I recently gave up on the idea that a distro is a set of modified packages and a core system. Because when I made the only major disto change of my linux life, yes, I was changing the way computer looked, and the core system was quite different, but that was a minor change, somthing that I could get over relitivly quickly. So what had changed when I moved?
It was the expectations. When I had been using Ubuntu, no one expected very much of me, and was willing to acomidate any strange or irrational decisions. However, when I came to Arch Linux, it was compleatly different. I was expected to be quite proficient in comand line, and while this did not mean that help was not provided, it was provided to be concumed, not to be shunned and ignored. Like a teacher, the community expects the student to want to learn, and it gives it's best in return. This isn't a blog about the benefits of the Arch Linux community over the Ubuntu one, it is a blog about how it is not the technology that makes up the distro, it is the community. While the technology gives a central point for the community to form, very quickly it becomes more or less equal to it's child. This isn't a one way relationship though, the community drives the technology, and the technology provides the basis for the community. The community very often takes it's expectations from the technology; the ubuntu forums are beginer friendly, as is ubuntu, but this does not always happen. What I am trying to say here is that the disto as a community is different from the distro as a technology, though the both depend on each other.
In conclusion, a distro is not a technology, yet it is not a community. It is a fusion of all these things, forming one great oblong (I like oblongs) bulge on the computers of thousands of personas everywhere iver the world.