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NewsForge: Toward a New Kind of 'Linux Distribution'

Mar 01, 2004, 23:00 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Ian Murdock)

[ Thanks to Jason Greenwood for this link. ]

"There's no denying that 'Linux distributions' have played a central role--arguably the central role--in the evolution of Linux from hobby project to mainstream technology. However, even as Slackware, Red Hat, and other distributions became 'Linux' to millions of users, one inescapable fact remained: that unlike their proprietary OS cousins, which contain technologies developed (or licensed) by a single organization to fit into a single, integrated product, Linux distributions are merely convenient packaging around a loosely knit collection of thousands of independently developed technologies.

"Even today, Linux distributions continue to be developed from the top down as monolithic wholes, as opposed to bottom up as collections of piece-parts, a model that would be a much better fit with the nature of every distribution's (common!) constituent elements. Even newer distributions built by seasoned veterans have tended to follow the top-down model (and, I would argue, to their detriment)--I'm thinking here of Red Hat's Fedora (which, although called 'Fedora Core,' hardly seems a 'core' at all, weighing in at 3 CDs) and Bruce Perens' UserLinux (which appears mired in endless discussions about which technologies should be included and which shouldn't, with predictable results)..."

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