The governance of Linux distros

Distro Walk – Governance

© Lead Image © Peter Galbraith,

© Lead Image © Peter Galbraith,

Article from Issue 240/2020

Whether you are a user or a developer, knowing how a distribution governs itself can help you choose a Linux distro.

How Linux distributions govern themselves may be the last aspect you look at when choosing a distribution. Often information about governance is buried several levels down on a project's website, yet the information is worth uncovering. Even though open source is usually considered as a business advantage, idealism still runs strong in the community, and it is often reflected most clearly in organizational structure. Administratively, Linux distributions run the spectrum from town-hall meetings on online forums and chats to dictatorships to progressive democracies. If you are a user, governance may be a clue to whether a distribution suits your preferences. If you are a developer, governance can become even more important. If you become a contributor, you will be dealing with the organization on a daily basis.

This month, I'll look at the governance of seven popular distros. In this sampling, you most likely will be able to find an approach to Linux that suits you.

Arch Linux

Although Arch Linux [1] is one of the more influential distributions, it is organized to operate with a minimum of structure. Its structure has two basic tenets: First, "Anyone should be free to contribute to any aspect of the distribution;" second, "Decisions concerning a particular project should be made by people actively involved in that project." Conflicts are resolved through discussion until consensus is reached.


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