Linked by Andrew Barilla on Tue 10th Feb 2004 20:08 UTC
Linux After reading a discussion on DistroWatch asking if users were happy with their current distribution, I noticed a common thread of those who have had similar experiences as myself with juggling various Linux distributions. Like myself, they feel many Linux distributions are great, but no one quite feels like home. None of them quite fit the bill and they may even begin to think that every OS sucks.
Order by: Score:
Arch is fun...
by Wheaty on Tue 10th Feb 2004 20:16 UTC

I recently tried out Arch, and while it is certainly a great distro, I still prefer Slackware for any of my Linux needs (be it desktop or server).

If you have not tried Arch yet, though, definately give it a shot -- i686 optimized packages are sweet.

OSSucks
by S on Tue 10th Feb 2004 20:27 UTC

That is one funny video. 16k to the Moon! Ha.

how about fedora?
by serpico on Tue 10th Feb 2004 20:33 UTC

I'm not too familiar with the different distros being fairly new to linux, but I installed Fedora Core 1 over the weekend and had no problems. I really like it over other distros that I have tried over the years. I use XP and OSX at work and home, but I'm looking forward to using Fedora more. I think it's an OS that is close to being a great desktop alternative.

Debian
by acrid on Tue 10th Feb 2004 20:58 UTC

You know, I've been running debian/unstable for over 3 years and I can count on one hand the number of times that I've had problems with it. And I'm talking about 2 desktop systems with all the trimmings, not some bare-bones server.

Also, there is a testing branch in between stable and unstable that is rock solid. That way you can have new versions of the software without the 2 problems a year that you get with unstable. ;)

You're free to not like Debian, but I don't think the arguments presented hold water.

RE: Debian
by undeadpenguin on Tue 10th Feb 2004 21:00 UTC

Debian is OLD. Arch is updated more frequently than /any/ distro I have tried.

Arch
by Anonymous on Tue 10th Feb 2004 21:03 UTC


I really want to try this distro. From what I understand, the pacman tool can be used to install either binaries or build from source. I just wonder if there is some way to autmatically set the CFLAGS & CXXFLAGS as in Gentoo. If so, I will most definitely be taking this one out for a spin.

Slackware
by Johnny Wad on Tue 10th Feb 2004 21:08 UTC

I did the distro shuffle as well, but after trying Slack almost a year ago I was set. I have had other distros run successfully for me, but there is just something about Slackware that seems more personal than the other distros. I like the way it boots to command line by default, but can still outperform other distros in the GUI. The more slacksters i run into the more i realize my story is all to common. Not to take anything away from any other distro, but for the most part those who try slack love it and stay with it. Those who don't use slack never have.

Yes, He Seems To Understand
by jlowell on Tue 10th Feb 2004 21:08 UTC

Welcome to Arch, Andrew! Interesting review. There's a certain balance of countervailing factors that Arch seems successfully to achieve as you've obviously discovered. I note in your review a tendency to discourage anyone but expert linux hands from trying Arch, which I consider unfortunate. I've been using the distro happily since last August but would hardly consider myself a linux expert; an intermediate user perhaps but not an expert. I'd encourage anyone whose had familiarity with the Reddrakes and the Manhats and who might be seeking to expand his/her knowledge of Linux to try Arch.

jlowell

Re: anonymous
by jlowell on Tue 10th Feb 2004 21:15 UTC

The answer to your question is, "yes", you can set optimization flags in Arch by editing /etc/makepkg.conf. I have Arch on three workstations and a webserver, have built them entirely from source with -march=pentiumX -03 -pipe -fomit-frame-pointer, where X = appropriate CPU and have had no difficulty whatsoever. This from a former Gentoo devotee.

jlowell

Re: anonymous
by Anonymous on Tue 10th Feb 2004 21:18 UTC


Thanks! All I need now is to get Arch on media.

RE:Slackware
by root on Tue 10th Feb 2004 21:21 UTC

Learn to speak for thyself. ;-) Used slack and switched. Not worth the trouble in my opinion. Just like the author of the article, I just don't have the time to search for dependencies, download them, install them manually in the right order, only to have difficulties uninstalling them in future, and to inherit a box littered with libraries and unused files here and there. Perhaps, I just lack discipline.

If I wanted to go through all that trouble, I'd have used LFS, which what I did after I got tired of slack. Then I met LFS on steriods, Gentoo. Oh the joy! Yes, I know Slackware has a package manager now, but when I was using it, it had none, or the one it had then was, well, pathetic.

Besides, we all know there are only two package managers in Linux land, Portage and the rest. ;-) Well, I've had evil experiences with binary distros I would have mentioned Debian Apt, which is the only binary distro I would switch to if I had to.

That said, I really don't see any advantages of Arch over Debian, package manager wise. If the author was looking for a distro, with a good package manager and the largest repository of binary packages, it's a no brainer, just use Debian.

Yes, Debian's unstable/testing branch is pretty up to date. Sometimes as up to date as Gentoo's portage.

Re: Slackware
by bytes256 on Tue 10th Feb 2004 21:23 UTC

Not to take anything away from any other distro, but for the most part those who try slack love it and stay with it. Those who don't use slack never have.

Actually, I've used almost all of the major distros (except for Gentoo, sorry I don't have the bandwidth for that yet) plus the 3 major BSDs. Yes that does includes Slackware.

Interestingly, I keep coming back to four OSes: RedHat (now Fedora Core)/WinXP dual boot for my laptop, FreeBSD for servers, and OpenBSD for firewall/router boxes.

RedHat/Fedora always seem to have the right combination of customizability/hackability vs. automation and ease of use. (When you want to print from Linux to network printer on a Windows-only network for a class that starts in 10 minutes, you don't have time to waste on configuration.)

Best video ever
by Tudy on Tue 10th Feb 2004 21:50 UTC

Who are these guys? I have to share this with some friends in Computer Science, they'll laugh themselves to death!!

Arch linux looks interesting. Will give it a shot sometime over the next few days.

<<Proud to live in the birthland of Linux>>

Powerful tool
by Ellootre on Tue 10th Feb 2004 21:56 UTC

I've been running Arch since last June. I started running it on a Pentium Pro 200 with 64 megs of ram so I'm about the bottom end of performance. And I have to say, it's fast, quick, and easy to keep updated. Pacman is just awesome! Updating software is as easy as asking wether or not there's an update.

I do have to agree with the author about the lack of documentation for a few things. Though the community backing Arch is A+, I get tired of searching through loads and loads of forum chatter to get a simple answer.

RE:Slackware
by renelicious on Tue 10th Feb 2004 22:00 UTC

Besides, we all know there are only two package managers in Linux land, Portage and the rest. ;-)

Of course you mean "The rest being FAR better".

Portage is a neat idea, but seriously who needs it. I much prefer to be able to type apt-get install package (or yum) and have it installed 10 sec later as apposed to 2 hours later when its done compiling. Seriously when your computer runs at 3 billion cycles a second spending 3 days recompiling your system is not going to make it run much faster than with binary packages. Plus a prebuilt distro already has everything configured, try getting your iPod and firewire card working on Gentoo. I did it, however it took alot of work, on FC1 I just plugged it in.

I used to run Gentoo and it has a GREAT community building around it (other distros could learn from this) however over all its a pretty big waste of time.

To get more on topic I do plan to try Arch seems like it has some neat features...thanks for the article.

Sylpheed
by Anonymous on Tue 10th Feb 2004 22:05 UTC

Syplheed is GTK1 and I was told it's the reason anti-aliasing isn't supported in Gentoo. Is it anti-aliased in Arch, as the article implies?

FreeBSD
by Anonymous Coward on Tue 10th Feb 2004 22:06 UTC

Tried FreeBSD? I've used many Linux distros and found myself always chopping and changing between them until I found FreeBSD. It's such a more cohesive system. Try it. http://www.freebsd.org

Tried it and went back to Gentoo
by Dave on Tue 10th Feb 2004 22:08 UTC

I've run many distros, inlcuding Gentoo (current), Arch, Slack, Mandy, Debian, and a few others. After every one, I still come back to Gentoo. I've had 2 Debian installs get borked to the point they wouldn't boot, not counting the multitude of packages from the unstable branch (and I'm sorry, but for a desktop system, the stable branch just don't cut it, and testing is a few yards short as well) that failed to install due to broken dependencies.

I tried Slackware back in the version 8 days (about 3 years ago) and it was just too much hassle to install new software. I tried Arch about 2 years ago (I think; it was at 0.3 when I got it) and left it behind due to a lack of documentation for making your own packages using ABS. I upgrade my kernel about every 2-3 weeks (I'm running a 2.6.2 patched with the Love patchset [which is a very new patchset and is constantly under development right now]) and I was unable to find a good enough explanation at the time about how to use ABS, so I gave it up and went back to Gentoo.

Regardless of the amount of time it takes to compile software, I've not once experienced a problem using Portage that involved failed dependencies. And Gentoo's documentation on Portage (on both the end-user and developer ends) far exceeds anything else I've seen for other package managers (pacman and apt included).

I was going to install Gentoo on my Dell laptop, but I've been keeping an eye on Arch and may give it another shot.

try it guys, it really worths
by hirisov on Tue 10th Feb 2004 22:09 UTC

Hi!

Just a short note, i recommend this distro to everybody. I had a similar "shuffle", and yes i feel too i've found what i was looking for. My priorities was (mainly in this order): stability, good package management (at least like apt), uptodate packages (unlike debian), simplicity (i never liked /etc/rc.Xd and such), user/developer community (arch has a really friendly community as i experienced), i18n packages for kde (as i'm recommending/instaling it for customers too). Arch is ok in everything for me. And now it has an awesome live CD (w/ knoppix like auto detection, and - important - a REALLY working hd installer, which copies the needed kernel modules and X config and everything else too! ), which only makes it better.

bye, hirisov

Arch is not Ark
by Anonymous on Tue 10th Feb 2004 22:11 UTC

Some people here seem to confuse Arch Linux with Ark Linux.

Ark Linux is a Fedora-type newbie-oriented distro.

Arch Linux is a distro targeted for experienced users who prefer (or at least are able) to configure their system from the command line.

Both are nice distros for their own specific target audience but please don't confuse them.

Sturgeon's Law
by h_ank on Tue 10th Feb 2004 22:19 UTC

Sturgeon's Law dictates that many people will try multiple Linux distributions before sticking to one.

RE: Arch is fun...
by Gabriel Ebner on Tue 10th Feb 2004 22:35 UTC

> I recently tried out Arch, and while it is certainly a great distro, I still prefer Slackware for any of my Linux needs (be it desktop or server).
> If you have not tried Arch yet, though, definately give it a shot -- i686 optimized packages are sweet.

Could you please stick to one opinion? It's not that I'm confused, but have you tried arch recently or not at all?

Slack
by Bud on Tue 10th Feb 2004 22:37 UTC

Well, I have tried about 20 distros , seriously. All came to the big 3 or 4 -RH,Mandrake,Suse etc. So , one day I took vector for a whirl.Nice and fast.Not my type.Then I took Knoppix,really cool distro but again not my type,and many others , including Arch. Then one day tried Slackware.Funny how the name didnt said too good things for me.Names like DamnSmall or whatever were more appealing for me.Face it , we are extremely lucky with so many distros to try out. The day I installed Slack I knew it will be my child.That was one year ago.Meanwhile did for fun a Gentoo install on my laptop. Took ages and finally had to install XP because of work (don't have too much space on it). But also liked Gentoo.The whole stuff of building yer system was a cool idea.
Now I'm running Slackware with 2.6.1 & Dropline Gnome and believe me , couldn't be more happier.
Every distro has its own good parts and bad parts. What I like at Slackware is that it doesn't have any of those , good or bad. Is just ... Slackware. The day a better tool for package management will be available for Slack I'll be the most happy puppy on earth.Not like I have any problem with pkgtool,is always better to have a fancy , more functional one.Yes,I do love Slack and I think I like any other distro.

W00t!
by Anonymous on Tue 10th Feb 2004 22:40 UTC


Just placed my order here:

http://www.osdisc.com/cgi-bin/view.cgi/products/linux/arch

This is the direct link to order it from the Arch Linux home page! (And no, they don't add the SCO license fee to your order!)

FreeBSD or even Fedora?
by CaptainPinko on Tue 10th Feb 2004 22:43 UTC

with yum on fedora i haven't had any problem except for that ther aren't alot of packages in the repository.

also have you treid freebsd? it sounds like its something that you are looking for. you can d/l binaries or compile yourself. give'er a look

RE: Slackware
by root on Tue 10th Feb 2004 22:43 UTC

Portage is a neat idea, but seriously who needs it. I much prefer to be able to type apt-get install package (or yum) and have it installed 10 sec later as apposed to 2 hours later when its done compiling.

Whatever works for you friend. 95% of the packages I install compile under 5 minutes. Moreso, I probably spend 0.01% of my time installing software. I haven't installed software in ages. I do update my system (emerge ?u world) every month, but as you well know, that doesn't mean I can't use my system. The compilation runs in the background while carry out other functions.

If I desperately and urgently need a package instantenously, which has never happened before, all I need to do is install a binary package for it and when I have time, I can always compile it later. Gentoo's portage has binary packages for very large files (e.g. KDE, GNOME, Mozilla, Xfree, etc).

Binary packages for the most part have been unstable and sometimes slower in my experience. There have been several instances where a binary package is configured without the right ./config options and I end up having to manually compile such packages myself, Fedora's media players for instance. I need not mention frequent crashes that used to plague my system.

Finally, portage gives me control over the size of my binaries, which translates into more memory and hard disk space for other stuff, among other researched optimizations of my choice. It is this kind of extreme customizability I yearn for, to mention a few. A binary distro will never give me all that.

Seriously when your computer runs at 3 billion cycles a second spending 3 days recompiling your system is not going to make it run much faster than with binary packages.[i]

Like I said earlier, I never had to spend 3 days compiling any package.(which package was that?) The majority of Linux packages are very small files that compile under a few minutes or lesser depending on your hardware specification. Besides, your CPU spends more than 90% of it's time doing nothing. What's wrong with giving it a little work to do once in a while? It's not everyday I install packages. It's not everyday I install gentoo. So it doesn't matter if it takes a few seconds less to install a binary package over a source package for me. Given my experience and situation, I'd much rather use a source package.

[i]Plus a prebuilt distro already has everything configured, try getting your iPod and firewire card working on Gentoo. I did it, however it took alot of work, on FC1 I just plugged it in.


Firewire and USB, works just fine here. If you have the proper options configured into the kernel, it should just work. Sorry to hear of your demise, but I hardly think it's Gentoo's or Portage's fault.

RE: RE: Debian
by Frank on Tue 10th Feb 2004 22:47 UTC

Debian SID is curtainly not old. It is more up-to-date then Fedora curtainly, and is just as stable as most distributions.

Red Hat has recently switched to a longer release cycle for its business oriented products due to the fact that they feel business's want the most stable software available, and don't want to be upgrading every couple of months. This is exactly what Debian Stable represents, probably the most stable Linux distro around, perfect for any server needs.

I personally wouldn't recommend Testing to anyone, mainly because due to policy, it gets security upgrades at least 2 weeks after SID, which I personally don't like the idea of.

SID makes for a great desktop system also. Despite its status as "Debian Unstable", it certainly is anything but. I have used Debian SID for more then 2 years, and haven't had any show stopping problems with it...

Think of it like this (using Red Hat as an example due to most people understanding its system):

Debian Stable = RHEL
Debian Testing = ???
Debian SID = Fedora Core
Debian Experimental = Rawhide

Debian SID is probably more stable then Fedora Core in my experience, thus why I didn't place it as an equal to Testing. Testing is certainly more stable then Fedora Core, especially right now as its being prepared for a release in the near future.

I know this is off topic, and I apologize.

Something to add to the discussion:
I tried Arch a while ago, it did seem nice, but most packages seemed to be released far to early. Also, because the project is so young, it appears most things aren't exactly decided on yet.

Pacman certainly needs more work, and I didn't even try the source upgrade system... Overall it seems nice on paper, but then Gentoo seems nice on paper - until you install it and leave yourself with a useless computer for about 3-4 days...

v RE: RE: RE: Debian
by Anonymous on Tue 10th Feb 2004 22:50 UTC
Re: acrid
by Anonymous on Tue 10th Feb 2004 23:05 UTC

You seem to have better luck than many people with debian. I can't count on one hand how many times apt-get update has borked my debian systems. After the whole gtk2/gnome2 fiasco and debian continuing on insisting on doing things "the debian way" I gave up and went to gentoo. After realizing all the time I was wasting compiling gentoo apps, I went to slackware and couldn't be happier. Maybe after this system gets older, I'll try gentoo again when compiling for my system will make a noticable difference.

I like Arch but
by Chris on Tue 10th Feb 2004 23:17 UTC

I wouldn't complain about dependencies issues and say Arch is perfect. I love the distro, but there are occasional dependency problems. For example, when they went to KDE 3.2 you had to upgrade with the --no-deps option.
Arch is definitely fast. I found a noticeable increase in speed of RH9, very noticeable especially with a lot of apps going at once.
Now I can watch a dvd while I compile and chat with no glitches or slow response ;) .

Video, Upgrade, etc
by MattPie on Tue 10th Feb 2004 23:20 UTC

What did you install it on that it took 3-4 days? A P-90?

KDE and mozilla will do a day or two on my Athlon 1200.

Who are those guys

Well, you can backtrack the link, but they're Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie. They used to have a ton of stuff on Mp3.com, but that's all gone. They're really amusing (look for "The Geek Album", it's old internet humor).

And now, to be on topic:
All I want is a distro that works well, is quick to install, and doesn't break every time I upgrade.

Gentoo: a poor imitation of FreeBSD. Experience: 1.0pre4, 1.2, 1.4. Every time I upgrade, something seems to break. The last time was gphoto. If I installed it from protage, it didn't work. If I complie by hand with the tar.gz, it worked great. Konq lost my camera awhile back, and it never returned (I blame gphoto). I tried to reinstall but the xfs kernel wasn't working at the time.

FreeBSD: works great, except it's more work to get desktopy things to work, like video and sound. Doesn't support my CF reader (linux does). It is however the only stable and working OS on my desktop right now. When I need to do something, I use freebsd. When I feel like trying to make Linux work, I boot into Linux.

Debian: I'm sure I could get everything updated from the base install and get everything configured someday, but I have other things to do.

MEPIS: I thought I found my true Distro. It's Debian. It's configured. It's up to date. My trial was almost done, and I'm ready to send the money (the Lobster, even!). I did an update (the second update in the install) with synaptic over the weekend, and X is broken. I've spent 2 days trying to get the right combination on kernel, modules, and nvidia binary driver to work[0]. I might still send in the money, I'll just never try to update a system again.

Moral of the story: Never try to update a Linux desktop unless it's Debian. Even if it's a debian-like, you're on risky ground. If you don't need a multimedia extravaganza, use FreeBSD.

[0] I have to use the nvidia binary to use DVI, for my flat panel.

i'm another slack convert, myself...
by sean on Tue 10th Feb 2004 23:27 UTC

I too have tried every other linux distro I can think of.
Began with Suse and then Redhat (for about a day). Stayed with Debian for a few years, then Gentoo for a few months ( system got trashed after emerging world one day and never looked back). Went to FreeBSD and absoluetely love it (still use it on my server), but couldn't mount the Reiser FS I'd set up on my second drive. At long last went to Slack. I won't be changing again. Downloaded swaret right away and don't have any installation issues.

Except -- and this is off topic, sorry -- that XFCE always has these weird little black boxes drawn over various pieces of the window. It's really agrivating. Can anybody tell me what that's all about?

My experience.
by Anonymous on Wed 11th Feb 2004 00:06 UTC

I finished installing gentoo today (for the third time), and you know what? I installed slackware over it, AGAIN.

I needed to edit one simple boot script (can't really be bothered to remember which one), and got lost between init.d, rc.conf, modules.autoload.d, etc.

I like to install things from source and i hate slackware's package management system; but then again, i don't have to use it.

Nothing new
by Ozzzy on Wed 11th Feb 2004 00:07 UTC

Nice review... but it appears that it really doesn't do anything that any other 'good' distro does.

Arch Linux
by xuevtyn on Wed 11th Feb 2004 00:28 UTC

I just tried out Arch last weekend (I also have Gentoo and Slackware boxes running), and you know what? It's great!

Remember people, Arch is only on release 0.6, and from what I see so far, by the time their 1.0 comes out, it could rival Slackware. And that's saying something, because I LOVE Slack and will probably never leave it.

Since I'm running all i686 Pentium 4 machines, the speed from the all-i686-optimized Arch system is equally as fast as a custom-built Gentoo system, and the damn install of the entire Arch base system took about 15 minutes via FTP.

Yes, the documentation is pretty shabby, but those that know what they are doing, it gives enough info for the experienced user to get through. The folks in the forum seem pretty helpful also.

Now I'm not trying to convince anyone to leave Slack, Gentoo, Debian, but if you have the time, and the disk space, I would at least try Arch out. You can download their 100MB base version ISO pretty fast, too. Or, you can opt for the big 600MB "full" system.

The Pacman package manager worked flawlessly for me, at least so far. Yeah, yeah, it's not apt-get, but so what?

Keep an eye on this distro. It has the potential to take off in the way Gentoo has.


Arch Linux rocks!
by Ponds on Wed 11th Feb 2004 00:37 UTC

I'm the coordinator of a Linux User Group, so I try to test all the new distro's every few weeks so that I can have more of a gestault image of how Linux is doing, and which direction I should point our newbies towards.

I have a test machine that I do this on, so I can keep my two best friends, Slackware and Gentoo, alive and running on my real boxes and my laptop. This way I never have to reinstall anything that I actually need, and I have one computer to test out anything that I want, and it never messes with my real environment.

Well, last week I tried out a distro, and it was the first time that trying out a distro on that test box has killed all my other Gentoo and Slackware boxes.

No, I don't mean that Arch Linux infected my network and broke all my computers. I liked it so much that I installed it on all my boxes.

This distro is going places folks, be prepared to hear the word Arch often and among the "Big Boys" such as Debian, Red Hat, Gentoo, and Slackware. My guess is that it will not be more than a year.

However, I do have one complaint (about the article, not about Arch). Do you know the owner of the site to who's video that you linked? I think that if you don't have permission, that you should link to the page containing the link for the video, rather than the video itself. I shudder imagine that guy's misery if he doesn't know that his site just got OSnews linked and the amount of his next bandwidth bill. My friend once got one of his video's linked to by a site about a third as popular as OS news, and ended up with about a $8000 bill.

More comments ...
by xuevtyn on Wed 11th Feb 2004 00:58 UTC


Oh yeah, some more comments... the thing that's great about Arch is that a 'base' install is just that - very light and very fast - only the bare minimum to get up and running to a command line, plus vim. That's about it. Everthing else can be downloaded as needed. My boot time is about 12 seconds, and shutdown in about 5.

Also, I appreciated being able to edit the config files DURING the install, before rebooting. Plus, everything (network, sound, module loading, daemon loading, etc.) must be done by hand, no hand-holding of any type. To me, that's a plus, but for beginners, maybe not. 100% total control of your system. Groovy.

Then again, they come right out and say their distro is for experienced users, and I'd have to agree.

Anyway, although I'm not leaving Slack (maybe Gentoo, though), I'll be keeping my eye on Arch.



I tend to see a trend in most comments about Linux, regardless of the distribution: I get the feeling that most Linux users want Linux to be the way it is (ie: the way that it turns me off is the way that most Linux users want it to be, which is why they choose it).

Is this a fair assessment of the majority of Linux users (the ones who specifically choose Linux over other things)?

I'm not trying to be a troll, or anything stupid like that. I just wonder if I see things correctly. For me, I think Linux is cool and useful, but it doesn't fit me as a computer user. It seems that everyone is trying to make it become the OS that would fit me, but so far it hasn't happened.

It seems that the people who choose to use Linux are those for whome the very aspects of Linux that "keep it off the desktop" (or insert your pop news slogan here) are exactly why they want to use it. The technical stuff. The complexity. Maybe even a little bit of the "non-computer people keep out" feeling.

I know there are also lots of people who are elitist and mindless, but I'm not talking about those. I'm talking about the ones who make the decision to use Linux based on its nature, its application to their needs and their comfort level with it.

The point is... do you folks really want Linux to change and become "the desktop OS" that all the endless "Linux is [ready/not ready] for the desktop" articles go on and on about? Wouldn't that ruin your particular interest in the OS or do you think that it can be done without your particular interests in the OS being compromised?

Sorry if this is somehow off topic, but I found that the "distribution shuffle" topic tweaked my interest so much that I wanted to ask some Linux users what they thought about this.

Arch vs Slackware
by HC on Wed 11th Feb 2004 01:33 UTC

Arch and Slackware are very much alike in things like organization, speed and simplicity of setup. These distros are more similar than different. For me, pacman vs swaret/slapt-get is the focal point in the decision process since in all other respects, I consider them Arch and Slackware equal.

If you compile from source, it is much easier for a novice (e.g. me), to download off from pacman and use abs to compile an app with all dependencies met. Point to Arch

Downloading binaries - very much hit or miss with linuxpackages.net via slapt-get. Fairly complete and still growing repository with Arch. Point to Arch

Binaries not in Arch or linuxpackages.net. Search for any dependencies on your own and compile away. Draw

Final score = 2-0-1 in favor of Arch.

@Jace
by sean on Wed 11th Feb 2004 01:34 UTC

speaking for myself, obviously. i couldn't care less if Linux became "the desktop OS". Its right for me and so I couldn't ask for anything more (except, perhaps, ready drivers from every hardware vendor). Linux isn't for everyone and never will be. Nor should it be, IMO. It's a tool. Nothing more. Windows is a tool and nothing more.

I think what draws we Linux users to this particular tool is that it readily becomes whatever we need. It doesn't force any particular vision on us. It is, in a word, versatile. Therefore the only thing that can "ruin [my] interest" in this tool is if this versatility is somehow removed from the overall Linux/*BSD concept.

why the distro battle?
by Anonymous on Wed 11th Feb 2004 01:57 UTC

A review of a distro should not be an open invite for people to beat the chests on "their" fav distro. Its a waste of OSNEWS readers times to filter thru the "my distro is better than yours" posts to read valid comments and opinions about the review in questions.

Afters reading this review I think I will give arch a try. Looks interesting enough.

re: Debian
by A.K.H. on Wed 11th Feb 2004 02:11 UTC

There are ALWAYS debian fans here claiming unstable is stable. Well, it's NOT. I've ran it twice in my life. Once around 4 years ago, and once last year. Both times I had numerous show stopping bugs and package dependancy problems.

I've even had a freind of mine who loves debian to death told me not to use unstable because "it's unstable". Please stop misleading people. It doesn't help debian any.

The fact that so many people claim debian unstable is in fact unstable, even the debian developers, should tell you that maybe you are in the minority if it works for you!

Arch is great
by Anonymous on Wed 11th Feb 2004 02:12 UTC

I use Arch, well I did, I had to reformat, and will reinstall this weekend. The only problem I've found with Arch is it's small amount of programs, it hasn't matured yet, though I am pretty capable to compile my own packages other people might not. I've submitted a few packages I don't know if they've been added. Arch is definatly worth a try, if you like a simplier means of getting the same thing done.

v Slack + emerde
by jack on Wed 11th Feb 2004 02:31 UTC
Slack + Debian + Gentoo = Arch Linux
by Arch Angel on Wed 11th Feb 2004 02:35 UTC

I'm running Arch Linux now. It has the simplicity of Slackware, the package handling of Debian, and the user community of Gentoo. It doesn't get any better than that.


= Arch Angel =

"Maybe Flamebait... But a question I want to ask anyway..."
by Anonymous on Wed 11th Feb 2004 02:36 UTC


I don't see your question as flamebait at all.

"I get the feeling that most Linux users want Linux to be the way it is"

Some probably do. Some probably don't.

"Is this a fair assessment of the majority of Linux users (the ones who specifically choose Linux over other things)?"

I don't think it is fair. Consider the possibility that everyone has a tolerance level for how many times they will be burnt by any one manufacturer. Some who have been burnt looked elsewhere, and now use either Mac or Linux.

"I think Linux is cool and useful, but it doesn't fit me as a computer user."

Don't use it then. Who will buy, or even use a free product, if it doesn't fit them or do what they need?

"The point is... do you folks really want Linux to change and become "the desktop OS" that all the endless "Linux is [ready/not ready] for the desktop" articles go on and on about?"

I can't speak for others, but I most certainly want it to become a solid "desktop OS."

"Wouldn't that ruin your particular interest in the OS or do you think that it can be done without your particular interests in the OS being compromised?"

Absolutely not! I don't care if Suse, Mandrake, Xandros, Lindows or any other really super easy distro hits it big. I can use those if they get popular, or I can use something considered more challenging, like Debian, Slackware, Gentoo, or even LFS, becuase I am no longer tied to a single vendor.

"Sorry if this is somehow off topic, but I found that the "distribution shuffle" topic tweaked my interest so much that I wanted to ask some Linux users what they thought about this."

I can't speak for all Linux users, or even other Linux users. I only speak for me.












Linux for the desktop
by MattPie on Wed 11th Feb 2004 03:26 UTC

What Linux users want:
I can't speak for everybody, but what *I* want for Linux is it to be OSX, but open and free. I like being able to tinker, but I shouldn't have to tinker just to get and keep the machine working well. I should also be able to update it easily.

Will Linux ever become this? Probably not. Maybe if there was one "user" linux that everyone used and made pacakges for, it'd work. Redhat was probably closest to that before the fedora divesture. Until I can go and just install software (all software). I'm not saying there shouldn't be other distros, for servers, build from source guys, etc, but until it's easy, it's not going to take over. That being said, I only run FreeBSD and Linux at home (Win2k at work). It'd just be nice having my PC not be an ordeal to use from time to time.

Install note: finally got my X back working on MEPIS. But now the CF reader doesn't work. It detects, but /dev/sda1 isn't a valid block device. Great.

Don't make it so hard on yourself...
by spikeymikey on Wed 11th Feb 2004 03:30 UTC

Use WinXP/OSX for desktop and Free/Open/NetBSD for servers. Currently thats what each works best at. In the future if they become better at other/different roles I will use them according to their strengths. I've shuffled linunx distros countless times and realize that they just aren't up to par if you actually want to get stuff done productively. If linux doesn't get organized soon it will become just another toy o/s that people with too much time on their hands hack around in!

Making it so hard on myself
by ponds on Wed 11th Feb 2004 04:31 UTC

OSX/WinXP might work best for the desktop for you, but the same cookie cutter solution isn't going to be perfect for everyone. Some people (such as myself) can get stuff done very productively on a Linux or BSD desktop.

To the "where would you like to see Linux going" questions, I think that most of the point of OSS is to avoid stuff like that. There are millions of linux users who all want Linux to "go" thousands of different "ways." The beauty of OSS is that it can go multiple ways at once, there can be a project to make a easy desktop Linux, a project to make a robust geek workstation, projects to make great server OSes, and projects that allow you to build your distrobution any way that you want it. As for where I'd like Linux to go, I don't care. For me, it was perfect 5 years ago, and still is today.

Stupid OSNews!
by DaMouse on Wed 11th Feb 2004 06:40 UTC

Stupid OSNews.. now I feel like downloading more ISOs! But Arch certainly sounds worth it. Currently running Slackware 9.1.

-DaMouse

Filesystem hierachy
by Andrea on Wed 11th Feb 2004 07:26 UTC

Where can I find the Filesystem hierachy of Arch ?

Does it exist a document as the FreeBSD's one ?
http://www.freebsd.org/cgi/man.cgi?query=hier&apropos=0&sektion=0&m...

Thanks,

Arch mhhh ;)
by iges on Wed 11th Feb 2004 07:27 UTC

Arch seem instresting... although currently using mainly slackware, before was using redhat 8, 9 but as I gained (and still am ;) ) more experience redhat started to feel slow... so tried slack and holy moly is it fast ;) and although not having a gui for configure some stuff the configuration process still feels much easier and faster.

And I also don't miss the rpm package management... pkgtool is just fine ;)

iges

Onebase
by Anonymous on Wed 11th Feb 2004 08:22 UTC

How does Arch compare to Onebase?

Package Management
by KaZeKaMi on Wed 11th Feb 2004 08:54 UTC

I'm using Fedora Core 1 since its release, and I'm totally satisfied with it.

I didn't test yum, because since RedHat 7.3 I used to use apt4rpm. And I think apt is a great tool ! I know that in Free Sofwares, there's a place for everyone. So why not another packages manager... But reinventing the wheel may be a loss of time, don't you think ?

So, what are the pros for pacman ? Is apt not enough efficient ?


By the way, I'll give a try to Arch, because I've heard of it 2 years ago and it seemed already very interesting.



PS : sorry for my english, you know, I'm just a froggy ;)

Athlon
by Anonymous on Wed 11th Feb 2004 08:59 UTC

Would there be a problem running an i686-optimized OS on AMD machine?

re: Athlon
by flibblesan on Wed 11th Feb 2004 09:17 UTC

No, it will work fine ;)

RE:Slackware
by prefas on Wed 11th Feb 2004 10:20 UTC

Well, I have installed and used (some for only a few days of course, not worth more time-waste), at least 20-25 linux distros over the last 2-3 years. The point is that I always keep coming back to the same distros: Slackware 9.1 which I consider numero uno since I first installed it, Redhat (now Fedora core 1) which is the first linux distro I used about 4 years ago and Knoppix (Debian) and its flavors (morphix, kurumin, etc) for desktop use. At the moment, in my home Linux box (P3 500 Mhz, 128MB, which doubles as a local web server, printer server and Internet gateway for my other dual-boot PC and my son's win98 PC) I have 3 partitions with Slackware 9.1, Fedora core 1 and a trial installation of Buffalo 1.1.1 Linux. I use GRUB to switch between them. In my office I use a dual boot PC with Win98 and Knoppix 3.3. I might try Arch linux out, to see if I like it. On the other hand, if someone wanted a source-based distro I would recommend Lunar Linux! The basic system compiles fast and without any need for the user to be an expert and it has a good packaging system. The only problem is that I could not connect to the Internet to get the rest of the packages from the repository. I could not configure my USB NetMod to use the ISDN home phone line and could not figure out which dial-up program I was supposed to use. There are no detailed info about things like that. So, I abandoned Lunar Linux. Generally, I believe that Linux distros should come with all the necessary packages (binaries or sources) on CDs, because it's not easy or possible to install a basic system and then be asked to connect to the Internet to download the rest! Some people DO NOT have Internet access or cannot configure the connection by using a bare-bone distro!

686 Optimizations...
by Frank on Wed 11th Feb 2004 10:42 UTC

I have looked at Arch a few times.. someone recommended it to me in a thread I started here actually. It appears to be drawing a lot of interest.

For me, the showstopper has to be the fact that just about anyone can submit software to its repository. This is not something I like the sounds of. I use Debian because its so hard for people to get software in to the distro, they must prove themselves to be compitent, this doesn't appear to be the case for Arch, and is probably a large reason why their software is so current.

And for those saying Arch is very simular to Slackware, that is generally the case when you base your product on another. Arch is simply a branch off from Slack, a distro that I don't like.

I don't like Slack mainly for its claim to fame, being as simple as possible. If I wanted to be responsible for everything on the system, I would use LFS, I choose distro's based on how much they make my life easier. This is simular to my reasons for not liking Gentoo. This is also my primary reason for sticking to Debian. Debian lets me control everything while being as lazy as I can imagine being. All software I could want is a single command away, everything is basically configured "out of the box" - only requiring minor tweaks to fit my needs, it is simply the best lazy-man distro around.

For those saying SID isn't stable, I have had a SID box up for more then 8 months at a time, only reason I reset the machine then was to upgrade the kernel. Fedora crashed 3 times in a 24 hour period, and I have no better luck with such distro's as Mandrake, SUSE, etc. I guess once you get used to Debian, nothing else even compares... most people just give up before they realize what they just gifted themselves by installing Debian. I couldn't live without tools like Debconf, and dpkg-reconfigure, they just make my life easier. I know APT can also be ran anywhere, on any distro, but without it using Debconf and watching it trying to get along with RPM... well its just not the same.

/me feels like a Debian zealot, but thinks he is proud of it...

Arch Linux
by Luk van den Borne on Wed 11th Feb 2004 10:58 UTC

I really like Arch. For me it's an almost perfect combination between Debian, Slackware and Gentoo. It's fast, stable, up to date and it's simple. I used Debian Sid a year or two. I liked it, but its performance was very bad and it was not as simple as Slack.

Not everyone can send packages. You can only upload them to incoming and hope they'll be included in Trusted User Repositories and finally in the official Arch repository.

Re: A.K.H.
by Syntaxis on Wed 11th Feb 2004 11:22 UTC

"I've ran it twice in my life. Once around 4 years ago, and once last year."

Since last you used it, the devs have been encouraged to carry out all the really hardcore development and testing in the Experimental branch, in order to reduce the churn in Unstable. You can read the Release Manager's post on the subject here (http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2003/debian-devel-ann...) if you're interested. Juicy quote: "The plan here is that you should upload the latest, release-quality packages to unstable; and the latest development packages to experimental." I believe general consensus is that it's having the desired effect.

"Both times I had numerous show stopping bugs and package dependancy problems."

Try installing apt-listbugs (http://packages.debian.org/unstable/admin/apt-listbugs).

It warns you if a package you're about to install has a severe bug filed against it. You can then fire up your browser, check out the bug in full and then take a view as to whether you still want to go ahead with the installation, or stick with your current version pending a fix. This pretty much eliminates the breakage factor.

"so many people claim debian unstable is in fact unstable, even the debian developers"

Most of the developers run Unstable. What they in fact say is that you shouldn't run Unstable unless you know what you're doing. If you're reasonably clued up, and take sensible precautions for good measure (regular backups, and a rescue CD to hand) there's really nothing to worry about.

Every OS Sucks
by Solar on Wed 11th Feb 2004 11:24 UTC

That's "Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie", a Canadian comedy group / band. http://www.deadtroll.com. I have about everything available from them, and all I can say is... hilarious. Search for "Welcome to the Internet Help Desk". :-D

Re: Onebase
by jlowell on Wed 11th Feb 2004 15:41 UTC

To answer your question most precisely, there is no comparison between Arch and Onebase. Arch is a viable, fully functioning Linux distribution whose author's statements about it can be trusted. Simply put, you won't have to wear a pair of rubber boots while downloading and running it. I'll leave the rest to your imagination.

jlowell

Gentoo is NOT LFS on steroids
by ThanatosNL on Wed 11th Feb 2004 15:42 UTC

Gentoo is LFS done for you, hence it's more like LNFS (Linux Not From Scratch).

Argggh Linux
by Sphinx on Wed 11th Feb 2004 15:44 UTC

I look at the install docs, warnings, configuration and all of the steps just to get a basic system up and find it almost impossible to believe people put up with it.

what is wrong then all oses suck
by Hagge on Wed 11th Feb 2004 16:20 UTC

The problem most people have then they think all oses suck is probably that they haven't tried out the BSDs ;D

RE: Anonymous (IP: ---.netcabo.pt)
by Abraxas on Wed 11th Feb 2004 21:02 UTC

I finished installing gentoo today (for the third time), and you know what? I installed slackware over it, AGAIN.

I needed to edit one simple boot script (can't really be bothered to remember which one), and got lost between init.d, rc.conf, modules.autoload.d, etc.

I like to install things from source and i hate slackware's package management system; but then again, i don't have to use it.


All the boot scripts are in /etc/init.d/

RE: spikeymikey
by Abraxas on Wed 11th Feb 2004 21:07 UTC

Use WinXP/OSX for desktop and Free/Open/NetBSD for servers. Currently thats what each works best at. In the future if they become better at other/different roles I will use them according to their strengths. I've shuffled linunx distros countless times and realize that they just aren't up to par if you actually want to get stuff done productively. If linux doesn't get organized soon it will become just another toy o/s that people with too much time on their hands hack around in!

Sure. Tell that to IBM, SGI, Oracle, and others. Maybe some of those companies might actually use FreeBSD on their servers if it could scale at all.

Stop the OS Madness
by Stray on Wed 11th Feb 2004 23:58 UTC

Been using Slack for 10 years now, but not really for the desktop. It's serves and best of all, it's a free UNIX. The same could be said for almost any stripped down Linux or BSD though. I used Slack first, dabbled with others in the beginning, but stayed with Slack, because it's easy to set up, and good at being simple and stripped down. For me, trying to get Linux to do anything else but serve is a waste of time.

And it's not that I couldn't use it for the desktop and get by with *some* things, but why? Political reasons? Sorry, I'm busy.

I dabble with the new desktop stuff every year or so to see the progress, but it's still lacking. Believe me, I'm interested, but only because I like saving money...I'm impressed, it's definitely a helluva lot better than 10 years ago (Ughh, fvwm95 anyone?), but Windows and OS X are still better. Linux isn't even close, and I have no idea what writers are talking about when they say it's "ready". Yeah, for Office stuff maybe, but that's really the easy part. As for me in particular, the day I can turn Linux into a ProTools-like turnkey system is when I say it's ready for the desktop. If it can do that, then it's ready for just about everything else.

Linux, and Slackware for me, is great for certain things, but I'm not going to waste my time on a quest for a free OS X. If it comes I'm sure I'll hear of it.

filesystem standard
by tv-casualty on Thu 12th Feb 2004 00:08 UTC

andrea:
most linuxes aim for LSB compliance so they'd most likely follow the FHS standard
http://www.pathname.com/fhs/pub/fhs-2.3.html
i know gentoo adheres to it in spirit and to the letter!

Re: tv-casualty
by Syntaxis on Thu 12th Feb 2004 00:34 UTC

"i know gentoo adheres to it in spirit and to the letter!"

Not quite.

Gentoo considers FHS violations to be only minor bugs (see for instance http://bugs.gentoo.org/show_bug.cgi?id=15315). I couldn't find any references to Gentoo's stance wrt the LSB, but I assume it's similar.

This doesn't compare too favourably with other distributions; Debian, for example, regards all FHS and LSB violations as being release-critical (http://people.debian.org/~ajt/sarge_rc_policy.txt).

RE: Abraxas
by spikeymikey on Thu 12th Feb 2004 01:13 UTC

I was under the impression that most companies used a commercial UNIX or variant for enterprise-level scaling. If they can afford the hardware then they can afford the software. Of those that use linux, it is usually an in-house build and not a public distribution. Which brings me to my point. Of the distributions that the public has access to, they were less intuitive than FreeBSD for me. I was able to set up postgresql/mysql/apache2/php4/postfix/courier-imap with minimal fuss on FreeBSD compiled with all the options and optimizations I wanted. In linux it was possible to get a similar setup but it took much longer getting library conflicts and compile errors worked out. And also consider maintainence issues. If I needed to upgrade a certain component in FreeBSD due to a security issue, all I need to run is portupgrade. Old stuff goes out, new stuff goes in, all dependencies resolved. Try that in linux with 40 programs installed from source with customized ./configure options...

Sure. Tell that to IBM, SGI, Oracle, and others. Maybe some of those companies might actually use FreeBSD on their servers if it could scale at all.

Pacman is great, but
by Anonymous on Thu 12th Feb 2004 01:20 UTC

I love arch and i am using it for over a year. One feature i would like to see is the proxy support for pacman.

Arch rules.....
by Drago on Thu 12th Feb 2004 02:54 UTC

Anyone who hasn't tried arch should check it out! It's the only distribution i've kept on my hard drive for more that a few days, in fact i've been using it for several months.

Here We Go Again with the Debian Stable Bashing...
by OmegaBlac on Thu 12th Feb 2004 03:29 UTC

Oh another distro review where the reviewer makes it a point and goes out the way to bash Debian 'Woody' & Debian 'Sid'.

Reviewer: "Oh Debian Stable is too old!"

Use Sarge(testing) or use the backports - ever heard of those? If you really must have the latest and greatest with Woody use the backports. http://www.backports.org

Reviewer: "Oh I don't wanna use Debain Unstable because it broke my system!"

Uh...thats why it is refered to as UNSTABLE! Like many that have commented already, I have never really had a problem using Sid. Is it rock-solid for me? Believe it or not, YES! Do I realize that it is still "unstable" and could break my system? YES I DO! Which begs the question of were you trying to intentionally break your system in the first place? Unless you running a server or something important then Sid is just what you need if you want the latest and greatest but keep in mind that you take a chance using it just like with any other distro that runs at the bleeding edge.

I've tried Arch Linux last year and I will admit it is one of the better distros I have used in the past 2 years. Pacman is a great package manager. Better then APT? No. APT is a more powerful tool that has been around longer(battle-tested).

Arch is a fast, configurable distro. I like the support that the friendly Arch community gives to newcomers to the distro but also like the fact that Arch is not geared toward the newbie Linux user but toward >=intermediate/veteran. But right now Arch just does not have the amount of packages that Debian has and I prefer APT to Pacman. Debian satisfies my needs for computing very nicely. If I ever get a spare PC I will happily install Arch on it but until then its Debian for me.

FreeBSD solves all these problems.
by Anonymous on Thu 12th Feb 2004 04:45 UTC

The main thing I couldn't stand out of the 15+ linux distros was the horrible ways I had to upgrade my system. FreeBSD has mastered this. You are doing yourself a great disjustice if you live your Unix life without ever using Ports. FreeBSD is without a doubt, the best, when it comes to servers and if you know what you are doing then it can be equal or better than most linux distro workstations.

Keeping up to date with out a hassle.
by Jonathan on Thu 12th Feb 2004 05:37 UTC

<blockquote>"but I really would like a distribution that makes it easy to install new software and keep the existing software up to date."</blockquote>

I am running Fedora Core 1 on my main home machine and have found that yum and apt-get/synaptic are the perfect solution for me. I have yum configured to point to one of the "official" FC1 mirrors and apt/synaptic pointed to freshrpms.net. This way all I have to do is do a

# yum update

and I am current with all the official packages, and

#apt-get update
#apt-get upgrade

and I am current on all the freshrpms packages. (Can we all say cron together now?)

I have found that the freshrpms packages are high quality and usually bug free. There is a pretty good selection there although you will not find everything. There are some links on freshrpms to other repositories that fill in some of the blanks. They try to be compatable with each other but you have to be carefull. A month ago in an effort to get a couple of video tools installed, I put some of the other repositories into my apt configuration and managed to completly scramble the RPM database on my RedHat9 machine. Something called at-rpms uninstalled apt and then tried to upgrade everything with horrible results. The folks on the freshrpms development list were quite helpfull but in the end there was nothing to do but reinstall the system.

Since then the other repositories stay out of my apt configs. I have had zero problems staying with just freshrpms. The owner keeps things pretty current will add requested packages fairly readly. A new one that I just installed last night is a game called neverball. Cool game, great graphics and fun to play.

RE: spikeymikey
by Abraxas on Thu 12th Feb 2004 06:46 UTC

If I needed to upgrade a certain component in FreeBSD due to a security issue, all I need to run is portupgrade. Old stuff goes out, new stuff goes in, all dependencies resolved. Try that in linux with 40 programs installed from source with customized ./configure options...

It's called Gentoo. Works well with much more than just 40 programs installed.

Gentoo
by Simon on Thu 12th Feb 2004 07:12 UTC


Regarding Gentoo, who cares if it takes 4 hours to compile something? Computers don't sleep, it's done overnight. The upside is the lack of dependancy problems, and the knowledge that the slightest hiccup is covered by four seperate threads on forums.gentoo.org by people who found the solution two hours earlier.

I have 5 gentoo machines at home, networked. Distcc helps, but how often do you really need to recompile kde or Open Office? The school has a gentoo ltsp server, I only update that in the break between terms, which means it has 2 weeks to finished compiling updates.

I'm not having a go at binary distributions, but any system where you can type

emerge mozilla-firebird

and have it download and install everything required, tailored to the hardware, is great.

Cheers
Simon


Puzzled
by Frank on Thu 12th Feb 2004 08:52 UTC

Ok, now I know I didn't help matter much with my comments, however how did this become a Gentoo/Debian conversation?

Gentoo folks are everywhere, and its starting to bother me, just cuz they are waiting on something to compile doesn't mean we should have to hear them stating how great their system is.

I personally took offence to the comments made about Debian due to having a system that defies his comments, and I appologize for bringing that to an Arch thread.

This thread is supposed to be about Arch Linux, a distro I have never tried, a distro most here have probably never tried... but the thread hasn't tought me anything I didn't already know which is a shame...

The world knows that Gentoo users love their systems because they put so much time and effort into them, and the world knows Debian users love their systems cuz they didn't have to... Both communities should let others have their moment in the spotlight every once in a while too though.

Re: Puzzled
by Stray on Thu 12th Feb 2004 15:33 UTC

What I'm puzzled about is why is it that the only distributions out there that work better than others are the ones that require manual "tweaking"? I think there's something wrong about that.

I'm not criticizing them (I'm a longtime UNIX user who uses slackware myself, and I don't mind Deb, Arch, and gentoo as well), but to me it's still not a good sign of progress for Linux as a whole. It just shows that Linux hasn't emerged from it's crusty old hobby OS/free-UNIX roots.

"Whoopee! I'm so cool, I've compiled a Linux system" -- Yeah, but you didn't write it, so why carry on? You've accomplished _nothing_, my friend.

The pieces for something great is there, but in essense, it hasn't changed much from 10 years ago. What's the point in keeping it there? Developing something that works out of the box takes a lot more skill IMO, and nobody has done it. What's the reason? Incompetence, arrogance, ignorance of the general computer using public?

Re: Stray
by Syntaxis on Thu 12th Feb 2004 18:58 UTC

"The pieces for something great is there, but in essense, it hasn't changed much from 10 years ago."

Whatever you're smoking must be potent stuff if you really think that's the case.

As an illustration, Debian turned 10 on the 16th of August, 2003 (http://lwn.net/Articles/44728). I think it's safe to say that there's been a fair amount of progress since the time of its inception.

"What's the point in keeping it there?"

Unbelievable. Here, you make it sound like some deliberate act.

Please, fill the rest of us in on this great conspiracy you've tumbled upon. Come, come, don't be shy... Tell us the names of the conspirators, these masterminds weaving their evil plots to keep Linux down! ;-)

Slackware package manager
by Paul on Thu 12th Feb 2004 22:14 UTC

I think the author of this article should try out College Linux 2.5

The new system is great! It's based off of 2.4.23 Kernel, installs with scanner, tv-tuner, CD burner, and webcam support. The support forums are check daily by a team of individuals (which I'm a part of) and users. The CL team has been putting documentation for various users (migrating from Windows, Using and customizing fluxbox, changing your kernel).

More importanly it uses slapt-get; a tool identical to debian's apt-get but for slackware. While numeroud packages are in the repository, there is a mass upload scheduled in about a month, which also will include a 2.6 kernel upgrade.

I distro has a great feel to it; it seems to be a perfect balanced between ease of use, yet still has a powerful slick feel like Slackware.

RE: Syntaxis
by Stray on Thu 12th Feb 2004 22:57 UTC

[quote]Please, fill the rest of us in on this great conspiracy you've tumbled upon[/quote]

Hmm..Did I say "conspiracy"? Nope. I asked a question.

My point is, Linux and Open Source is only "better than the alternative" for the functions it was already good at 10 years ago. That's still what I use it for, and I see no need for a "perfect OS quest". I've had the functionality I've wanted for a while now. I still use slack, but could easily use deb, arch, or gentoo. And I use dists like that because they offer an easier way to get "just Linux", and let it do the tasks it's always been good at. It's an alternative to Unix, Novell, and Windows Servers, not Desktop OSes.

Don't get me wrong, I want an alternative for the Desktop, but what I do on the desktop is simply not there in Linux.

Sure, there's been progress. It might be doing some new tasks better 10 years later, but only relative to "itself". That's the only progress I've seen. It's only better than the Desktop Linux it was 10 years ago. It's not better than the other Desktop OSes available *now*.

For example, in some areas, like Media, Design, and Gaming, Linux is not even close to being an alternative. And the mechanics lying underneath that kind of functionality is the real desktop. Not Office automation. Yeah, if all someone wants to do is surf the net and work with an Office suite, OK..Linux is an alternative.

I didn't say there's a conspiracy, I'm just saying that Linux is still largely reserved for something else. And that's because of the coders behind all of the projects involved. It's the contentment with the Unix way of doing things maybe. In other words, "cryptic" and "weird".

Either that, or that coders aren't working together enough. If there was one DE, instead of 2, 1 IM app, instead of a dozen, 1 text editor, instead of a thousand, etc., etc., etc.., more work could be done on providing better frameworks for companies to port apps and games to.

Instead of acting like Linux is a real alternative yet, some should take the market that companies like Apple and Microsoft work in. Beating them at what they're good at is a lot of work. It isn't easy. Nothing is won yet. When someone really appreciates the "alternatives to Linux" and takes them seriously, maybe then can they get started. Not that there aren't any of those people around..There are, but not enough.

How did you build from scratch ??
by Anonymous on Thu 12th Feb 2004 23:11 UTC

Hi

I am interested in how you built this distro from scratch ? jlowell

where can you find the documentation to do this?

Cheers

RE: anonymous
by jlowell on Fri 13th Feb 2004 15:30 UTC

Hi anonymous,

Why not raise that question on the Arch forums?

www.archlinux.org

Regards.

jlowell

Arch is very good!
by benn on Sat 14th Feb 2004 00:13 UTC

Arch has been the distro that took me from "newbie" to "intermediate". All config, though CLI-based is logical and elegant, compared to others I've tried. I recommend it to anyone looking to learna a bit more about Linux.

Plus, once you learn how, you can boot into a fast, fully featured X desktop in less time than it takes for the pizza to arrive. ;)

Re: Stray
by Syntaxis on Sat 14th Feb 2004 01:20 UTC

"what I do on the desktop is simply not there in Linux."

Stick with Windows, then. Personally, I've had the opposite experience; Debian does all I need.

"It might be doing some new tasks better 10 years later, but only relative to "itself".

You seem to be arguing that all the progress that Linux has made is pointless because they've not yet completely overtaken Windows and Mac OSX in terms of usability and application base (in the eyes of the masses, at least). This defies logic. Software development is by very definition a gradual, evolutionary process.

Anyway, you're overgeneralizing. There are many things which Linux does better, IMO. For just one example of the top of my head, I find Mutt (http://www.mutt.org) to be a much better MUA than anything available on Windows.

Probably no one is reading here any more but...
by Jace on Sat 14th Feb 2004 18:07 UTC

Thanks very much for your great replies to my silly questions above. I guess I should have figured the answer out for myself. It's a flawed perspective on my part to assume there is a coherent force behind Linux or a coherent "user group" that defines anything for everyone else. I fell into the same trap that people fall into when they see themselves outside of a particular group; I assumed that such a cohesive awareness and sameness existed. I guess that's kind of computer-racist of me, huh? Hah!

Cheers!

RE: Debian
by mmmna on Thu 19th Feb 2004 19:22 UTC

Anyone who defends Debian as though god himself created it needs a new head: Go install 3.0.0 from scratch and FOLLOW the ONSCREEN directions, do NOT use your experience: the installer clearly says use dselect to configure packages... when I lost 3 installs due to dselect messing up; I joined the Debian mailing list, and got laughed at for even using dselect: 'everryon knows that you dselect is broken' and 'what a fool - everyone knows that you should use apt instead of dselect'. Not this former user of Debian! The instructions in the INSTALLER say use dselect. If a nwbie is expected to do ONE thing correctly, it would be to follow onscreen instructions. Debian can work, I've since installed it a few times, but it certainly has rough edges.

Arch, otoh, has various instructions which are written by Arch development people. In many instances, Arch docs are much more clear about 'how-to' than the docs within the packages themselves. The only problem I had with Arch (which was during installation) has been personally addressed by their lead developer. Try talking to Ian....

Arch holds my personal record for fastest time from ext3 partitioned hard disk to KDE GUI: less than 17 minutes on an Athlon 1GHz. Try that with Debian!

RE: Slackware
by mmmna on Thu 19th Feb 2004 19:25 UTC

Learn to speak in the present! Swaret!