I don’t think there are too many distros, but i do think there are too many distrolets. Though they can be a great exercise for youngsters to learn the hang of things, and then help out a larger project, who knows, maybe they make a career out of it. The current ‘big’ choices are actually great, as they all represent different ideas and demographics.
For instance - i like openSUSE especially for the reason it, for me, hits the sweet spot. Even though i am a leftist, i’m not all against private companies, or profits for that matter, but that’s another subject. But, it’s good to see SUSE on it’s legs, doing good, knowing openSUSE will get enough of financial backing to perform well. I like then the fact openSUSE is a separate self-governing community. Even though a testbed, nothing wrong with that, because, as opposed with Fedora, i get a more stable, but yet recent enough distribution, to suit my office/multimedia needs. And, to top it off, it really seems professional. Everything, from the installer onwards seems serious. Than, next, the community is great, the forum, irc, i’m a computer noob, so when i was using Debian, i got flacked all the time, here, that’s not the case (but it does seem there are a lot less trolls present, tbh). And then, last but not least, when Ubuntu fanboys say - why are you bothered, suse and redhat are doing the same thing, it’s not quite true. One of the things i like about openSUSE is it’s collaborative nature, be it OBS, a lot of upstream work, and even kernel contribution (ok, SUSE). And that’s very important, because even though SUSE has a commercial agenda, it has a niche business, and, because their interest is delivering the best product possible, they invest time and money into the whole ecosystem, so they can get out of that ecosystem as much as possible. Ubuntu simply does not do that. There were a number of articles how more users does not mean a more quality base, as people who i introduced to linux and Ubuntu, don’t even know (mostly) how to file a bug report. And that would be more than enough contribution on their side. But, let me not generalize. Along with the NIH syndrome, making everything they ‘invent’ difficult to port (as i read complaints), and that’s the problem, what they do, is seel the feelgood atmosphere, but with pursuing their goals are disrupting the very community and ecosystem they built their product on. And it’s not a coincidence they waited for 6-7 years before ‘deciding to lead’. And them selecting the project least capable of defending itself in the corporate world, since it has no ties to it. I’d like to see them try the same with Fedora or openSUSE. Anyway, opposed to what they say, they do not give a **** about opensource, it’s community or ecosystem. They have a vision. And they will poison the well if they see it fit in the long run. But right now, they still rely too much on community.
Point is, Mark could sell KDE (probably even easier than gnome or Unity), build on it, whateva, but his wishes are not the deciding factor. And yes, it’s not FUD, because as someone mentioned, Mint is changing things to their liking also, and noone is protesting. With a reason. Everything else is Canonical’s marketing/media spin, and nothing else. Everytime i see a reconciling blog post from Jono or Mark, it makes me want to barf.
Point is, the Canonical philosophy is very postmodern in nature. The lines are blurred, and you actually won’t know what you’re up against, while with MS and Apple, you’re definitely certain. They make a move, and it points in one direction, and they just make a statement - no, it’s not that, it’s this. And despite their previous actions, and timeline of their actions, they expect you to trust them. But anyway, the point is, Canonical and Ubuntu can not be trusted. And that’s the only point. And no, the technical aspect can not be the only point, as the whole opensource/FOSS is very much philosophical. And so it should be. And how come still users trust Mint, Debian, and other projects? Because there, the leaders give back/respect their community. And are looking to see it thrive. Here, Mark wants to alter the community to suit his needs, translated - volunteer labor for his profit, and his profit solely. Then they gain infrastructure and base, close it off, and we have Apple.
Anyway, i’m a noob, using Ubuntu would be easiest choice for me, but i simply don’t trust the project anymore. At openSUSE, i feel the relations SUSE-openSUSE-rest of community are much more distinct, clearly defined, and obeyed. And with that, i feel SUSE and openSUSE are showing me respect. And subsequently, I believe in the product, i would recommend it to anyone, and since i don’t know how to to anything else, i try to post pics and videos on forums, participate in discussions, look to join the news team to help out as much as i can, but first and foremost, i file bugs i encounter while normally using my laptop. And once again, the project has my trust, and that’s the basics of everything. But, i guess you have to be an adult for that phase.
Hope i wasn’t too long. Geekos, regards, and remember - have a lot of fun!