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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TheIdiotThatIsMe
Member since:
2006-06-17

Yeah, it's simple for you, but to somebody looking from the outside in, it is a massive clusterf**k.

While it's true that those in the '9 million distros or bust!' camp might be right, you have to ask yourself how important it is to be right vs whether or not you want more people to try out Linux and not be scared away by the number if distros that are out there.


Well, here's how I look at it. There are usually two ways someone is going to start Linux: either they are introduced or they are out looking for one by themselves.

If someone is introduced, then I stand by my earlier assertion that the person introducing them need to keep it simple by using what they are used to and can support. For example, Dell does not offer 200+ distributions: they offer ONE preconfigured Linux operating system, and that works fine. The same should be done with a person introducing another person. Again, what I do with Ubuntu + Wubi.

On the other hand, if someone is out actively and seriously looking for something such as an alternative operating system for a computer, then they are either ALREADY looking for choice and wanting to explore, or are looking for some thing supported (and sometimes free) because they are having problems with their current OS. If they are looking because they are having problems with their current, all you have to do is just spend a little time reading.

Every person who uses Linux NOW has had to make a choice. It took me a whole 20 minutes, looking at only the top few that were free (Fedora/OpenSuse/Ubuntu), and having chosen by their websites that detail their operating systems. If I didn't like it, I knew I could switch. I ended up liking it. Now, if someone is actively seeking a serious replacement, but doesn't want to do the research on which one, they can just order an OEM Linux machine.

So, if someone is "actively looking", if even after complaining about not wanting to look at any of the top distros, or don't want to get an OEM machine like they would with Windows or MacOSX, then they are not really actively seeking something new, they are just complaining about what they have, and want just what they have without the problems. And that, of course, is not what Linux is.

Reply Parent Score: 4

WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

On the other hand, if someone is out actively and seriously looking for something such as an alternative operating system for a computer, then they are either ALREADY looking for choice and wanting to explore, or are looking for some thing supported (and sometimes free) because they are having problems with their current OS. If they are looking because they are having problems with their current, all you have to do is just spend a little time reading.


I would agree with you that anybody who is introduced to Linux by someone else probably has their distro already chosen.

But why do you assume that somebody interested in Linux means that they are having problems with their current OS? Another big reason may be because all of the 'Linux is the best thing since sliced bread' articles that keep popping up all over the place. That being the case, there ought to be one distro that you could refer people to, that was universally agreed upon as the best place to start. But as it stands now, if you ask which would be the best to start with, that's going to start a flame war between a bunch of distro zealots.

When talking about distros, I've been reading this website for years, and have even tried Linux in the past. But even I wouldn't have a clue which one to start with now days. I was always partial to Slackware myself, just because it ran faster than the others. But I am also interested to see how the more 'newbie friendly' distros have evolved. Of course, I'm more of a power user, so I would have to try them all ;)

Edited 2009-02-04 22:08 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

r_a_trip Member since:
2005-07-06

Of course, I'm more of a power user, so I would have to try them all

Simple starting point: www.virtualbox.org

Get the gratis but closed source VM. Better feature set. Try all the interesting Distro's and pick the one you like.

Reply Parent Score: 2

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

Agreed, for some, a new OS choice may have nothing to do with the old OS being broken somehow.

I'm an OS geek so one of my motivations was the fact that it was something different. At the time there was win98, winNT4 and this Slackware disk a friend gave me so I gave it a go; found myself back on NT4 within a week.

.. but the second time around I tried Red Hat's ftp install and haven't build a single boot system for myself since.

Mandrake replaced Red Hat when they dropped .mp3 support and all the other interesting things that made it appealing to a highschool kid.

When liveCD started showing up I was downloading them as fast as I could find new liveCD distros just to check them out. This worked great until every distro started providing a liveCD. Now I have a few powerful liveCD specialized distros, Debian for servers and still Mandriva for the desktop.

I also have a few BSD VMs, a plan9 VM, ReactOS on my short list for a new VM.. Dos/win3.11 on a VM since having found my license and diskettes again. If you want to talk about boot times.. wow does Dos load quick on a quad core. I don't think I could get it booted faster even if I did run it off a ramdisk..

but then.. seeing what different OS can do is party of my particular computer illness so I'm not suggesting everyone start a lab with a terminal for each one.

Reply Parent Score: 2