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I don't think the number of distros is a problem. The thing is that the cost of entry to the market is rather low. But if you narrow it down to the number of distros that are really after a "market" then, the number is much lower.
Then if you narrow it down to the distros that HAVE a market or significant audience, then it's even lower. What's confusing is that the communication channels (distrowatch and other community sites) are the same for all distros, which gives the impression of a plethora of names for the same functions.
This is made even more so that the major distros are still rather small companies (some like debian are just projects), which, with the exception of Suse Novell and Redhat, can't access the mainstream communication channels.
I think there is a opportunity in any new distro for the community at large and it will cease to be so much the case only when some important interfaces and protocols have become standards. It's happening but still quite slowly.
i agree that many different distro's creates an environment where innovation wins. But having so many holds back what in my oppinion the linux world needs most. and that is a set of good, thought out standards.
When i said that more are needed I meant within standards. There is no reason to say we cant have lots of distros within standards. I think though, with everyone using generally the same kernals, and the same selection of display managers there are standards. The only variation comes in the configuration and things like RPM's. Even with them the distros are configuring the same thing just in a different way. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong as I'm not an expert by any means.
a agree that most things are the same, like how i can install most redhat RPM's on my Mandrake 10 system.
but for arguments sake, look at Vmware, Nvidia drivers and KDE 3.3. id like to be able to just ./ my nvida driver download and have it install, but instead it dosent recognize my kernel (default mdk 10) and needs to compile some modules. the same goes for vmware.
id like to install kde 3.3 on my system, but the packages are only for redhat, suse yoper and others, none for mdk yet. wouldent it be nice to be able to have one, mayb 2 packaging systems so developers dont havto relase 20 diff packages to keep everyone happy (rpm, deb, tgz)
i think we should all adopt the gentoo and debian software systems apt-get and emerge, then everyone would be happy
Makes good sense. When i first tried linux I was confused by the lack of exe's. If there was one install format to go with compiling it would help loads. But i think that may have some drawbacks by forcing all developers have their directory and menu structures the same for one.