__/ [ BearItAll ] on Monday 07 August 2006 14:01 \__
> Roy Schestowitz wrote:
>> Linux Technology Leadership and the Forking Issue
>> An argument for Linux variants
>> ,----[ Quote (from Summary, page III) ]
>> | The concerns about commercial vendors selling products that "fork the
>> | Linux kernel" are not just overblown; analysis shows them to be a red
>> | herring. All significant Linux distributions are Linux variants, and
>> | none of them are or have become Linux forks. We have shown how even
>> | basic commercial support activities require an independently maintained
>> | copy (a "variant") of the Linux kernel. Those value-add components
>> | (features, internal "-ability" enhancements, and quality improvements)
>> | are frequently the critical factor in the purchasing decision and
>> | without those values a Linux-based product may not be feasible.
> It has to be said that varients do tend to stay with the main Linux base.
> Whether the varient is a cut down for embedding or a full desktop Linux
> with added tools, we don't really see any forking alternatives to main
> stream Linux.
True. This can be said not only about the kernel, but also
about desktop environments and particular applications.
Often enough, distro assembler will only need to install and
customise (e.g. some themes and distro-specific front-ends),
get the latest patches or source (and compile it) before
packaging the whole shebang. This must be the reason why so
many cutting-edge Linux distributions are maintained by
small groups. They are merely a channel of distribution that
stands on the shoulders of giants and caters for a niche or
the preference of a small group. Like Enlightenment? Then
have a go with ELive. Want everything but the kitchen sink?
SUSE would probably do. XP-ish Clone? PCLinuxOS perhaps? It
has become easy to build distributions and this should
encourage companies to embrace Linux and create their own
distribution, much like an image. The underlying component
are the same, but it's customised to the needs of the
company and offers competitive advantage. I wonder how
pluggable (e.g. open to hooks) Linux is at its core. This
could open the door to extensions that fit nicely on top of
the existing kernel. I suppose the CGL is intended to
standardise things for that reason.
> I would say that this is essential to the Linux camp, and also good
> commercial sense. No one wants to be stuck with a product that only a small
> team of developers can work with, if Fred the programmer leaves the company
> you want Tom, Dick or even Harry to be able to carry on with it. Much
> better to keep in touch with the main developer base.