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Linux.com: Strength in Diversity

Mar 27, 2000, 18:15 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Tom Dominico)

"Concerns about the possible "fragmentation" of Linux are nothing new. However, they have recently been revived in several high-profile articles, and were the subject of a recent article here on Linux.com. Some IT analysts are predicting doom for Linux, with memories of Unix forks fresh in their minds. They claim that the existence of many distributions, each fighting for market share, will be the death of Linux. Personally, I believe that diversity is our greatest strength."

"I feel that the presence of multiple Linux vendors is a strength, not a weakness. The battle for market share is causing them to target different sectors of the Linux market. For example, Corel and Caldera have targeted Windows users, with features such as easy partitioning and a familiar-looking desktop. SuSE, with their 6-CD set, is known for throwing in everything but the kitchen sink, and for being a nicely polished, all-around distribution. Meanwhile, Red Hat seems to be focusing on the corporate market. Debian, the only non-commercial distribution, is making a name for itself as being technically superior. There are still others such as Slackware, Stampede, Storm, and so on, each bringing something unique to the table."

"The LSB [Linux Standard Base] is a subject of some contention, though it has yet to produce any real results. I don't really have a problem with standardizing directory structures, mostly because it would help those who write documentation. My concern is that the standard be chosen on technical merit alone, not just because it is in use by the biggest or most popular vendor."

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