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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Maybe Ford and Toyota are the same product because they happen to both include engines? No? We recognize that the different manufacturers produce different models of product though they compete in the same product category?

Why is it ok for different manufacturers to produce different products in every other product category but when it's a general purpose OS suddenly the kernel is the most important commodity part and having more than one competing product is just the very definition of insanity?

Well, speaking of Ford, if it wants to compete with Toyota, GMC, etc, it may make several different models of cars and trucks, but it's not going to release 30 different kind of cars that are mid-sized sedans in the $20,000 range. For one thing, it's a waste of resources. Also, it's bound to cause a lot of confusion in the marketplace. Plus, if these cars were made in different plants, there's no guarantee that parts made for one of these models will work on the other without heavy modifications, even if they technically use the same engine.

Maybe I'm just missing the point, but I thought the purpose of Linux on the desktop was to compete with Windows and OSX, not having an assload of distros competing with each other. (In other words, like Ford competing with itself.)

This kind of situation works somewhat better for Android because most of these phones use the same app repository, so it's generally understood that an app written for one phone should be able to run unmodified on any of the others, so that (in theory) I can take a .apk file and run it on whatever Android phone I want. But with Linux, it's just a mess.

Edited 2011-12-13 22:10 UTC

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