Saturday, September 13, 2014

Bodhi Linux Developer Retires

( Image Credit: Michelangelo's The Creation of Adam )

The solo developer of Bodhi Linux has announced his retirement.

I sincerely wish +Jeff Hoogland  well.  It's not difficult to appreciate that putting together a truly polished Linux Distro is hard, but by one developer, it seems almost an impossible task.  

One Mr. Hoogland set out to do so and I will say that by all accounts he has been a success.  Bodhi Linux has always been a 'standout' Distribution in my view and well respected.  Bodh Linux's level of consistency typically requires a rank and file of workers to make for polish, fit, finish and seamless processes.  Bodhi Linux has become perhaps the best known lightweight Linux Distro.  CrunchBang is perhaps the only other true contender in this category.

Yet, I fear that we will see more of this attrition and with increased frequency.

As geopolitical events unfold and the global economy gets worse by the day, it becomes increasingly difficult for the individual to merely 'exist', much less, do voluntary work on a project of this magnitude.

Yes, if you are lucky, another developer will pick up and continue with Bodhi maintenance.  If you aren't, well, that is the nature of things in today's world.

Linux on the Desktop is much like a garden, if you will.  It requires true dedication, constant attention and nurturing.  Looking at Distrowatch, one sees a wide array of choices.  Some flowers in the garden are hardy, and even perennial flowering all year round giving manifold benefits to the Linux User community.

Indeed, there is much freedom of choice.  But with choice comes risk.  One such risk is that many Distros by default create newcomer confusion.  The immediate question becomes, "Which one is best?"  All one need do is ask and there will be no shortage of opinion offered to help out.  Getting answers to questions with Linux has always been one of its cornerstones and those who maintain support forums are there to help.  This has always been one of the great benefits of Linux.  That hasn't changed.

What has changed?  The pure number of Distros has grown as more developers obtain toolchains which facilitate cloning their own 'me too' Distro.  This is done mostly with good intentions.  It's part of the Gnu Public License and encouraged.

But, the by-product has yielded a side-effect I call Distro-Sprawl.  As such, it has become increasingly difficult for users to come to a quick answer as to which Distro they should use.

Despite, Bodhi Linux points to another important issue:  Ongoing Support.

When researching which Distro to use, make not just looking at the feature set a consideration.  Look also at the number of people involved in support.  If it's one or two people, that doesn't mean it isn't a good Distro.  Far from it, Bodhi is the exemplar.  But, the longevity of that Distro is put at risk when there are fewer to support it.  And thus, we see here yet another developer finds himself in the throws of life circumstance with not enough 'bandwidth' to devote to his open source development pursuits.  The critical decision is made to pull the plug.  The developer retires.  You are left high and dry.

It doesn't have to be that way if you look at the top 5 Distributions on Distrowatch.  Those are the hardy flowers in the garden.  Those flowers have many gardeners who cultivate and nurture them so as to remain healthy, lush and full.

I encourage developers not to spread themselves 'thin' across vaguely familiar Distros.  Come on board one of the larger Top 5 Distros and put your talent towards something which will be long-lasting and meaningful.  -- Dietrich


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