[lug] Primer on Linux Distros

Mr Viggy LittleViggy at alum.manhattan.edu
Fri Oct 18 08:12:30 MDT 2002

I'll bite:

Slackware:  Why?  Because it's almost completely manual.  Yes, I'm a 
glutton for punishment!  Slackware is actually a nice distribution.  The 
setup program is very primitive; and it doesn't do too much for you. 
You can choose to install everything; select from certain packages 
(which will install groups of stuff); or you can select from individual 
files.  What I really like is that there are not a lot of "automagic" 
setup tools, you have to create, or modify, the various config files 
manually.  This gives the end user a very good feel for how the OS 
operates.  This is *not* a distribution for the beginer!  I run it on my 
laptop mostly for leisure, and surfing the net.


Bernard Johnston wrote:
>> Message: 4
>> Date: Fri, 11 Oct 2002 14:42:16 -0700 (PDT)
>> From: bill ehlert <bill_ehlert_lists at yahoo.com>
>> Subject: RE: [lug] new distro
>> To: lug at lug.boulder.co.us
>> Reply-To: lug at lug.boulder.co.us
>>  nate wrote:
>>    [ babble, babble, babble ]
>>  peter wrote:
>>    [ babble, babble, babble ]
>> **  geez, enuff already!
>>    it occurs to me that it would be really
>>    nice if a few folks would write a bit
>>    about his/her/their favoriate distro,
>>    covering:
>>    --  what distinguishes it from others
>>    --  what it's particularly good for
>>    --  what it's not so good for
>>    THAT  would be interesting and useful!
> Ok, Bill, I'll bite. Here's my exegesis of the distributions as they now 
> stand.
> Lindows--Win 98 Clone. It's a good idea but it hasn't been engineered 
> very well. Lots of
> people report all sorts of trouble getting it to work with hardware, 
> etc. Not ready for prime time
> yet but it might eventually turn out well for the mass market. One nice 
> feature is that it is Debian-based and so has the wonderful apt-get 
> feature.
> Lycoris (alias Redmond)--WinXP Clone. Very nice for basic (i.e., 
> Windows) users. This is what
> I'm setting my mother up with. It still has an unfinished feel to it, 
> but no major problems. I expect it to give XP a serious run for its 
> money in a year or so.
> Mandrake--My personal favorite. This is Redhat-based with a nice KDE 
> (Qt) GUI. That means that binaries are packaged in the rpm format, which 
> can lead to "RPM hell" (one package depending on another depending on 
> another, etc., so that you can't install anything). That's the downside.
> This is mitigated somewhat by Ximian's RedCarpet, which is similar to 
> apt-get. Nice look and feel, and some real thought has been given to 
> useability, but it still has a solid base for power users. I like the 
> Xkill feature and the way they've set up the CDRom and Floppy right on 
> the desktop. I use 8.2. 9.0 (just out) is rumored to be quite buggy and 
> should be avoided.
> RedHat--most common distro, so you get the benefit of the knowledge of 
> people around you. Arguably the best server distro. Until their latest 
> release they were not very interested in the desktop/workstation but 
> that's changing. The newest release (8.0) is quite attractive but rather 
> buggy. The general rule on RedHat is wait till the *.2 (stable) release. 
> Suffers from RPM hell as above.
> SUSE--seems comparable to Redhat but I have little personal knowledge. 
> It's more popular in Europe.
> Debian--seems to be the top choice of command-line-oriented power 
> users/hackers who want to know where every byte goes. Seems to give the 
> most control to the user. Replaces the RPM-package system with apt-get 
> which takes care of dependencies for you. Has some other nifty 
> command-line features.
> Gentoo--very interesting distro in which you compile everything from 
> scratch. This takes a long time to install (!) but in the end has the 
> advantage that you know the software is completely optimized for your 
> system.
> Anybody else want to throw in their .02?
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