Linked by David Adams on Tue 13th Dec 2011 03:12 UTC
Editorial I was reading today about how Linux Mint developers altered the Banshee music player source code to redirect affiliate revenue from Amazon music orders to them instead of Banshee. They've reportedly made less than $4, which has caused a kerfluffle among those paying attention to that corner of the world. But it raises a larger point that has been swirling around for a couple of decades: an OS vendor has a lot of power to influence, and even monetize their user base. Where should they draw the line?
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WorknMan
Member since:
2005-11-13

Maybe Ford and Toyota are the same product because they happen to both include engines? No? We recognize that the different manufacturers produce different models of product though they compete in the same product category?

Why is it ok for different manufacturers to produce different products in every other product category but when it's a general purpose OS suddenly the kernel is the most important commodity part and having more than one competing product is just the very definition of insanity?


Well, speaking of Ford, if it wants to compete with Toyota, GMC, etc, it may make several different models of cars and trucks, but it's not going to release 30 different kind of cars that are mid-sized sedans in the $20,000 range. For one thing, it's a waste of resources. Also, it's bound to cause a lot of confusion in the marketplace. Plus, if these cars were made in different plants, there's no guarantee that parts made for one of these models will work on the other without heavy modifications, even if they technically use the same engine.

Maybe I'm just missing the point, but I thought the purpose of Linux on the desktop was to compete with Windows and OSX, not having an assload of distros competing with each other. (In other words, like Ford competing with itself.)

This kind of situation works somewhat better for Android because most of these phones use the same app repository, so it's generally understood that an app written for one phone should be able to run unmodified on any of the others, so that (in theory) I can take a .apk file and run it on whatever Android phone I want. But with Linux, it's just a mess.

Edited 2011-12-13 22:10 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

I think you are indeed missing the point. You understand that though there are more than 30 models of product in the "car" category and that they are not all produced by the same company, you fail to accept that Red Hat and Novell are as destinctly different as Ford and Toyota; all four are blatantly and legally seporate companies.

In terms of competing with Windows and osX; that is only if the distribution manufacturer's intention is to compete. Red Hat and Novell do compete in the server OS product category and to different degrees they also compete in the desktop OS product category. Backtrack does not primarily compete against Windows and osX; it's a model of distribution with a different target customer.

WindowsXP is a distribution.
Windows7 is a distribution.
osX is a distribution.
Debian is a distribution.
Red Hat Enterprise is a distribution.
Suse Enterprise is a distribution.

Linux is the os kernel that happens to be used under three of those products listed above. Just like NTkernel happens to be the OS kernel in two of those products. Only two in the list are produced by the same company; one produced as a product meant to replace the other.

Debian, Red Hat and Novell do not claim to produce the same product. They each produce there own model within the same product category.

With Android, you have destinctly different companies producing products which all claim to be the same product not models within the same product category. They are all claiming to be "Android" yet they customize it to differentiate themselves from each other enough that what the end user recieves is not stock Android but Motorola-Android or HTC-Android. Functionality differs between them as does how the device is managed and manipulated. They are reconizably different distributions based on Google Android; child forks.

Why do they not all get updates from Google's repository? Why are there apps in Google's repositories that run on some Android forks and not others? Why do the user interfaces and settings controls differ from device to device? Blur does not ship on HTC devices just as Sense does not ship on Motorola devices; why? Because they are all different distributions based on Android. The only products that one can currently trust to run the Google's parent distribution of Android is the Nexus models.

Red Hat's distribution is not fragmented. They produce a select few models focused at there target use. The only claim to produce and support the few current Red Hat Enterprise and Red Hat Desktop models. Unless you can show otherwise, the distribution is the product not what kernel it may or may not include deep down under the hood.

Reply Parent Score: 2

WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

With Android, you have destinctly different companies producing products which all claim to be the same product not models within the same product category. They are all claiming to be "Android" yet they customize it to differentiate themselves from each other enough that what the end user recieves is not stock Android but Motorola-Android or HTC-Android. Functionality differs between them as does how the device is managed and manipulated. They are reconizably different distributions based on Google Android; child forks.


Right, and what you're describing is part of the problem. If you don't understand why something with the name 'Android' on it not offering the same experience from phone to phone is a bad thing, imagine if every McDonalds restaurant you went to had a different selection of food items on the menu. If you still don't understand, I don't know what else to tell you.

And, if you want to insist that these desktop Linux distros are completely different products like Windows and OSX and shouldn't be considered fragmented, I'm not going to argue with you. At least I don't have to use any of them, and most developers will continue not making apps for any of them, so I don't really give a rat's ass. Like I said before, if you don't care about marketshare, then it's fine the way it is. Every year has been 'the year of the Linux desktop' since like 1997 - it hasn't taken off yet, and probably never will.

Edited 2011-12-14 19:19 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2