some ponderings on emperor linux (and more pre-packaged linux in general)

About a month ago I got a Raven tablet (basically a Lenovo X41) from Emperor Linux. I got it with Emperor’s modified Ubuntu. The experience was, frankly, very mixed. Lots of things didn’t work out of the box like I expected, but they eventually did a pretty good job helping me fix most of them. In the end I mostly got what I wanted- a working tablet, and a price signal sent to Lenovo and others that I want Linux supported on their laptops. (I did end up wasting a lot of time, which is the thing I very much wanted to avoid, but that is water under the bridge.)

I already addressed the state of tablet software as a result. I hope we can get on the ball there- I really think this is important.

Bigger picture, I’m boggled that Fedora, OpenSuse, and Ubuntu, all of whom have open or semi-open build systems now, are not actively seeking out Emperor and companies like Emperor, and helping them ship distros that are as close to upstream- and hence most supportable- for everyone. Obviously it is in RH, Canonical, and Novell’s interests to actively pursue Big Enterprise Fish like HP and Dell. But I’m really surprised that the communities around these distros haven’t sought out the smaller, and potentially growing, companies that are offering computers with Linux pre-installed. It seems like this is a win-win for everyone- the small companies could get help building more supportable and correct packages, and could require less expertise on their side of the fence, while the communities would get patches and concrete feedback from the companies, and would be able to point community members at a place where they could buy machines from those who directly work with their favorite distro. I mean, if I’m a Fedora user, I want to buy a machine with Fedora on it- and ideally a machine with a ‘well deployed’ Fedora- i.e., everything is packaged in accordance with Fedora standards, supportable via yum, etc. Surely it would behoove Fedora to be able to point me at such a box, as well as the traditional ‘buy any old box, pay your MS tax, and then install this ISO.’

Nothing particularly deep here- just seems like something I’m surprised no one is doing yet. Certainly  it would have improved my Emperor experience a bit if some of their stuff had been packaged and managed instead of put in /opt/, and if their patches go upstream, it is a win for everyone.