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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RE: Distributions...
by muda on Wed 4th Feb 2009 20:53 UTC in reply to "Distributions..."
muda
Member since:
2008-12-23

I agree. And to extend, none of the GNU/Linux-based operating systems are intended for generic desktop user who can be expected to use variety of software from different vendors. They are aimed towards specialised system builders.

OS vendor can not be expected to package and distribute every piece of software and a application vendor can not possibly support all operating systems/distributions.

I do not consoder myself as a generic user but today I wanted to try out some new software - just felt like that. First, my distributor hadn't packaged this application and its developer didn't provide a package for my system. So I should have grabbed the source but then again, there are dependencies. I gave up as I did not want to add loads of stuff I never use after uninstalling the program I wanted to try.

Therefore, I can't use Linux because it doesn't do what I need. Apologists say that they perform the task using software XYZ (see paragraph above).

As long as there are gazillion distributions the developers can not choose to develop for. And from the end user's perspective, if the OS vendor of choice ceases development for whatever reasons (a new is baby born or a billionaire ran out of cash) he is pretty much screwed. Oh and PC vendors do not start distributing GNU/Linux because in that case they would end up supporting every bloody piece of application software their customers might want to use.

Linux itself is a moving target and there has to be someone between it and end user to straighten things up by providing some sort of stability. See previous paragraph. If such company are nice enough to the customers they might also end up maintaining their own kernel and there is no more Linux but some derivate.

If there was a coherent API for end user applications and a mechanism to keep ~ and /usr/local or a substitute to it fully functional across distributions then the user would be reasonably happy. Oh and everything users install after installing the core system (which provides the APIs)should be in /usr/local. Otherwise it is implied that OS vendor manages the system via repositories and there is no freedom other than as in beer at the alternative cost of switching distros every now and then as required under given application software requirements.

Reply Parent Score: 0

RE[2]: Distributions...
by r_a_trip on Thu 5th Feb 2009 12:04 in reply to "RE: Distributions..."
r_a_trip Member since:
2005-07-06

Some users try to assail the GNU/Linux market with the Windows cookie cutter. It doesn't work that way. You'll never see one entity like MSFT, who controls what GNU/Linux is or isn't.

The GNU/Linux market is actually level and competitive. We see lot's of different OSes with a common core. They do share a lot of similarities, but none of them are the same.

To zoom in on your problem. My OS provider doesn't package the software I want and I didn't want to build it myself, so I can't use < insert specific OS here >.

Suppose you are using Windows and you want to use Garage Band, which incidentally is only packaged for OS X, what are your options? Either you give up on Garage Band or you get a machine with OS X.

The same applies to the GNU/Linux situation. For clarity, lets assume it's between Ubuntu and Fedora. You want to use application X, which is packaged for Fedora, but you use Ubuntu. Here we have two different OSes (Ubuntu =! Fedora, and never will be) and one supports what you want and the other doesn't. Simply answered, your recourse is to either give up on application X or get Fedora as well.

The more complicated answer entails a lot of options and I'll name a few, but I reckon you wouldn't want to hear them, less act on them. One could ask the application X developer if he is willing to package for other OSes also. One could install a Virtual Machine on one OS and run the other OS with application X in the VM. One could ask the distributor or a third party if they are willing to package app. X. One could try the program Alien and try and convert the package for system Y and convert it to system Z. Options enough, but like I said, one has to be willing to go down these routes.

Reply Parent Score: 5