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When I think of the recent debacle where Canonical and Gnome disagreed and each went their own way in terms of producing a new desktop, I wonder: Why doesn't a desktop project like Gnome produce its own distro, rather than wait for other distros to punt or ship its product (if you can call it that)?

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Sorry, I phrased the question badly. It would have been better to read: "Why don't Gnome or KDE (or other desktop projects for that matter) produce their own distributions?" – mydoghasworms Apr 7 '11 at 18:26
Note that you can just edit the post itself if you think there's something needing clarification. – Tshepang Apr 7 '11 at 18:37
up vote 3 down vote accepted

On top of mattdm's answer, I'd like to add:

  • Their missions are to create (good) desktops, not distributions. You might as well ask, why don't FLOSS project X that isn't a distributor (Apache, Python, Linux kernel, ...) produce it's own distribution. Their mission is to produce a (good) whatever, not a distribution.

  • The people working on these desktops are often working for distributions as well. For example, many of the most important people in GNOME are employed by Red Hat. Fedora (community distro supported by Red Hat), which is so bleeding edge that it sometimes receives updates before module tarballs are available, is a first-class GNOME distro as a result.

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@mydog in addition, don't forget these desktops don't neccessarily just run on Linux. FreeBSD/OpenBSD/NetBSD and probably some other Unices can use them. Solaris has been moving to using a Gnome-based desktop instead of their OpenWindows. There's also a port of KDE to Windows. – penguin359 Apr 8 '11 at 8:32
That's a good point. – mydoghasworms Apr 8 '11 at 8:42

I think "Because it's a huge amount of work."

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