From time to time I try out new distributions that I see pushing out new releases. And almost as often I come to wonder why did they release in such a state.

There are quite a few distributions which can't really decide if they are trying to be a server or desktop distribution. Usually this causes the Desktop version to be riddled with problems that are normal on servers but should never appear on a desktop.

Lets pick an example: I installed CentOS earlier this week which intended to install it as a desktop installation. What annoyed me was the need to use a separate root password to manage the computer. This is an issue that divides opinions pretty evenly. Others like to enter their root password and others like the sudo approach. If you think of the normal users, they have a hard time remembering more than one password so making them enter the root password is insane. Installation asks quite a few questions, questions that a normal user shouldn't need to know. If you want to know in more detail, install CentOS and see for yourself.

The problem here, as I see it, is that most distributions try to do 2 things at the same time. They try to provide an enterprise server distribution and a desktop distribution. There are some distributions that just simply aim to please the desktop users but hardly any that only aim for the server platform. Usually the ones that work towards a server environment push in the desktop side too.

So far Ubuntu is the only distribution that I've tried that is able to pull off both. It's a killer desktop distribution as well as a server distribution. I think it's all about setting goals and keeping them. Rational goals make a huge difference.

Distributions should stick with what they do best. It's not about trying to make it happen. It's about admitting that you can't do everything and working within the resources you have.

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