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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Comment by Rasputum
by Rasputum on Thu 5th Feb 2009 13:51 UTC
Rasputum
Member since:
2009-02-05

Linus is quite right - one of the biggest strengths of Linux is that there are so many distributions. But the problem is that there is a very low level of compatibility between these distros. That fragments the market badly and severely limits the adoption of Linux by people who care less about configuring their systems than just using them.

Microsoft has the reverse of this problem. They try and make their products into a one size fits all solution, and it just doesn't work. There are always people who's needs are not quite met by Mirosoft software, but who are too small of a market for MS to care about. OSS allows even these tiny markets to be catered to.

LSB is a nice start, but it's only a start. Until software developers can target "Linux" as a platform instead of so many distros, Linux will unfortunately never gain the adoption levels of Windows or even Mac. It won't even really "be" a platform in the eyes of developers, commercial or otherwise.

Having one big distro muscle out the others is a very dumb way of gaining compatibility, and you would lose a lot of what makes Linux cool. A better way would be to get all these guys to agree on some basic principles regarding underlying filesystems and storage locations. Perhaps having a basic test app would help, where if that app runs without modification then your OS can be certified? Similar to the Acid test website as someone else said?

As it is there are endless battles about trivial things and nobody ever wins, so no progress is made.

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