It's a fact of life that Linux distributions go extinct and it happens more often than our Linux fan base would like to admit. At last count, there are approximately 50 individual distributions that are now extinct. What happens to the poor unfortunates who adopt and use these defunct distros? Are they left in the cold or are there alternatives that are close enough that a relatively tech savvy administrator could migrate apps and dependencies to another distribution? Some of these distributions were excellent and very capable. Damn Small Linux (DSL) is a notable one that I used extensively and have written about. It's very disappointing to have a distribution pulled out from under you when you depend on it for productivity.
I know that operating systems come and go, developers get tired and sometimes technology might make some of them obsolete but it still stings a bit, doesn't it?
Sure, I could pick up on a project like DSL and do something with it but IANAP* and have little time for such things. Can't someone else grab it and keep it updated for those of us who love it? I would donate some buckazoids to the project to bring it back to life and to help keep it going.
I'm just a cranky individual but what happens to businesses that adopt distributions that go extinct? I've recommended DSL to businesses in the past. Now I have to go back and tell them that it's kaput. That doesn't bode well for DSL or me. It also makes Linux a less palatable choice for businesses to think that something they've built business intelligence or user dependencies on is now gone.
Is our only choice to stick with the "mainstream" distributions for guaranteed updates and new versions? I don't necessarily want to do that. Some of the hottest innovations and clever additions are in those oddball distros created by certain basement dwellers. But, if you can't depend on them for longevity or business continuity, I guess it's back to commercially backed distro X for me.
Tell me what you think about extinct distributions. Is this a big negative aspect of Linux adoption unless it's from an established commercial entity?
*I am not a programmer.