LSB Not Enough
Posted Sep 9, 2004 18:49 UTC (Thu) by doodaddy
Parent article: Bruce Perens: the Linux colonel talks (vnunet)
I just wanted to take this opportunity to say that I think Mr. Perens is on the right track. Despite what I hear to the contrary, I think a "main" linux distribution and a "main" desktop are extremely important for major linux acceptance. Just like Mr. Perens points out that support contracts for various fringe markets is good, I think tweaks off the main code and desktop branches would be the best way for some companies to provide competitive advantage.
When Turbo Tax finally writes a Linux version, they aren't going to create both Gnome and KDE versions so that they can get cool drag and drop and system tray icons. And they aren't going to create Red Hat and SUSE RPMs and Debian packages. (And if this problem has already cleared up then, see, I try to follow the events and, if I can't keep up, then corps aren't going to either.)
I just joined a company who is *losing* Unix support even though they started on Unix 20 years ago. They are down to Sun and Windows. Last year, they wrote their first Windows-only component using COM. You would think they would rejoice at Linux after all these years of maintaining the Unix branch. There is a bigger trend towards Windows now than most imagine. Old Unix shops are trying to be late adopters but Windows-trained young-uns are showing up and getting their way, I guess. Government contracts are demanding Windows now.
When I asked when they were going to do a Linux port, the cavalier answer was that they wouldn't be able to decide which distribution their vendors would use. Ouch. But true.
So to the point of my post, LSB isn't satisfying enough for me. The temptation for Red Hat or SUSE to lock-in customers as much as possible is too great. Shops don't want to keep different RPMs for different dists. And don't pretend that competition like Gnome vs KDE is all good. This is the wrong kind of competition and it just throws off the users and developers and doubles the efforts required even for Open Source.
I think a "main" distribution and a "main" desktop are very important, and I have high hopes for UserLinux.
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