Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Linux, Linux on the web...

As I mentioned earlier, I decided to look for alternative Linux Distributions to think of trying using the Chooser I linked to.

The results are quite interesting. Where before it listed only Debian, Ubuntu, Linux Mint, and the derivatives of each, it now only lists Debian and Ubuntu, along with others. The exact results are as follows:

Debian still holds top spot. I did once, on a previous occasion that I lost patience with Ubuntu (Intrepid, at the time) try Debian. My main issues were that sudo did not automatically have the first user added to it, and the menus were different. Also, their somewhat insistant habit of rejecting software such as Firefox for unbranded versions like their IceWeasel is a pain.

Foresight Linux is a newcomer to my scene. According to the chooser, it boasts the latest and greatest of GNOME - which is appealing, as I like GNOME a lot. People can complain about it's lack of customisability, I say they're wrong. Although I know little about this one as yet, it appears to be a promising candidate for a new Linux to try.

Mandriva isn't new to me, but also isn't tried by me. I've heard much about this distro, and I'm not certain what to make of it. I'd need to know what kind of hardware support for NVidia graphics cards is in there, how it handles packages, and how easy/hard it is to customize.
(Note: I'm no longer opposed to RPM - provided I can install apt-rpm, and manage my RPM packages via Synaptic through the apt-rpm stuff - if not, I'll have to find another way, but apt-rpm and Synaptic are preferred.)

Fedora is an old friend and enemy. It's the very first Linux I used, with Fedora 10 KDE. However, I spent very little time there, as I had trouble with it. This was, I realize now, mostly because of KDE, so it's gained another chance. What brings it down however, is that I've also heard that Fedora isn't very good for normal home use, and that Wine, an essential for me, doesn't work at all. Again, more information on this would be useful.

Ubuntu finds it's way into the results here between Fedora and Gentoo. It used to dominate the top of the boards, but as my knowledge of Linux has grown and changed, and my hatred of RPM has now vanished, it's slipped a lot.
However, I do like Ubuntu. It does have it's many good points, and I will keep it around, even if it means a dual-boot system. It's something I can fall back on.

Gentoo Linux. Ah, much have I heard about this one.
Now, as I understand it, Gentoo doesn't do packages. It does source code. Apparently it compiles the kernel itself on install, which is a daunting prospect - anything I've compiled previously has taken a while to do so, the thought of the massive Linux kernel being compiled is somewhat unnerving - will this take a few minutes, hours or days?
However, the idea of compiling applications rather than using pre-compiled applications is intriguing, and offers me the chance to investigate the source code to help my incessant habit of looking into it just to see how it works.
On the down-side, not all applications I use have source code available, such as once again, Firefox - the more recent ones just aren't available to my knowledge. So, assuming it exists the same on a Gentoo system, I'd have to download it from Mozilla, precompiled, and install it to /opt instead. I've never had to do this before, so like the kernel, I'm a little daunted by this.

Arch Linux is another one I've heard about, and it seems to me to be a lot like Gentoo.
I've looked into it before, but always been put off by the fact that as I understand it, you install and have little more than a command line.
Now, I'm no stranger to the terminal, but it's a Ubuntu- or Debian-like terminal I'm used to, with sudo, apt-get, aptitude and so on, which isn't on Arch. I'd need to know exactly what I'd have to enter into it to get a GDM login screen, and a GNOME session, where I could continue in a graphic environment. I don't have anything against the command line; it's very useful for getting more information on what's happening behind the scenes, so to speak. But I don't like being stuck at one, like my laptop is, and not knowing what to do.

Slackware I know little of, beyond wanting to be stable and easy to use. Ubuntu manages both - despite my opinion of Karmic leaving a bad taste.
Like Foresight Linux, I really need to know more before I can say for sure whether this garners a place on the list of distributions I'll be trying.

Finally, Zenwalk, previously unknown to me. It says it's Slackware based however, which means to me, I'll be considering the two as the same for now.

Now, I'll be posting, as I always do, a tweet about this post on Twitter (it's about all I really actually use Twitter for...)
If you've just come from there, and you use any of these versions of Linux, or for that matter, ANY Linux - have a read through, and see if you can help out on some of the information I'm missing, or - in a rare case of me being unusually nice to people - if you think you can sway me to your favored distro, go right ahead.

If you don't use Linux, pass it on to someone who does, and thinks they can help out - resident Linux fanatics, for example (Be warned though, said fanatics will watch what they say on my blog).

Help a guy out here - Ubuntu Karmic's not doing too well here, so this is your chance to make your favored Linux shine, and maybe net another user for it too - me.
Not that it means much, but I'm sure some people would get a nice feeling from knowing they converted someone.

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