Community-based distributions as the answer
Posted Mar 1, 2006 1:43 UTC (Wed) by freeio
In reply to: Forward looking
Parent article: Linux fragmenting at last?
"True, there's always community-based distros to counter-balance corporate distributions; but they are an even bigger reason to participate and not let them languish."
Free software prospered even before there was commercial support. The well-known commercial distributions have helped various parts of the development along, to meet their own commercial needs, but it is indeed well to remember that even if the major vendors dropped all support today, that free software in general, and linux in particular would continue to develop.
So, yes, my most recent installs have been using the traditional community-based distribution (debian) not only for philosophical reasons, but because none of the high-dollar distributions support the Sun U5 hardware I run, while debian does. That profit-motive makes it not worth their time to support anything but the potentially high-volume architectures, and so the last version of Red Hat which supported Sun 5U was 6.2, and the last version of SuSE which supported Sun 5U was 7.3.
If we use only the few commercial distributions, then we are well on our way to lock-in and monoculture. Free/libre software development not only does not require that outcome, but provides the means to avoid it. That is not the feared fragmentation, but rather the healthy operation of a free software ecology.
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