One of the common complaints I see about Linux and Open Source in general is that there are no standards in the way things are handled. The most frequent example is the packaging systems that are different between distributions. You probably already heard things like
They should do it this way! with a lot of vision and knowledge of the actual problems and situation. I think the real problem actually comes from those same idealistic people. Their ideas aim to unify the way things are made, but the new project they create simply becomes one of those other distributions.
There are currently two major trends: Debian’s apt-get style installers and RedHat’s RPMs. Distributions simply adapt the packages to their own needs and vision. Most distributions aim toward a different audience, have a different vision on what a release process should be and what is acceptable. Debian has very high quality standards and has a long release process. Gentoo intermediate to advanced power users with general knowledge of Linux. Mandrake is all about user-friendlyness. Xandros wants to be like Windows. YellowDog is for Macs. Each distribution has it’s own favor and it’s just fine as it is. As long as an application can be compiled on all of those systems, there is no problem to be seen. Isn’t the good old source code the most portable solution?
Your operating system shouldn’t tell you who you are or what your preferences are. Choose what you are comfortable with.