Linked by Joseph Ferrare on Thu 29th Dec 2005 16:31 UTC
Slackware, Slax I was interested to see how Zenwalk differs from Slackware, and after reading on their web site that version 2.01 is 'the biggest jump in Zenwalk evolution since the beginning of the project', I wanted to see how far Zenwalk has come since it was reviewed here as MiniSlack.
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How many Linux distros do we need?
by A30Guy on Thu 29th Dec 2005 23:26 UTC
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Two or three years ago there was a lot of talk about Linux forking and losing market penetration as a result. While it may not have forked, the myriad distributions may create a perception that the choice is too hard and that standards vary. Perhaps we need three or four top-class, polished, professional-standard Linux distros, rather than hundreds of "me-too" attempts.

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monodeldiablo Member since:

How many people are gonna keep saying this? Listen, the diversity inherent with a standard base (*nix, or Linux in particular) and modular components is a GOOD THING. It has done nothing to slow the adoption rate of Linux distros and has, in fact, encouraged use in areas such as embedded computing, clusters, supercomputing, desktop and server computing. The same old people have been singing this same tune for years and guess what? Adoption hasn't slowed, it's accellerated. The "Linux community" hasn't fractured into 10,000 pieces. Anybody who thinks such a thing could happen has a painfully tenuous grasp of how FOSS works.

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joef Member since:

I'm with monodeldiablo on this one. I talk up Linux every chance I get, and to the vast majority of Windows users there is only one Linux. No, it's not Red Hat. It's just Linux. First you have to get them over the hump of wanting to try anything different, and most of them will look longingly at the greener grass, but never move one little toe toward it.

It's only the ones who start looking into actually trying it who realize there are actually multiple distros. I've never had one tell me they backed off because there were too many choices. Usually, they have somebody pulling them along (or they seek somebody out, in the classic two-step flow of communication) and that person recommends a distro. The rest do as they do in everything else: choose the popular (and therefore same-seeming) option. So they end up with Suse or Mandrake out of Borders or Barnes and Nobles, or Ubuntu or Mepis off the internet. Either way: score!

Later on, as they get further into the FOSS thing, they might switch around, but the couple people I've gotten to use Linux here (it's a small American community in Germany) have stuck with what I gave them as surely as they had stuck with Windows.

Of course, it could be that I'd hate to lose the opportunity to try out a new distro every time I get my machines running sweetly and get bored. Nah.

See ya,

joe f.

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hyperion Member since:


I think that the diversity is in fact, the reason why the Linux market is so strong against proprietary OS vendors :
- It would be possible for Microsoft to fight against 4 Linux distributions, but it's a bit more difficult to compete against the 30 main Linux projects.
- About the number of Linux distributions beeing a problem for inovation : IMHO it's benefic : more project = more ideas, which are shared in the GPL way of life ;) For example : Zenwalk includes the "Discover" hardware detection system from the Debian project.
- One more point in favor of diversity is that , as time goes, only the best projects/ideas are kept by the users: it's a kind of Darwinism mode of evolution, and I believe it's the right way to select the best technologies : let the users decide !

Zenwalk is a "rational" Linux system, helped in this goal by the fact that Slackware Linux is itself very simple and rational. Zenwalk conforms to standards (Unixology!), that's the reason why it's stable, clean and fast. Slackware and Zenwalk are friends projects, like Debian/Ubuntu : Zenwalk started from a solid Slack base and added improvements in many domains : admin tools (see userconfig, networkconfig, netpkg), kernel, filesystems, apps selection, desktop tunning, system tunning (hardware/video detection...). And for those who takes care : artwork ;)

About XFCE : I really believe that it has an advantage over Gnome : it's designed from the start as a Desktop environment (like KDE), when Gnome is a mix of several small projects. I'm not writing about speed , everybody knows that XFCE is fast, and features are now really near to Gnome's ;)



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Member since:

"I think that the diversity is in fact, the reason why the Linux market is so strong against proprietary OS vendors"
Do you really believe Linux is SO strong on the desktop market against Windows?
I think all these many distributions do not bring anything new. They are variants of another distribution . They fix some problem and bring some new problems. The worst part is that there is no way to know if a particular distribution will work well on your specific computer until you try it.
For commercial software support of Linux on the Desktop, these is a nightmare. A commercial software would have to test its product against all these distributions. Needless to say, that does not happen: complex commercial software generally support a very restricted numbers of distributions and in many case, just one or two.
I think instead of creating another new distribution, it would be more productive to support a single distribution that would work everywhere. Granted, that is not as fun for unpaid developpers!

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