Too Many Linux Distributions

I personally think that there are two many Linux distributions. New distributions keep coming out even though very few users will use them. It seems too many efforts have been wasted on developing and maintaining so many Linux distribution.

If these efforts can be reallocated to Fedora and Debian, Linux users’ life will be much easier.

It’s one of the foundational ideas behind Linux: You’re free to do whatever you please. If that means making your own distribution, because it fits your needs better than what others offer, then that is a good thing. It’s not the case that all those distributions are pretty much the same - sure there’s a lot of overlap, especially with the smaller ones, but if you stick with the major ones, then you’ll find they often have completely different target audiences.

I’d take issue with the idea of wasted effort - there is a huge amount of cross-pollination going on, distributions adopt/adapt each other’s good ideas all the time.


Best distros will survive.

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Come on, no! The different distributions serve their own purposes. It would be particularly painful to see Arch go away. :frowning:


That’s a bold statement lacking any justification.


Anyone can put their effort wherever they want, you don’t have to use or contribute to those distributions. Microsoft and apple focus their manpower and money on only one operating system but I can’t say that makes them the perfect system, they still have a lot of issues. You can stick with upstream distros if the fragmentation bothers you that much (e.g. Fedora, Debian, Arch, Gentoo, etc.) and contribute to those.


While I do agree that seeing raw manpower invested in so many distros could look like a waste, I think that motivation is the fuel that make us move forward. Some people create new distros to learn or experiment new ideas that do not fit existing distros (NixOS, Gentoo, Arch) others because they want to experiment, starting from a solid base (all the based on debian/ubuntu/fedora) or because existing distro do not allow implementation of those ideas, for lifecycle or because the community vote against that idea (you can propose, but have to accept also no as an answer).

In the end each one is trying to solve an issue that has not found home in the already existing distro, or simply, is trying to scratch an itch. Is there duplication of efforts? Probably yes, but that effort lead those people in learning and become better. Asking or forcing people not to do what they feel, will lead them away from Linux in toto. Sometimes feels good to create something and being a king of the rock rather than being just another anonymous contributor struggling to find space for your ideas.

And that is also a challenge for the main distros, to welcome and being open to new ideas in order to be place where innovation can happen. Otherwise people will go elsewhere and create their own distros.


Flatpak and snap should give smaller distributions a level playing field for app distribution, so more distributions would be proof of success, possibly.

Except nobody would agree to that. Even if people agreed that it would be better to have only two distros. Getting consensus on which two to keep would be basically impossible.