Linked by Perry Helion on Fri 15th Mar 2013 18:20 UTC
Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu Ubuntu has come under a decent amount of flack over the past few months, particularly over their decision to use the 'Dash Search' to return results from Amazon by default in their most recent release.
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RE[6]: That's life
by Alfman on Mon 18th Mar 2013 03:29 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: That's life"
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"My point was you could cover pretty much all areas of the Linux user base with just four DEs. That is not a monoculture, nor does it rule out the creation of purely experimental DEs for long-term research purposes, but let's not confuse those with production DEs."

Topping out at four rules out indy participation, which is (very) bad. Knoppix came about as a specialized debian distro. I highlight it as an example because although debian is a great distro, it shows how someone else can remix it into something more useful in it's own specialized way. The distro specialization goes further than this but I think you get the idea; Why discourage independent distros just because an arbitrary number of four already exists?

"So drivers should be commoditized, in your opinion. You readily recognize that drivers are merely a means to an end, but then turn around and treat DEs as a special case - an end in itself. Whereas 99% users recognize that DEs are merely one more means to an end too."

That's not exactly my opinion. Technically drivers are shared because they are part of the linux kernel, which is often shared itself. Hypothetically though if a distro wanted to differentiate itself somehow with specialized drivers (I have no idea what this would be, it's hypothetical), then I wouldn't have a problem with it. Other distros could always merge their drivers if there were merit in doing so.

"I think you greatly overestimate the number of OSS developers who do the vast majority of the work on major projects (i.e. core contributors), versus the number of OSS developers who are merely users of those products."

I haven't really estimated the ideal number of developers per distro. Someone with more project management experience could chime in, however just recently there was an article about how it took two developers to build the distro used by raspberry pie. They were undoubtedly exceptional developers, but it still shows how much work can be done in small teams.

"But let's face it: as it stands the Linux community cannot even marshal their existing resources into one or two focused goals, such as winnowing down their plethora of DEs to a more application developer-, distributor- and user-friendly headcount."

The alternative is what, design by committee? Who gets to decide what's best for everyone? Realistically what do you tell others who want to do it their own way? These are things you'd have to answer.

"as a relative outsider I think these points bear making as there are certain parts of the Linux mentality which are something of a monoculture themselves."

Well, I'd like to welcome outsider ideas, and to the extent that we can work better together, we should. But alas I think you go too far in asking us to put alternative distros on the chopping block. That is a bit of a slap in the face to those who find value in them and I have to disagree with you that their existence is a huge problem.

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