Linked by Adam S on Wed 30th Apr 2003 07:26 UTC
Linux Lately, we've all read a lot of articles about desktop Linux - so many that it's getting hard to tell them apart. One says "Why Linux Sucks," the next "My Success With Linux." Even Michael Robertson of joined the fun with his "Why Desktop Linux Sucks, Today." But very few people have proposed anything radical, and I believe that's what's needed to take GNU/Linux to the next level.
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Not that hard
by jbolden1517 on Tue 29th Apr 2003 18:31 UTC

The directory aliasing, is rather trivial. I do something like this as part of my default installs by hand in a few minutes (example /root to /home/root, /tmp to /var/tmp, /var/www to /home/apache, etc...).

As for a repository of rpms that are distribution specific most distributions do do this. So your question about why they don't is moot. The issue with software occur when people try to install rpms from other distributions.

As far as libraries, certainly to a limited extent you could simply install all libraries but then frankly if you are going to do that go whole hog and just the apps as well and have only one software configuration you need to support. In general though you may not resolve all the issues of dependencies. Often apps need libraries compliled with particular settings. So if you are really going in this direction you are not only assuming quite a bit of harddrive space but also 2-3x as much ram. For a newbie distribution that isn't neccesarily that horrible but it should be understood.

Take a simple example. What languages are you going to compile into your interfaces for messages? English only (very limiting). Or maybe English and Spanish (now you have just added a lot because you now have to support some non ascii fonts)? But then are you going to have right to left support so that people can use Arabic and Hebrew? What about cyrillic support for eastern europenas. How about Unicode and if so will all Asian fonts have to use something like UTF8 (i.e. Asian text will be 50% larger than using a 16 bit font)? Most unix code will allow you to complile versions for various font sets, very few support arbitrary font systems and those that do are very complicated (see Oracle's excellent documentation on national language standards for a very good discussion).

Finally on the issue of apps you are showing ignorance here. Either you install one of each major type of app or you give people wildely different experience and install/offer lots of different apps. People always say "why do I need 12 different text editors" but what they forget is:

Emacs -- virtual lisp environment editor
note two choices which are incompatable if you want X support: GNU with X extensions or XEmacs
Also Emacs21 introduced library incompatabilities so you often want to offer 20 and 21 versions.
VI/VIM/Elvis/Viper -- vi environment. BTW often people who use one of these are quite picky
pico -- very simple editor
joe -- full features wordstarish editor
if we are going to offer joe what about jed?
beav -- good hex editor, also useful for people who need EBCDIC
yudit -- better for unicode users

etc... Mainstream Linux distributions on the whole handle this situation quite well:

a) Very nice default choices
b) Wide range of packages for people with specialized needs
c) The ability to install the thousands of other packages which are even more specialized.

The fact that you couldn't even make simple choices:
-- gnome only
-- open office only (though why pick gnome since OO isn't gnome specific)
etc... means you wouldn't be able to go the unified route.