Open Source

What if there were only one Linux distribution?

The hallmark of Linux is choice, but if there were only one distro would you still want to use it over the proprietary alternatives?

There can be only one!

The quote is from Highlander (as if any geek worth their weight in latinum wouldn't know that). The sentiment – at least in terms of open source – stems from a question that has been on my mind this week. Naturally, I wanted to share.

What if there were only one Linux distribution; and what if that distribution had only one user interface? And, to make matters more complicated for some – what if that distribution were Ubuntu with Unity?

Would you still opt to use Linux? Or would you run screaming to OSX, or Windows (we leave BSD out of the picture, if only to make a point)?

I ask this question mostly because of all the vitriol I read, on a daily basis, pointed toward Ubuntu and its recent choices. I ask the question as a long-time user of Linux (and not as a user of Ubuntu). I ask... simply because I wonder if there are truly fans and aficionados of Linux, of a specific distribution, or if many of those self-same users just hate the alternatives that much.

linux.distrubutions.jpg

Linux users are a funny, fickle breed (yes, I count myself in this group); they don't like someone else telling them how to do what they want to do. They don't like their software locked down. And, a great many of them simply don't like to pay for the software they use.

So, if Linux existed in one, and only one, form – would you still use it? If Ubuntu Unity were the only open source interface available, would you run from the Linux desktop?

Me? Personally I wouldn't budge. Even if the only Linux distribution available was, say, openSUSE with KDE – I would continue using Linux. Because for me, even being locked into one Linux distribution, with one user interface, Linux still offers more freedom and usability than that of either OS X or Windows. Linux, in general, fits my style and meets my needs. Linux. Not Ubuntu, or Fedora, or Mint, or Bohdi, or SUSE … Linux (and yes, I speak in a very general sense – I know “Linux” is actually the kernel and not the whole).

If the the recent actions of Canonical make you cringe at using Ubuntu and Unity – compare them to the business practices of Microsoft or Apple. No matter where you turn, you'll find shady business practices. Does that make it right? Not at all.

Now don't think I'm hear to defend Canonical or grandstand for Ubuntu. My point is this: I could, at random, pick a Linux distribution, install it on my PC, and do everything I need to do. Honestly, I could do the same thing with Windows or OS X – but I choose not to. Linux, as a whole, works and works well. Each of the distributions and desktop interfaces have pros and cons – but in the end, they all do a great job of allowing the user to do their jobs.

I used to be a distro hopper. I'd play around with one distribution and move on to the next. I've used nearly every distribution I've come across and, after many years of deciding, settled on Ubuntu.  I do happen to enjoy Unity – it fits my style and makes life easy for me. But I could just as easily work with Enlightenment, KDE, Cinnamon, Mate, Classic GNOME, Fluxbox … you get the point.

For many (including myself), Linux has always been about choice and freedom (or Freedom of Choice if you're a Devo fan). But when push comes to shove, any Linux distribution will do. And I think it is fairly safe to say that the vast majority of Linux users wouldn't jump ship to Windows or OS X if they woke up to find their distro was replaced with something else and all that desktop choice was taken away.

It would still be Linux – even as you cried out, “I want it all and I want it now!”



About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

73 comments
capnslipp
capnslipp

If there were only one Linux distro, I would probably be using it more (currently only Debian on my webserver).

To ask “if the only distro were X in its present state” is to ask “if you were a princess who grew up at the top of an ivory tower”.  In the real world, a single Linux distro would mean that all the forces of Linux development would have to be continually working together (instead of just running off with their own fork when things get messy).  The result would be an OS that's highly user-friendly, while still adaptive and reconfigurable, with more Just Works™ customizability, and far better stability (we all should agree that Linux's core and services are rock-solid, but higher-level GUI stuff… eh… yah, notsomuch).  Note that my prediction is based less on the Linux community and more on sociology— when lots of people have different ideas but are forced to work together, they usually end up hating each other but producing great stuff.

I remain an OS X user — even in this post-Steve Jobs era — because I like my tools to work well as-is first and foremost, and offer extensibility 2nd.  Apple's app dev environment still encourages apps that offer better workflow consistency and features than any other platform. (This will not become a flame war— for me to note that OS X has multiple cross-app-shared clipboards, one for normal copy-paste, and one of the find field of search prompts would be the start of a long, long, discussion that's already been covered heavily before.)

However, I trust Linux more for my server because I know it will run well for years and years based on a thorough initial setup, and I love that about Linux.  All eggs in one basket would be a painful switch, but also one that might usurp Apple and Microsoft— the world is mostly past the age of deciding how computers should work, and now just need them to work well.

james.vandamme
james.vandamme

Sure, just one distro. As long as I have a choice of Systemd or not, 3 package managers, long term release or rolling or short term, and 12 desktops. So, one distro with 216 variants would be OK. Well, add on a few special purpose ones and different languages...

ariel.maudet
ariel.maudet

Just got back to your comments after a while. I'm a two years user of Ubuntu after using Windows since version 3.1 to XP until I installed Ubuntu. Kept XP Win in a virtualbox for backward use (had a lot of Office docs!) The choice is 100% for Linux whatever the available distribution. Am recommending all  my friends to change to Linux.!!

rp_garul
rp_garul

If I had just one Linux distro available like UBUNTU and the ugly UNITY dektop,  I'd probably pack up my pc, and put it in the garbage, I love Linux, Debian Linux with Mint...!!!

johneb47
johneb47

In the two decades of using GNU/Linux I have seen it go from a purely technical hobbyist OS into the the more general user friendly desktop OS it is today. I can still remember my joy at discovering an OS that allowed me to do what I wanted  how I wanted. As a software developer I am not a great fan of today's desktop environments. Would I abandon Linux? NEVER! Use a single Linux distro? OK but it will be heavily hacked to run from the command line and use the linux  framebuffer interface.

bobc4012
bobc4012

If I had just one distro with one choice of desktop, I'd probably pack up my PC and put it in the closet. Give me a choice in desktops and I don't have a problem with what's underneath as long as it supports WINE, DOSBox, DOS Emulator and some VM. I use a lot of FOSS under Windows - the same stuff I use on my Linux installs. I was a big Ubuntu fan until 11.04. Since then, I have become a fan of Linux Mint with MATE. 

I spend way too much time on line and doing other stuff, so I don't want to waste time with the idiosyncrasies of Unity, Metro, Gnome 3, etc. Back when I worked in Systems Software development, new gadgets, tools and all the other latest techniques were "pushed" on the developers that it got so bad we spent more time learning new stuff, we had very little time left to get the real job done. I know, I am exaggerating somewhat.but it wasn't far from the truth. I learned long ago, that evolution rather than revolution was the better way to go and APIs and other I/Fs were only changed when there was absolutely no other alternative and, even then, we always tried to provide a mapping so we didn't blow other users and applications out of the water.

It would be nice if there could be one distro and one desktop - but not in a democracy like the Linux universe. What you like, I may hate and vice versa. The best that could be hoped for is to have a basic set of standards that all Linux distros would adhere - even at the desktop level - and let each distro differentiate itself on what additions it brings to the table.


xmechanic
xmechanic

This question is actually an oxymoron of sorts, because with Linux, there's always an alternative. But if I were to pick a *favorite* desktop distro, it would have to be Linux Mint (based on Debian/Ubuntu). It's probably the most flexible, easy to use, and generally eye-appealing distro out there. As far as server type distros, it's a toss-up between SME-server, and Zentyal (based on Ubuntu). They just work like they're supposed to. :) I was a M$ fan for years until I got a Mac-Pro for my main machine. Surprisingly with Boot Camp and VMWare Fusion, nothing runs Windows like a Mac. I have XP Pro running in VMWare full-screen on a secondary monitor for most Windows apps I need to use, with 1 gig of dedicated memory (out of 6 GB.), so OSX Snow Leopard runs on the primary screen like Windows isn't even there... If I need a dedicated 64 Bit Windows 7 machine, I can run it natively from it's own drive with Bootcamp.

Between the versatility of the newer generation Intel-based Macs, and the various flavors of Linux that support WINE and/or OpenBox/VMWare, who needs Windows as a native OS? Probably getting a little off-topic here, but just my 2 cents worth. ;)

tpaysen
tpaysen

to 0gb.us:  Ever try to do  research on a mobile?  GIS? (serious GIS--analysis, etc)  Desktops are just beginning to be able to replace giant mainframes for many things ('though not all...some climate simulations have to be done on a CRAY).

markp24
markp24

this is off topic, but Is the MAC OS a variant of Unix (and so is Linux.) If so Is the Gui really the only difference?

jgmsys@yahoo.com
jgmsys@yahoo.com

I would probably stick with it.  In fact, I've already threatened to do so 100% when MS drops support of Windows 7, because 8 is a nightmare, and I don't see Windows improving after that piece of rubbish, regardless of the propaganda coming out of Redmond.  Though I would be a little disappointed if I couldn't have the choice of what to run.  For example, I really love Bodhi a lot.  It's really clean, and Enlightenment is a great interface.  I don't see upgrades to it often, though.  It seems as though they just stockpile updates into service packs and eventually release those.  But I  do like it better than Ubuntu Unity.  My previous de facto standard had been Fedora, but I don't know what the heck Red Hat is doing with Fedora, because lately, out of the box, Fedora is failing to properly support half of my hardware, and it's not like I'm running anything terribly exotic.  Linux Mint is OK, though I haven't played around a lot with it, but it seems pretty stable.  Bottom line is, I'd probably still like the choice, but if I had to have only one, I'd live with it.

0gb.us
0gb.us

Windows sucks. There's no denying it. And the end user license agreement makes it illegal to install OS X on non-Apple hardware. I initially planned to install OS X on my laptop, but when I found out that was illegal, I had to turn elsewhere. The first operating system I installed on the Laptop was Ubuntu with Unity. I had taken several days to decide what distribution to use, and Ubuntu seemed like a good one. After installing it, I found it wasn't really what I wanted, but I was ecstatic to not be stuck with Windows.

It was about a week later that I realized I wasn't bound to my initial choice, and I tried a few more distributions. I finally settled on Xubuntu, but my point is that if Ubuntu with Unity was the only available choice in GNU/Linux distributions, I'd manage to get along just fine.

wyattbiker
wyattbiker

I think you need to distinguish between server side and client side. Server side I would use any Linux.

I would never use any of the Linux desktops. They ate still rough and crude around the edges. My choice is Mac OS X for that. I just wish I could get it on cheap hardware. 

But the point is moot though. Everything is moving to mobile OSes. The desktops are dead. the touch screens are the future. And there I have no clue but I like Google's Android. 

Gisabun
Gisabun

A fractured Linux [while nice to have a choice] will always be a problem because of the lack of consistency between major distros when it comes to updating, drivers, etc. Take HP. They may release drivers for Ubuntu [or another major distro] but not others. At least with Windows & Macs there are some consistencies. Even then, trying to crawl above 1.25% OS market share is a tough job to do.

M Wagner
M Wagner

Like it or not, Linux would fare far better if their were only one distro from which to choose.  Linux is the favorite of "people like us" precisely because of the tremendous choice available to those who have a thorough understanding of the inner workings of Linux.  (Skills derived directly from UNIX.) 

The problem is that your typical computer user (and even most systems admins these days) does not understand the inner workings of UNIX. 

In short, the people you are trying to encourage to adopt Linux are confused by the level of choice, and are not prepared to learn why one distro might be superior to another. 

Personal choice is of value only if the person who is choosing understands why they might make one choice over another. 

IT Professionals (and academic researchers) often know why they choose a particular Linux distro over another, or even over Windows Server.  More often then not, those, these IT pros have are choosing their OS based upon the needs of the application they are running. 

Under these scenarios, we are not talking about desktop Linux though.  For the desktop, the vast majority of users need to do the following:

Word Processing, electronic spreadsheets, surfing the Web, e-mail/social media, playing games, manipulating photographs, listening to music, and watching videos. 

Thus, Windows (or MacOS X) offers this user a far wider choice than any single Linux distro is ever likely to offer.  Only if one or two strong Linux distros could distinguish themselves from the pack would there be a chance for Linux to make it's way onto the consumer desktop.

MrBackroomGuy
MrBackroomGuy

I need Linux to do things reliably and dependably.  I prefer Linux over Windows, but I have to support Windows for $$s.  Linux is 'real', Windows is 'marketing' (all about the money - suckering users for all they can get).  The version matters according to what you become accustomed to, are comfortable with, etc.  

The point is that Linux "works".  I use a couple of versions of Linux Mint maya, an Xubuntu laptop, and some BSD servers.  Windows users who don't also use some version of Linux are missing the real power and freedom of what the PC is about.

Robynsveil
Robynsveil

I find it interesting that those that feel there are "too many distros" and that there has to be one unified version/distro of Linux in order for "Linux to be successful" are usually those who just don't 'get' Linux at all anyway, and end up happily working in some other OS and spending money quite as happily.

Which suits me fine. I'm not craving Linux's "success on the desktop": it's already successful, for me (and millions others too, I'm sure). I don't care about whether it rises - visibly - to a position of prominence for end-users: it already has, actually, but stealthily, without fuss or fanfare. All this rubbish about "too many distros" completely misses the point about the whole spirit of Linux and open-source. As one poster wrote: the whole premise is irrelevant, and that is for a reason - a HUGE one - that Linux isn't about some corporation, it's about people, it's about the freedom to compute, and by its nature FOSS guarantees this freedom to at least some degree.

There is much to love about this OS in its current state. And even if for some bizarre reason alternate distros and desktops and whatever eventually dwindled into obscurity, as long as Linux remain truly OSS I'd be firmly staying with it.

Sagax-
Sagax-

MOOT QUESTION  OK assume there is only one.  Given the nature of the Linux Community, there will soon be more.

MTsyko
MTsyko

I would stay with Linux... it works!

lord_beavis
lord_beavis

While I usually enjoy Jacks articles, this one was such an absurd hypothetical question that all I could really take from it was that he didn't have anything good to write about.

dokhebi
dokhebi

If Unity on Ubuntu was the only Linux choice, then some one or some group of people would create a new Unix-like system made completely from open software.  Problem solved.

SeeSeeRockett
SeeSeeRockett

I would use Linux over the others even if the only distribution available had only one interface available that I liked the least of all the interfaces.  However, I would only do that if that distribution still allowed me to kill the X server or have the option to boot to console.

The reason I first started using Linux was that I learned that it had a similar file system structure and command line as Unix.  And I understand that Apple has these also, BUT can I kill X or Darwin (whichever it is called) or boot to console, and would I still be able to do normal things in console like install software?  Seriously, anybody know?  I would really like to buy one of those air laptops and learn to run it commando.

King George III
King George III

@markp24@optonline.net

The short answer to your questions are: yes (no). no.


The long answer is: GNU (and Linux) are not UNIX. The GNU project was set up as an alternative to UNIX due to the proprietary nature of UNIX and the desire for a free (as in speech) operating system. Linux was developed as a free kernel independently of the GNU project, but compatible too.

Meanwhile, BSD UNIX was developed (I think as 386 BSD, or something) and they wanted to release that open source. They ran into legal issues (again because of the proprietary nature of UNIX) and that project was stalled so that any copyright code could be removed and rewritten. Anyway, the resulting OS, like GNU and Linux is not UNIX either. The original BSD OS has since stopped being maintained, but derivatives (FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, etc) are distributions of that OS (although I don't think in the same sense of a Linux distribution)

At some point in time, Steve Jobs left Apple. In the mid-nineties Apple were a little worse for ware and decided that they wanted Jobs back. He had since set up another company called NeXT. Jobs agreed, and NeXT was acquired by Apple. Mac OS X is a sort of amalgamation of FreeBSD and NeXT.

Now, Mac OS X IS UNIX. This is down to the Single UNIX Specification (or SUS). This is basically a certification your OS can comply to to be classed as a UNIX. This costs money. Most Linux distributions, and BSD distributions do not want to pay for it. They would probably pass with flying colours, but it isn't worth it.

This has led some people to have 3 different classifications for what is UNIX:

1. It passes SUS

2. it is historically UNIX (like BSD)

3. It might as well be UNIX (like GNU/Linux distributions)

Hopefully this answers the first 2 questions. As for "Is the GUI the only difference", Mac OS and other Unix-like operating systems have a lot of differences. First, Mac OS doesn't use X11 or Wayland or Mir. It uses Quartz, which is proprietary. It doesn't use OSS, ALSA, PulseAudio or JACK. It uses CoreAudio, again proprietary. For its filesystem, it uses HFS+, as opposed to Ext2/3/4, Btrfs, xfs, etc. The packaging is different. Most linux distributions use software repositories that integrate software with your system. They require shared libraries and things like that. Most Mac OS packages are kept very separate from the rest of your system. Required libraries are stored with the package (so you don't need to find SDL if a game requires it. It is with the game already). There are lots of extras in Mac OS that you won't see in any other OS.

The Mac OS way is a very valid way, but I personally don't think it is worth the extra cost or effort. Building a PC and installing Linux to the same spec of a mac would cost significantly less than the Mac. A Hackintosh is an option, but I have only gotten bad results from trying it. 

DISCLAIMER: A lot of the above was written from memory. I could be very wrong, but I don't think I'm a million miles from the truth.

knuthf
knuthf

@0gb.us It is not only illegal to try to install MacOS on non-Mac hardware it will also fail. If you have two bicycle and mount them together, and automatic shift will not make it into a car.

knuthf
knuthf

@wyattbiker Well, if what you say is true, then Linux and MacOS is The Future. They both use the X11 window manager, and can easily adopt touch screens. What remains to be worked out is an X11 server on tablets, allowing this to use services anywhere on the net. And then the X11 servers on Mac and Linux have constraints removed to allow these to provide the services.

MacOS for a cheaper hardware in Linux Mint. This runs a kernel that is coded for the Windows hardware, and the same window manager as Mac (X11 with Xfce), and can be made to look identical to Mac. How the boarders look like, the buttons, the icons is not "technical" and is more or less the same code.

0gb.us
0gb.us

I thought GNU/Linux was unpolished before trying it too. And in some ways, I guess it is. But it's still easier to use than OS X in many ways. OS X has the beauty, but GNU/Linux has the functionality.


I think you're wrong about the desktop being dead. There are many things you can do on a desktop (such as gaming (good gaming, not those lame mobile games)) that can't be done well on a mobile. In addition, the larger keyboard and monitor make things easier. Mobiles are taking over a lot of the jobs once held by desktop computers such as email checking and social networking, but desktops are far from dead.

knuthf
knuthf

@Gisabun Please install Ubuntu or Linux Mint - and then comment out of knowledge and not hearsay. If a driver is updated for Ubuntu, it will be spread around to all the other distros. The problem is that "drivers" as in Windows is not used in Ubuntu, Linux or Mac. If you change a hardware interface it is because the old does not work, or functionality is expanded. You cannot change a disk interface, you cannot store bits in a new way. If a new disk comes with a novel proprietary extension, the new code will be tested and verified - and HP will have no say in the "approval". When it has been found reliable, it will be made available, and everyone with a disk that is suited will download the update. This is transparent to the user, who will be told that the update needs the user to reboot. In most Linux distributions, the kernel will link in and build based on the latest. Dependencies are maintained in a database and only those that are affected will be relinked.


Mac has a monolithic kernel, and changes to hardware and system libraries is something that Apple support has to make scripts for to ensure that all relevant components are updated with the change. Fine, as long as the number of configurations is controlled by Apple.


Windows has no such thing, and relies on a fleet of "Microsoft Certified Engineers" and "Consultants" to run a wizard that someone has to make that checks if the update applies, and that all components affected is upgraded. A number of vendors, such as HP has tried to make a tool like what is available on Linux. 
So with 1.25% of the marketshare, they are leading the pack and there is nothing for them to do, it has been done for them by an automatic system - a "super make".

grndzro7
grndzro7

@Gisabun  I agree, imagine if all the best talent from every distro got behind one. That would be enough to make MS shake in its boots.

Brainstorms
Brainstorms

@Gisabun 

They said the same thing when Mac's market share was being reported at 1.25%...

And yes, the public finds Windows 8, Windows 7, WinXP, Win98, et al all VERY consistent.  You read all time about remarks about how it's always more of the same.  (Maybe they'll remove the START button to liven things up... Naw, they're too consistent to do that.  :^)

knuthf
knuthf

@M Wagner Sorry Mr. Wagner - Linux beats MacOS, and the distribution that leads the "desktop" is Ubuntu and Linux Mint - this is the same, they differ in that Mint does not have "Unity" and looks miles better. But the rest is the same: so no neon and orange, proper looking buttons, proper icons and the background is not brown. But this what it looks like and not about technology - the code is the same, the pictures different.


Now install Linux Mint on an old Windows laptop, ShotWell for photo management and Cinnamon for music - and tell me what is missing. At the moment the professional audio and video editing software is developed on Linux, and the Ubuntu "repositories" is leading the pack by miles, and used by other distributions.

M Wagner
M Wagner

@MrBackroomGuy Just for the record, BSD is NOT Linux!  It is UNIX.  FreeBSD (which is probably what you meant) is AT&T-code-free but it is still UNIX and it is owned by the University of California @ Berkley.  All that you say about Linux is true but Linux is not accessible to those without your level of expertise.  Their option is limited to Windows or MacOS X (itself derived from Darwin - a derivative of FreeBSD). 

grndzro7
grndzro7

@Robynsveil No you are the one who dosen't understand. A single Distro dosen't have to be locked into what interface or what libraries it uses. Look at Mint. It has Cinnamon/KDE/Mate/LXDE. What needs to happen is all of Linux needs to unite behind one banner allowing all those people with individual tastes to program and use a single distro, with a single package system, and a single renderer.

The problem with Linux is getting support from AMD/Nvidia/Intel for graphics. From their POV Linux is too splintered from a support perspective. 

Linux needs standards above and beyond what it currently has to be successful.And those standards will never be developed in the fractured environment it currently has.

0gb.us
0gb.us

The main reason I want GNU/Linux to gain popularity is for better application support. Application support is an advantage that goes to the most popular operating system. For that advantage to go to an insecure, resource-hungry, unintuitive system such as Windows doesn't seem right.

M Wagner
M Wagner

@Robynsveil Linux IS successful today - in certain markets for certain applications (mostly involved with academic research or in commercial servers).  That said, desktop Linux still represents less than 1.5% of the world-wide market.  That is not likely to change unless some vendor decides to put a lot of development effort into making the Linux desktop consumer-friendly. 

rindi1
rindi1

@Sagax-

I agree completely. The very nature of being opensource would have you end up with a multitude of distro's. So in the end you would have the choice.

0gb.us
0gb.us

Good point. It would be what already happened (and is still happening) all over again.

knuthf
knuthf

@MTsyko I am skilled enough to get Mac to coexist with Linux Mint. The odd component is the Windows laptops that now and then visits. MS Office is better on Wine and I cannot understand how Apple believed in a product like Pages can be used for anything. 

M Wagner
M Wagner

@dokhebi Well, that is exactly WHY there are so many distros!  More choice also means more confusion.  The GPL guarantees the Linux will always be fluid, and will never be accessible to consumers without the "special knowledge" not possessed by most consumers.

knuthf
knuthf

@SeeSeeRockett yes - you can. It runs X11/Xfce - but here Apple has done exemplary job in getting the user interface to look great and consistent. They have also cleaned up, and everyone familiar with Unix / Linux will be at home quickly. The software distribution differs, because every application can provide their own libraries and will link to these. They have in this way eliminated software inconsistency - the only dependency that exist is the interface to the OS and its standard components.
You will also find that Apple has just pinched most of the "utilities" - including "Settings".

There is no menu, only a special interface to the system folder /Applications.

knuthf
knuthf

@King George III @markp24 MacOS use the Mach kernel from NeXT which gives the file system. On top of this is Unix BSD, which is POSIX, the same specifications that Linux complies with. The graphical interface is X11 for both, a variant of the Xfce for Mac. Sound is not a part of X11. With the window manager, you are free to define boarders, buttons and the graphical look and feel Here Apple has done a lot of work: it looks much better, just consider the icons. But this is artwork - aesthetics. It is not related to the technology.


The file system is different with /Application folders /Library and /User - everything else is the same. So configuration scripts on MacOS can be lifted off Linux and run with no or just tiny changes. MacOS use open software utility - look at "System Settings" and the "Disk Utility".


There are two big projects to create a Linux context of libraries that allows Linux applications to be ported easily, and link up to these "standard" components (e.g. "Homebrew"). If one of these succeed then Linux Mint and the Ubuntu suite of applications will be available on Mac. Apple is contributing, they also use the Qt development tools.

capnslipp
capnslipp

@King George III @markp24 

I concur— you've given the rundown of OS X's lineage accurately and concisely.  I'd argue that OS X is more than just its components that can be compared across OSes (window manager, FS, etc.) — a big part of the end user experience and workflow capability is because of Objective-C/Cocoa, which really everything that doesn't need heavy optimization is written in (in which case, C and C++ are most common), and along with Quartz and CoreAudio: CoreImage, CoreVideo, CoreData, Grand Central Dispatch, and handfuls of other combo-library-services.  But I digress.

0gb.us
0gb.us

I hear they're adding back the start button, but not the start menu. The start button will flip the page to Metro. That aught to confuse some people.

knuthf
knuthf

@M Wagner @MrBackroomGuy MacOS is Unix system V with the Mach kernel. This is fully POSIX compliant, so everything in Linux (which is another implementation of POSIX) can be compiled and run on MacOS. AT&T owns the name "Unix", and Apple has been denied to use this, and they do not use it. That is the mystical difference: the name. Anyone capable to code on iOS can do the same on any Linux distribution. 

Windows is in a world of its own, it is very different, it is very simplistic and is difficult to use in complex projects. It is not just apples and oranges, fowl or fish more like driving a car versus flying a plane. Windows lack a important parts, there are things that just cannot be done on Windows that is plain vanilla on Mac (iOS) and Linux including Android and Chrome.  

Brainstorms
Brainstorms

@M Wagner

"Just for the record", enjoying the "reliable and dependable" features of Linux does NOT require this mystical made-up "special knowledge" you refer to.  When a Linux system "simply works", which "special knowledge" is required to use it?  Please, really, enlighten us.  We're waiting...

Desktop Linux is easy to use and does not require special expertise.  GET OVER IT.

knuthf
knuthf

@M Wagner @Robynsveil There are other distributions than Ubuntu, M Wagner. Count in Android, another Linux distro that runs the same kernel, but not the X11. Wake up, with this, Linux soon dominates the desktop market just as Windows did some years ago.

Google runs Ubuntu as their OS - what bigger hotshot do you need to put "their weight" behind it?

Brainstorms
Brainstorms

@M Wagner

Hey Rip Van Winkle, wake up, it's 2013.  Desktop Linux is now easy to use and is consumer-friendly.  Point and click.  No command line.  Just like Windows and Mac.  Wake up!  Wake up!

Brainstorms
Brainstorms

@M Wagner

Non sequitur; it does not follow.  Just because a group can spin up a new distro of Linux (i.e., provide their idea of what applications to install by default, which window manager & desktop environment to install by default, and which package manager to base its distribution on, etc.) does NOT mean that there will never be a Linux distro that is stable and accessible to consumers without this "special knowledge"...

If your assertion were true, I (and many others) likely would never have adopted Linux myself.  And the "special knowledge" thing applies equally to Windows (and Mac): Microsoft invests a lot of effort in consciously denying and violating standards to create lock-in situations -- all of which create the need for "special knowledge" to use and maintain a Windows system.  Much of which is not possessed by most consumers.  And you can add "and which is not possessed by a number of competent systems administrators, either".

0gb.us
0gb.us

GNU/Linux (if you get the right distribution) is far more intuitive to use than Windows. If anything, I'd say Windows is the one that requires special knowledge to use.

knuthf
knuthf

@Brainstorms Amen - hear, hear. Well said.

Then on my account: Had banks and engineering companies known the security issues created by the non-standard system, the tine difference, there would never have been using Windows. They pay "security experts" educated by the "Security for Dummies" - freely available for download. There are reasons for going from version 4.2 to 4.3, rejecting XNS - all of this is thoroughly documented, but of course, you must be literate and in search for knowledge - not live safely in what you believe in. That is theology, and I practice that in prayers. I believe in a deity - not in Windows and know that my prayers will not stop viruses from infecting our computers.

0gb.us
0gb.us

Ugh, I hate broken standards. What's the point of having standards if you're just going to break them? I guess that makes Microsoft a sub-standard software company.

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