forks make themselves incompatible then that is the responsibility of the child fork.

At the kernel level "Linux" has been remarkably successful given the number of products, including various OS distributions, which it has been included into as one of many commodity parts. The OS kernel isn't the defining attribute though. It's not Linux which happens to be Debian flavored but Debian which happens to be using a Linux kernel down below everything that makes it Debian.

Complaining that there are too many Linux distributions is like complaining that there are too many icecream flavors. Yeah, they are all built on top of semi-frozen dairy cream; focus on the flavors that fit your preferences and get over yourself.

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