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Time for a Linux Consolidation? 490

An anonymous reader writes "Are there too many Linux distributions currently available? Can there be too many? This article explores the effect of the large number of distros out right now and suggests that progress could possibly be made through a consolidation. The article is more focused on Linux on the desktop but the ideas presented would impact the entire community, especially as it is seen as a rival to Windows." From the article: "One of the less widely recognized reasons why Linux has not yet toppled Windows, despite it many advantages, is how divided the resources available to Linux are. With dozen of different distributions the Linux community is so diffuse that the power or significance of any specific entity is severally limited."
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Time for a Linux Consolidation?

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  • by UtucXul ( 658400 ) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @04:43PM (#13083166) Homepage
    My emachine intel extreme graphics chipset is NOT supported by UBUNTU . I go to the intel site and they only have drivers for a certain kernel for Redhat or Suse and no other distro. Get this. I read a suse messageboard and they can't even get it to work. Bahhhh. We need to make it easier for hardware support which is another reason for people pulling their hair out with linux.

    Device drivers are a kernel issue. And there is already a nice standard there: a vanilla kernel from
    So the problem isn't a lack of standards. It is a lack of people following the standards. And less choice in distros will not change that.
  • by Coryoth ( 254751 ) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @05:20PM (#13083384) Homepage Journal
    What I'd like to see is a GUI based package manager that could just bloody well figure out that your repos are .deb based or .rpm based, and act accordingly.

    You might be lookign for Smart [] which is a potential replacement for apt. It does the dependency resolution and installation that apt does but with more advanced dependency resolving algorithms (seee their README for examples). It has command line and GUI modes of operation so there's no need for another program to provide a GUI front-end like Synaptic does for apt. Best of all it has a system of pluggable backends, which means it (right now) understands apt-deb repositories, apt-rpm repositories, yum repositories, and slackware package respositories among other things, and is thus a common frontend that could be used for (almost) all distributions. You can even mix and match repositories if you like and have it pointed to, say, an apt-deb repsoitory and a yum repository and it will do dependency resolution against both. Of ourse mixing up repositories (from potentially different distributions) has its own natural compliations and probably isn't advised, but that's as much to do with naming, packaging and LSB stuff as anything.

  • by macklin01 ( 760841 ) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @05:38PM (#13083462) Homepage

    More FUD of the "Eine Reich, Eine Volk, Eine Fuhrer!" variety.

    Wow, I never knew Hitler was so feminine! Perhaps it's like Adolph Elizabeth Hitler in The Producers []." You need a different article: "Ein Reich, ein Volk, ein Führer." ;-) -- Paul

  • by jbolden ( 176878 ) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @06:21PM (#13083651) Homepage
    Whereas in Linux, you have many choices, something which overwhelms your regular consumer. "Lesse... Redhat? No, Fedora. Wait, those are made by the same company... SuSE? Oh, what about Mandriva? Hrm..."

    Guess these guys don't buy cars. Maxima by Nissan, Corolla by Toyota, Taurus by Ford.... Or cereal Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Fruit loops, Frosted Flakes, Special K...

    Yep its a good thing the supermarkets don't carry multiple brands.
  • Re:Yeah right... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Nik13 ( 837926 ) on Saturday July 16, 2005 @08:29PM (#13084205) Homepage
    Yes and no.

    It won't help selling PCs with linux at bestbuy, but it's still slowing down adoption.

    The first couple of times I looked at linux, I had to find out about all the main distros, to then learn there were several desktops (KDE, GNOME, etc) - and I didn't even know what any of them looked or felt like, then next thing was the whole rpm/apt-get/source/etc issue, and the bundled software also varies. It takes a LOT of reading to find what you're looking for, and everybody is tempted to ask "what's best?", but you just can't. Plus you don't know any of the available apps to do any work. So the first couple of times (a while back) I got discouraged and just kept on using windows instead.

    One thing that's helping is LiveCDs. I'm lending them, showing them, copying them for friends. The next Knoppix 4 Live DVD is going to be very nice for that. This helps people see what linux is, how it works, all the desktop environments, all the common apps (OOo, Firefox, XMMS, etc). I think it's really going to help linux become better known. I can't wait to get my hands on the final V4!

"This is lemma 1.1. We start a new chapter so the numbers all go back to one." -- Prof. Seager, C&O 351