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View Full Version : [SOLVED] Distro?



offgridguy
September 10th, 2012, 09:14 PM
I am a newcomer to linux/ubuntu. So is the term distro as it refers to various linux or
debian type systems, simply a short version of distribution?
When I look at the list of operating systems under linux, I wonder is this really
freedom or limitation, wouldn't it be more appealing for someone developing
software if all the distro's were combined into one , simply called linux?

deadflowr
September 10th, 2012, 10:22 PM
Yes, distro is a shortening of distribution.

If you try to combine all of the distros into one, you end up suffering from the same homogeny that the open source philosophy was designed to counter.

Artemis3
September 10th, 2012, 10:34 PM
It is short of distribution. Simply a collection of packages and, usually, the means for install and maintain them.

Linux is simply one of those packages, it is a kernel and nothing more. The term "Linux distro" is common, as it implies a distro which include Linux. Of course it often includes GNU, but thats just a group of packages, such as basic system libraries, which is why some distros say gnu/linux (gnu with linux).

People make different collections to suit their needs. Often, someone picks a collection, and slightly (or heavily) modifies it; this is a derivate.

Debian is a distro, and Ubuntu another. Ubuntu happens to derivate from Debian, and other distros (such as Mint) derivate from Ubuntu.

This is part of the Free Software ecosystem, someone will use your work, modify it to satisfy their needs, and often release the changes publicly.

There are 300+ distros out there, simply because different people have different needs or ideas; some distros become more popular with certain communities than others, and encourage (or not) certain attitudes. Some are very old but still maintained, others get abandoned and fade in time. That is all part of the ecosystem.

Proprietary software often forbids redistribution, which is why you are not used to see separate "distros" (collection of packages) there, legal ones anyway...

tartalo
September 10th, 2012, 11:46 PM
There are 300+ distros out there

A family tree of Linux distributions here (it's a big image):
http://futurist.se/gldt/wp-content/uploads/12.09/gldt1209.png

nothingspecial
September 11th, 2012, 12:10 AM
Thread moved to Recurring Discussions.

offgridguy
September 11th, 2012, 02:11 AM
Artemis3, Thank you for the very informative reply, I appreciate it.

offgridguy
September 11th, 2012, 02:14 AM
tartalo, Thank you for the link.

offgridguy
September 11th, 2012, 02:24 AM
Debian is a distro, and Ubuntu another. Ubuntu happens to derivate from Debian, and other distros (such as Mint) derivate from Ubuntu.

This is part of the Free Software ecosystem, someone will use your work, modify it to satisfy their needs, and often release the changes publicly.

The above quote from Artemis3, interests me, Is the ability to modify and change
one of the appeals of a linux system, something you can't do with windows?

PaulInBHC
September 11th, 2012, 03:28 AM
The appeal for me was a free OS that works fairly well and is user friendly.

You might find this an interesting thing to try if you have the time and interest in learning how things work

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1201273

lykwydchykyn
September 11th, 2012, 05:52 AM
Is the ability to modify and change
one of the appeals of a linux system, something you can't do with windows?

Absolutely, one of many appeals.

Consider that an operating system can be used for a lot of situations, not just a personal computer: servers, network thin clients, information kiosks, network appliances, industrial control devices, etc. The ability to hand-select and fine-tune the operating system components is invaluable, as opposed to being stuck with a one-size-fits all OS with hard-wired components.

Even for the personal computer, though; suppose you want to have your desktop to have a particular look & feel, or you want to run a modern OS on some very old hardware. Suppose you want to tailor a desktop for children, or people with no computer experience. You can do these things on a Linux desktop.

People make distros because they feel they've solved a particular computing problem better than another distro, or because they want to present what they feel is a particularly compelling combination of software, or just because it's fun and gratifying to put together a distro and present it to the world.

offgridguy
September 11th, 2012, 06:09 PM
Thank you for the informative reply, By the way how do select only a portion of a post in a quote?
I've tried but always end up with the entire post. Thanks again.

offgridguy
September 11th, 2012, 06:17 PM
The appeal for me was a free OS that works fairly well and is user friendly.

You might find this an interesting thing to try if you have the time and interest in learning how things work

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1201273

Thank you for the link, I will check it out, I am interested in how things work thats
why i use the ubuntu forum, I find the support community very helpful and willing
to help the inexperienced user. Learning is the only way the computer can become
a useful, enjoyable working tool rather than a time waster and source of frustration,
speaking for myself of course, thank's again.