Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 4th Feb 2009 14:11 UTC
Linux With Linux traditionally coming in many, many flavours, a common call among some Linux fans - but mostly among people who actually do not use Linux - is to standardise all the various distributions, and work from a single "one-distribution-to-rule-them-all". In a recent interview, Linus Tovalds discarded the idea, stating that he thinks "it's something absolutely required!"
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The problem with distros...
by Yamin on Wed 4th Feb 2009 16:18 UTC
Member since:

The problem with distros is that none of them want to be real distributions. It is great to have this open source eco-system. The problem is at some point you have to come out with a finalized product.

So far, every linux distro I've tried doesn't want to commit to this finalized product. I use Ubuntu and I still don't know what is the 'right' way to connect my wireless. I end up using wifi-radar. Whereas in Windows, there is one network manager. Sure you can install other tools to manage it. I actually think it was a slip up for Windows to not support wifi quick enough so that other tools like odessy client were allowed to proliferate. Nonetheless, for the average home user in windows, there is now one way to manage your connections.

This little issue expands when you throw in all the other choices (gnome/KDE... nvidia-settings, various applets, ... synaptic, package manager). The end result is you feel like a distribution is just a bunch of packages thrown together for you manage.

This is one the reasons why Ubuntu is as successful as it is... it's default configuration is pretty good... not great... but pretty good. Consider OSX... built on a nix kernel, but it makes the choices and delivers you one final product.

This is really where linux distros are lacking. None of them are final distributions.

Reply Score: 3

RE: The problem with distros...
by ricegf on Wed 4th Feb 2009 16:47 in reply to "The problem with distros..."
ricegf Member since:

I use Ubuntu and I still don't know what is the 'right' way to connect my wireless. I end up using wifi-radar. Whereas in Windows, there is one network manager.

Um, no. At least, not in my (quite non-trivial but still anecdotal) experience.

Every Windows PC I have seen in the past 2 years (several dozen) has the Windows network manager and the vendor's "easy to use" network manager both installed and active, and in every case trying to sort out which is controlling what has been a real pain. In one memorable instance with my Dell D630 corporate laptop, the help desk went through 3 technicions before we got a stable connection to an n-type router. It's a freaking nightmare.

On Ubuntu, on the same Dell D630 notebook as the nightmare above, but running Ubuntu 8.10 Live from a CD, I click the network icon in the upper right and select my wireless network, and I'm done. It works perfectly out of the box... er, CD. Same experience on about a dozen laptops and desktops I've tried - and one notable failure, on my daughter's laptop, where the wireless wouldn't configure on Windows Vista *or* Linux, but what the heck.

Maybe if Linux held an almost 90% market share like Windows, hardware vendors would write their own competing "easier" network managers, and Linux users would live the nightmare, too. But as it is, the problem you describe has been a Windows problem in my experience, NOT a Linux problem.

(One anecdote proves nothing, but my anecdote's as good as yours, etc. etc. etc. :-)

Reply Parent Score: 8

weildish Member since:

One thing I've learned in my Windows adventures is to never, NEVER use the junk that comes preinstalled from the OEM. I always uninstall everything that comes preinstalled unless it's something I was planning to install anyway (which it usually isn't). Those "easier to use" network managers just muck everything up and are worse than both Linux's and Windows' managers, or at least worse than Ubuntu's, which I used and had a lot of trouble with at first, but then figured it out later on.

Reply Parent Score: 2

jabbotts Member since:

I'm not sure what you mean entirely. FOSS uses an ever evolving model versus a hard set "finished" version release model. There is ongoing development and that is reflected by ongoing availability of updated packages.

When I stop seeing package updates for a program or distro, the first thing I do is go looking to see if it's gone stale. No more updates for Mandriva in 2006 meant it was time to look at rolling over to the 2007.0 repositories. No more updates apearing for my groupware server program mean discovering that developers where moving to something else that had the temporary lead in the ongoing darwin like code evolution.

Closed source by need of marketing image requires big wizbang version releases to get that profit spike again to fund the next cycle of development and support centre jockeys. When WinXP sales slowed down below the optimum supply chain flow point, they started hyping up Longhorn. Since Vista's rate of sales is not up to the optimum level, win7 is in the news and being fast-tracked out the door. The retail model can't support ongoing evolution because it's all about getting that maximum retail price point in a big sales push.

Now, things like network management do get into the relm of distributions. It's up to the distro maintainer to smooth over the assembled parts in whatever release cycle they choose (I like rolling distros myself though I primarily use Mandriva). Backtrack is not a general use distribution and the netowrk management tools reflect the expected higher level of knowledge (I can connect wifi by command line but F'd if I can use the GUI tools provided for it). Mandriva's draketools are more simple than osX or Windows to use and I'll reach for my liveCD in a heartbeat when I need solid hardware support and networking. ubuntu.. well, I really should toss the latest on a VM just to be familiar otherwise I can't really comment on it with anything more than hearsay.

In the end though, if the distro is not providing the tools you need, grab a few liveCD or cut some VMs and look around for how other's work. While Ubuntu is a great introductory distro and very popular, you can get better hardware support and control from other distributions.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE: The problem with distros...
by Lunitik on Wed 4th Feb 2009 23:00 in reply to "The problem with distros..."
Lunitik Member since:

The products are things like RHEL and SLES... the products certainly exist - but no one controls them, so everyone can release these products.

For me, I don't need a product, infact, I demand a rolling release based packaging system because releases are plain annoying. If the software is released upstream, I want it in my distro... I don't want to wait a year for my distro to declare the whole as stable before I can access it.

The power of Linux is that both those that demand products and those that hate distro releases can be satisfied without either affecting the other.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Delgarde Member since:

So far, every linux distro I've tried doesn't want to commit to this finalized product. I use Ubuntu and I still don't know what is the 'right' way to connect my wireless. I end up using wifi-radar. Whereas in Windows, there is one network manager.

Actually, I think they're pretty similar in that regard - all major distros now seem to be moving towards NetworkManager as a standard. Much like, as you say, the Windows standard tools are replacing all the 3rd-party apps from Intel and Dell and all the other chipset manufacturers and assemblers.

Reply Parent Score: 2