[ale] Distro Question -- State of the Linux Nation

Preston Boyington PBoyington at polyengineering.com
Tue Feb 24 15:33:42 EST 2004

> When I first got into linux I tried RedHat and SUSE. While I 
> was able to 
> get both up and running, I felt that I was not learning much 
> because of 
> the interfaces. 

i can see what you are talking about, but you can always just use a base system and compile anything you need from source.

>I was about to go back to Windows when my co-worker 
> said, "Hey give slackware a try." I was skeptical, but after 
> installing 
> it, I was hooked. 

used to run Slack and liked it.

>However, recently, with the release of RH8/9 I have been more and more 
> unsatisfied with the larger distrobutions. Redhat has morphed the 
> desktop into the REDHAT desktop. So if you want KDE you get there 
> version of KDE. Every distro seems to tweak the apps to run how they 
> want them to run.

nature of the beast really.  lots of folks are selling software and wanting to make their product run/look/feel better than the rest.  you could always install what you want from source.

>In addition, I am not hip on programs like apt-get and the FBSD ports 
> system. I prefer to know what I am installing not just telling it to 
> install and the program installing all sorts of dependencies that I 
> would otherwise not know about.

again, you don't have to use anything but the base system install and just compile what you want from source.  apt and the ports system are there to make life easier for us.  they are not mandatory, just another choice.  choice if good.
> So this still left me in a bit of a quandry. What distro was 
> out there that was still pure. One that I could configure via the command line 
> without having to use something like YAST. 

FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, Debian, Slackware, Red Hat, Mandrake, SuSE, hmmm, all of them?

you can fire up vi/emacs/ee/joe/whatever and configure to your hearts content on all of them.

YAST and such are nice for companies that sell the product.  it assists them in giving their tech support personel a single "jump off point" for configuring and updating their companies software.  but if you don't have to use it if you do all your own support.

>Finally, I thought what about Slackware. They have always been tried and true. 

yup, like Slack...  and there's several i know that do Linux From Scratch so that may be another option for you.

>So I  downloaded it and  installed. Ahhh.. this is where I wanted to be. 
>KDE is kde not redhat 
> kde, apps come straight from the source with little dicking around. I 
> can once again run my system from the command line. Life is 
> good, and I hope it stays that way.

sounds like you found your fave distro.  Red Hat's "Bluecurve" annoyed many folks, but i understand they did it to help make the desktops easier for their people (and some others) to support.

> My question for you is, has anyone else felt the same way about the 
> state of the linux world? That most of the larger distros have gotten 
> away from their roots, and are now moving on to please the masses?

i like the fact that they are making distro's for the masses.  possibly 6 years ago i would not have taken that stand, but now i realize that it helps more than "hurts".

in fact i wish more people knew about, and applied Linux and open source, so manufacturers would be persuaded to release components that worked equally well on all operating systems.  imagine going into a store without doing research on a product (to be sure it was supported), snapping it off the shelf, slapping it into your computer, and it just works.

> I ask hoping that someone has an answer or an idea, not to 
> cause a flame war between distros.

not really an answer you didn't know.  it's linux, do it your way.  there's no need for flame wars between distros/desktops/editors/file systems/etc.  if something is not to your taste then (thankfully) there are plenty of choices and i honestly don't see many/any "bad" ones.  

i probably would agree that some distro's are "better" than others, but this is really just opinion.  things that i find annoying others find appealing (for me it's KDE and GNOME.  i prefer Fluxbox and the like) 

different ways to do the same thing really.

> Thanks in advance,
> Eric VanWieren

Thank you Eric, now could you help me down off this soapbox?


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