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This reminds me of the sad fact that most distributions are just repackaging the same old GNU tools, or if embedded then busybox. Where's the innovation/experimentation of base userland? Android (other mobile linuxes probably too) is a nice exception, even though I'm not particularly fond of it as a system, I approve that at least it's trying to be different.



Well, there's BSD, Plan 9, Inferno. If you don't want the "same old GNU tools", there are plenty of places to go.

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I guess I should have specified Linux distributions, but then I thought that would be obvious from the context.

Besides latest stable of Plan9 was 10 years ago and latest stable of Inferno was 5 years ago...

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I wish there was a way to end this meme, so people didn't keep saying the same dumb thing every time: Changes to Plan 9 are continually integrated, with a new ISO being generated every day. Inferno lives as a Mercurial repository these days, and it too gets updated frequently. In Plan 9, for instance, they recently added a better bootloader and support for timed semaphore acquires (and after that patch, you can now build Go for Plan 9). We even get ports to new systems from time to time, like the beagleboard or the gumstix.

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Good start would be to edit their respective Wikipedia pages to be more clear on the issue.

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At the speed Linux changes, a 5-year-old Inferno would not even build. The lates available tarball is from 2010, but the reason a tarball is even provided is because it speeds up a pull from Mercurial. If you are interested in the current goings on, I've summarized some of them: http://debu.gs/entries/plan-9-and-inferno

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plan9 still gets regular updates and there are various forks now all in pretty active development: http://lsub.org/ls/nix.html http://www.quanstro.net/plan9/9atom/ http://code.google.com/p/plan9front/

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Erm, GNU is doing the "innovation" here, i.e. adding spurious new flags and options. Which got quite annoying back in the days when I had to work with other commercial Unices and still hits me from time to time on BSDs (including OS X).

Anyone still remember /usr/ucb/bin?

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How's that a sad fact? Non-GNU tools are horrible. Want sort -h? Want find -mmin? etc. etc.

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Maybe if alternative tools were more actively developed then they wouldn't be so horrible. Not having competition causes stagnation, which is the sad part.

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Many are actively developed, but simply do not share GNUs enthusiasm for adding new features. BSD userlands get plenty of love, but they are something I have little interest in using myself. Busybox also gets lots of development, but has much different objective than GNU. Both BSD userlands and Busybox are great.. in their niche; just like GNU is great in its.

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