The world’s most unsuccessfuly successful OS
Once again, Ubuntu has been poised as the most successful GNU/Linux Distro in the world, at least according to the 15,000 participating voters, and a good thing too, since other than them, it seems that no one else takes Ubuntu, or indeed any Debian-based OS seriously.
Take Gaim, probably the best multi-protocol Instant Messaging system, for example. The download pages have, besides the source code, an RPM package (for Red-Hat based distros) and a Windows package.
Granted, there is always someone to do the dirty work, but it doesn’t solve anything. This isn’t just one case, mind you, I believe almost every major application who does offer pre-compiled distro-specific packages have no .deb in their download page. There are the exceptions, but those are, as I just mentioned, exceptions.
It’s not just Ubuntu, btw. A quick look at DistroWatch‘s top 10 (the de-facto “popularity chart”) shows that 5 out the 10 distros are Debian-based (Ubuntu, MEPIS, Damn Small, Debian and Knoppix), 4 are RPM-based and one (Gentoo) is installing software by compiling source-code.
I realise that the leading commercial distros use rpm (mainly Red Hat/Fedora, Novell’s SUSE/OpenSUSE and Mandriva), but that’s still no excuse. Although it might be interesting to notice that most of those have a Windows install file and even a Mac OS X one. Is it me, or are those software makers cater to commercial and proprietary OS rather than to the Bread-and-butter GNU/Linux distros like Debian, Slackware and others?