Yeah, but more simply...

Story: Should Hardware OEM's Be Picking Linux Distribution Winners ?Total Replies: 6
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Oct 10, 2004
6:50 AM EDT
This over-long article makes a valid point...

...standards-compliant hardware bundled with install CD's offering several distros would please both the "just work" newbies and the "choice first" crowd...

... however this relies on the willingness of hardware vendors and distro-makers to co-operate... more simply... 1. select one or two cheap, standard-complying, widely-available systems (in Europe we don't have walmart!!!) 2. start a competition among different geek groups to come up with optimized versions of their favourite distros optimized for those machines... 3. post the ISO images on the net or sell the CD bundles

... well just my 2c


Oct 10, 2004
9:57 AM EDT
Unfortunately we do not live in an ideal world. Wherever we want to be we have to start from here. We are beginning to see vendors offering LOTD. For some of us, we'd like to see more choice. Let's not throw away the destination because we don't like the length of the journey,

However much I don't want non-free software, unfortunately I don't have a boutique hardware fab and I'm clean out of LCD screens. So I've got to mingle with vendors.

Progress is all around us. Welcome these vendors, discuss, support, develop, encourage.

Free software has an important socio-economic role in a modern society. The more we get of it the more we thrive.

Anything that isn't in the wrong direction is in the right direction - sometimes it is necessary to go sideways to go forward. And when ASDA (cf Walmart) set up a Linux shop - we know where to go to buy our hardware.

And if it's the wrong distro for you - then you know what to do - swap it out , modify it, get hold of linuxfromscratch - but for others in society, without the skills, confidence or inclination - let them learn through osmosis the value of free software


Oct 10, 2004
3:59 PM EDT
If I had to choose sides, I think gavgav is nearer to the reality we face.

Moreover, some of the paranoia I see regarding RedHat's determination to be the next MS is a fear that is misplaced. Sometimes we have to take what we get e.g., the addition of Novell and its ownership of SUSE, however, even with Novell's grand plans and some very talented personnel they seem to be having problems executing in-house.

If this becomes a real issue, try to sway the argument with your cash and speaking to those that make the purchasing decisions. At the moment Linux of whatever distribution in a growing fraction in the server world, but not the primary player. I think we still have time to just observe.

Oct 11, 2004
6:41 AM EDT
Horrible idea. Pre-install disks are not only a lock-in to one distribution, but they are pretty much a lock-in to one version of the distribution as well as one specific machine. I have never in my life heard of a regularly updated pre-install disk. They are a one time offer only. To give people the choice Free Software extolls, hardware vendors must realize they are in the business of selling volumes of hardware. The best way to do that is making sure that a particular piece of equipment is broadly supported. One way to do that is making sure there is a good driver for the major platforms.

If hardware vendors would make hardware in way that they could release the interfacing specifications without going out of business, every piece of hardware could be equally well supported on closed and open systems. The reason for pre-install disks is the appalling lack of high quality general drivers for hardware. Therefore the customized distros seem to shine.

In reality the pre-install disks are better, just because they got the drivers everybody needs, but didn't get. If the IT industry would stop balkanizing the scene and start competing on service, quality and support, these driver shenanigans would not even exist.

If a good driver exists, this driver should be available to all. Artificial scarcity games for short term gain, does a disservice to everyone.

Oct 11, 2004
12:58 PM EDT
r_a_trip: You speak as if there is a giant market out there demanding Linux. I think that does not conform with reality. For example, just consider the case of my son: he has had Mandrake loaded twice and reverted to XP because he likes the mostly ease of use and gaming on Windows. This summer he loaded a TiVo like player that is beyond anything available on Windows and seemed finally won over. Nonetheless, by the end of the summer he was back on XP and using IE.

Let me point out to you, that he loaded FireFox on my machine in an early version and was quite impressed - I stayed with Mozilla until just recently I took on FF 0.9.3 [and against my will moved to 1.0 PR due to the security issues]. He does not like the look of FF and complains about the speed seeming to ignore IE is loaded with the OS.

Let's just get many people using Linux as their default machine, they can later be taught about the options and how easy it is to wipe the system and chose a distribution more to their liking.

Oct 12, 2004
10:08 AM EDT
Well, the pre-install idea still is bad. If GNU/Linux moves from general purpose distribution, to highly specialised, machine-bound distributions, GNU/Linux will even be more restrictive than Windows.

Tying a distribution to some particular configuration of a generic x86 box is suicide. The pre-install idea is THE way old-think companies can shoehorn GNU/Linux in a proprietary fashion.

Just make a wipe and install disk that is tied to one kind of configuration, with very delicate optimizations and you'll see the popularity of "normal" GNU/Linux fade very rapidly. The crowd that does not want to think for themselves will accept these crippled distributions as the means to operate their "throw away" computers (you know, buy a machine every 3 years).

It would mean the end of the stock kernel, because it cannot survive a myriad of forked (but still GPLed and available) kernels. If every commercial prebuild computer has it's own distro it will be impossible to merge a stock kernel from it.

GNU/Linux is not a force product either. If your son, TxtEdMacs, does not like GNU/Linux and he is comfortable with Windows, why do you want him to use GNU/Linux anyways? Choice, which a pre-install culture would destroy, is the lifeblood of GNU/Linux. Forcing everyone to use it is suicide too, because people would come to hate the force politics behind such a scheme. Let people use what they want, without silly world domination schemes.

Oct 12, 2004
1:53 PM EDT
Suffice it say: one does not force my son to do anything. Entice maybe.

I think you set too high a standard on OEM's requiring they must provide complete choice. If the market were that sophisticated they could just as well buy a bare system and experiment themselves.

Would you invest in such a venture (with your cash) if the manufacturer (assembler) were required to provide a modicum of support on each version installed on the machine? Neither Dell nor HP feels they can meet such standards, then why should a white box assembler expected to succeed with less capital?

While diverging kernels may be a problem, LSB is the better approach.

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