So Many Cars!

july 9, 2007

My FreeBSD-fanboi buddy at work had to finally give in and install Linux. But, this isn't a "Linux is better than FreeBSD" post -- because, you know what? They both have their strengths and weaknesses. What this post is about is a simple, silly statement he made: "There are too many distros of Linux out there. I don't understand why there are so many.  And all of them are the same except for graphical tweaks or package tweaks." The statement was said in a negative way, like "There's only one FreeBSD, yet there are a gah-zillion Linux distros, ick." But, you know, that's just plain silly. Having choice when it comes to Linux distros is what makes Linux so much fun. Each distro is packed with different features and packages and tailored to whatever that distro creator wanted. And yes, in the most generic sense, all distros are basically the same except for changes in packages, graphical tweaks, and philosophy. I'll probably get called for this, but here's one fluffy one for Linux distros.  All cars have an engine, four wheels, a few doors and some seats.  Sure, there could be one car for everyone, but that's not how it goes.  You can have all sorts of different colored cars.   You have have cars with big or small engines.  Two, four, five, or more doors.  Sure, all cars are basically the same, but it is the differences and choices that make each car likable for its owner. Linux is just the same.  Sure, we could have one distro of Linux, but that would not be fun.  Instead, we have distros tailored for video.  Distros tailored for audio.  Or distros for general computing.  Distros for those-of-you-who-like-to-compile-everything.  There are easy to use and maintain distros for grandma.  You get the idea. Maybe I am missing something?