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Thursday, May 03, 2007

Standard Linux - is it possible?

I've read a post by Dana Blankenhorn, who "has been a business journalist for nearly 25 years and has covered the online world professionally since 1985".

Here's a trackback to a story.

He's talking about running a "standard" Linux distribution. Not choosing one, but rather, using one.

I like his way of thinking actually. If mostly used distribution is Ubuntu, doesn't that makes it "standard"? Wouldn't it be easier for all to create and distribute products that would work with this vendor? Wouldn't it be great to optimize ourselves to work with/on it the best way possible?

Well, yes and no.

Yes because all Linux distributions (and Ubuntu in particular) are built alike. All of them include the kernel (it is a kernel what makes Linux after all), basic software, X server system (with great graphics support), management tools and software, which is generally the same on all of them. So, when an application or product is "ready" for Ubuntu, is will not be daunting or hard task to make it work with almost any other Linux distribution.

And no because it seems to me we already been in this scenario. Just imagine: a real alternative to Microsoft's and Apple's OSes, and a good one. It is so good, that many vendors start creating a products for it and based on it. Hardware vendors provide drivers and optimize their hardware. Accessories are made. Software is getting better. Ain't it great? The world, where at least one distribution becomes as good as commercial operating systems?

But that is exactly the world we're trying to change. We don't want the "lock-in" on a single vendor. I don't want to be forced to use something I don't choose by myself. We already have such vendor in our midst. Wanna guess who that is?

Isn't that the reason we do what we do with free software in the first place?

I'm all for innovation. I'm in favor of competition. I am in favor of trying to achieve high goals.

But I can't stand a choice forced on me. Even with best intentions in mind.

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