Thursday, January 24, 2008

Friendly fire behind Linux lines, there is only one Linux

I don't know if this happens in Microsoft or Mac camps but among the ranks of Linux users there are lots of skirmishes. There are distro wars, gui wars, package format wars, and driver/codec wars. Are they really wars or just hotly contested debates? If you try something and it works or you like it, you become a fanboy and if it doesn't that thing is scum and users who use it are idiots. Well, there are extremes of opinion and temperament in any arena. Choice in Linux fuels lots of outspokenness because we are so smart and our choices are good enough for everyone, right? We all secretly desire there to be only one Linux that meets everybody's computing needs. One Linux, does that mean one distro, one gui, one package format, etc? Does having multiples of these elements mean we can't decide on one? In reality there is only one Linux and choice is it's nature. Maybe some adventurous programmer should create a program that creates a list of all the possible combinations of the main Linux elements outside of language. You would realize many distros, one Linux.
I like Xfce, one of four Linux desktop suites (Xfce, KDE, Gnome, CDE), so I am looking at a few distros that feature the Xfce desktop. There is Xubuntu, Wolvix, Mint, Goblinx, ZenWalk, Dream Linux and a couple more. Xfce makes them all exactly alike in look and feel. There are different options, tools, utilities and media codecs. If I wanted to I could make them all the same, but that is not the point. A distro is some "preselected" choices packaged together to give you something to start from. From a programming point of view there might be elements that can't be shared between distros but I'm keeping it simple. Should Linux be about the best one choice in any aspect? What is the best GUI depends on who you ask. The same is true for other aspects and elements. If you look at cars it is the same. A car has all the elements that make it a "car". You can choose a make, model, color, engine, accessories, etc. How would the car improve if it weren't for race cars and concept cars and feedback from you driving your everyday car? OK, there are company cars. Yeah, maybe it is more advantageous for businesses to have one platform that is easy to support and secure. But should that be the standard for everyone. What if you need more power or less? Hey, lets write a program where you input all your hardware specs, your user prefs and your application desires and it spits out an ISO image of the Linux of your design. Neither users or Linux are that simple to accommodate each other.
Hey folks, stop shooting, there is only one Linux.

No comments: