failing like never before


The Linux Choice Part Deux

OK, so you've read my article entitled The Linux Choice (or perhaps you haven't), and you're slightly confused by what exactly I meant. I thought, at the time of writing it, that I was being quite clear and succinct but obviously I was not.

(Yeah, so it wasn't very good, but really, did it sound like I was advocating a Microsoft-style development strategy for Linux? I mean, it wasn't that badly worded, was it?)

Just to be clear, I really like Linux and the choices that it offers. My intentions when writing the original Linux Choice, were to emphasize the reasons why so many people chose Linux, thus the title "The Linux Choice." Many people that have had only superficial experiences with Linux (that is to say, have "dipped their toes into the vast ocean that is Linux") tend to be dislike the confusingly huge numbers of choices that they have to make. They want easy, they want something that "just works" (of course Windows never works perfectly). But most Linux users love being able to make their own choices; something that Windows or Apple will probably never allow them to do.

Linux users got fed up with having Microsoft and Apple make all the wrong choices, so they took matters into their own hands. Some people like huddling in the shadows of towering corporations, finding solace in being babied. Others just don't give a crap. And yet many people complain and complain about how bad Windows is but never do anything about it. They never decide to "make their own choices," whereas Linux users (and other open source OS users) do.


The Linux Choice

Newcomers to Linux are often baffled by the wealth and diversity of choices offered to them when they begin installing Linux for the very first time.

It begins when they first select a Linux distribution, or what some people call a "flavor" (I personally find "flavor" to be an irritating term). Debian, Slackware, Ubuntu, Suse, Fedora, Gentoo, PCLinux... The list of Linux distributions is nearly endless, how is a person to chose whats best for themselves? But choosing a distribution is only the beginning, what about the bootloader? Lilo or GRUB? And as for the filesystems, should I use Ext3 or ReiserFS (or perhaps even JFS or XFS), and how should I partition my hard drives and mount them? Should I use KDE or Gnome, or perhaps one of the less renowned desktop environments, like Enlightenment (version 16 or 17?), Fluxbox, Icewm, or XFCE? BASH, or KSH? AppArmor or SELinux?

So many choices! When I install Windows, all I have to do is stick the CD in and click "next" a few times. No wonder Linux possesses such a minute market share! It appears that the lack of unity within the Linux community is the reason that Linux still remains unpopular; open source programmers spend their time coding slightly different programs to accomplish the same task, each one believing that their way is the best. But wouldn't it be better, more efficient, to eliminate all these unnecessary, redundant projects and consolidate the efforts of the Linux community into generating a single program for each task, thus creating a single, standard Linux distribution? Wouldn't it be better, in short, to make Linux more like Windows or Mac?