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why so many versions of Linux

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why so many versions of Linux

Why are there so many versions of Linux or is it more accurate to use the word distros ?
Mint 11 seems to cover most things the average user would need and I have had no problems with it.
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Steve
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Re: why so many versions of Linux

Because the source code is freely available to use, edit, redistribute, etc, etc
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Waldo
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Re: why so many versions of Linux

Quote from: gleneagles
Why are there so many versions of Linux or is it more accurate to use the word distros ?

It's the nature of open source; the same happens with other open source operating systems such as BSD and OpenSolaris.
It's more accurate to talk of GNU/Linux distros; Linux is the kernel on a GNU/Linux OS.
There are some hybrids around too; Debian GNU/kFreeBSD which uses GNU with a FreeBSD kernel and Nexenta which mates Ubuntu with an OpenSolaris kernel, for examples.
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Re: why so many versions of Linux

The main reason is that we are able to and some of us do, make spin off’s of existing distros. Like Ubuntu is a spin off of Debian. Mint/Crunch Bang and others are spin off’s  from Ubuntu.
I find Mint to my liking, others prefer Ubuntu (though with Unity they are loosing people) and others still prefer PC Linux or Mandrake (Used to be choice back in the early 00's)  or several others.
The fact that there is a CHOICE is preferable to them saying - ok this is Linux take it or leave it. We also have choices of which Desktop we use. KDE/Gnome/XFCE/LXDE/WHY. I prefer Gnome 2 to the others but used to like KDE 3, probably because then it was what I was used to M$ OS's.
But I also use LXDE on a low powered machine that only has 128Mz P3 & 64Mb RAM  (try running a new M$ OS on that!) but underneath they are all based on GNU/Linux and that's what keeps them working for years & years of uptime.
Heloman
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Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: why so many versions of Linux

Whilst the number of different distros can be confusing for a newcomer, it is  the main strength of Linux IMO. There is a flavour to suit everyone.
Yes Mint "does the job" as do lots of others (even Windows!) .
I have Mint installed and it is fine. But my main distro is PCLinux OS. I just prefer the general layout and the ability to "boot to root" (offline only of course) which I find invaluable as I am allergic to using the  command-line ....
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Re: why so many versions of Linux

It's all about choice and specific requiremnts.
You can choose any distro, the vast majority are free, you can choose specialised distros (lightweights for old computers, some designed for music or video production, others no doubt with other speciallist uses in mind, there are 'hardened' high-security distros, there are 'easy to use' distros, ones that looka and feel like windows and some that definitely don't.
With Linux there are many alternative programs for most popular thingks (like browser, word processor etc.), many distros attempt just to package a set of applications that work nicely from the point of view of the distro developer so there's a degree of 'personal' preference in packaging a distro.
With many distros it is possible to tweak and change to the extent that you end up with something much closer to another distro, that's part of the beauty (almost limitless combinations, though not all Linux applcations are compatible with one another so it's also part of the apparent complexity).
You would be better asking why there are so many versions of Windows, in the beginning there was Windows (like 3, 3.1, 95), then came XP with 'home' and 'pro' versions, then Vista with 'basic', 'home', 'professional', 'ultimate' (or some such) then Windows 7  with umpteen versions just designed to get (substantial) extra money from people who have already paid for the OS and find their version is nissing a feature they need or want.  (Just one way of looking at it of course).  Don't forget, not all hardware or software is compatible with all versioins of Windows (older hardware/software might not work with Windows 7, newer stuff might not work with XP let alone 95 or older) so complaints about hardware incompatibility with Linux should be tempered against similar incompatibilities that can happen with Windows even though you have paid for an OS that you expect 'just to work'.
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VileReynard
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Re: why so many versions of Linux

There are only a few basic distros.
But there are many variations available.

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Re: why so many versions of Linux

@ fox,
your 'map' is a few years out of date, it's cetainly fair to note that most distros are based on a more major upstream distro (possibly the best example being Mint, based on Ubuntu, based on Debian, based on (my assumption at this point) the original Linux) but this does not detract from some of the excellent specialist distros (perhaps the best known being Medibuntu, a specialist 'Media' distribution adding to Ubuntu with media applications and a real-time kernel.
All Linux distros eventually map back to Linus Torvald's original (excepting possibly BSD and other hybrids which still owe some of their heritige to the original)
Call me 'w23'
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VileReynard
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Re: why so many versions of Linux

Try this then  Grin

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Re: why so many versions of Linux

@ Fox:
eek!
Call me 'w23'
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Re: why so many versions of Linux

I'm not sure that's accurate either.
I've done a recent build of Chromium OS and it seems like its more Gentoo based than Ubuntu based. (With its use of portage rather than apt)
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