October 28, 2004

Why Linux Matters? - Part II

Tarun Agnani writes "This is the second article in a two-part series on "Why Linux Matters???"

4. Linux means Choice: What's your favorite ice cream flavor? Chocolate chip? Butterscotch, maybe. When you go to the ice cream shop, you expect them to have a lot of flavors to choose from right? Not if you visit the Microsoft Ice Cream store.

Sure, it's big and efficient and they've got hundreds of workers there. But all they serve is vanilla. Well you can make ice cream at home (not an option) or go to one of their competitors (it's hard to find them for some reason) or you better start liking vanilla.

Compare this to Linux. More than 300 flavors. Not only do they have your favorites, but exotic flavors you've never heard of. OK, so we're not talking about operating systems not ice cream here but the same argument applies. Linux is not really a single operating system.

Linux has several "flavors" known as distributions. A distribution is basically the core of the Linux OS (known as the kernel) along with things that make the system tick and applications and utilities. Some famous distributions are Redhat and Mandrake Linux. There is a distribution for anything imaginable and new ones keep popping up every single day. But only the one's that have significant differences and advantages over others survive.

There are some distributions for audio heads while some distributions are geared toward Japanese users. The amazing thing about all these distributions is that they're built upon common and open standards. While they have a few differences in their underlying philosophies and structure, they all use the same set of tools. So your desktop or server will not change too much depending on what distribution you use.
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Link: linuxtimes.net


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