Too many editions?

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Re: Too many editions?

Postby argon99 on Fri Dec 20, 2013 2:41 am

All this complaining by linux noobs is entertaining. They don't know the history. Many years ago someone at RedHat had the same idea and came up with Bluecrap. Oh sorry it was blue curve. Well it was a total flop. Now there are a bunch of noobs that want to do it again.

There are not to many editions there are to many fools that refuse to learn. Maybe we should just have a pure windows interface so the fools don't feel left out.
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Re: Too many editions?

Postby Fuzzy Penquin on Sat Feb 08, 2014 4:19 pm

I am a linux noob who has just completed my first year with linux, and I will tell you that without a doubt there can *never* be too many choices for distro or desktop environment. I have a completely different distro and desktop environment on each of my computers and laptops, with the exact choice made according to the computer's hardware specs. If I had only one choice available to me, each computer would not be able to perform at its best, if at all. For example, let's take Windows. It's a well-known one size fits all OS. If I put Win7 on my high end gaming computer (Core i7 3770k quad-core @ 3.5ghz, 16gb ram, GTX 770 w/4gb ram), it will run very well and very fast. There would be no performance complaints. BUT, if I put Win7 on my oldest laptop (pentium 3 single-core @ 800mhz, 120mb ram, weak integrated graphics chip) it would choke. In fact it would not even be able to boot, because the minimum amount of ram *required* by Windows7 is 1gb for 32-bit. So how is a one-size fits all a good idea if it would render my oldest laptop unusable? One size does NOT fit all.

Now let's look at the user interface (desktop environment). Assuming the base OS below it is the same, let's compare XFCE and Cinnamon. Cinnamon has fancy features, requires video acceleration capability, and uses more system resources to perform than the more spartan and simple XFCE. So putting Cinnamon onto my oldest laptop would choke it too. It simply doesn't have the computing power to deal with Cinnamon's needs in addition to whatever I'm doing. XFCE performs very well on my oldest laptop, however, but would be boring on my gaming computer. So again, how is a one-size fits all user interface (desktop environment) a good thing? It would either choke an ancient laptop with it's fancy features or bore a user who has the hardware to run a fancier interface. Again, bad idea.

Variety is a *good* thing. I did my research a year ago to find out what was was, and learned what I needed to know. I wasn't confused by my options (it's like car shopping), especially after a little reading. I found that the Slackware-based version of Puppy Linux runs very well on my oldest laptop because of the nature of both Slackware and it's offshoot Slacko Puppy, and the included user interface. Meanwhile, my high end desktop runs Mint 64-bit w/Cinnamon desktop environment (user interface). If not for all the available distro (OS) choices and desktop environments (user interface), I'd have had to throw away a perfectly functional (just old) laptop. Windows with its one-size fits all nature makes it mandatory that you throw away perfectly good computers after only a few years because of increased ram needs and CPU speed requirements by Windows itself. Linux allows you to keep the same computer in use for much longer because of all your choices. Mix and match your linux parts to perfectly meet the needs of your hardware. Why would this be a bad thing?
Intel i7-3770k 3.5GHz, 16GB 1600MHz RAM, 3x 1TB HDD, MSI Z77A-G45 Thunderbolt motherboard, (MSI) Nvidia GeForce GTX770, Mint 17 64-bit w/Cinnamon.

I am a n00b! Please assume zero knowledge on my part. Sorry for any dumb questions, I am still learning.
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Re: Too many editions?

Postby konjad on Thu Feb 27, 2014 4:25 am

If you want to have just one option, without choices, because it leads to one, but fully fleshed out, optimized and comfortable system, as you put it, then you have Windows and - if you want unix - MacOS.

If you don't find them perfect, then perhaps your idea is flawed?
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Re: Too many editions?

Postby rogerthat1945 on Sun May 25, 2014 10:40 pm

Mackjack wrote:
Jix wrote:I know Linux is about choice, but is it possible that it has too many editions? KDE, Gnome, Unity, Xfce, Debian, Cinnamon, MATE. etc. Is it feasible to hope the communities could pool their resources and create one super-polished environment? I think together Linux has more developers and talent than Windows and tablets but it's just so fragmented. I don't know, maybe I don't have the big picture and the fragmentation is actually a good thing... but so far there's no ideal distro for me. Each one has shortcomings.


Thats quite true that Its not just about a choice, its also about having a choice: so too many versions available, users cannot decide which to try.


I agree; as it took me four years to actually fully install a version where I felt that I could use it.

It might be easier for a set of CATEGORIES for NOOBS to get into .
1) Office orientated. (700Mb)
2) Graphics Orientated. (700Mb)
3) Film Orientated. (2Gb?)
4) Game Orientated. (2Gb?)
5) International Version (with ALL Eurasian language packs pre-installed [and office etc]) (2Gb?)
6) EVERYTHING Orientated 4.7Gb install?

7) Developer orientated already know what they are doing.

Maybe (in future) with subsections of;

A) Desktop PC High-end laptop suited.
B) Midrange Laptop, Older PC suited.
C) Tablet orientated.

P.S.
It takes some people over three years to figure out what all the new words they see with Linux means.
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Re: Too many editions?

Postby hatsoff on Thu May 29, 2014 10:03 am

I have some thoughts on this.

Pretty much all the respondents seem to agree that, in answer to the OP, yes it is good that there are lots of different editions/distros. (I think he meant linux distros, but what follows applies just as well to the varying editions of Linux Mint.) Lots of people really like certain niche distros, and lots of people really dislike certain popular distros. For example, suppose Ubuntu was the distro that got the pool. Well, it so happens that I can't stand Unity. If I didn't have choices, I'd be stuck with it, and that would make be very unhappy. I don't know what you like/dislike, but odds are you'd be stuck with something you didn't like, too.

But, there is a related question which has been mentioned above: Does the large number of distro choices overwhelm the linux newbie and scare away potential linux converts? To this, I think the answer is, obviously, yes. But the solution to this problem isn't cutting down on the number of different distros. Instead, I think it would be great if the linux community in general could agree to a small batch of distros which is an appropriate starting point for a newbie. And, to a great extent, they have! In particular, it seems to be generally-agreed that if you just want a simple replacement for Windows/Mac---something you can drop in and be done with, sans any tinkering or exploring---then you should either use Linux Mint or Ubuntu. Which edition? Well, in the case of Ubuntu there is a "main" edition with Unity, and that's the one the download page directs you to get. With Linux Mint there is no main edition, so it's slightly more confusing. But, it doesn't take much Googling to realize that Cinnamon is the most popular one. So, for linux newbies, these two editions stand out as obvious choices above the others.

IMO, it would be nice to see MORE agreement from the linux community in recommending these two editions to linux newbies. If anyone ever asks, "Hey, I'm new to linux. Which distro should I choose?" then it would be great if everyone unanimously responded by saying "Go install either the regular Ubuntu or Linux Mint Cinnamon." This, in my opinion, would greatly reduce the anxiety of linux newbies, and attract more linux converts.

In contrast, I think it is a VERY BAD idea to respond by saying "just try out different distros and see which one you like best." Most people---including me!---don't want to spend a bunch of time testing out distro after distro. Instead, they want that testing to already be done by others. If a newbie wanted to test out the different choices himself, he wouldn't be asking other people which distro to install! To hear people tell you that you have to go spend a bunch of time tinkering with different editions before you can find the one that's right for you is liable to make you want to stay away from the whole scene.

Anyway, that's my opinion.
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Re: Too many editions?

Postby xenopeek on Thu May 29, 2014 10:41 am

hatsoff wrote: I think it is a VERY BAD idea to respond by saying "just try out different distros and see which one you like best." Most people---including me!---don't want to spend a bunch of time testing out distro after distro. Instead, they want that testing to already be done by others.

How do you buy a car? It's the same for Linux distros and editions. Either you go by the opinion from somebody you trust to understand your needs and be somewhat of an expert in the field, or you read some reviews online, or you buy a magazine with reviews, or you just look at the few most popular ones, or you try out a few on your own. Or a mix of those :wink:

The testing of distros and editions is already done by others; there are user reviews and videos, there are magazines (both free and paid) with reviews, there are websites ranking the currently most popular distros and editions, and so on.

I get that it takes a little effort, but so does buying a car. Perhaps I'm missing the point.
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Re: Too many editions?

Postby hatsoff on Fri May 30, 2014 9:02 am

xenopeek wrote:
hatsoff wrote: I think it is a VERY BAD idea to respond by saying "just try out different distros and see which one you like best." Most people---including me!---don't want to spend a bunch of time testing out distro after distro. Instead, they want that testing to already be done by others.

How do you buy a car? It's the same for Linux distros and editions. Either you go by the opinion from somebody you trust to understand your needs and be somewhat of an expert in the field, or you read some reviews online, or you buy a magazine with reviews, or you just look at the few most popular ones, or you try out a few on your own. Or a mix of those :wink:

The testing of distros and editions is already done by others; there are user reviews and videos, there are magazines (both free and paid) with reviews, there are websites ranking the currently most popular distros and editions, and so on.

I get that it takes a little effort, but so does buying a car. Perhaps I'm missing the point.


Sure, cars are a counter-example to what I am discussing. It is not the only one. For instance, many of us like to try on different clothes before we decide to buy what we wear. But, I view these cases as exceptional, and not the rule. Ideally, we don't want to expend that time and effort in trying out different products until we find the right one. It is much better when the choice is obvious.

With Windows and Mac, the choice is obvious, if it exists at all. Most computers come with the OS pre-installed. And, if you want to buy the OS separately, for Windows you just decide whether you want the regular edition or the "Pro" edition. (Not sure what if any choice you have for Mac, but surely it is similar to the Windows scenario.)

Don't get me wrong, I think it's great that we have choices, and I wouldn't want it any other way! I'm only pointing out that a lot of people care more about convenience than they do choice. And, it's hard to blame them. When I was younger, I used to have a lot of fun tinkering around with different flavors of linux, but now that I'm a bit older I just want something that works. Luckily for me, I've already done a lot of trying-out, and so I have some idea of what to expect from the different distros/editions. But even in my case, when Mint 17 comes out, I don't want to have to try out cinnamon versus mate and compare for myself. Instead, I want to be able to know in advance which will be best for me, and choose accordingly. (I will probably choose mate because that's what I've been using for the past two years, and so it should be more familiar and easier for me to use.)

If I need to switch to cinnamon, or god help me to something like ubuntu/kubuntu, so be it, but it is my sincerest hope that my first choice will be a good fit, so I don't have to spend time installing something else!

Linux is great for customizing to consumer needs. But what if what the consumer needs most is convenience? All I'm saying is, let's not forget those people. They are very many.
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Re: Too many editions?

Postby xenopeek on Fri May 30, 2014 9:39 am

hatsoff wrote:But even in my case, when Mint 17 comes out, I don't want to have to try out cinnamon versus mate and compare for myself. Instead, I want to be able to know in advance which will be best for me, and choose accordingly.

How do you propose that could be achieved? How would you know what is best for you, without test driving a car or trying clothes on? How can somebody else--that has no information about you or dialog with you--know what is best for you? There isn't a single Linux distro + desktop environment combo that is "convenient" for everybody.

I get where you're coming from, I just don't see how you mean to achieve this without putting everybody in a straitjacket and force-feeding them a Linux distro + desktop environment combo. I think that way would quickly turn a lot of people from Linux, as trying to get somebody for whom Ubuntu with Unity would be the best match to use instead Slackware with i3, or vice versa, is not going to give them a good experience with Linux.
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Re: Too many editions?

Postby Neil Edmond on Fri May 30, 2014 11:59 am

Let's look a little closer at the car buying analogy...

Choosing an automobile and choosing an OS for your computer is not really the same thing. A closer comparison would be choosing an auto and choosing a computer. The whole package in each case.

Now most folks understand choosing a car based on needs. Large family, single person, cargo capacity, etc. same with a computer; screen size, screen resolution (for some, other won't know the difference), desktop or laptop, or tablet... different machines for different reasons.

But, most people don't even think about which engine is in the car they choose. They just know it will have one and that's what makes the car go. Same with the computer...most don't care what OS comes with their new computer, as long as it allows them to do the tasks they are buying the machine for.

Of course there as automobile enthusiasts who will choose the car they buy based on the engine because that is what they are looking for...the most performance out of the engine. A few will even install their own engine, just as a very few of us will install our own OS on an old computer. But we are a very small minority of computer users.

Some enthusiasts will even build their own engine and car (Hot Rod), just as some of use will assemble our own computers from individual parts and either install our choice of OS, or even build our OS (Linux from Scratch for example) or buy installing a Debian or Ubuntu (or other) base or net-install and build what we want from there. But that is a extremely small percentage of the automobile using public, or the computer using public. However, the public will come to us enthusiasts for advice about what to look for when buying a car/computer, but they don't expect us to tell them the best thing for them to do is build their own, even if that is the way to get the best performance for their money.

Still, as xenopeek brings up, we must be personally acquainted with the individual to whom we give advice. How else would we know what they need? So to hatsoff...tell us about yourself, what you like and don't like, favorite color, interests in (music?, movies?, books?,etc., and on and on, what you want, what you will do with your computer (in great detail, don't leave anything out).

Otherwise, it's like going into an ice cream shop that offers 51 flavors, and walking up to the counter and telling the clerk "I've never eaten any flavor other than vanilla...now I want to try something different, but you have too many flavors to choose from...which one will I like the best?" How will the clerk know which one to recommend?
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Re: Too many editions?

Postby monkeyboy on Fri May 30, 2014 3:34 pm

hatsoff wrote:
xenopeek wrote:
hatsoff wrote: I think it is a VERY BAD idea to respond by saying "just try out different distros and see which one you like best." Most people---including me!---don't want to spend a bunch of time testing out distro after distro. Instead, they want that testing to already be done by others.

How do you buy a car? It's the same for Linux distros and editions. Either you go by the opinion from somebody you trust to understand your needs and be somewhat of an expert in the field, or you read some reviews online, or you buy a magazine with reviews, or you just look at the few most popular ones, or you try out a few on your own. Or a mix of those :wink:

The testing of distros and editions is already done by others; there are user reviews and videos, there are magazines (both free and paid) with reviews, there are websites ranking the currently most popular distros and editions, and so on.

I get that it takes a little effort, but so does buying a car. Perhaps I'm missing the point.


Sure, cars are a counter-example to what I am discussing. It is not the only one. For instance, many of us like to try on different clothes before we decide to buy what we wear. But, I view these cases as exceptional, and not the rule. Ideally, we don't want to expend that time and effort in trying out different products until we find the right one. It is much better when the choice is obvious.

With Windows and Mac, the choice is obvious, if it exists at all. Most computers come with the OS pre-installed. And, if you want to buy the OS separately, for Windows you just decide whether you want the regular edition or the "Pro" edition. (Not sure what if any choice you have for Mac, but surely it is similar to the Windows scenario.)

Don't get me wrong, I think it's great that we have choices, and I wouldn't want it any other way! I'm only pointing out that a lot of people care more about convenience than they do choice. And, it's hard to blame them. When I was younger, I used to have a lot of fun tinkering around with different flavors of linux, but now that I'm a bit older I just want something that works. Luckily for me, I've already done a lot of trying-out, and so I have some idea of what to expect from the different distros/editions. But even in my case, when Mint 17 comes out, I don't want to have to try out cinnamon versus mate and compare for myself. Instead, I want to be able to know in advance which will be best for me, and choose accordingly. (I will probably choose mate because that's what I've been using for the past two years, and so it should be more familiar and easier for me to use.)

If I need to switch to cinnamon, or god help me to something like ubuntu/kubuntu, so be it, but it is my sincerest hope that my first choice will be a good fit, so I don't have to spend time installing something else!

Linux is great for customizing to consumer needs. But what if what the consumer needs most is convenience? All I'm saying is, let's not forget those people. They are very many.


If a distribution doesn’t work for me then I have hundreds of other choices to consider. If I can't or won't make those choices because its not convenient then that is on me, not the people who provided the choices. I also suspect that developers will not wake up tomorrow and shift their focus to convenience. Enjoy
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Re: Too many editions?

Postby clfarron4 on Sun Jun 01, 2014 7:49 am

Just wait until the MATE GTK3 port is finished, declared operational and fit for everyday use. Then a shift to having a Cinnamon and MATE edition together on the same LiveCD might actually become a reality.

This bits of MATE that have successfully been ported over to GTK3 (terminal, atril and a few other bits) work pretty damn well with Cinnamon, and I guess it wouldn't be too hard to change the defaults over from GNOME programs to MATE programs..
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Re: Too many editions?

Postby jsalpha2 on Sun Jun 01, 2014 8:26 am

I know Linux is about choice, but is it possible that it has too many wallpapers available? Are there to many music players available? Are there to many browsers available?
On a more serious note, it does take some time to decide what you like best. I personally like reading Linux forums and trying different distros. If you don't, then find a friend who is a Linux user and try whatever they are using. Or check your city for a Linux User Group and go to the meeting. Unfortunately these seem to be less popular than they used to be. There seems to be two major Linux factions. The first wants new users and comes ready to use out of the box. Mint, SolydXK, Manjaro, Korora, and Sabayon all come to mind (there are many others). The second group brags about only having totally free components; they don't include Adobe Flash, Firefox, or some of the drivers you may need by default. They can be spotted easily enough, I won't mention any names; hint if you see a browser called IceWeasel run. I am speaking only for myself, once you have the basics down trying other distros can be fun. If you have always driven a Ford and your neighbor has a Chevy, you will still be able to drive it.
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Re: Too many editions?

Postby rogerthat1945 on Sun Jun 15, 2014 8:55 pm

argon99 wrote:All this complaining by linux noobs is entertaining. They don't know the history. Many years ago someone at RedHat had the same idea and came up with Bluecrap. Oh sorry it was blue curve. Well it was a total flop. Now there are a bunch of noobs that want to do it again.

There are not to many editions there are to many fools that refuse to learn. Maybe we should just have a pure windows interface so the fools don't feel left out.


Some people are too dumb and waste-retentive to realise why Microsoft and Apple were such a success for such a long time.

I guess that they feel that they have to prove the have a mental illness by faux-lording it over Linux Noobs by pretending they know it all about how to increase market share for Linux by demeaning new users with appropriate and/or eminently sensible suggestions.
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