Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 19th Jul 2007 22:42 UTC, submitted by WillM
Linux "Remember the 1980s worries about how the 'forking' of Unix could hurt that operating system's chances for adoption? That was nothing compared to the mess we've got today with Linux, where upwards of 300 distributions vie for the attention of computer users seeking an alternative to Windows."
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Solution for too many distros
by michuk on Thu 19th Jul 2007 23:00 UTC
Member since:

The text is interesting to read but full of misconceptions. Linux isn't a forking mess. Linux distributions serve the same software, only in different versions. Nothing like a fork.

If you also are lost in the distro mess there is an easy solution: you should visit to make your choice easier ;)

* Linux distros ovieview:
* BSD family ovieview:
* Distro chooser:
* Distro comparisons:

And you're all set. If not, there's always DistroWatch.

What I want to say is that ONLY THE CHOICE IS HARD. After you make the choice, the number of distributions isn't important for you since you can use all the software other distributions use anyway. The choice is a good thing, not bad. And for those who don't like to make choice, there are always pre-installed versions by Dell and others.

Reply Score: 5

kaiwai Member since:

The issue arises in regards to software development companies and which distribution(s) they should create and maintain their applications for. If the market was alot bigger, it wouldn't be an issue - but the problem is that a small market is fragmented which means even if you do focus on Novell/OpenSuSE and Red Hat/Fedora, you still risk not being able to serve the remaining 50% of so who don't run those distributions.

In a pure opensource environment, the idea of fragmentation is a non-issue as the source is maintained by the community but the moment when proprietary vendors enter into the equation, that is where the issues regarding fragmentation comes to the forefront.

With that being said, however, I'm not missing anything major from the proprietary world - I'd like to see Sony make SonicStage available for OpenSolaris so that I can add music to my minidisc player, but its nothing major as I can do it on my flat mates computer.

Those who complain about fragmentation seem to be people who want to impose their proprietary model and the community change to meet the community; I don't want to sound arrogant, but we were here first, its time for you (the proprietary company) to change to meet the new reality. People don't care about your secret sauce, they just want a solution that works with a good support structure in place. If you need to keep your sauce secret it speaks volumes over the fact that the price can't be justified unless everything is kept secret.

Reply Parent Score: 4

michuk Member since:

Companies usually run RHEL, SLES or some Debian flavor anyway and most of the software vendors (like Oracle, DB2) provide support for these distros. It's not hard really. Usually the binaries just work for any system (if they include statically-linked third party software as most of them do).

And those proprietery vendors that deliver for desktop users (Skype, Opera, Google) somehow manage to provide custom packages for most popular distros and some genric TGZ for others.

Saying that, I think more standarization (e.g. on libraries used in stable versions of major distribuitions) should be in place -- this would make the life of such vendors easier and encourage them to provide software via some standard mechanism for all distros like autopackage.

Still, I don't think this is the major issue blocking Linux adoption. OEM is.

Reply Parent Score: 4