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[RANT] Linux has a problem.

kailyons profile image KaiLikesLinux ・2 min read

I am writing this article to complain, and kinda share what I have been doing recently. Linux has a distribution problem. Not that I am saying Linux is "fragmented" as I don't believe Linux can logically be fragmented. No, I mean Linux is simply just 500 of the same product. I don't mean that as in "We need a distro culling" or "Linux isn't innovating" but my issue is distributions don't do anything different. We are done seeing innovational tools, and Linux is being infected by the GNU plague. Every system is just a wallpaper change, two or three settings if the dev is feeling a little saucy. It is disappointing because as these distributions mostly thrive, actual full-effort distributions are dying. Distributions like Solus, Sabyon, and Slackware are dying because people keep wasting their censoreding time on terrible forks that don't have a purpose. They are a solution without a problem. I despise these distributions. It isn't even that there are too many distributions, I am working on 2 distributions that ARE IN DEVELOPMENT and another that is a FreeBSD fork in the planning, but I am scared for my products because people fall into the depths of devs who threw 5 packages into Ubuntu, packaged it, and called it a day. I work on Rasaturai, a distribution to get away from the GNU ecosystem, and make a distribution of Linux that is built for control over convenience. Ubuntu Lumina Remix is Ubuntu for enthusiasts, to use on any hardware. The FreeBSD fork is planned to be a solid desktop alternative to Linux, and bridging the gap between BSD and Linux. I want to tell you one thing, if you plan to make a distribution, make sure it has ANY purpose that isn't just to exist. Want a desktop system that has a setup of Openbox with Plank to make a lightweight system? That is better than nothing, which most of these distributions are.

Discussion (4)

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torstendittmann profile image
Torsten Dittmann

I don't think I fully understand your point.

It's the diversity of a handful of Linux distributions that is the strength. Desktop distributions like Fedora, Ubuntu or Manjaro differ in more than just a background change. In the server area there is also enough choice.

Distrubutions with minimal changes are in my eyes not worth to be considered as such and usually don't get much attention anyway.

There is a lid for every pot.

kailyons profile image
KaiLikesLinux Author

There are many distributions with a decent size community that is Ubuntu with a plain Gnome desktop with fancy settings and wallpapers, and this is the name of "quality" distributions. Two MASSIVE distributions that I call small reskins are Pop!_OS, which of the two I am naming is the most interesting and innovative, and then there is Linux Mint where they are just children who don't want papa Canonical shipping a product they don't 100% agree with. You see massive differences in Fedora to Manjaro, and even Ubuntu to Debian. There are over 2,000 Linux distributions (in current estimations). If we eradicated the slight Ubuntu skins (not counting any remixes and flavors (like Ubuntu Cinnamon, Lubuntu, etc) we would have ~600 distributions of Linux. This doesn't count things in other trees like the rest of the Debian Tree, RHEL/Fedora, OpenSUSE, Slackware, Gentoo, Manjaro, Arch, etc in that culling if it did happen. It might not seem like a big issue, but I can safely assert that these microskins that would never even qualify for flavorhood are a major issue. It might not seem like an issue you, but even if we halved our assumption, that is still an incredible amount. This pot might have a lid, but the pot is overflowing in this issue.

torstendittmann profile image
Torsten Dittmann

Ah, okay, now I get your point.

I have to agree with you 100%. Just imagine what awesome distributions we would have if all the effort of these 2000 versions had been bundled into 1-2 distributions, they would probably easily be at Windows/macOS level (in the sense of the average computer user, not enthusiasts like us).

But the result we have today probably comes from the very strength of Linux, Open Source.

darkwiiplayer profile image

I somewhat disagree; of course there's many distros out there that are really just a changed DE (which I don't even mind, as long as they make it clear with names like Kubuntu), but there's also a bunch that really do things differently, like Alpine-, Void- or Gobo linux.