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oops, I misread that, it was actually quite clear in your other post.
Actually, I'm not sure what would have happened. Some say the Linux kernel would have become proprietary. I doubt this, because Linus T. said on many occasions that he wanted the kernel to be open-source and freely available to all. I think what would have happened would be there would be GNU and two kernel to choose from: Hurd and Linux. I think Debian already offers this option ... for those adventurous enough to try the Hurd kernel
There won't be neither decent GNU/Hurd nor Something/Linux. They probably would be more like hobby OSes (smth similar to plan 9 - good OS without much success). Lots of GNU/Linux developers would probably go to BSD or join windows cracking force (that's just my opinion).
Every distro is unique and has its advantages and disadvantages.
Red Hat and Suse are focused on being easy to use for businesses. That's fine for that specific need, but it has no use for me. Managers do tend to rely on support from other companies. That works for them (to be honest IMO most managers are lame, but there is nothing stupid about asking someone for advice about something you don't know at all). All the certifications in the world will not make me think something is better or not - when I know about it. Certifications are exactly that, someone who knows certifies something is good enough for someone who can not tell by himself if something is good.
Ubuntu/Mandriva/Xandros focus on being easy to use, for people who don't know too much about Linux. Again, that's fine. Linux for human beings. There is nothing wrong about that. It's a good philosophy. I heard somewhere that Debian also has a philosophy and even a political goal. I don't care about that but I acknowledge the quality of Debian as a multi-purpose distro. If something ever happened to Slackware (G--d forbid) I would use Debian. There is nothing better for me than a multi-purpose distro that can do anything I want.
Kurumin Linux focuses on being absolutely easy to use for Portuguese-speaking people, and being compatible with Debian. Again, that's fine for those users. And that's how Linux works.
So far I have not had any problems installing Debian packages. They do work in Slackware, most work whitout any effort, and some after a bit of symlinking. I can't say the same about RPMs. I personally think .DEB packages are better. About the SysV, Slackware uses SysV with BSD-style scripts. If I do not want compatibility with RH then I don't install the compatibility package.
Slackware does not need any certifications. Even if the CIA said Slackware is not good I would continue using Slackware because I like it. If eventually Slackware gets that LSB certification it would be just fine. It would not affect Slackware because its base of users usually know what they do when they use it.
Operatings systems that fit your criteria the best seem to be (in the correct order):
1. Slackware Linux
2. Gentoo Linux
Yeah, that's probably true. I've tried various forms of BSD in the past (FreeBSD, NetBSD, DragonflyBSD, etc), but somehow I still prefer Linux (it seems to have more neat features and cool experimental things in the kernel). I've also tried Gentoo many times ... I gave up as it was kind of inconvenient because my CPU is not the fastest, and my notebook is prone to overheating (such as what might happen when leaving it on all night to compile stuff) and on many occasions there were compile errors and I had to try to figure out what went wrong and fix it and it took forever. It just was no fun. Slackware is more fun
So, trying to summarize (and simplify) a bit, there are mainly two reasons for Slackware not being LSB compliant:
1. LSB compliance would break things.
2. There's just no need to be.
But you also state that
- some RPM packages weren't easily installed
- Slackware users know what they are doing
Of course, all these statement are correct, but they also show what the problem of non-conformance is: LSB compatible packages can be installed on any LSB compliant distribution, but not necessarily quite as easily on Slackware. And the last point actually reads as if we are the experts and won't allow any non-expert to join us.
Fortunately, Slackware is close enough to LSB so that most things that work on LSB compliant distros can also be made working on Slackware with little or no effort. For enterprise usage the certification is more than just a piece of paper. It means that choosing a specific distribution won't block you from using software packaged on another distribution, if the package or the other distro are certified, too.
Regarding the last statement above, fortunately, this forum clearly shows that Slackware users don't go for "splendid isolation". ;-) In fact, I like the friendly patience of many of you answering newbie questions. In other words, a good community is worth a lot more than the compliance with any standard.
To make the point: LSB compliance is a good thing, in principle. Slackware users have some benefit of it, as there it becomes easier to install foreign packages, when they are packaged using a standardized format and a unique specification. LSB has helped a lot to overcome the incompatibilities between market-leading distributions from SuSE and Red Hat. This is important to motivate enterprises to use Linux on the one hand, and software vendors to make their products available on Linux, on the other hand. In fact, some vendors wouldn't offer their packages, at all, for Linux, if there was no standard like LSB, because they wouldn't be able to support so many different distros and deviating package formats. Thanks to LSB they just can offer and support one RPM package, and that's it. And this is good for all Linux users, even if they use other distributions, although the impact is not immediately seen, as it means that a lot more software from commercial vendors is available now, than some years ago.
Pat is clever enough to keep things stable, but to be conformant enough with the "official" standards. However, the compliance with open standards plus some end-users GUI tools are the reasons why SuSE, Red Hat and Ubuntu are more popular among business and end-users than Slackware, nowadays. It took several years for Slackware to replace SuSE as my main distro, and I am afraid that up to Slack 11 there were just too many obstacles for new users. With the support of udev, hal and d-bus in 12.0 Slackware has become so much more end-user-friendly that I can recommend it to a lot more people now. But that's another discussion.
Just a word regarding the GNU/Linux vs. Linux thing. Currently GNU/Linux is, to my knowledge, Debian with Hurd. It's not LSB compliant, AFAIK, but it's not really useful, too. And coming back to my point regarding the community: Debian people can be pretty fanatic...
An excellent summary, gargamel, my thanks for taking the time to look at all that! I've followed most of the thread, but hard to keep track.
I don't wish to derail this thread by dwelling on the whole GNU/Linux thing, just wanted to throw a link or two on that subject, since both testing, and yourself have misconceptions about the naming convention malarky and it's history. I'm not qualified to make an argument for or against how "linux" is branded, but the argument itself did not arrive how you've presented it.
Distribution: Slackware 13.37, Puppy Linux, Vector Linux
Alien said, "There is one Windows OS, but lots of different Linux distributions, which in reality are same OS. What you have learned in Ubuntu, won't work with Suse and vice versa => no consistency."
This is the reason that I think that there should be a standard across all distros. I like to run several different distros, but end up settling on the one that I like the best and then learn all the ins and outs of that particular one. Trying to retain info about several different distros at the same time, work with each of them efficiently, is just way too much. You have to do a lot of changing of mental gears each time you switch to another OS. One standard would be so helpful. My view.
This is the reason that I think that there should be a standard across all distros. [...] You have to do a lot of changing of mental gears each time you switch to another OS. One standard would be so helpful. My view.
Yeah, well, what ends up happening is that some other distribution declares itself the standard, and then we have one (another) standard. So, should we change everything to be identical to that? Perhaps it would be easier if we all just switch. Recall the words of Andrew Tannenbaum.
As far as the LSB, I think I can safely call that useless, at least for Slackware. Contrary to popular belief, the LSB is not a spec for how to construct a standard distribution. Rather, it is a bolt-on runtime package of old libraries for LSB compatible binaries to link against. It is ugly and insecure, and even if we included it, getting the certification costs serious money initially, and involves ongoing costs as well. It doesn't really matter anyway, since software tends to target specific distributions and not the LSB. Things work better that way.
Linux distros are not unique. What they achieve that is different is caused by obfuscation of the underlying software. Slackware takes the approach to provide the software as it was designed from the author. So if you learned Slackware, you really can use the other distros despite their attempts to be different. Now usually I find ubuntu's customizations to more difficult, but in the end, they have the same bash, the same perl, the same c-compiler. Could they adopt different software?--I suppose so, but if they aren't serving their community well, nor if the software doesn't work well, no one else will use it. If their design choice actually improves something, and if the licensing allows, everyone will adopt it. It's open source and that's how it works. Now usually the one that tries to be pretender of being different, or better than the rest is the one I try to stay far away from. The classic example is Apple, which is funny because even they have moved both their hardware and software to closely align with everyone these days.
Now with the talk about following standards, it doesn't really matter to me. All I want is something that will be a stable platform for running all my software. Today, I have chosen Slackware for that purpose. LSB could be a help, but it doesn't solve my problems. Going back to the Apple example, the reason my dad didn't choose to buy the first Macintosh when he had the choice is because it didn't run his software. I learned that lesson well afterwords. So who cares about being different, and who cares about design, or standards? A computer is a tool, and all I want to do is have it work.