Are there too many Linux distros? Is distro overload killing Linux on the desktop?

Today in Open Source: Too many distros? Linux Mint 15 Xfce released, Open Pandora reviewed

Too Many Linux Distros?

Christine Hall at Foss Force considers whether or not Linux offers too much in the way of choice for users. Do we have too many distros available? Has that hurt the adoption of Linux on the desktop?

I'm inclined to agree with her that choice isn't the problem with desktop Linux. In fact, the range of choices available are one of the primary strengths of Linux. It's what sets Linux apart from Windows (gag!) and OS X (pretty but locked up tight by Apple).

With Linux, each user can find and use the distro that works best for him or her. Nobody is stuck with something that they hate and don't want to use. Compare that to Windows, particularly the mess that is Windows 8. Users are mostly stuck with whatever Microsoft gives them.

And Apple is no better in that sense. OS X is a fine operating system, but if there's something you don't like about it...well too bad for you. Apple doesn't offer you much in the way of customizations or options.

But with Linux, you get it all. You can choose your desktop environment, customize it to you heart's content, switch distros if a developer does something like Canonical did with Unity. You have total control over your computing experience. Heck, you can even roll your own distro if you really want something different.

No matter what anybody says there are numerous reasons why desktop Linux still doesn’t have traction. None of them have anything to do with the fact that there are a gazillion distos available.

Sure, it’s true that with the release of Vista there was a golden moment when desktop Linux could’ve flown high, but the fact that didn’t happen had nothing to do with users being confused over the number of operating systems carrying the Linux brand or with the developer base being spread too thin by this plethora of FOSS projects for any really good development to happen.

It’s all hogwash and more hogwash. The later contention is downright insulting as it implies that somehow GNU/Linux isn’t good enough. The first assertion, the confused consumer not knowing which distro to pick, is just plain wrong.

More at Foss Force

Linux Mint 15 Olivia Xfce Released

Speaking of distros, Linux Mint 15 Olivia Xfce has just been released. Xfce is one of my favorite desktop environments. It's light-weight and fast, just perfect if you are using an older computer or a newer one with less in the way of hardware power.

Xfce also avoids the feature bloat found in some desktop environments these days. If you are a minimalist, it should fit the bill nicely for you. And when you combine it with the tools of Linux Mint, you end up with a very sweet computing experience.

Here's a brief list of new features:

Xfce 4.10

Whisker Menu


Software Sources

Driver Manager

Software Manager

System Improvements

Artwork Improvements

Upstream Components

You can see a full list of new features at the Linux Mint 15 Xfce What's New page.

System requirements for Linux Mint 15 Xfce:

x86 processor (Linux Mint 64-bit requires a 64-bit processor. Linux Mint 32-bit works on both 32-bit and 64-bit processors).

384 MB RAM (1GB recommended for a comfortable usage).

5 GB of disk space

Graphics card capable of 800×600 resolution

DVD drive or USB port

The download links can be found on the Linux Mint 15 Xfce Release Announcement page.

The team is proud to announce the release of Linux Mint 15 “Olivia” Xfce.

Xfce is a lightweight desktop environment which aims to be fast and low on system resources, while still being visually appealing and user friendly. This edition features all the improvements from the latest Linux Mint release on top of an Xfce 4.10 desktop.

More at Linux Mint Blog

Open Pandora Handheld Gaming System

I must admit to being perplexed by the idea of Open Pandora. Given all the cell phones and tablets out there (Android and iOS devices being the most prominent), do we really need an open source based handheld gaming unit? And who would buy it?

I need to be careful here though. I'm not much of a gamer these days, games seem unable to hold my attention for very long. So perhaps I'm just being a curmudgeon? Maybe there are folks out there who crave a different flavor of handheld gaming and I'm just not aware of them?

I can see the virtue of running a lot of emulator games though, that means that there's a huge library of games available for Open Pandora. It seems to support classic PC games, N64, Dreamcast, etc. There's no guarantee that all games will run well, but at least there is the possibility of it happening.

Tom Nardi at the Power Base has a full and very positive review of Open Pandora.

Writing this, I have to admit to myself that, even now, I don’t truly know what to make of the Open Pandora. I can’t decide if it’s a legitimate gaming system, or if it’s a subnotebook computer that has analog and digital gaming controls grafted onto it.

But there is one thing I am very sure of, I love this thing.

More at The Power Base
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