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Re: [Fwd: Fedora looses position in Germany]

Am Do, den 04.08.2005 schrieb Colin Charles um 5:24:

> This is somewhat interesting - anyone care to post an analysis?
> Seems we're unpopular in Germany, in-spite of FUDCon II being there?!?

> Colin Charles, http://www.bytebot.net/

SuSE has been strong in Germany because it was a German company, with a
focus on good German localisation and with really good ISDN support
(ISDN is / was up to DSL times, as far as I know, most popular in
Europe/Germany). Certainly some other features like Yast(2) made it
popular, not only for private users but too in companies. The support
the SuSE GmbH offered gave it some leadership for the local market here.
The presence in computer magazines is strong up till now. We'll see what
now happens under Novell's leadership and from the just these days
announced strategy to make SuSE too a community based project[1].
Mandrake became in some way popular in time when it was an enhanced Red
Hat Linux, more focused on desktop user requirements. It early targeted
toward ease of use. I don't think Mandrake (now Mandriva) is strong in
the enterprise market.
Debian is / was popular among the more ambitious Linux users, which in
first line are able and like to configure things through command line
and editing text files rather than using GUI tools. Often Debian users
appear as the "real Linux" users and they strongly claim the FOSS flag.
For private users Debian is attractive as it has the huge package base
and apt to handle packages and dependencies quite easy. In enterprise
area Debian isn't that well spreaded here, because there is no company
behind it and managements often don't like that idea.
It is amazing how fast Ubuntu became popular. This certainly has 2 major
reasons: as a Debian based distribution it is easy for Debian users to
move over and feel at home and the users get a stable release with
relative up to date software versions whereas Debian was either pretty
old (stable Woody) or testing / unstable (Sarge / Sid) with the problems
such a development orientated release gets you.
I don't know how well Knoppix matches into this comparison. Knoppix got
it's user base as being the swiss knife Linux live-CD usage. More and
more magazines reported about that Linux distribution as it is easy to
get an impression about Linux nowadays without need to place it on the
computer - well, that is what a live -CD is :). Until Ubuntu went to
become widely used Knoppix filled the gap for Debian users being
displeased with the situation about the age of stable Debian, running
non-stable otherwise or massively using backports.
Last but not least, Red Hat Linux has never been on so much home user
PCs, but had a better standing in enterprise area. Too with the argument
- like the one with SuSE - that there is a company with support. From my
own experience I can judge how relative difficult it was to get a good
and proper ISDN setup for dial-in with RHL, when SuSE users just made
some choices in ncurses based Yast. Though too Red Hat Linux and SuSE
were / are both RPM based distributions, package management was easier
on SuSE for the normal Linux user. Many Linux users I know still
identify Red Hat with "rpm dependency hell" experiences. Fedora as the
successor of Red Hat Linux is of course done very much to be more user
friendly and desktop user orientated. I see a good chance to get a much
better use base here in Germany. Unfortunately the German edition of the
Red Hat Magazine has been canceled some time ago. It brought Fedora to
some attention, as sold in book shops, kiosks and gas stations. Compared
to the Debian -> Ubuntu situation described above, Fedora does not have
the fundament of users switching from old RHL to current Fedora. Fedora
has to be promoted actively. Sure, it appears in computer magazine
articles, like the well known c't magazine (not only famous in Germany I
think, but beyond borders, read by ambitious computer users). In the
growing notebook user market Fedora though has a difficult standing
against SuSE for instance, which seems to be supporting notebook
specific hardware like WLAN or power-management somewhat overall better
than Fedora.

This is said from my small hill. Not really an analysis but a long time
perspective from mid 90s on. I do not claim this to be the wisdom about
Linux distributions in Germany up to this moment and for future


[1] http://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/62400

Alexander Dalloz | Enger, Germany | GPG http://pgp.mit.edu 0xB366A773
legal statement: http://www.uni-x.org/legal.html
Fedora Core 2 GNU/Linux on Athlon with kernel 2.6.11-1.35_FC2smp 
Serendipity 18:47:12 up 19 days, 23:19, load average: 0.09, 0.38, 0.47 

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