• Big picture: Why don't more Distro teams work together?


    I’m not a developer but I wanted to get the perspective of people who work on these projects -

    Why don’t more distros work together and say, converge their workload? I mean, there’s lots of distros that are essentially the same? Like, what about Manjaro, Arch and Antergos joining and having different ISO offerings, like a totally customizable Arch-like installer, but also being able to offer a more mature repo like the one that Manjaro holds back a couple weeks longer than arch? And the Antergos repo that has these beautifully customized desktop environments and easy-to-install ZFS?

    Wouldn’t it make it easier to get stuff done if each project team isn’t re-inventing the wheel?

    Do Antergos developers contribute to the Arch repositories? Antegros uses Arch repositories with an extra one “in front” for Antegros-specific packages, right? (or am I wrong?)

    Just kinda wonder, with the number of distros out there these days, seems like there would be a lot of merit in working together more rather than splitting farther apart…

    What do you think?

  • Some Linux minds criticize this also, they say that this is a main reason why Linux do not reach the personal desktop that much.

    But in comparison to OS from big companies like microsoft and apple, there is not that one leader on top of all developping.
    Linux is different in many ways, it is more a phenomenon then an OS ;)

    There is no consens, to be humble to the leader, so if you do not like an idea, you split and go somewhere else…

    This is caused by history, and the free and open structure of linux itself.

    On the other hand we have a huge problem with proprietary drivers and hardware, build and developed by companies with a Profit-oriented philosophy, only the largest group of paying customers counts for them.
    So as long as linux-desktops do not reach enough users, support will be limited.
    And it will be a fight on reverse engineering, and implementing foreign structures.

  • There has been much talk over the years about the duplicate efforts of developers in Linux. There is some truth to this, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing - sometimes it spurs others to try new things and the competition between distros can be a good thing. Many distros look a lot the same because the upstream Developers are the same for that particular Item.
    IE. Gnome is pretty much the same on each distro. Though each distro may modify it some. It’s basically the same. For the most part all a distro is is a collection of software using the Linux kernel of choice. But I think the competition between distros in not a bad thing , it spurs people to try different things. And sure it takes some time to try many different ones but eventually you’ll choose the one that suits your needs and your feelings. Antergos is a good one for me. Others may choose differently and there is choice. Unlike other major O.S.'s you have choice in Linux.
    so embrace the choice and enjoy it. It’s gaining ground all the time as people get fed up with the O.S. making the choice for you.

  • @AveryFreeman said in Big picture: Why don't more Distro teams work together?:

    Just kinda wonder, with the number of distros out there these days, seems like there would be a lot of merit in working together more rather than splitting farther apart…

    I wold also ask this question: “Why are Linux users using so many different distros?” If there is a group of users for each project out there (no matter the size) then someone must like whatever the developer is doing. And that is the freedom of Linux. You, as a user, can choose what distro to use. While I would agree that this does not always result in as many technological advances necessarily, it also allows the developers to work on what they want to be doing with others that share their goal. While Manjaro and Antergos could theoretically team up, it would probably not be an entirely peaceful coalition behind the scenes as both teams have very different visions for their work. Lastly, most Linux developers develop as a hobby or past time because they enjoy it, and not out of a sense of attaining the most users possible like an actual corporation like Microsoft might do. And so often a distro is just a group of friends working together to make something. I know that all of the Antergos devs actually know each other personally very well and all originated from Spain, while Manjaro’s developers are a completely different group of people.

    In my opinion, these reasons are just a few of the ones for why there are so many distros in the Linux world.

    Hope this helps!

  • Yes, it’s all very interesting, and I appreciate your viewpoints, thanks for taking the time to explain some of these reasons as they all seem quite valid.

    I for one am glad there was a differentiation between Antegros and Manjaro because the Antegros team had the thoughtfulness (and political/legal will) to put ZFS into the installer, which was helped by the legal judgment achieved with Canonical lawyers regarding combining ZFS with their main repository, which obviously laid the groundwork for some smart individuals deciding to take it one step further and put it in the installer (THANK YOU!). If I had not heard this on a Manjaro forum somewhere I would have never heard of Antergos, or decided to give it a try.

    So the point that the underlying system is all very similar (such as the Gnome example), with the Arch team organically creating the OS over several years, and other teams making it more accessible, it’s all very beautiful in its own way.

    Perhaps it is a little idealistic for me to think that there could be one answer for all people, or that the teams could work together in a more meaningful and thoughtful way to achieve market share, rather than engaging in political squabbles. It’s understandable that when people’s ideas diverge, their work can and should diverge, rather than getting mired in the decision making process.

    Interestingly, I live near Seattle and I’ve worked at Microsoft as a banquet server and been present during some of their product development meetings. It seems very difficult for them to work through their decisions about what to do, as well - many products get left behind, a lot of work is put into divisions that go nowhere (e.g. Windows Phone), and some projects that seem to sustain their main core of end-users begin getting dwarfed by the shift of resources into more lucrative revenue drivers (e.g. OS development teams being shrunk while growing teams for cloud services like Azure, Office 365 and Educator).

    If you’re on a Windows Phone team, it must be devastating for a team to work so hard for so long on something that never takes off, see their teams get eviscerated by layoffs, and the company just give up. For those who would like to provide a better OS, which arguably reaches a greater audience than cloud services, it must be difficult to see the company shift resources away from that which affects more people for niche user groups that pay more money. But I doubt these decisions come easily, especially when there is such a creative element to making these products - or even, somewhat altruistic element to trying to make things work for the greater good of the greatest number of people.

    So I guess what I’m saying is it’s nice that without the profit incentive that the creative aspect of programming can be allowed to be the main driver of innovation. That’s neat that people can develop friendships by being on these development teams, too.

  • @Keegan said in Big picture: Why don't more Distro teams work together?:

    well and all originated from Spain,

    If Dustin reads this he will get mad at you! (just kidding).

    Dustin is from USA, but it’s true that the Cinnarch’s creator, Alex, is from Spain.


    P.S. I won’t discuss here why Manjaro/Antergos haven’t teamed up, as it has been long discussed before ;)

  • @karasu said in Big picture: Why don't more Distro teams work together?:

    If Dustin reads this he will get mad at you! (just kidding).
    Dustin is from USA,

    Oops! Sorry about that😄. I always assumed that he used to live in Spain but then later moved to the U.S. I didn’t realize he has lived there all along. But if he has always lived in the US, how did you end up meeting him? (just curious @karasu, if you would prefer not to share that with the whole world, I completely understand).


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