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Survival Of The Fittest

Dec 16, 2010, 21:04 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Graham Morrison)

"There are two great questions in life that people struggle to answer. The first is why we're here, and the second is why there are so many different Linux distributions. A Linux distribution, for the uninitiated, is the stack of software, configuration tools and desktop environments, all bound to the Linux kernel, that go together to make the entire operating system, which most of us call Linux. Everything from the colour scheme, the character set, the update frequency and a contributor's nationality can be used to differentiate one distribution from another. As a result, there are hundreds. As I write this, there are 317 being followed by www.distrowatch.com, for example, but there's no real reason why so many exist, and why so many thrive. What's worse, there's no consistent past or future for those that do enjoy success.

"The difficulty is that a distribution is just the tip of a complex and convoluted iceberg, floating in a sea of alternatives. It's the storm caused by the butterfly. There are an infinite number of contributing factors that lead to any single distribution's development and popularity. Fedora, for example, strives for freedom and transparency, while at the same time acting as a test bed for the incredibly profitable Red Hat Enterprise distribution."

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