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#4684927 - 03/05/18 08:45 AM Why so many different Linux programs?
Sierra048 Offline


Registered: 02/26/11
Posts: 827
Loc: N. Georgia Mtns
As covered in my other thread, I've finally made Linux Mint, with the help of several kind members here, the only program on my computer. I completely erased Windows. It's gone. As I explained in my other thread, I'm a novice when it comes to computers.

So my question is: Why are there so many versions of Linux programs? For example, why is there a Linux Mint, and a Linux Mate. What's the difference? What is Gnome? Fedora? What can one do that another one can't. I'm sure to a computer literate person it all makes perfect sense. To me, not so much.


Edited by Sierra048 (03/05/18 08:48 AM)
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#4684948 - 03/05/18 09:07 AM Re: Why so many different Linux programs? [Re: Sierra048]
97prizm Offline


Registered: 05/25/05
Posts: 750
Loc: USA
The reason there are so many versions is that different distros are for different things or even different layouts. If you check out distrowatch as it shows different versions and what they are for. There is a version called Tomato firmware for Broadcom routers. Some are for tablets, movie production (Ubuntu studio) etc.
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#4684953 - 03/05/18 09:10 AM Re: Why so many different Linux programs? [Re: Sierra048]
Rand Offline


Registered: 08/20/03
Posts: 12651
Loc: NE,Ohio
google can be your friend.
I am fairly tech savvy but a relative linux noob... those are pretty basic questions so I will take a stab at it.
I dont promise 100% correctness smile

Mint is a distro.. maintained by the "linux mint" people
The combination of different software programs packaged with the installer that you just installed.

Fedora is a different distribution of linux maintained by different people.

Mate and Gnome are desktop environments (there are quite a few others)

Basically what you see when you are at the desktop.. they all look different, and have different resource requirements.

For example one might run better on a 10 year old laptop, and another might LOOK much better on a new modern computer.

There are also commercial versions of linux with commercial support(mainly for business use) that cost $$$

There are also specialized use variants.
for example one that is ready to go as a router software, or one with Graphic design software all ready to go.
One that is designed for use by children.
another that is for use as HTPC (computer hooked to TV to watch shows etc)

This might be a good link to read it at least partially answers the questions you asked in easier to understand language.
https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/whats-the-...useof-explains/
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#4684962 - 03/05/18 09:16 AM Re: Why so many different Linux programs? [Re: Sierra048]
zzyzzx Offline


Registered: 05/18/12
Posts: 4372
Loc: Baltimore, Maryland, USA
I can't answer your question, but I can tell you that I have used Fedora first mostly because I was using Red Hat at work and it's supposedly the closet thing to it. Using Ubuntu now.

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#4684965 - 03/05/18 09:17 AM Re: Why so many different Linux programs? [Re: Sierra048]
beanoil Online   content


Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 2957
Loc: Midwest, Illinois
Linux is open source, and can be tuned or modified at will.
Consider it this way. Ford builds Mustangs, the driver puts his personal spin on it.
You chose a good one with Mint. I run that on a 10 year old Vaio, extending it's life.
My music server, OTOH, runs Watt. Super small footprint, no unneeded stuff for it's purpose to consume resources.
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#4684966 - 03/05/18 09:17 AM Re: Why so many different Linux programs? [Re: Sierra048]
SubieRubyRoo Offline


Registered: 05/14/12
Posts: 1139
Loc: Winchester, Indiana
As the Mint shows... there are many different "flavors" of Linux smile These are because Linux is open source, and therefore can be geared to be more adept at certain things. I don't frequently use Linux, but some are geared for legacy equipment so they use very little resources, some are loaded with special code to do specific tasks, emulate old console games, etc. The beautiful thing about Linux is that because it is open source, if you decide to learn coding, you can add or modify whatever you want with the code to make it "yours". The other beautiful thing is that even though it is open source, hackers generally pay it no attention because only a small fraction of users utilize Linux, so there is less incentive to write malware code.

Plus the best part of all - it's generally FREE for plenty of usable distros!

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#4685005 - 03/05/18 09:52 AM Re: Why so many different Linux programs? [Re: Sierra048]
simple_gifts Offline


Registered: 07/26/04
Posts: 11950
Loc: Middlesex County CT
A bit of clarification; Linux is just a kernel that controls the resources of the computer; all the other stuff like MATE, GNOME, KDE, are desktop environments (user interfaces) that run on linux. They are available with the same 'free' license that linux uses. You can download the source code and modify as you want

People have done this and share their work with others; that is why there are multiple distributions.

It is completely satisfying seeing a xWindoze user 'struggle' (in a good way) with choice.

Gnome, KDE, Unity, MATE, Enlightenment, Openbox, XFCE = desktop environments
Fedora, Redhat, Ubuntu, Suse, Arch, Gentoo = distributions (collections of software packaged for easy install)

Keep in mind that even tho distributions may tout a particular desktop environment (ubuntu is gnome), others people have come along and modified Ubuntu to use KDE (Kubuntu) or XFCE (Xubuntu)
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#4685022 - 03/05/18 10:02 AM Re: Why so many different Linux programs? [Re: Sierra048]
uc50ic4more Offline


Registered: 05/31/06
Posts: 3288
Loc: Windsor, Ontario, Canada
It is anarchy. Without one central authority controlling property, you and anyone else are free to do as you wish. You can make an OS that is suited for use as a server, or desktop. You can make it super boring and stable or use bleeding edge versions of software. You can make it work on modest hardware or use the latest, resource-heavy 3D whiz-bang graphics. You can choose to abide using strictly open-source software or you can include some non-free stuff.

It's FREEDOM. And therefore rather chaotic. Also note that no one is profiting from you. There is also no over-arching authority demanding adherence to anything so disparity between distros can be prohibitive to support.

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#4685028 - 03/05/18 10:10 AM Re: Why so many different Linux programs? [Re: Sierra048]
simple_gifts Offline


Registered: 07/26/04
Posts: 11950
Loc: Middlesex County CT
As I've said in the past, most linux users 'look forward' to the next version of their distribution.

Most Windows users try to avoid it
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2004 Prius; 92K ML Syn 5W-30
2007 Yaris 68K 0w-40 Castrol
2006 B2300;130K;ALM


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#4685049 - 03/05/18 10:28 AM Re: Why so many different Linux programs? [Re: Sierra048]
Reddy45 Offline


Registered: 08/15/08
Posts: 2973
Loc: USA
Mint is a very user friendly and ready to go version of Ubuntu which is also a very good flavor of Linux.

But there are thousands if not millions of servers in the world running Linux without a graphical desktop environment. Just a blank command line with text only interaction, but still just as capable and functional. In this case, the reason for running a certain flavor of Linux has more to do with enterprise support or the specific needs of the server.

And as others mentioned certain consumer devices like routers and phones and security systems run their own version of Linux.

If you become advanced in Linux, try out Gentoo sometime. Their philosophy is that software should be compiled on your hardware to give you the best performance rather than to just install precompiled binaries.

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#4685052 - 03/05/18 10:32 AM Re: Why so many different Linux programs? [Re: Sierra048]
MONKEYMAN Offline


Registered: 06/24/04
Posts: 2231
Loc: St. Louis
Sierra048, glad you ditched Windows. I am not that computer savvy, so not having dual boot computers has made my life easier.

From personal experience I have found Mint XCFE my go to distribution instead of Mint MATE. I like the way it performs on my Pentium computers.

Linux reminds my of my what my teacher taught repeatably in the monastery.

"Take what you like and leave the rest."

Linux is choice and finding what is the best for your needs.

Windows is take what we give you, whether you like it or not. grin
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#4685091 - 03/05/18 11:15 AM Re: Why so many different Linux programs? [Re: Reddy45]
uc50ic4more Offline


Registered: 05/31/06
Posts: 3288
Loc: Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: Reddy45
But there are thousands if not millions of servers in the world running Linux without a graphical desktop environment.


I'd bet my boots that this very web site runs atop what we call a LAMP stack: Linux, the Apache web server, MySQL database and the PHP programming language.

Linux is also the kernel atop which Android runs; and pretty much every internet-enabled device (thermostat, security camera, fridge) uses the Linux kernel.

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#4685096 - 03/05/18 11:21 AM Re: Why so many different Linux programs? [Re: Reddy45]
uc50ic4more Offline


Registered: 05/31/06
Posts: 3288
Loc: Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: Reddy45
If you become advanced in Linux, try out Gentoo sometime. Their philosophy is that software should be compiled on your hardware to give you the best performance rather than to just install precompiled binaries.


"Advanced in Linux" means you have a neck beard, no girlfriend, and the sun hurts your eyes. It's a slippery slope. :^)

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#4685104 - 03/05/18 11:33 AM Re: Why so many different Linux programs? [Re: Sierra048]
SirTanon Offline


Registered: 06/23/14
Posts: 2162
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona - USA
There are so many 'flavors' of Linux for (more or less) the same reason there are so many different brands of motor oil, cereal, soda, etc..

.. People want variety, and other people want to provide something that they feel the market is missing. There is demand.
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#4685108 - 03/05/18 11:36 AM Re: Why so many different Linux programs? [Re: Sierra048]
SubieRubyRoo Offline


Registered: 05/14/12
Posts: 1139
Loc: Winchester, Indiana

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