Unity? (was: What's your favorite distro, and why?)

Michael Torrie torriem at gmail.com
Fri Dec 13 09:36:35 MST 2013

On 12/13/2013 03:07 AM, Dan Egli wrote:
> On December 11, 2013, Michael Torrie wrote:
>> This is further evidenced by Ubuntu dropping all branding references to
>> Linux. They want Ubuntu to be Ubuntu, not Ubuntu Linux.
> Then they should write their own kernel and boot loaders (or at least their
> own grub modules), and compile the gnu utilities & libraries for their own
> kernel. Don't claim your work isn't Linux when you still use the Linux
> kernel, still use Linux grub, and still use glibc and the other gnu
> utilities all compiled for the Linux kernel.

There's no legal obligation to do so though, provided they honor the
terms of the licenses of the source code they are distributing.
Likewise although most Linux distributions use GNU's core system
software to do a lot of heavy lifting, only a few call themselves
GNU/Linux.  Red Hat certainly doesn't; nor does Mint or SuSE.  Granted
there are distros that don't use GNU software at all, but use uLibc and
busybox instead.

Google does the same thing as Ubuntu with Android.  A lot of us geeks
get excited that millions of people are now running Linux on their
phones, and Google even tells the geeks it runs linux under the hood,
but consumers cetainly don't know and don't care.  It's "Android."  Not
"Android Linux."  And the Linux part is irrelevant, really.  The apps
people want to run are Android apps, not Linux apps.  Android could have
been based on any operating system kernel, such as QNX, or even MS
Windows, and indeed there are implementations of the Android platform on
both of those: Blackberry 10, Bluestacks, and probably others.

Even Gnome has set out to become its own OS (google for Gnome OS) brand
even as it becomes a project tied tightly to the Linux kernel.

I may not agree with the Gnome team in any way, but I do see more and
more that the operating system itself is irrelevant to most people and
most tasks.  It's just a small part of the platform and services that
people really care about.  As previously mentioned, Android isn't an OS
so much as a ubiquitous platform.  Also the cloud is the platform for
other segments of the market.  And MS Office is the platform for another
huge segment, and MS vainly tries to keep it tied to Windows to keep the
OS relevant.  But its not.

> That's like me taking the
> source code to an old style MUD (remember those, folks?) based on, let's
> say the TMI mud library, changing everywhere so that TMI is never
> mentioned, and then running the mud. It's really just carefully concealed
> theft if you ask me. And to think I used to recommend Ubuntu to newbie
> users. If Canonical is going to start this, then I'm done recommending
> them. I'll start telling newbies to use Fedora Core or something. Maybe
> Mint. I'd have to play around a bit with Mint before I could really
> recommend it. But I can recommend FC from (way) old experience. It may not
> be as easy as Ubuntu was supposed to be (and it never did seem quite that
> easy to me, but I could be biased), but it's far easier than Gentoo and is
> a good launch point until I can confirm how well Mint works.

If you want to take the source code to an old MUD, you are free to
change the name so that the original name isn't mentioned, provided you
abide by the terms of the source code license.  It's a time-honored open
source and free software tradition called "forking."

I believe you may have heard of a little piece of software called
"LibreOffice."  Or maybe a little software project called "X.org."  Or a
minor operating system called "OS X."

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