Shouldn't there be less Linux Distros and derivatives

So AntergOS shuts down May 21, 2019. Prior to that Scientific Linux pulled the plug. And even Linux Mint appears to be in turmoil.

So my question is, should not there be only few 4 - 5 Linux Distros ; like Debian, RHEL(Fedora/Cent OS included), OpenSuse, Ubuntu ) and some 1 or 2 derivatives so that there will be enough developers and financial resources for them ?
And so that none of them have to pull the plug on themselves.

Who decides?
Who will be powerful and ethical enough to be accepted as the one which distribution should be allowed and which not? Also what about super niche cases, where some projects are useful but only for a minority of users but a dedicated one?
Look at ToriOS. It’s a special case derivative that is useful but definitely not needed by most people. Eliminate that one, too?
What about opnSense? Definitely will never be used by any average user but it is known and very used within advanced user groups and by professionals.
What if you need a distribution with a minor change but none of the distributions deliver that to you? E. g. most of the major ones drop or will drop 32-bit support. What if you need exactly the major one, not some alternative but with 32-bit support? Then the first “decider” would probably tell you, you shouldn’t work on this distribution as you should just use one of those which are already there.

That said, your chain of causation doesn’t make much sense. Basically, your argumentation is the following:

  1. There are so many distribution derivatives.
  2. So some of them die.

Your conclusion:

  1. Let there be only a couple.
  2. Kill most of them right now.
  3. So now probably none of these few remaining will die.

Basically, you want to pull the plug on all these distributions, instead accepting only the death of a couple ones.
Btw. some of the distributions that don’t exist per sé anymore, are still there but after a fusion with another distribution, like MX Linux, or changed to a different project, perhaps with different goals.


I don’t know where you got that from but it is at place 3 on the distribution popularity list here which is above Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora. As long as a distribution is above those 3, it’s definitely not gonna die except it is forced externally by whatever higher power.

there have been a few different articles about the internal strife on the mint dev team over the past couple of months. most after this blog post from the leader of the project. i think i first heard about it on reddit.

You’re mentioning Distro Watch, while I was talking about internal disorder in Mint dev community. There are various rumors going on about Mint.

You even the torch bearer of desktop Linux is not in profits. Canonical net revenue is US -$521,000.

My point is not kill right now, but merge them and remove this extreme fragmentation.

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It is not in profit because of the capitalistic system. To be in actual profit, you have to be an asshole like Microshit and Appledump. If you promote actual Libre stuff, like information (see my status message), you have a really hard time to survive in this fucked up system for the rich, against everyone else.

OpnSense is a firewall btw, that too BSD based. I specifically talked about Linux.

Fair enough, but I didn’t take it because it is BSD, I took it as an example because it is a firewall. It not being Linux has other reasons, e. g. security focused firewalls usually prefer BSD. Other than that, an e.g. Debian-based firewall would’ve made the same point.

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None of us are really surprise at AntergOS , but I don’t know where you got your information about Mint, because the May blog is very up beat and we are all looking forward to the release of 19.2. This is far from “turmoil” as you have put and as others on various sites are trying to make out.

As far as the number of distros, they are increasing and the numbers mentioned on Distrowatch are only those they know about and have tested and/or adding to their data base. I do not get your point about enough developers and financial resources, as most Distros are community supported with some additional support from corporate partners as in the case of Mint. Linux is never centralised by it’s very nature otherwise it would not be open source, but closed source. Your point about none of them would have to pull the plug on themselves is also not very informative to be polite,as even the biggest companies fail with their centralisation. If you look at what is happening in the commercial world that will answer that.

So no I don’t think there should be, but in the end those that go and those remain is very much down to then end user. You can have the best product in the world, but if it is not liked then it is as pointless as expecting the tide to not wet you because you have told it not to do so,

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Take a look at the Linux distro timeline:

It’s massive and complex. Yes, there are some strong mainlines and some have already died or been combined with others to continue as a consolidated project. But here’s the thing with Linux distro; as long as there are folks out there who want or need something different and/or specific and have the means to create & build it, they will.

It is the double-edged sword of FOSS. It is discouraging yet also the saving-grace of Linux.

To try and make sense of all the spaghetti lines of all the different distros and try to determine which should stay or go or be combined is a near impossible task because everyone has their own opinions, personal preferences and requirements.

What I would suggest for anyone is; if you know of one or a few distros that you really love and want to remain for the foreseeable future, then use those distros, share your great experiences with them and support them by either contributing to those projects through donations or by helping to fix known problems. That is the best way to help ensure your favorite distros stay strong, IMO.

Mint is not going anywhere any time soon. heaven forbid, if something drastic should happen and the core dev team/community should abandon the project, I would suspect (and hope) others would step in to keep Mint alive. It remains one of my favorite and currently one of the most popular distros and I sincerely believe it will power on through this rough patch.


It’s my favorite too. And I want it to remain above the horizon for the foreseeable future.

Ref —

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I am new to Linux. Less then 6 months. I am using Mint 18.3 on the laptop and 19.1 on the desktop. But when I first look at Linux, yes, it was overwhelming. There are so many distro to chose from, even not counting the ones that are specialize towards a group of people or a business.
Not knowing where to start, I google Linux and started reading. Of course, I came across the top 10 list and also read how some distro may it easier to switch from Windows. So Linux Mint Cinnamon worked! I am now mostly a Linux user. I am curious about the other distro and about the the other DE and hope to try a few of them out.


Yes I read this article too and it concerned me as I only changed to Mint a few months ago. Certainly hope they can address the problem.


I think that choice is a good thing. But the number of distros has reached a point where they can’t all be sustained. And some are falling be the wayside. Mint is not in that bad a shape, but it does take a tremendous toll on the Devs who often do it as a volunteer project and get no pay for their efforts. So I’m not surprised that some distros fall by the side of the road. Some just were not that much different than others and served no real purpose. Some because they are one or two man projects that can not be supported properly. But in General choice is a good thing.


And here’s one man’s take on the situation at Mint. Distros


I had read that and I mostly disagree with it, because Mint is more than just the DE, which he seems to point out. While not as revolutionary as some others, it has been slowly evolutionary without being frightening to most users who probably don’t realise this. I think that Mint is going to be around for some time yet and users will still love it


I happen to agree but that is the second or third article I’ve read recently about the supposed demise of Mint. I think Clem’s announcements last month that this Development cycle was being a little hard. I believe Mint will be around for the foreseeable future.


definitely an interesting read. thanks for the share.


I really like Linux Mint. I believe now that I have been using Linux for awhile, I’m hooked. I hope that it does not happen anytime soon, but if Linux Mint stopped, I think I would (and could) switch to another distro of Linux. Maybe some one could share how hard it was switching from one distro to another.

Howard you might want to start a new topic on your question, as it really doesn’t fit in with this one. Nice question to ask and I don’t think it has been asked before, so you could do so :+1:

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