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LinuxPlanet: It's Time to Break Up the Linux Monopoly!

Nov 27, 2000, 22:37 (24 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Kevin Reichard)

"One of the major problems with Linux is that it tends to be ghettoized in the server field, which is where it's the most useful and the most entrenched. That's great: this server usage helped spread Linux more than any single commercial Linux vendor, and it's set the table for growth in the desktop and embedded fields."

"But the needs of the desktop and embedded users are not the same as what's needed on the server. As the Linux kernel expands and expectations are raised, these disparities are even more pronounced. Let's face it: server installations don't require sound drivers and XFree86, while most desktops don't need multiprocessor or RAID support. And the embedded field -- which certainly is not a monolith, either -- doesn't need any of this."

"Luckily, the embedded-Linux field has already forked into its own entity: it won't be long before we see embedded-Linux applications that won't run on a regular Linux desktop or server. (This is a good thing, by the way.) But we still have development on a single version of Linux that's supposed to fit all. True, the distros do a pretty good job of differentiating between server and desktop users, but their differentiations are not consistent."

"So, my solution is simple: use the Linux Standard Base to define both desktop and server parameters for a Linux system. On one level, Linux is Linux, and LSB can reflect this. But on another level, the LSB as it currently stands (see http://www.linuxbase.org/spec/spec/book1.html for 0.3, the current version of the spec) really is so much of a baseline that it's hard to apply in specific situations. An application written for a Linux server should not necessarily meet the specs for a desktop system, especially where things like graphics and sound are concerned."

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