Is Ubuntu becoming the generic Linux distro?

Is Ubuntu becoming the generic Linux distro?

Summary: Has anyone else noticed an increasing number of Linux newbies who seem to think that Ubuntu is Linux and Linux is Ubuntu?

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Has anyone else noticed an increasing number of Linux newbies who seem to think that Ubuntu is Linux and Linux is Ubuntu?

Over the past year or so I've noticed an increasing number of newbies (a term which I use affectionately) interested in taking Linux for a spin - for example, the number or emails I'm getting on the subject from zero a year ago to several dozen a week.  The reasons for their interest in Linux are many and varied, as is the level of commitment to making the switch from Windows or Mac.  However, one thing stands out from all the conversations - the number of people who seem to confuse Ubuntu for Linux.  I can tell because they will either use both terms interchangeably or be using the name Ubuntu in a generic sense.  Moreover, it seems to be confined to Ubuntu.  I've not seen the name of another distro used in the same way.

I have to admit that I like Ubuntu.  Like it a lot.  I've handled dozens of Linux distros over the past year to eighteen months and I always come back to Ubuntu.  While I don't put myself into the Linux n00b category, I know that I'm not a million miles away from that camp so Ubuntu's friendliness and simplicity isn't lost on me.  But another appeal of Ubuntu is the clear development cycle that the developers follow, along with the fact that each version I try turns out to be a significant improvement over the previous release.  There's real momentum in the project.  Whether the same level of development will happen once the basics have been nailed down remains to be seen, but for now, development seems to be moving on at a fair pace.

I'm of the opinion that the evolution of Ubuntu into the generic Linux distro isn't a bad thing.  My opinion is that when it comes to a beginner entering the world of Linux, the staggering array of distros available is off-putting (I know that many disagree with me on this point and claim that choice is a good thing, but no one can show me evidence that new users embrace the huge number of distros with ease).  A single distro offers those wanting to dabble in Linux a place to start and if Ubuntu is all; they need from Linux, great, otherwise there's a whole world of Linux distros to experiment and play with.

Ubuntu upcoming release, codenamed Hardy Heron, will be one of the easiest distros for newbies to try out thanks to the addition of the umenu loader and Wubi installer, both of which make installing Ubuntu alongside Windows easy.  This will no doubt help make Ubuntu even more popular with Linux newbies.

Thoughts?  Do you think that Ubuntu is becoming the generic Linux distro?  Is this a good thing?  Is Ubuntu the best distro for beginners?  If not, what do you suggest?

Topics: Operating Systems, Linux, Open Source, Software

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  • I agree + typo?

    I have noticed the exact same thing.

    BTW: I believe you have a typo when you said say that you have handled dozens of Linux distros, and you say that you "always go back to Linux". Did you mean you always go back to Ubuntu?
    Stuka
    • I noticed that too and agree with the agreement.

      While I think I do a good job of not interchanging Ubuntu and
      Linux casually, I often refer to Ubuntu when I should be saying Kubuntu, which I primarily use. Of course there are those who
      argue that "Linux" should be "GNU/Linux."

      While RedHat did this by implication with the Fedora/RHEL split,
      the Ubuntu people really did a nice job of explicitly parsing the
      market into a group that requires stability and a group that
      wants to take advantage of new and improved applications on
      the Desktop and keeping the eye on the ball as to how to cater
      to the rapid change crowd.
      DannyO_0x98
      • Linux is the escape from American communism

        A world where the whole world works together for the better of all.

        Sorry Penelope and Rupert, but you got a fight on your hands ...
        fr0thy2
        • Pfffttt... What silly little post.

          Tell me again, who is holding a gun to your head and forcing you to buy or use anything? If you can't then your post is as useless as the thought (or lack of) behind it.
          No_Ax_to_Grind
          • Try here ...

            http://blogs.zdnet.com/open-source/?p=2214
            fr0thy2
        • yup

          You are fully delusional.

          Here?s your hug.
          TGGR
        • Lots of ppl get this the wrong way around...

          Agree. Just look at Microsofts "5 years plans", like ditching MS Windows XP with lots of protests from customers.
          IF MS Windows XP was Open Sourced, it would have been a split by now, with lots of people continue developing MS Windows XP while Microsoft would continue (or not) with MS Vista. And one or two companies would have been formed around that. This is what GNU license is all about, giving the customers what they pay for, controll over the software, direct or indirectly.

          But as it is closed source, customers can't do anything about that, except to continue pay for MS Windows Vista or switch to some other OS/distribution like Linux or OpenSolaris or whatever...

          If RedHat or Suse would have done something like this, customers could fork or swich distribution.

          Competition is good and "5 year plans", ? la Microsoft or former USSR, is bad for customers.

          I can't understand MS supporters complaining about Open Source being "communism" and such. When in practice it is the other way around, Open Source is competition and good for customers and MicroSoft is not.
          Jxn
        • haha

          If you're using the Word America and communism in the same sentance you need to learn the definition of communism. It's capitalism that has made Microsoft the great and all powerful OZ. And the day the government tells me I'm too rich, is the day Communism begins and the American Dream dies. The democrats have already started their fall to the dark Side of communism by increasing taxes and threatening to go after big company's profits when they know that increasing taxes leads to a recession. It just looks good on paper to go after the big guys, even though it totally destroys an economy and puts more people out of work. /boggle
          Khyron
          • Tip of the Day There's No capitalisim in a monopoly.

            If there were another business out there making and selling an OS. Okay you'd be right. But there isn't. It's against the Apple EULA to use OS X on whatever machine you want and Linux is technically not a desktop "market" product.

            So.... Where exactly is your precious Capitalism? Microsoft was convicted of being a Monopoly and got broken up when? Yeah.
            Breetai
          • And how would you propose breaking up Microsoft

            You cannot punish Microsoft because Apple has made it's own choice not to sell the Mac OS separate from the Machine.

            If Microsoft were to buy some Computer manufacturer (like Dell) and then only sell Windows on Dell machines they would be in direct compatition with Apple. Would that satisify you? Perhaps we ought to "Bust" Apple.

            Even if you were to somehow "bust" Microsoft into multiple parts. One of those parts would be Windows. I'm curious to know how that would make the OS market any different.
            dysart
          • Holy Smollies I just noticed your name!

            HA HA That's awesome fellow Fanboy.

            And Microsoft Fanboy in bad way ;)
            Breetai
          • RE: haha

            >>>...democrats have already started their fall to the dark Side of communism by increasing taxes and threatening to go after big company's profits when they know that increasing taxes leads to a recession...<<<

            Thought this was a tech site. We can of course ignore the 8 trillion dollar added national debt the past three republican administrations have given us and aren't we sooo much better off with our current inflation etc., etc.
            richdave
          • Capialism

            Is according to Americans is you sink or swim on your own , without any assistance at all from the Government,

            Freedom to Innovate and all that.

            However we now see the Government (that is Taxpayers) handing big Corporations Billions of Dollars to pail them out of the result of greed , corruption and stupidity of their leaders.

            Who will pay for Mr. Madoff,with his $50 Billion fraud.
            elderlybloke
          • too rich

            If you really think the way your post indicates that you do, then you are
            already too rich.

            The big guys, the banksters, have ruined our country.
            gertruded
    • Intentional typo?

      There is the possibility that he is simply demonstrating that you can use the word "Linux" when you are talking about "Ubuntu", and vise versa.

      Or it could just be a typo. ;)
      tristanrhodes
      • Intentional typo?

        There is allot to be said for Name recognition get the name out and people will remember, it helps getting market share. It is just a distribution that is easy to use for the Novice when coming from windows. The have to start somewhere and granny won?t bother with typing commands.
        aussieblnd
      • Typo.

        There is a typo in the above comment. It should be VICE VERSA, not vise versa :)

        More seriously, I too am in agreement that UBUNTU is a very good distro. I just ordered 7.10_64. I am expecting to install it on an AX2 5600/8GB computer. Problem: to my knowledge, very limited music software compared to the Windows platform. I totally hate to be in Redmond's pockets, but have no choice till the number of apps goes up substantially. People are relegated to experiment with Linux, but, unfortunately, the platform is still not rich enough as far as software is concerned. I know, I know, I am reiterating a well known problem, nevertheless the problem doesn't seem to want to go away. The big music software manufacturers have next to nothing when it comes to Linux and this is not only the music industry's problem but it's pervasive. Big commercial software carriers don't carry almost anything Linux (again, in comparison with the Windows platform), one needs to look for niche vendors. The problem is also that large corpotations continue to have huge contracts with Redmond, perpetuating the Windows platform. Don't get me wrong, I am not a partisan user. I LIKE Windows. But I simply am NOT going to dish out those $450 every 3 or so years and, more over, take on the reinstallation of the numerous applications I use on my 3 computers.

        Sylva.
        jtsylvanis
        • Try This

          The best place to look for linus software is sourceforge. This link shows many of the audio players for Linux:

          http://sourceforge.net/softwaremap/trove_list.php?form_cat=122

          Linux actually is very capable of multimedia. In fact Linux is usually the OS used to render animated movies because it works well in a cluster setup and can acheive results better than a super computer with just a bank of cheap Linux boxes. Personally, I use Amarok when on the desktop (it has some really cool plugins too).

          PS: I think they should call it "*nix the OS formerly known as Ubuntu".
          KRowe (LinuxZealot)
        • RE: simply am NOT going to dish out those $450 every 3 or so years

          Go cutting edge and try Virtualization software. I am doing it at the office and proving to our expert that it is safe economical and effective. Not to mention that when you really louse it up, you can go back to square one, or 35, without re-installing.
          Redsheep
          • Your expert ...

            .. is he one of THOSE experts ....???? ;-)
            fr0thy2