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The only standard I would agree with is the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard (FHS). No they don't need to agree on one browser, Gnome vs. KDE, etc. What makes a GNU/Linux system special are the choices that are available. Regarding distributions, if you don't like the package manager, GUI, etc. then you have alternative choices to pick from. Don't like Slackware, then use another distro. Everyone talks about how my distro has this, my distro does that, yours doesn't. So what! The beauty of a GNU/Linux system is that it gives you a choice. Windows does not. GNU/Linux is not for everyone, neither is Windows. Who cares if it is accepted or not as a desktop OS my the masses. It's all about having fun! Who cares if Slackware lacks documentation that the Gentoo folks have. If you use Slackware and can configure it then you don't need the extra documentation. If you prefer to have your hand held when running a distribution, then Slackware is not for you.
-Slackware user since v3.3