People say that you can choose how fat or thin you are simply by combining a proper diet with regular exercise. For some reason it doesn't work for me. No matter how many slices of pizza I cut down on or how little beer I drink it doesn't seem to make any difference to my waistline. I do exercise too. I make it a special task to walk as many times to the icebox as I can. So it seems that I have no choice and it is a genetic thing that my body is the way it is.
With Linux however, I do have a choice. It doesn't matter what distribution I use, I can configure my Linux installation to be as fat or thin as I like. Even so called bloated distributions can be made slim and trim. I just wish my belly could be :) Not just the bloated ones. The specialist thin distributions can quite easily become just as fat as the rest of them.
The reason for all of these different distributions is mainly because someone or a group of people wish for a Linux distribution to work in a certain manner. If there is not one available then they will go out and create their own. If their vision is shared by many then that distribution becomes popular, eg. Ubuntu. If not then it stays a hobby project or fades away.
In the end Linux, is Linux, is Linux. It all works exactly the same underneath. Pretty much the same as people. We all look different (I bet you are glad that there is no-one else who looks like me :) yet, barring some horrible disease, all our bones are the same, all the organs are in the same place and the differences are minor.
This was brought home to me a few days ago when I visited the BodyWorld exhibition being displayed in Istanbul. Stripped of our skin, with all of our internals displayed for the world to see, there is no way that people could be told apart. Linux is exactly like that.
Once you strip off the skin of any Linux distribution and by skin I mean the minor differences between Linux distributions, then they are all the same. Sure there are age differences between the installed programs but unless our parents were all enjoying the same moment at the same time then we are not all the same age either.
The point here is that, no matter what Linux distribution you start from, you can make it do anything, be anything or look like anything. If wished you can take an Ubuntu installation and have it look, feel and perform like a Fedora distribution. Or you can take a Fedora installation and have it as slim and trim as Puppy Linux.
All it takes is a wish to do so and a desire to act. This is the freedom which Linux gives you. The freedom to have your computer exactly how you want it to be. The flexibility of Linux and it's devilled kindred allows you to mix and match, squish and scratch to fit or fill any desired form factor. It is really the Flubber of operating systems.
What is your desire? Do you like a fat system with all the bells and whistles and so much eye candy your eyeballs rot? Would you prefer a lean mean computing machine and save your cpu cycles for real work? With Linux you can have it all. Tell us how you have modified your chosen distribution to suit your personality in the comments below.