Why are there too many Linux Distros

Linux (/ˈlinəks/) is An open-source version of the UNIX operating system. It’s kind of a big deal for Servers Mainframes and Super computers.

More than 90% of today’s super computers run on a some kind of Linux. Also many small devices run on Linux even if you can’t tell they do… for example the Android OS is based on Linux.

Linux is great, it’s powering most of the webservers for your favorite websites, since it’s free, highly customizable and very reliable.

That’s great, but why are there way too many Linux distros or distributions?

To answer this question we have to define the difference between Linux and other operating systems (Windows or Mac OS). Any operating system comes with a preinstalled set of applications, a user-interface and built-in drivers. For Windows, Microsoft decides what software they’ll have built-in to Windows and how the Window Manager (The piece of software that organizes the display of windows and dialogs on your computer) will work for this specific version of windows. Microsoft has the one and only decision in this, and there’s only a limited number of customizations we can do to the Window Manager (The Look & Feel of Windows), that Microsoft allows us to change, but those changes we have to do after installing windows.

For example, if I wanted my Microsoft Windows 9 to have WinAmp installed on it out of the box, I’ll have to request Microsoft to do this. They will probably say No, since Windows has that wonderful media player (That I never use). I also cannot ask them to change the color of menus from white to grey just because I like it better that way. Same story for drivers, I don’t use printers, I don’t need Windows to have HP generic printer driver because I have a canon driver but that’s so selfish.

Now comes Linux.. Linux is a kernel (the bridge between applications and actual data processing) and a bunch of free software packages. The flexibility of the OS allows me to choose anything I want and to customize it the way I want. As a programmer, I can fetch the code of any software that my Linux is using, modify it as I wish. Then rebuild it and replace the one installed on my computer.

I can add some new packages, remove others and modify packages as much as I wish. All that is left to do is create an installation disk (or ISO image) for my current OS and distribute is the way I wish (Of course there’s a bunch of licenses that I have to read first).

As software keeps updating to add new features or fix bugs, my OS will have to keep up with the packages I’ve modified or created to keep my OS up-to-date or otherwise it’ll be discontinued just like many other Linux distros. And if my OS was found great by some developers, they’ll help me with ideas, testing and code writing to keep up and add features to my own software.

This answers the question “How is a Linux Distro created” not “Why are there so many of them?”.

As I’ve explained, I’ll most likely base my distro on an existing one to ease the integration of software packages into my OS. I’ll also have to find a team that shares my vision and finds the OS I’m creating great in order to help me develop and maintain it. It’s not that easy to maintain and develop an OS.

There are few basic Linux distros that most other ditros are based on. e.g. “Slackware Linux”, “Redhat”. you check out this Linux Distros Timeline to see how many distros have ever been developed

Quotes from Steve Jobs

Some of Steve Jobs funny quotes

  • A lot of companies have chosen to downsize, and maybe that was the right thing for them. We chose a different path. Our belief was that if we kept putting great products in front of customers, they would continue to open their wallets.
  • Apple’s market share is bigger than BMW’s or Mercedes’s or Porsche’s in the automotive market. What’s wrong with being BMW or Mercedes?
  • Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.
  • Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.
  • I think we’re having fun. I think our customers really like our products. And we’re always trying to do better.
  • I want to put a ding in the universe.
  • Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.
  • It is piracy, not overt online music stores, which is our main competitor.
  • It took us three years to build the NeXT computer. If we’d given customers what they said they wanted, we’d have built a computer they’d have been happy with a year after we spoke to them – not something they’d want now.
  • Pretty much, Apple and Dell are the only ones in this industry making money. They make it by being Wal-Mart. We make it by innovation.
  • Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.
  • The people who are doing the work are the moving force behind the Macintosh. My job is to create a space for them, to clear out the rest of the organization and keep it at bay.
  • To turn really interesting ideas and fledgling technologies into a company that can continue to innovate for years, it requires a lot of disciplines.
  • You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.

Reigning Pwn2Own champion: "The main thing is not to install Flash!"

Here are the highlights from Miller’s interview:

He thinks Windows 7 will prove more secure than OS X Snow Leopard this year, in part because it doesn’t have Java and Flash enabled by default. Windows’ full ASLR (address space layout randomization) also gives it a security advantage.

When asked what he thought would make the safest OS and browser combo, he opted for Chrome or IE8 on Windows 7, with no Flash installed, although ‘there probably isn’t enough difference between the browsers to get worked up about.’

For my money, the juiciest quote from the interview was ‘The main thing is not to install Flash!

On the mobile side, Miller guessed that the iPhone 3GS would be more easily exploitable than the Motorola Droid, mainly because the iPhone’s been around longer, and has been subjected to more extensive security research.

You can check out Miller’s full answers (in English or Italian!) at OneITSecurity.

Windows 7 already bigger than Snow Leopard and Linux combined

It’s only been a couple of weeks since Windows 7 was released, but Microsoft’s new OS has already captured a larger percentage of the market than Apple’s OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard and Linux (yes, all of Linux). This doesn’t come as a huge surprise, considering how many Windows users were clamoring for Win7 after the flop that is Vista. Microsoft says Windows 7’s launch outdid Vista’s by 234%. Those brisk sales have already netted Windows a 2% share of the world’s OS business, compared to just over 1% for Snow Leopard, and just under 1% for Linux.

Despite the strong sales of Win7, Windows as a whole dropped a quarter of a percentage point in October, with Mac and Linux both making small gains. That quarter of a point hardly matters when you’ve got 90% of the OS market and your new operating system is being adopted quickly, though.

I expect to see Windows swing back up after Windows 7’s been available for a while. I mean, we’re talking about an operating system that outsold Harry Potter in the UK. Right now, it’s only got a 2% share, compared to 19% for Vista and 70% for XP, but that’s after only two weeks. Expect that number to zoom upward by the end of November.