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Linux.com: Standardization vs. Freedom of Choice

Mar 19, 2000, 23:22 (10 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Tom Dominico)

"Lately it seems that there have been many calls for standardization in Linux. A prime example of this is in the area of desktops. Linux offers its users a vast assortment of window managers and desktop environments, while most other operating systems do not offer a choice. The argument has been made that the Linux way of doing things is too confusing and inconsistent, especially for users coming from other operating systems. Advocates of a standard Linux desktop feel that it would solve these perceived problems. I disagree."

"Anointing one particular desktop/window manager combination as "the" Linux desktop places all others at a disadvantage, which is a disservice to the end user. Users should be able to easily test drive a number of window managers and desktop environments and choose the one that suits them. Taking that choice away is the height of arrogance, and negates everything that Linux stands for. Instead, it should be easy for users to make that choice, both during installation and after. ..."

"Competition between different software packages ultimately benefits the end user. For instance, I see a lot of great developments coming from both the Gnome and KDE camps. I'm sure that competing for users has played some role in these developments, forcing the developers to innovate and attempt to stay a step ahead of the other team. Who benefits from this? We do. Take away that competition, and you stifle innovation."

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