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Choosing a distro: Pros and Cons from real users

Link to this post 18 Feb 10

The other problem with Ubuntu is that it really doesn't conform to corperate standards for User/Group management (ie sudoers doesn't configure like it does in other Linux distros) and it doesn't use init daemon which I prefer over the other options.

Link to this post 18 Feb 10

hello,
the groupmanagement in ubunt could be an safty feature, or?

Link to this post 18 Feb 10

For newbies I can't recommend Ubuntu (or any derivative of it) anymore because for some reason I can't fathom, they insist of including Beta software by default (Grub2, PulseAudio, etc). That's unconscionable! You don't give newbies Beta software! Even the next LTS version (currently in Alpha) has it.

Newbies are not to be treated like laboratory rats to test unproven, unstable software. It's scary enough for a newbie without handing them that. They need thoroughly, widely tested, rock-stable, proven software for their first ventures into Linux.

For brand newbies, I would definitely recommend Debian Stable or a ready-made distro built on Debian Stable's solid bedrock. Mepis is always my own choice for introducing newbies to Linux. It's unforgivable to expect newbies to handle Beta software that gives even experienced users headaches.

-Robin

Link to this post 22 Feb 10

dixiedancer wrote:

[b]You don't give newbies Beta software! [/b]

I agree with you on that, I definitely agree. But, at least in the last 1.5 years, when I started using Linux, there were many features in Ubuntu, which even if not rock-solid, were very appealing for me as a Linux noob at the time.

BTW, your post is really pushing me to try out Mepis :)

I read many posts in this thread, defining Ubuntu as a distro for noobs, which should be changed in favor of another distro after getting some experience, but I can't completely agree.

By always including the most recent kernel version, Ubuntu offered a better out-of-the-box hardware support.
Even if I can compile the kernel myself, I do it only to tune performance, not to make my hardware work.


It's true that compiling your kernel makes you learn a lot, but not all Linux users might benefit from this knowledge:
In informatics itself, there are so many interesting things, that knowing them all is not possible having a single life, so I believe that one should have some priorities and focus his/her efforts on the things he/she cares about the most.

I started using Linux because I wanted a free, virus-free, OS which was good for developers.
Every time I have a problem, which gives me the feeling that I don't know enough of what happens under the hood, I always deeply investigate.
But not knowing each and every aspect of, say, the kernel, won't prevent me from using the OS, writing my apps, etc...

Plus in the end, after you configure it as you need and learn how to change things, IMHO, every distribution is the same.
Unless we are talking about stability of course.

thecec

Link to this post 08 Apr 10

No one's really mentioned Fedora and as a Fedora user currently, I'd have to say that with isps currently throttling traffic and giving everyone raw deals on their Internet speeds, Fedora has a delta rpm system which works with yum.
What that means is that if you update using Fedora, the amount of bandwidth you use will be considerably less than any other distribution because for most updates yum will only download what is needed for the update instead of (Like most other distributions) The entire software package.
I'm often seeing a 40% reduction in size in downloads using yum and delta rpms.
(I suspect that OpenSuSe's Zypper does something similar.)
If you are not on an unlimited Internet contract, it is something to take into serious consideration. Updating your OS to the current versions of installed software is very important to fix security bugs and software regressions to prevent your machine being exploited in the wild.

If you are doing any kind of software development (C, C++, php, ruby, phython, etc) Fedora rawhide (Development version) Is certainly a worth while consideration.
Updating rawhide frequently provides you with the very latest versions of software, it allows you to build software using the latest dependencies, you can also get involved with bug reporting (Should you find any) And actually give something back to the Fedora project in the way of testing.

Pros :
Delta rpms mean less bandwidth for upgrades
Excellent communication channels
Actively developed
Apparently twice as many users a it's nearest rival (Ubuntu.)
The project is supported by the largest enterprise Linux vendor on the planet. Redhat.
Linus uses Fedora (According to what I've read.)

Cons :
Packagekit : You are better off learning yum from the command line. Packagekit is absolutely awful. People like me just uninstall it first thing after an install.
It is a bleeding edge distribution, so you can be faced with bugs and unstable software but it's your job to report anything like that on the redhat bugzilla (For some like me, it's not an issue because serious Fedora specific regressions are quite rare.)
It's more of a gnome centric distribution but kde sc versions and packages are available. (I actually use kde sc in Fedora and it is quite good.)
Uses rpm : The official rpm community project was forked a while ago but Redhat refuses to recognise it. Rpm is also flawed like all the other common Linux package formats in that a roll back or entire system roll back is impossible. Creating Rpms for distribution is also an extremely steep learning curve, one which has been detrimental to the Linux community for a long time time IMO. Not such a problem if you have no intention of tinkering under the hood.

All in all Fedora is a very strong choice for everyone but particularly for software developers and those who want the latest package versions.

I think the :

You don't give newbies Beta software!

Comment is BS because beta software is mostly only one step away from release pending testing which will have mostly already occurred during the alpha release stages anyway. Many beta releases of open source software end up with very little or zero changes before they are tagged as an official release.
Confusing "This isn't quite finished software" With "We've finished this, could you please test it software" Is a quite an easy mistake to make and I do feel sorry for users with apparent upgrade fear, maybe having come from the roller coaster rides that are Windows updates.
You'll actually find that in pretty much all distributions, that software pulled from trunk branches of svn, cvs, git repos are being used to fix bugs and that software is even less tested than beta quality software.
More often than not, beta releases fix important security exploits and are more stable than older versions of the same software. So I don't think depriving someone code which prevents them from running a security exploit or makes their system more stable just because it is marked as beta holds any ground.
It is easy to say "Don't give beta to newbie" But only if you don't actually understand or develop software yourself. It makes little or no sense to make that statement. New users should be reporting bugs just like the rest of us and if anyone is not doing so, they are letting themselves and the FOSS community down. We all have a responsibility to make the software better. Beta does not mean "Definitely contains bugs or does not work." It means ready for release pending testing.

Link to this post 28 Apr 10

I like Slackware, because with it I learned a lot about Linux. When I was using Ubuntu everytime I install it I indicate auto partitioning and I learned how to partition my hdd only when tryed slackware, because there I have not choice. Playing in the CLI there are more experience, while with the newer distributions and graphical tools is boring me. I just search more experiences and cleaner things ;)

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