RR in Wine

Peter Alcibiades palcibiades-first at yahoo.co.uk
Fri Oct 3 11:41:34 EDT 2008

> Umbuto, Debian, Badin, Palin ... I'm confused.

In case it wasn't a joke, and in case it interests anyone who is genuinely
not familiar.

Its a different world.  Because all the source code for Linux and almost all
the applications is available freely to anyone, and because anyone can take
and borrow anything from any existing Linux distribution, anyone can produce
their own Linux distribution, and many do.  If you look on Distrowatch,
there are over 300.  They are all packagings of subsets of basically the
same basic stuff.  However, there is an awful lot of stuff.  Debian for
instance has upwards of 20,000 applications in its repositories.  So if you
are putting together a distribution for, say, scientific use, you will
include a different subset from if you are putting one to be used for
security network auditing purposes, or graphics, or game playing.  The
general purpose ones all have very similar stuff, Open Office, KDE or Gnome
or Xfce and so on.  But the smaller ones each have their own different
choices and optimizations.

This does make the task of releasing something like Rev that works equally
well on all distributions and desktops a bit of a challenge, but it is very
much an exception in the Linux world when one doesn't

Linux users rapidly become aware when they give these sorts of explanations
to sophisticated people who just don't happen to have used it, and haven't
used it as a sole system, that it produces a common reaction of impatient
disbelief.  This simply cannot work.  It cannot possibly work to have a
choice of 4 or 5 login managers, which can each be combined with any of 6 or
8 Window Managers, which can each then be combined with each of half a dozen
desktop environments, all of which can be used with any of a dozen or so
terminals and file managers and editors and development environments and

Yes, but it does work, its just a different model.  Just like a choice
between a few hundred different wineries can work.  Similarly, we are often
wedded to the view that the look and feel of the desktop characterizes the
OS.  You find this in discussions of Aqua, or Vista versus XP.  So it is
very difficult to explain to people that Linux has no standard desktop
manager, it has a choice of 10-20, and within that, each desktop manager has
multiple themes, icon shapes, and is also configurable in terms of menu
placement, items, single click versus double click, menus that work like
Apple's or like Windows',...and so on.   Similarly with uniformity of look
and feel across applications.  It doesn't exist, isn't expected or even
noticed for the most part.  

A very common reaction to all this is to feel that if only Linux (whatever
that is!) would standardize, it would do so much better.  But, for better or
worse, its not that kind of beast.  If only mongrels all were about the same
height and weight and shape, we could exhibit them better in dog shows.   
Yes, guess so.  But you have to think where mongrels came from in the first
place, and what is this stuff about dog shows anyway?

Well, hope this is helpful to someone!
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