Have We Passed Peak Distro?

There have been a lot of news reports and blog posts that have been making waves in my pond lately: the too many Linux distros argument. I actually chimed in on this topic a few years ago by contributing with a post about how the landscape of Linux distros are like a garden. A garden of heirloom tomatoes, where each distro has a few weak areas and one or two exceptional qualities.

I think the logical conclusion to that discussion turned out to be The Linux Luddites podcast: where Joe, Paddy and Jesse reviewed about forty(?) distros. They came to the broad and obviously glaring conclusion that these distros are out there because they scratched an itch. Unfortunately, most of the distros were not an actual maintained commercial solution, current, or well tested. I think the tomatoes metaphor should actually be turned into the crab apple metaphor.

Conclusion? Freedom. Duh.

Question: is the future of independent Linux distributions forever going to wane now that we have some clear successes like Ubuntu/Debian, Fedora/Centos, and Arch?

Have we passed peak distro?

Jed Reynolds
Jed Reynolds has been known to void warranties and super glue his fingers together. When he is not doing photography or fixing his bike, he can be found being a grey beard programmer analyst for Candela Technologies. Start stalking him at https://about.me/jed_reynolds.


  1. Fuck no, I just got a china only phone and needed a new row rom,
    need rom dot com,
    bloody loads
    what you call distros are all just debian/rh/geentoo,
    maybe slackware too
    all with different bit of UI glue
    Only one micro kernel
    missing wifi and video mods

    Im too old, a baldheaded knob
    read my ham and like my sprogs
    Get the idea
    I think its clear
    something I can use
    as I drink my beer
    FreeBSD iPhone!

  2. Maybe there are too many distros but I love this freedom of choice. It could be helpful if there is a website what can help to choose and has enough relevant information (e.g. which one has maintenance).

    Distrowatch.com is a good start to look around but they can’t process all information. There are too many distros on their waiting list.

  3. The thing is, one of those “alternates” could become the next big distro. I remember when Linux Mint was just a “me too” variant of Ubuntu. Now it’s a major player.

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