A fork is not a bad thing

It has happened again, so I have to wonder again: What’s the reason for a sudden, vitriolic knee-jerk reaction to the idea of someone forking a distro?

After all, you have a slightly different idea of where a distribution should go. You have a plan, a goal, a mission statement and your own favorite wallpaper. What more do you need than that, plus a little ambition, to set yourself up as supreme dictator for life?

I understand brand loyalty, if that’s the reason for the reaction. After all, some people would have every Ubuntu variant ever concocted permanently erased, or at least merged into one megadistro available on a series of six DVDs. But just about every brand out there comes with a clause that says if you want, you can adjust and redistribute it, free of hassle, free of charge and free of obligation. So it’s not like it’s some big surprise that someone actually follows through on that.

Or maybe it’s an inability to see a distro’s shortcomings. I can understand that, if you think your preferred version is all that and a bag of chips. It’s an unfortunate situation, but not a difficult one to understand: Brand X does everything you ever wanted, so it must be perfect for everyone else too, right?

If I had the guts, I would threaten to rerelease just about every distro out there, and effectively double the number of available options, just to annoy the people who are already annoyed by the software buffet before them. And all I would do is tweak the default wallpaper. Oh, if only I had the guts. And the time.

But I won’t dwell on this any longer. I’ve discussed it in the past; splitting off someone’s work and dedicating your time to it does no more harm than take your time away from you. It’s educational, it’s free (short of bandwidth and hosting, I guess) and you’re allowed to, for goodness sake.

So don’t be shocked or rude when it happens. Everybody has to start somewhere, and nobody benefits from that kind of negativity. Be kind to one another. …

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5 Responses to “A fork is not a bad thing”


  1. 1 JoshMiller 2010/03/09 at 12:03 AM

    You should rerelease Ubuntu with just different Wallpaper and color schemes.

    Ubuntu Red Waterfall Edition
    Ubuntu Blue Clouds Edition

    etc.

    You could even do a Red Cloud and a blue cloud, just for more options.

    On a related note, the default Ubuntu Color cheme has to be one of the ugliest colored UIs ever. Fedora looks the same style wise initially but it’s Blue looks SO much nicer. Also I like the green of Mint.

  2. 3 CorkyAgain 2010/03/09 at 4:03 AM

    Off-topic, but Phoronix just released some test results that might interest the author and readers of this blog:

    http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=linux_desktop_vitals&num=1

    KDE4.4 is a memory hog. But we knew that…

  3. 4 Forever Archer 2010/03/21 at 5:53 AM

    Freedom of choice gives you the “choice” of chosing what you want/need. But some “devs” are splitting projects and nesting new “distros”, just for fun or just to be called a “founder”/project’s leader, without bringing something new and ussefull.
    But, on the other hand, (unnecessary) splitting projects, the dev community of the original one gets smaller, the new community is small and has small chances of surviving and growing .
    We shall not forget history! romans had a great battle technic :
    “devide et impera” – devide and conquer. Sadlly, now, this is an “inside” job.


  1. 1 Links 9/3/2010: Yellow Dog Linux for CUDA, OpenArena 0.8.5 | Boycott Novell Trackback on 2010/03/10 at 6:45 AM

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