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I'm not a senior but I've been using Linux for a couple years now. One of the nice points of Linux is that if you don't like something, you can change it to look/do whatever you want it to. There are so many distro's because, naturally, so many (groups of) people have a different opinion on what the 'perfect' Linux is.
For this reason, people that cannot customize and create their own linux distro (most of us) choose the one that they like the most and then customize it from there. So I actually think that having one Uber Cool Version would either be:
1. impossible: everyone's tastes are different and some peoples 'ideas' may clash
2. take forever to install/configure: If you gave all the options possible, you could sit at an install for days/years
I'm certainly not a senior Linux user, either, but even so... the purpose of the creation of GNU and the GPL was to create software that people could change to fit their needs. The whole sentiment behind open source software is not to impose a standard on society. I kind of like that. I don't use Linux because I'm some üb3r-l33t h4ck3r. I use it so I can go against the grain.
Plus, contrary to popular belief, Linux isn't an OS. Linux is a kernel. It's just half of an OS. Mr. Stallman was developing his own OS, GNU, and when he needed a kernel, he decided to use Linux. As a result, other people have put their own software libraries and applications around this core, and each one turns out looking different. The way it's made just about begs you to make your own OS around it.
I think Linus Torvalds was right. To steal his own words, I believe making Linux GPL'd was probably the best thing he'd ever done.
I was wondering ... There are so many flavors for Linux - Ubuntu, Redhat, Mandrake, etc (I couldn't think of many more, but a simple Google search yielded many results!)
Why do we need so many flavors?
GNU License allow you to copy and modify software. Everyone who have their vision of Linux OS, can implement their distribution. So that's why there are so many flavors. Having many options to choose from is good, I think.
Originally Posted by justmovedtolinux
Instead, wouldn't it have been better, and more sense too, if people had gotten together and developed one Uber Cool Version of Linux?
In short - not gonna happen. People that use different distributions have different needs, habits, priorities(some people need cool graphics, other need sane hardware requirements) and requirements. For example Slackware user will feel uncomfortable on Ubuntu, and vice versa.
MordorSoft is evil. We don't want the one ring to rule us all (mainly because no ring fits all of us).
Jokes appart, this is an old topic. Open source makes it easy to play around with the things. When people don't like what there's in scene, they start playing with the available pieces, seeing how they can fit together in lots of ways, and not just one. In a certain way, I see it like an artistic facet that the closed source software will never have. Everyone can create an OS that can fit his/her own needs, without being limited by what anyone else created. But, also, if you like anyone else's distro, you can use it if you don't have the skills to create your own or you just don't have the time or interest for/on doing so.
That doesn't exclude standardization. A lot of effort in going on certain aspects to standardize some things. Nowadays, 99% of the distros use udev to manage devices, that alone is a very big step. Along with hal and dbus it has certainly taken a lot of obscurity out of the base of a lot of distros. freedesktop.org is also trying to do a similar thing on some aspects of the OSS desktop. There's still a long way, though, but I guess that having a zillion distros with different desktop environments is definitely not incompatible with standardization.