Thoughts on Linux, Ubuntu, Debian, Slackware

Talk about other linux distributions, or even other OSes.
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rrttdd
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Joined: 28. Nov 2012, 18:49

Thoughts on Linux, Ubuntu, Debian, Slackware

Post by rrttdd » 3. Aug 2014, 21:28

Today I was unfaithful and installed Ubuntu 14 on my HTPC.

I had OpenELEC installed on it, but I wanted to add some emulators and additional software, and OpenELEC was a little bit unflexible for that purpose.

I chose Ubuntu because my favourite emulator just got packed into a brand new Ubuntu package using the latest version. The Slackbuild version was remarkably older. Another argument was the trouble I had fallen into, trying to install XBMC on Salix RP some time ago. I tried to avoid all that struggle with Java not in %PATH for root, and was afraid to encounter similar problems with the emulator. :roll:

So I tried Ubuntu, and within 30 minutes, everything worked flawless. :)


Hmm...

After that experience I had the following thougts.

1) The most successful Linux distribustions seem to be **untu and Debian.

But why are they successfull?

a) Debian:
Has a rediculously bureaucratic organisation in the background and they are open source fanatics. Binary proprietary WLAN adapter firmware is not included by default, even if a user desperately needs it... Debian is popular for webservers and professional use.

Why? I came to the conclusion that you can compare the wy the distribution is made with some ISO 9001 processes in companies in real life. For decision makers this can be a good argument: A good and well-organized creation process of Debian leads to a good distribution in the end. The open source fanatism is also a plus for that purpose: The risk of being sued due to a violation of patents (because LAME is lying around somewhere on a webserver installation etc..) is minimized. Everything is as free as possible, and in the end Debian is first choice for professional use.

b) Ubuntu/**untu:
Derived from the professional distribution described above, with the goal of being as end-user friendly as possible. Due to the massive invest of a generous donor, this goal gets archived very well... Everything works as it should to the user, and there are lots of packages of consumer software for it. Big support communities online, thousands of books and manuals offline.

If you look at it that way, you'll recognize that there's not much room left for other distributions. Professional use: Debian, Ubuntu: End-User... If you add "commercially supported" distributions like Fedora, Open Suse or CentOS, the remaining need of some traditional community distributions like Slackware or Mandrake/Mageia is very limited.

Especially for Mageia I see dark prospects, because most of their goals are accomplished better by Ubuntu, which is supported by a lot of more packages.

And what about Slackware?

Slackware has some interesting features.

-simple package system
-Slackbuild concept
-configuration with config files
-?

I think it would be intersting to find out which kind of users use Slackware for what purpose. Did Slackware gain a numerable amount of new useres in the last 3 years? Are there usage scenarios where Slackware can display its special features?

For example, I wanted to learn a little bit Linux and already had some config file experience from MS DOS and Win 3.1 ;) I like the ideas of having no graphical tools messing up my configuration. But I think this kind of audience is quite rare...

Could that be a purpose: Using Salix/Slackware to learn something about Linux, config files and KISS?

KISS is also a good cue: IMHO, if you look at the original Slackware philosophy, isn't it some kind of contradiction to install the latest KDE or Gnome desktop with all their graphical eye-candy on it? The more so as they often bring their graphical configuration tools with them... :roll:

So I think the ready-made Salix Ratpoison distribution was a good approach. Unfortunately ratpoison is a little bit limited for certain scenarios, especially if a single program comes up with many little windows. Maybe Salix/Slackware can develop a window manager/desktop aligned to the distribution's philosophy:

-KISS
-configuration files
-able to run many little windows and dialog boxes...
-no graphical config tools

:?:


And Salix/Slackware needs to define its audience, as stated above... And then focus on the needs of that users... :?:

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mimosa
Salix Warrior
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Re: Thoughts on Linux, Ubuntu, Debian, Slackware

Post by mimosa » 4. Aug 2014, 07:02

The target audience of Salix is "lazy Slackers", that is, experienced users who would be capable of tuning a vanilla Slackware installation to their taste, but are happy to save themselves the time if someone else has done a careful job, with loving attention to detail. Salix aims to be "like a bonsai". It shares the KISS philosophy and builds on Slackware's renowned stability. There's a tradeoff between stability and having the freshest versions of everything, with Arch at the other end of the spectrum from Slackware. Arch is similar to Slackware in that while it is probably best suited to users with a fair amount of experience, some of its daughter distributions make things easier for others. ANd it so happens that Salix also appeals to such users, with its friendly tools for configurationa and package management, dependency handling, and considerably larger repositories, not to mention a friendly forum with some pretty experienced folk who aren't snotty about it.

I started out my Linux career with Ubuntu before moving on to the distro-hopping phase and then eventually finding Salix, and I understand its broad appeal. There isn't too much to disconcert the new arrival from Windows, even in the installer, and at the time there was Wubi (install inside Windows and set up a sort of fake bootloader to choose between OSs). The repositories are huge and have recent versions of everything (I now find it hard to understand why people often care so much about this, but it certainly sounds like a Good Thing). Applications for core tasks have presumably been tested a lot so they are likely to work smoothly enough, at least at first. But sooner or later in my experience something broke, and it could be very hard for an inexperienced user to fix.

I'd attribute this to two causes. The very popularity of the distribution means that the noise of misinformation and poor advice on the forums and other sources drowns out the signal of knowledge about how to fix those problems, and that's a particular problem for those same users such as myself whose inexperience makes Ubuntu seem an appealing choice. Secondly, the internals are a mess, or at least too complex to understand easily, which might be argued to be the same thing. The way dependencies are handled and package maangement in general are a case in point, which is why instabilities are able to trash the system so thoroughly.

A further point in my view is that Ubuntu does little to encourage and foster the curiosity that goes with becoming a more competent and assured Linux user. So I'd say in PR terms, they are doing a marvellous job of getting people to see that there is an alternative to Windows, but despite all that user-friendly bling (to be a little unkind) and indeed the focus on user-friendliness before a lot of other distributions did, they probably scare off a lot of those same users after a relatively short time. Having said that, if you just want to do core tasks (browsing, word processing, multimedia) or if you are very experienced, it might be fine. I have a friend who still uses Ubuntu, though as it gets harder to turn off all the features, he wonders how many more new releases it will be before he looks for an alternative.

Another way of looking at it is that Ubuntu arguably makes poor use of the tremendous advantages of scale it has over smaller distributions. The fact that Salix continues to work so well with a skeleton development team is testament to the soundness of its design philosophy.

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salixious
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Joined: 30. Oct 2014, 08:12

Re: Thoughts on Linux, Ubuntu, Debian, Slackware

Post by salixious » 30. Oct 2014, 09:49

rrttdd wrote:Maybe Salix/Slackware can develop a window manager/desktop aligned to the distribution's philosophy:

-KISS
-configuration files
-able to run many little windows and dialog boxes...
-no graphical config tools
Openbox...Fluxbox?

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jsfarinet
Posts: 305
Joined: 23. Nov 2014, 07:32

Re: Thoughts on Linux, Ubuntu, Debian, Slackware

Post by jsfarinet » 27. Nov 2014, 14:25

salixious wrote:
rrttdd wrote:Maybe Salix/Slackware can develop a window manager/desktop aligned to the distribution's philosophy:

-KISS
-configuration files
-able to run many little windows and dialog boxes...
-no graphical config tools
Openbox...Fluxbox?
Beh, lubuntu practically is openbox plus pcmanfm drawing icons on the desktop - if someone needs that. Speaking for me, via ubuntu (and then later: lubuntu) i finished in loving crunchbang and debian (siduction) (debian also for its ppc support - but with kernel higher than 3.2 that' s not anymore fully true. Just out of curiosity - and because there was a really nice thread related to in the crunchbang forums - i substituted in my crunchbang setuo openbox by fluxbox which i found way way more sympathic to configure to my needs (if i were a scripting guru may be openbox would be better, don't know).

But with the time going on, there came the systemd as default in siduction and with it lots of problems with one of my machines. Therefore i looked for an alternative which would warranty in some reasonable forseeable future the "good old starting procedure" and, voilà, so i came here (if there will be a fork of debian, i do not follow those things so closely, but i'm aware 2 persons i've confidence with are among those, that might be an option too) . Many things in slackware are new to me, the beginning even was painful because the salix fluxbox livecd shot down the existing siduction setup - fortunately i had a backup for all data and for most setup relevant parts. I'm still in phase of tweaking here and there, but if i can find a solution to my powermanagement problems i'd stick with.

Cheers (and thanks for all your help!)

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rokytnji
Posts: 76
Joined: 12. Sep 2014, 22:47
Location: Chihuahua Desert

Re: Thoughts on Linux, Ubuntu, Debian, Slackware

Post by rokytnji » 27. Nov 2014, 18:16

Today I was unfaithful and installed Ubuntu 14 on my HTPC.
It always makes me grin when a person talks about his wrenches in his tool box like this.

As far as the rest. I got bored.

Since I am usually a AntiX user.

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