Mandriva and TurboLinux have mounted a continent-crossing charge on the Linux market. The software makers have formed a development collective dubbed Manbo-Labs dedicated to peace, harmony and a common base for their respective flavors of the Linux operating system. More than ten people make up Manbo-Labs, which is not to be …
I am confused. The debian project seems to my end-user eyes to be doing just fine. Some use the [K*]Ubuntu flavor. Some the Knoppix version. Etc. And it's pretty "free" and accessible and seems to be up to date as distros go. Even my slug is supported with the installer.
Why a "new" effort that is "just" GPL, then?
Or perhaps a better question: has any one done a recent Consumer Reports-style analysis of each (or at least a bunch) of the extant Linux distros and compared them on some set of relevant points? As binary distros go, I like debian because it seems to move fast enough and yet is also typically stable enough. Unless you go straight for Sid every time...
Hey it's like United Linux all over again.
Not 'new', Del
Del, it's not a 'new' effort, we're just synchronising development on the base system components of our distributions (that's low level stuff like the kernel, glibc, gcc etc). This is not developing new software or a new distribution or anything like that, just sharing the burden of maintenance of some basic system components in order to improve the quality of the work for both distributions.
And the cycle continues
It makes sense from the perspective of senior management. As on person put it*: At the highest level, there are really only two broad directions a leader can choose from - to centralize or decentralize, and his/her choice will be primarily driven by what the last person did.
I guess it was time to centralize ....
*Wish I could remember where I read that.
Adam, keep it up
Nice, but why stop there - when are all you Linux peeps going to get it together and make one main distro, called "Linux"? I'd love to switch to Linux (I finally bowed to app pressure last night and installed XP SP2, which has rendered my PC unbootable) - think how wonderful it would be if you all got together and made one lovely all-singing Linux. Think of the efficiencies. You might have enough spare time between you to make it so that we users would never have to type gibberish into a console / command window / whatever you folks call them.
Sure, release weird releases for techies - who cares about techies? What about the 90% of us imprisoned in Bill's Unexcellent Adventure. We have no idea how the fragmented Linux world is going to shake out, so we don't know which flavour is going to win. And we know you're not quite there yet in UI terms. Why waste time on all the separate distros?
@Adam: Not improved, either
Pity you chose to do it with a vendor that's party to the M$ patent deal, that joined ECMA to push MS(O)OXML and uses Windows media and LiveSearch as defaults.
How do you expect anyone to trust any code that results from it?
*Not* a mandriva user, anymore.
One Linux? - I think not
There are far too many over inflated egos in FOSS world for that to ever happen. These people still regard which text editor they use as a fundamental tenet of their belief system. What are the chances of them every agreeing to merge their precious distro with someone else's just for the good of the world at large. Precisely zero.
Should have called it
Turban Labs. tux in a towel, I can see it now. The fundamentalist distro!
I think it was Scott Adams
"If you want to look like a management genius, centralise everything that is decentralised, and decentralise everything that is centralised. And then six months later do it all again"
@AC, "Adam, keep it up"
When was the last time you compared all the apps, libraries and utilities installed on people's Windows computers? Are there any two setups that are identical? Linux delivers virtually everything in a single distro, rather then having the user install only an OS and a few utilities, and then have to install widely varying versions of a multitude of applications leading to, in fact, greater diversity between machines than Linux. I work with both extensively, and I can tell you I much prefer Linux.
As for your assertion that Linux requires the CLI to configure - when was the last time you tested a Linux distro? Not recently, obviously.
There's no "battle" between distros to pick a "winner". Users pick the distro they like, which is equivalent to installing Windows then partially updating, installing a unique personal selection of apps and perhaps doing some customisation of options. Distro "spins" will probably increase in number, rather than decrease so there'll be more choices in future.
If you feel imprisoned by Windows, don't complain to a Linux user! It's free to switch and you can do so anytime. If you're dissatisfied with MS, write to Steve Ballmer and tell him so. If you really need handholding, you can buy a commercial Linux distro with support subscription and get all the handholding you need.
There is just one GNU/Linux Distro - it's called Slackware. All the others are just imitators, although Debian is apparently quite nice.
@AC '@AC, "Adam, keep it up" '
He still has a point though. As a novice user who wants to try something that's not Windows, you are faced with the first problem: which distro to choose? It is not always clear which one actually suits your needs and will be easy to install. Indeed, there is no "battle" between distros and no "winner" but you still face the question of knowing whether the distro you choose will still be alive in a few year's time and whether it will still be the right one for you.
Once you've choosen a distro, you have to choose whether you want Gnome or KDE or something else, a choice that a newbie just doesn't know how to make. Quite often you'll realise that half the software you want to use have a KDE front-end and the rest have a Gnome front-end so it all ends up looking weird on your desktop.
Finally, you are right in saying that recent Linux distros don't require the CLI to configure. However, there is still one area that users of Windows and OS-X are used to doing with a click and that requires the CLI on Linux: installing a new piece of software. Say, I want to install Skype on my Linux box, if I run a Debian based distro, I have to update the repository file, update aptitude and install from the CLI. There is no way I can just go to the Skype website and download an executable installer. Users of Windows or OS-X can do that. And that's only the easy option! What if you have a Debian based distro but the software you really need only comes as RPM or source?
All this to say that any collaboration between distros is IMHO a Good Thing. If we want Linux to be a viable alternative to Windows for the masses, we (as in the Linux community) need to solve the following problems:
Come up with a way to make the same piece of software run equaly well with a KDE or Gnome based distro without needing to have libraries from both installed, which is what freedesktop.org is all about so we're already doing that.
Come up with a meta-package format and installer software so that any distro can use RPM, DEB, etc. By doing this, you make it easier for users to install the software they want and for software vendors or projects to distribute their software to all Linux distros. Make sure that such an installer is suitable for installing drivers, in addition to standard software and that it also modifies the relevant repository files on the system so that users can benefit from automatic updates should they wish so.
Last but not least, we need to put our egos on the side, stop saying "if you believe this, you haven't looked at Linux properly" and start looking at other OSes, understand what they do well, why users like those features and how we could make them even better on Linux. And when I say 'better' I mean more useful to the user and easier to use. Look at something like Time Machine on OS-X Leopard: the functionality is no rocket science but the interface is genius. Could Linux do better?
I tried to install Ubuntu - 7.04 and 7.10 recently on my Dell D410. I didn't ever have to get the console running but a lot of the apps were half-cooked and didn't work fully. I ca understand that everyone wants to do some 'customising' etc, but @ AC (earlier) - why can't everyone just work towards one unified distro? I too would like to use 'Linux OS' on my system, but only when there is one common base to work from. RPM, DEB, MYEGOISOVERINFLATED - all these package formats make it a bloody nightmare for an end user.
So a lot of people will end up staying in Bill's Unexcellent Adventure, and moving towards his Unexcellent Adventure 2, unless you linux bunch can get your act together and stop playing big swinging d*ck.
Linux isn't perfect, but neither is Windows. For each exception raised for Linux, I'm sure I can find one for Windows. Let's not go down that path or we'll be here all night.
There are a few points that need clarification, though:
- Do all Windows-based applications use Windows Automatic Update? No. There are many disparate update systems, and some involve downloading large files and re-installing. Some updates can conflict with each other.
- Do Windows users stay with one version forever? No. Even service packs can have significant effects and 'break' applications. There are some Long Term Support linux distros and upgrade options exist for many between those LTS (and other) releases. E.g. CentOS has a 7-year life cycle.
- The CLI is not required to install packages from a distro's repository or any other participating/partner repository (which, for the uninitiated, is a collection of programs on the web you can install from). Setting up repositories doesn't require the CLI either. The great majority of applications are provided in a distro's own repo or partner repo, so you don't need to go wandering off to find something you need. Of course, as with Windows, there will be exceptions to the rule.
- I've not yet had a package (i.e. program) that required only KDE or Gnome as the Desktop Environment. If you want to install, say, Kaffeine media player in Gnome, just go ahead - it will install the dependencies and it looks Ok to me. But why do that anyway - if you're so hooked on KDE apps, use a KDE desktop. Otherwise Gnome has it's own default apps. But again, nothing stopping you from selecting what you want. And having multiple sets of apps/libraries installed (which don't conflict, BTW) is still less space-hungry than a typical Windows system (apps included). Why is this choice a 'bad' thing? Choice is good!
- Skype is available in the correct installable format for seven major distros (and their derivatives) from the Skype website right now (including Debian).
Most of the improvements you say are needed for Linux aren't even available for Windows. Since when did all Windows applications include updated device drivers? Ever had an error and fixed it by separately updating the driver - direct from the vendor? This occurs frequently in Windows. And modifying repos to enable auto updates? This is the default situation in Linux, where the distro's (or partner) repo is used - which is already the case for the vast majority of software installed by Linux users. To repeat - does installing an app in Windows cause Windows Automatic Updates to include it? No, of course not.
Linux is a lot better than you make out, and I think it's a bit misleading to say that, to be usable, Linux must include improvements that Windows doesn't, and for the foreseeable future won't, have.
Linux is Linux
Linux is all about choice , I like Fedora ( rpm based ) and Debian ( deb based ) equally .
In the last couple of years Linux has developed into a O/S that anyone with half a brain can use .
I think Linux looks great with compiz-fusion ( desktop effects ) and makes Vista look primitive .
There is a huge amount of packages for rpm based distro's and the same for deb based distros , but it is possible to convert rpm to deb or visa versa using a tool called alien .
drivers drivers and more drivers...
What has got up my nose using Linux is the trouble I've had getting the video to work as it should. Neither time I've dived in has my monitor worked with the out of the box Linux installation. And finding Linux drivers is much harder than finding Windows drivers. Until I get a good Mac again, I only need Windows for one specialist program that's dongled, Linux will do the rest for me. And most of it installed on top of Windows to make a useful dual boot machine - but until your monitor works without ripping your nails off, you're gonna shy away from trying the software out just to see how it feels. Oh, and updating system stuff shouldn't fuck things up that worked before... at least not without patient and cheerful explanations and remedies being easily available.
So this partnership is a damn good idea. The more the merrier. And more focus on installation and the first-time user experience
Linux is so easy...
Crticising the number of Linux Distros to choose from is a bit like criticising a restaurant for offering too many menu choices. Try something, if you don't like it you can try something else - unlike the one menu item per decade from the still-learning-to-cook microwho.
Mandriva is a snap to install, as is new Linux software - no CLI needed. If someone isn't sure which distro to use they can download (free) a LiveCD to see if it suits without having to mess up their present setup.
...AND no acitivation/can I please use your product please sir please sir nonsense of that other company. Once you've got it it's yours to do with as you please.
...AND every Linux distro comes with free excellent software that would cost thousands of dollars (and be lumbered with restrictions) from the MS hangers-on.
The only folks who should have any trouble with Linux are the folks at Microwho.
@ImaGnuber: distros are like menu items?
> Crticising the number of Linux Distros to choose from is a bit like criticising a restaurant for offering too many menu choices. Try something, if you don't like it you can try something else
Oh, I so agree. I'd go further: Linux is like one of those kitchens on Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, where the chef offers a long menu of impressive-sounding dishes, but doesn't have time to make such a wide variety properly. So a huge variety of dishes are available, but they arrive at the table late and half-cooked.
Can you see where I'm going here?
Mr. Ramsay's first rule is always to whittle down the number of dishes to just a few, a few that the customers actually like, and which the techies, sorry, the kitchen, can do perfectly and reliably.
If those of you working on Linux distros whittled it down to an appropriate number that people want - and there may be just a few but for PCs, for normal people, there would be *one* - you'd collectively have the time to do a fantastic friendly reliable job.
Well, not quite, of course: there'd still be the small matter of you filling the UI with endless features that you lot like but that just confuse normal people. You might actually have to let non-techies control the functionality/UI design effort, to make a mass-market product. But that's a whole 'nother pot that needs stirring...
When you had monitor problems did you try asking on the forums? It beats trying to resolve Windows hardware screwups.
some folks just dont get it
Why narrow it down to just a few distros? So Linux can beat out Windows and take over the world? Man, some of you people just don't get it!
Linux is Linux. Any distro can be made to perform like any other with the same apps, same desktop, even the same package manager if you are good enough to figure that one out. Half-baked distros? I suppose. The way I see it you have 5 or 6 main choices, everything else is someone personal spin on a mainstream distro. So what? If you know anything about Linux you know which ones are the main ones.
Video drivers? Man, the ATI scene is bleak lately, I do have to admit that. But installing the proprietary video driver in most distros is a no-brainer. You just need to get onto that distro's forum and find out the procedure. It is usually as easy as enabling a third party repo and using the GUI frontend of the package manager to install it. Installing packages in Linux is so much easier than Windows. I am sorry a previous poster is too stupid to find synaptic in debian, but it is rare you have to resort to the terminal these days. Unless you want to.
I have stayed out of this all day because most people just do not understand. They think Linux is some corporate entity set to take the market share away from Windows. The truth is most serious Linux users dont give a crap about what OS anyone else uses or the fact that it is a Windows world. Most of us are happy to just sail along, slipping under the radar, using the OS we know and love. Anyone that wants to join us is welcome but they will have to adapt to Linux, not the other way around. Linux doesn't care and makes no apologies for what it is.
Just as well they didn't call it...
Unity or diversity?
I run a disparate group of BSD and Linux distros depending on machine and purpose. Some things work better on SPARCS and some things work better on Alphas and some better on PC's. The underlying architectures are similar enough that it's not hard to go back and forth between all of them. So there is "unity" already, just not for clicky people. What the hell do I know? I have a hacked up interface for the windows machines I have to deal with that works the same as the hacked up interface I use on my X-Windows boxen. All depends on what you want to do. Eliminating choice and diversity in UI seems stupid as hell to me.
If you want to run Linux and not think about it, pick a dist like Ubuntu or Redhat or Mandriva and go your merry way. If you want to hack, hack.
A monolithic *NIX world would be about as useful as making PERL work like VB.
"More than one way to do things" is GOOD!
On topic: Collaborating on low-level stuff makes sense, too.
@AC: "some folks just dont get it "
LOL! That is the funniest parody I've ever read of a Linux geek.
I don't suppose such a person *really* exists -- totally uninterested that, if they put their heads together, a commercial end-user version of Linux is just an ace away and could truly save the world from Bill -- thinking instead that Linux is purely for Linux techies who don't give a toss about anyone else, and that it should continue that way.
Still - hilarious.
aww, I made a friend!
Why is it a "parody?" What do I get out of your use of Linux? How about the developers of Ubuntu, debian, slackware, Fedora, PCLOS...? Enterprise Linux is one thing, if a company is making money off of support then there is a motive to push their "product." But we are talking desktop Linux here.
What's in it for me that I would give a rats behind what OS you use? I have heard things like "more games ported to Linux" and "better drivers" and "advancment of the OS" mentioned. OK, these ARE factors, I admit that. But guess what? I have plenty of games to play now, all my peripherals work fine, I feel Linux is so much further advanced than Windows it doesnt even compare and I am perfectly happy with the state this OS is in right now, at this moment.
This is the Golden Age of Linux. The pinnacle. What started out as a geek science project has evolved into an OS so simple to use a three year old can pick it up, just as easily as Windows. It is free, it is open, it encourages normal people to become involved with the workings of their computers.
So why should we care if you want to use Windows? What is in it for us that we would require you to switch? What, exactly, does "market share" mean for Linux anyway? We have no way of knowing how many Linux users even exist! The best estimates are not even good guesses. While I see numbers ranging from 1% to 8% market share I assert total worldwide Linux usage is probably closer to 15% to 20% total desktops! Can I prove that? Nope. Dont really care either! Doesnt do anything for me.
Do all Linux users feel as I do? Shoot no. I bet many do want to see Linux take over the world. People are people. But you need to consider the flip side of the coin. It is hard for people to wrap their mind around the FOSS concept. People have a natural "what's in it for me?" attitude. The concept of doing something simply for the sake of doing it is alien to most. Microsoft needs your money! How much have you paid for Linux? Enterprise Linux excepted of course. And I feel there is nothing wrong with paying for support. I think this is going to be more common in future desktop distros. But the code will still remain open and free. Use it if you like, if not? That is cool too.
As far as "saving the world from Bill", what is there to save the world from? Buying crappy software? Lol, hey, if you want to spend your money on it!
UNIX and Linux were and are developed by people for themselves to use. It's not a product to sell people, it's a collection of tools. The things that would make clicky people who don't want to do the work happy would dumb down the O/S and there are already enough lazy idiots that don't want to contribute anything themselves clogging up the forums and newsgroups with questions they could sort out on their own with a bit of initiative and judicious use of horribly complicated things like Google searches. Why would people working on open source projects for their own purposes want to put up with more lazy idiots wasting their time primarily because they just don't want to give M$ money?
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