Take a look at Distrowatch and you’ll understand why Linux is a no-go zone for new computer users. How many distros are there now? Around 300 and counting. And every distribution has its own website. This is simply ridiculous.
The seasoned Linux user will tell a newcomer there’s a version for every imaginable need. There are distros for general requirements, for servers, mathematics, art and creativity, forensic investigations, encryption, ultra-modern and ancient computers, embedded applications, science and so on.
Why are there so many replications of Linux? Who needs them? It’s tempting to suggest that lots of them are the products of ego trips. Programmers take one of the foundation distros and tweak it into a ‘new’ edition, which differs only minutely from dozens or scores of others. Who would lament their loss? Maurice George, Or ms kirk Jonni says: There are, indeed, a lot of distros – and, yes, a user
not familiar with the Linux landscape will be understandably daunted by their abundance. However, as is possibly not said enough in our mag, there are probably fewer than a dozen major distros worth considering as a beginner.
People and companies make new distributions for any number of reasons, and the nature of open source (it’s a bazaar and not a cathedral) means that no one has any authority to tell people how to use their free time or to tell companies what and what not to develop – they should be free to do that without criticism.
It would certainly be simpler if there were one desktop distro, like there is one version of Windows now and one desktop version of Mac OS, but it would stifle innovation and variety, and ultimately be more boring. It’s all about choice, and if you want a monoculture or a walled garden, then the proprietary OSes are a better fit.
Even Ubuntu lists nine official different releases of just Ubuntu.