I've realised over the past while that while "freedom" is Linux's biggest advantage, yet it's also it's biggest downside. Everybody hit's an issue at some point (regardless of OS) where we have to turn to the Oracle that is Google to solve. And this is where standardisation comes in very handy. At least when you're running Windows or Mac, there are a few million people out there with pretty much the same hardware/software as you who may have experienced the same problem. This alone increases the chances of finding a solution on blogs forums etc. that suits you.

As I said with Linux, firstly you've got largly 3 different interface's - Gnome, KDE and Xfce. Then you've got the different package managers - APT,
YUM etc. And that aside, there are literally hundreds of different flavors of Linux. So, the permutations are endless. And with Linux making up approximately 1% of the total market share, it means that sometimes there aren't thousands of people who've got the exact same issue that you do.

Sure, people will argue that "Linux is Linux" regardless of distribution, but it does mean that there are sometimes subtle differences that to a new user, some advice on a Mandriva forum will not necessarily work on OpenSuse machine. To a new user, Terminal sessions are probably totally foreign and they simply copy and paste commands from forums and see what happens - sometimes with "disastrous effects". I know... I've been there. Today I managed to mess up my OpenOffice while trying to force it to use a theme different from the rest of the Gnome interface. It took quite a while to fix the issue finally and get it to work as it should.

And there is the advantage as well... You can do those sorts of things in Linux - You can make it jump through hoops if you wanted. For the most part it's an obidiant dog that you can train to do anything you want to, but once in a while when trying to get it to jump through a flaming hoop - it's turns around and bites you in the ass. But then again, what would you expect?

So, I'm totally for Ubuntu who've standardised things a bit. It makes it so much easier looking for a solution - at least in the Linux world you're not totally alone.


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