My OS project: Needs vs Wants

11 January 2017

I have come to realise that the whole illume OS / Antorca Linux distribution project that I’ve been working on since 2011 (since I was 13!) has become increasingly difficult to justify as being a worthwhile project. The rapidly saturating Linux distribution space has practically had just about every niche filled out – from lightweight distributions to heavy-weight multimedia studios, from Raspberry Pi distributions to heavy-duty server solutions.

Despite having announced Antorca only a day or two ago, I did so without putting much thought into how this would all play out in the long-term. I started to feel that Antorca and illume OS weren’t really solving any actual existing issues as similar distributions like LXLE, Lubuntu, and others have already filled the gaps when it comes to performance and ‘lightweighted-ness’.

It would be fair to say based on a recent DistroWatch poll that a large majority of engaged Linux fans use multi-core 64-bit machines which are probably unlikely to require lighter distributions under most circumstances. This era of ‘disposable electronics’ has meant that hardware in homes and organisations are rapidly replaced with little regard for the old hardware (i.e. sitting in a store room). Newer, more powerful, more energy-efficient hardware has meant that users could use more heavyweight and feature-packed distributions for more heavy-duty tasks.

Based on my observations in uni and how programming units are being taught, resource-intensive IDEs with syntax recognition and built-in debugging tools are the thing. Outside of my programming course, a large number of popular (and educational) apps (which are also becoming rather resource-hungry) are beginning to offer Linux PPAs (an Ubuntu-specific method of enabling automatic updates for that app). Thus, the need for more powerful hardware would lead to a higher rate of people saying “this two-year-old laptop’s getting a tad-bit slow for me, time to chuck it out and get a new one!”

Hence, I must make it clear that Antorca may either “degrade” into a pet-project of mine, or I’ll use the name for something else in the future.