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janciak 09-11-2012 04:01 AM

why is there so many linux distros

I'm not a newbie in the Linux's world. I know main differences between main Linux distros such as Fedora, Slackware, Ubuntu, Gentoo, but the thing what i don't completely understand why we have so many kinds of "others" distros for example like: PureOs, Frugalware, MEPIS, FreeNAS...and a lot of more. If you go to the you will see more of them. My question is: why is there so many of this linux distros. Do we need them?

I don't want to start a flame war. I'll appreciate any message on this topic. Thank you very much.

kabamaru 09-11-2012 04:11 AM

Well why do we have so many ice cream flavors, and not just plain vanilla?

sycamorex 09-11-2012 04:16 AM

A lot of distros have their place and play their role well in certain situations/scenarios. They also cater for a different kind of users with specific needs. After all, a one-size-fits-all model does not always work. Personally, I think there's a genuine market for up to 50 distributions (and I think I'm stretching it slightly). I agree that we really don't need almost 200 distros based on Debian. While some of them are excellent and really offer some unique features/experience, most of them probably differ in terms of a default selection of packages and visual elements. I don't think too much choice particularly helps Linux.

Having said that, it's the open-source world and I am not going to deny anyone their right to create their own distribution. There might be a lot of genuine reasons why one would want to create a distro for their own purposes (learning/customising it to one's specific needs).

sycamorex 09-11-2012 04:18 AM


Originally Posted by kabamaru (Post 4777520)
Well why do we have so many ice cream flavors, and not just plain vanilla?

As far as I'm concerned, creating anything but vanilla ice creams is a waste of ingredients and milk/water. LOL

eSelix 09-11-2012 05:42 AM

It is simple - until someone use specified distribution it will be exists. Not used distributions sooner or later will be "death". Your question "Do we need them" is odd. Besides ice creams, we have also many car models, many countries, many kinds of music and religions too ;) Every individual can live without most of them, but other people are equal to you and they need or use these other, unnecessary in your opinion things. If it would be harmful to people then we may discuss about its existence, but I don't think that any Linux distribution can be harmful.

brianL 09-11-2012 07:19 AM

Variety is the spice of life, as they say. Trouble is, too many of the distros are too similar.

johnsfine 09-11-2012 07:32 AM


Originally Posted by janciak (Post 4777516)
why is there so many of this linux distros.

Open source allows anyone who want to create a distribution to do so. There are so many because so many people wanted to create them.


Do we need them?
Of course not. But we do need other aspects of the same freedom that caused an excess number of distributions to exist.

We also do need a few real choices. For example, Centos is so right for all the Linux uses where I work that every use of any other other distribution is major inconvenience (and I really wish our corporate policies would allow more of the Linux systems to be Centos). But Centos would be a real pain for most home home uses of Linux, including my own. I plan to replace my obsolete copy of Mepis at home with some other distribution, probably Ubuntu, but for sure not Centos.

DavidMcCann 09-11-2012 11:42 AM

Well, let's look at your examples.

PureOS gives you a quick, simple installation of Debian Testing with the Gnome desktop. I understand that Debian is improving its installer (don't hold your breath), but it's also switching from Gnome to Xfce as the default. And the PureOS forum is mostly in French, which nice if you prefer that to English.

Mepis is based on Debian, but (unlike most Debian derivatives) it uses KDE. It's not rolling release (Debian Testing) or ultra-conservative (Debian Stable). It also has probably the best installer I've ever used.

Frugalware. When I can get it to install, then I'll know!

Being well-known doesn't necessarily come from being good (Ubuntu), being little-known doesn't mean a disto can't be excellent (Saline, Parsix).

craigevil 09-11-2012 12:43 PM


why are there so many linux distros

dugan 09-11-2012 01:13 PM

Because Linux users are a diverse bunch.

NyteOwl 09-11-2012 01:14 PM

Special purpose distros as well. Such as your reference to FreeNAS, though its not Linux based but based off of FreeBSD and the m0n0wall project.

Then you have distributions that are hardened for security and aimed at the enterprise such as EnGarde and Astaro.

Linux is a general purpose tool, easily configured to the user's needs/desires. There are so many variants simply because it is possible.

linux999 09-12-2012 11:53 AM

I admit I was boggle with the vast amount of distros when I got started with linux but as my linux skills mature I knew the purposes of those distros. I stick to the main distros though.

linux_BSD 09-15-2012 12:45 PM

Q. why is there so many linux distros? You ask

A. because it's there :)

SecretCode 09-15-2012 01:02 PM


why is there so many linux distros
They keep breeding.

speck 09-15-2012 02:56 PM

I feel the same way, except regarding musical groups. There are literally thousands of different groups per genre, can't they just talk amongst themselves and come to a decision where they combine the best musicians/songwriters into just two or three groups? That would save me quite a bit of time on iTunes.

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