Thursday, October 11, 2007

Too Many Versions?

One of the complaints I read about Linux is how many different versions/distributions there are. There are currently 12 or more versions of Windows (including XP, all the versions of Vista, Server2003, media center, Server2008), about 5 currently used versions of Mac OSX (10.x), but with Linux, there are untold, vast numbers of versions. If you're really into it, you can even throw your own version together.

Now, Mac OSX is build on FreeBSD, but a slightly older version of FreeBSD. So should I count Mac in with all the BSD versions out there? PCBSD (based on FreeBSD), NetBSD, FreeBSD, OpenBSD. Most BSD's are text base, but you can put a desktop environment on any of them. Like Linux, Gnome and KDE are popular. Oh, wait, there's that whole Sun Solaris thing (Unix/BSD type of thing). Should I include that in the BSD's?

Then there's Linux.

While they like to tell us there's hundreds, if not thousands of version, I really only see four:

  1. Gnome - Mac-like desktop, Windows-like in use. Easier to use, simple.

  2. KDE - Windows-like desktop, Mac-like in use. Lots of options, and very flexible.

  3. Lean Desktops; XFCE, Fluxbox, OpenBox, IceWM, and others - simply and sometimes familiar layouts

  4. Pure text base - Sys Admin favorite. Very frugal, but very powerful

All the Linux distros fall into those categories. And for the most part, all the the BSD's fall in those categories too, except Mac OSX. Sun Solaris uses their customized version of Gnome.

So far, I've used most of the above. If you read this blog much, or just look around on it a bit, you'll know what I like to use. My current 'other favorite' is Damn Small Linux. Puppy Linux would run neck and neck with it -the two trading leads for my second favorite. I guess you could count Fedora as my third, but I haven't used it in awhile, so I'm sure there are better things out there now.

I think this is something Apple really got right - one OS. While I like having choices and options, Apple made it really easy by sticking to one OS. No matter what Mac you get, it's still the current version of Mac OSX.

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