Joined: Sep. 2005
||Posted: June 26 2007,08:03
From John Dvorak's column in PC Magazine:
Linux Distro Dept.: Has anyone besides me noticed that Linux has become the oddest "flavor of the day product ever marketed to the computing community? We go from one distro to the next every few months, each one being touted as the "best. That version soon loses momentum and a newcomer takes its place. A few of these one-hit wonders stick and develop a following but are never considered trendy again.
You've surely heard of several of them: Red Hat (Fedora), Knoppix, Mandrake (changed to Mandriva during the height of its popularity just to confuse matters), Debian, Caldera, and most recently Ubuntu.
Many of what seem to be hundreds of wannabes, also-rans, and specialty Linux distros are outstanding, and many have been abandoned. Some are designed for robust security, others to be as small as possible—so the coders can show off their skills. Dozens of them can even run off a single floppy disk. (Does anyone even use floppy disks anymore?)
Naming these products is a creative exercise. There's Yoper, which sounds like a Web 2.0 name. Damn Small Linux, which sounds like a Madison Avenue name. TinySofa reminds me of a 1970s band. And "tomsrtb is the classic computer nerd name. Apparently Ogg Vorbis was taken.
Every naming theory is covered. What's at issue is the sheer number of distros that constantly pour into the market looking for homes. And since they are essentially free, people are inclined to jump from one to another, always looking for the be-all-end-all super-perfect Linux. It will never happen until Microsoft does Linux! Oops. Did I say that?
For a nearly complete list of every Linux distro ever imagined (thus far), visit www.linux.org/dist and run through them yourself. This digression was triggered by the fact that Dell is shipping Ubuntu preinstalled on select computers. Now you know.