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Old 11-23-2011, 03:26 AM   #1
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Something Unique

Hey guys

First up, if this is in the wrong forum section, feel free to move it admins!

Ok onto the topic. im wondering were linux is headed in the unique departement, okay. Linux itself is unique without a doubt. but im talking about distro's, the only real unique distro ive really seen is Ubuntu with unity, ubuntu one, unique programs, additions, ubuntu only programs etc

and opensuse somewhat has spread to its own distro with custom control panels, yast2, and quite a phew interesting adjustements to linux itself

Also, i realise each distro offers something a little "different" like tinylinux been tiny, Xandros for windows users, Knoppix and the livecd, i realise that, but in the end, its all done using exsisting software, that every distro has some sort of package for whether its rpm, pkg, deb etc etc

Im looking for the next distro to really stand out, really do something that is almost ground breaking like ubuntu did, like develop there own DE, maybe a new gaming compatability layer like wine, or unique software created by the distro makers

Though, personally i dont like ubuntu. im an archlinux user, but i just dont see anything unique in distro's, i quite often check distros on distrowatch and i just see the same thing with a wallpaper and software compilation's, i also test distro's each time theres a new release, especially chakra, ubuntu derives, fedora and opensuse

Now im not having a go at distro's, every distro is well done and has alot of work put into it and i respect that

So basically. im wondering if there's any distro's besides ubuntu that truely do something unique, something different, bring something truely new to the table

Last edited by nankura; 11-23-2011 at 03:36 AM.
Old 11-23-2011, 04:35 AM   #2
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I shall compare operating systems to automobiles. Every car has an engine, four wheels and seats. Only so much can be done to make different brands unique. Mainly slight variations in body style. Similarly, every OS has word processors, CLI, GUI, file manager, task bar, etc. Only so much can be done to make every distribution unique. Different style icons, wallpaper and variations of common applications. Like you wrote:
Originally Posted by nankura View Post
Also, i realise ... in the end, its all done using exsisting software, that every distro has some sort of package for whether its rpm, pkg, deb etc etc
There is a suite of common GNU/Linux applications. Each distribution can customise the applications, but to be "unique" would require a distribution-specific version. Or radically different icons and menu style. (Such as Unity, which is garbage.)
In the end, each distribution tailors the existing software to the needs of its users. Change is good when it is either necessary or is an improvement. Being ground-breaking is usually change for the sake of change (in my opinion). I am conservative, so I do not feel there is a need any radical changes. The result is things like Unity and Gnome3.
Old 11-23-2011, 06:22 AM   #3
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Ubuntu is unique? Seriously?
Old 11-23-2011, 06:49 AM   #4
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Funnily, I find 1Tera times more important that my distro is useful to me than if it brings "something unique", the part of making my OS unique is my own exclusive privilege! I hate it when the distro gets in my way. *COUGH*untu*COUGH**COUGH*
Old 11-23-2011, 08:31 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by nankura View Post
...its all done using exsisting software...
Well, yes. The software does have to exist, in order to be useful. And, if it is free and open source software, it has made it onto the market of free ideas that other people can use. So, if ReallyOddIx comes out with a version that has a unique and popular (or maybe useful, which isn't quite the same) feature, all the other distros are free to look at that and wonder whether they too should adopt it.

So, really good stuff can go from 'USP' to 'me, too' quite quickly.

So basically. im wondering if there's any distro's besides ubuntu that truely do something unique
Now there was one that set out to rationalise things by doing away with the standard, Unix-style, file system hierarchy, but I haven't heard of that much lately (I wonder why?). But that always struck me as a lot of work, without much benefit to the end user. You could try Bodhi for the Enlightenment front end (yeah, yeah, its an Ubuntu style distro with a different GUI, and there are a lot of those, but Enlightenment is quite different and you'll either love it or loathe it) or there is stuff like Backtrack (different, but probably not useful, to you) or System Rescue (ditto).

I don't think that I can honestly say that there is any immediate danger of me waking up and saying 'You know what is wrong with this world, there are too few different distros' where there is a possibility that I might just say 'There are loads of distros, but some of them really aren't done quite well enough'. YMMV.
Old 11-23-2011, 08:53 AM   #6
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Honestly if you want something unique, the best way to get it is to customize it yourself. The reason a lot of distros are so similar is that there is only so much an out-of-the-box distribution can do to be different. At a certain point it becomes so different that no one wants to use it anymore. Most distributions come with fairly simple configurations, some have a customized settings option or something like that, but they tend to work in a familiar way.
There is a LOT of software available though, most of which doesn't make it in the installation disks of a distribution. When something new shows up that does work very well on a default installation, then odds are good it's under the GPL or a similarly free license, so any other distribution can look at it, go "I like this, lets tweak it a bit for out specific needs and put it in our distro too!" and the "Unique" feature of distribution A is now in distros C through F too.

To get a unique install on your own, though, is actually pretty easy - you can install new WMs, new applications for whatever needs you have, change your config files, write your own little utilities and scripts, basically do whatever you want to it. All it takes is some time and patience, and maybe a bit of time studying up on how to write scripts and edit the config files.

I can't think of any distribution, for example, that has a tiling WM for it's default. But, if you want one, it's very easy to download and install one on any distribution. If a distribution ships with one by default, though, a lot of users will be confused because they don't know how to use this type of WM, they would dislike it, and a lot of casual users would simply never give that distro a second chance.
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Old 11-23-2011, 09:04 AM   #7
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After reading this, LFS comes to mind -
Old 11-23-2011, 09:00 PM   #8
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I think most of the similarity that OP sees is in the choice of desktop environments. One Gnome 2 looks a lot like another Gnome 2. One KDE looks a lot like another KDE. And Unity looks sort of like Gnome 3 not quite done so well. If anything makes Ubuntu unique, it's overlaid stuff like Ubuntu One and the infantilization of users enforced by the sudo fetish.

Underneath, Debian-based and Fedora-based distros are certainly arranged differently in /etc, though System V is System V, while Slackware happily goes its own way.

Of the major distros, Slackware would be the one I would most likely nominate as "unique."
Old 11-24-2011, 06:47 AM   #9
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Uniqueness is up to you. Any distro will share some features with others distros, and of course with others users using the same distro on the same way.
You can customize it, use it the way you like. Do "uncommon" blends, like Fedora + Fluxbox or use LFS as has been said.

But in the end, everything is done by a piece of software, but what is Linux if not ones and zeros.

And to finish, IMHO Ubuntu is just (see attachment)
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