Friday, May 17, 2013

Emmabuntus: Yet More Recycled Bits?

by Dietrich Schmitz

It's becoming a bit of a joke.  As the pool of Linux Distributions grows, it becomes increasingly diluted by unremarkable Distros which are nowadays easily cloned and, with a 'slap dab' of branding, being trumpeted as innovation.

I can count on one hand the number of Distributions that have a real value proposition today.  The rest are, well, sad to say, redundant and polluting the Linux ecosystem as they turn up like weeds at an alarming rate. (Image credit:

The newest clone, Emmabuntus, was reviewed in a story entitled Emmabuntus Review - Very Disappointing.   Aside from the obvious hint in the story title, the closing remarks reflect what I consider to be symptomatic with the 'cookie cutter' Distro phenomenon:

"Perhaps this is the first time I write a negative review for a Linux distro but I really dont like Emmabuntus. It is just Xubuntu with a lot of redundant pre-installed applications, which make the distro really bloated. Moreover the developing team is too careless and neglectful, they didnt test and double check anything before releasing the distro. So eventually I removed Emmabuntus after 3 hours."

I am very concerned that the Linux Community doesn't see the potential harm that all of this cloning will produce.

While the GPL allows such activity, it does hurt the image of Linux as outsiders see these efforts with little respect.  In fact, it also creates confusion for the newcomer who will react negatively when confronted with making a decision as to which Distro is best.  And, introducing another copy of a Distro which is laden with bugs increases the possibility of more bugs as it inherits a predecessor's work.

Is this all avoidable?  I don't think so, but I would suggest to the readers that they be vigilant and discerning as they go about selecting which Distro to use.  That is all the more becoming the greater challenge.

I am sorry, but, we don't need more recycled bits.  What we sorely need is real innovation.

Keep your powder dry.

-- Dietrich

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