Comment 6P Depends on niche utility and marketing too


Linux Insider investigates why some Linux distros just disappear


Depends on niche utility and marketing too (Score: 3, Informative)

by on 2014-02-26 11:44 (#6P)

openSUSE (and formerly SuSE) is my go-to distro usually, though I use Bodhi and FreeBSD a lot, too. I think SUSE has had trouble differentiating itself from other big distros like RedHat but still does a good job and not because of its distro manager but because it's been able to establish itself as an enterprise grade distro with good support and good reliability.

But have a look at Distrowatch and there are hundreds of niche distros that seem to offer little added value. "... is a distro based on Ubuntu with an XFCE desktop styled to look like a Mac." Really? We need a whole new distro with all that entails (quality control, package management, etc.) just for Ubuntu+DE+Theme? Those are the ones that seem to melt into the sunset.

Others are niche but provide either a new approach, a new technology, or fit a unique niche very well. PuppyLinux is a good example - awesome on low spec hardware. Scientific Linux brings in a lot of non-mainstream tools useful to a certain community. GRML tried to appeal to a small niche of ZSH lovers who prefer the console to XWindows, and when that sort of fizzled, tried to appeal in a different way (that doesn't seem to be taking either). There was another distro - now long gone - that decided to offer a very limited set of packages useful to businesses (office suite, RealPlayer, a couple of other things). Who wants to standardize on a distro that intentionally reduces your possibilities to do other useful things? I could use RedHat and get all that plus more.

Ultimately it takes a bit of branding and marketing, not in the "advertise the f*ck out of it" way but in the "show how this distro is different, serves a real need and/or fixes a problem you are currently experiencing" way. Not all distros do that.


Time Reason Points Voter
2014-03-02 09:06 Informative +1
2014-03-01 23:45 Insightful +1

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