Distro Walk – Coming of Age » Linux Magazine

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Linux users can now experience what Windows and macOS users have enjoyed for decades: hardware, software, and services bundled together. We look at six of these one-stop solutions for Linux.

By traditional definition, distributions are software. Yet increasingly, companies are offering distributions as part of a bundle that includes hardware, support, and services – a kind of one-stop solution often called vertical integration in commercial jargon. What these solutions offer, though, can vary considerably.

The advantages of one-stop solutions are obvious. Vendors can offer software tailored to their hardware and win customer loyalty. For buyers, one-stop solutions offer convenience and ease of purchase, an end to the pre-purchase research that until recently has been standard in setting up a Linux computer.

Until recently, attempts at one-stop solutions have floundered. For instance, in 2013, KDE failed to launch the Spark tablet, with its unique variant of the Plasma desktop environment. Ubuntu did release the Touch tablet with its own desktop, but discontinued it in 2017. The reasons for these failures have never been thoroughly analyzed, but likely reasons are a lack of business experience in hardware and a relatively small market for commercial Linux.

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