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Ideal GNU/Linux distro

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libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04

Let's all share what do we consider the ideal GNU/Linux distribution. Everyone has different needs, desires and taste as well as level of experience, time etc. Therefore what is ideal for me may not be ideal for you.

So here is mine. After trying out SuSE and after using Ubuntu for quite a while I gave it some though and here's what I would say would make an ideal GNU/Linux distro for me:

- It should be clean and simple: compliant with GNU/Linux and UNIX standards and with packages that are just clean compiled from original source (no modifications) This is like slackware's tgz.

- As such (described above) it would support building from source with least errors and being able to easily create packages (very compile friendly). Packages can simply be converted to tgz (as well as RPM and DEB) using checkinstall. Again, this identifies slackware the most.

- Package manager should be able to check and retrieve dependancies (rules out slackware), but still install original slackware packages (rules out arch). In this case zenwalks netpkg may be ideal as it doesn't require a special format for packs and uses tgzs instead having all dependancies stored in its database. This would be absolutely awesome since I could use any plain tgz package and install it with dependancies resolved.

- Every release should come with a CD or DVD full of software for all needs (minimizes the need to download alot when having expensive bandwidth).

- It should have newest stable versions of all (or most) software (not old kernels and software as in slackware)

- While I don't mind editing text files to configure stuff it should at least have a good hardware detector aiding in hardware configuration and plugging.

So apparently I think something that is slackware based but meeting demands that slackware itself doesn't could be my ideal distro of choice.

Good candidates I found so far and might try some of them are: Zenwalk (netpkg), Kate OS (tgzex), Vector (slapt-get). Frugalware and Arch with pacman package manager are good also, but pacman uses a package format which still doesn't have as much packages compiled as slackware's tgz and arch comes with only minimal software on CD.

Of those I've tried so far I'd say Ubuntu was the best, but it isn't "ideal" (isn't very compile friendly and you're slightly locked in into supported software versions).

Thanks
Daniel

tbuitenh's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-21

My ideal linux distribution would grab the latest changes to the source code of all installed packages from cvs and recompile it with tcc at boot time. (using tcc because it is 9 times faster than gcc). I want the most up-to-date and unstable system in the world :twisted:

Oh, you wanted a serious reply? Well, arch with init-ng instead of the arch rc scripts then, and using bittorrent to download packages.

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Joined: 2005-12-21

My ideal GNU/Linux distribution would have to have the following:

Has to be free.
I prefer it has a livecd/livedvd version
6-8 months release cycle
I don't care whether RPM/DEB/Source based
I prefer multiple package management systems
I prefer both KDE and GNOME
Ought to run on x86/64-bit/PPC architectures
Has to be able to compile source (thus follow common standards)
And finally I prefer also a good graphical installation and especially a graphical configuration tool (think YaST2).

From that -> OpenSuse/Ubuntu/Kubuntu/Slackware.

tbuitenh's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-21

I prefer that only the installer has a release cycle, everything else should be updated soon after new versions upstream.
Source based is too slow (because I like to update about every 2 days), but building your own packages should be very easy.
Graphical tools to manage configuration files that are plain text just get in the way and are inflexible. I do like graphical tools when they have been designed together with the configuration files, so you're not missing any functionality or flexibility by using them.

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"tbuitenh" wrote:

I prefer that only the installer has a release cycle, everything else should be updated soon after new versions upstream.
Source based is too slow (because I like to update about every 2 days), but building your own packages should be very easy.
Graphical tools to manage configuration files that are plain text just get in the way and are inflexible. I do like graphical tools when they have been designed together with the configuration files, so you're not missing any functionality or flexibility by using them.

I think we a need a new distro: Taconix. :grinning:

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04

I agree with Taco. And btw, I don't consider Ubuntu to be source compiling friendly distro. It's way less standard in that manner than slackware. Just look at /etc/X11/Xsession.d/ and see what you have there. What's up with that?
The plain xinitrc file (which on Ubuntu is under /etc/X11/xinit/ ought to be enough for that.

But yeah, Ubuntu is a newbie friendly distro so it does that to accomodate the GUI-way of changing main WM and is meant to be used with GDM, not just console and startx. That's where I like slackware much better. Smiling

EDIT: I realize the above example doesn't have much to do with compiling, but it shows that not everything in Ubuntu is so starndard. Anyway though, I did try compiling on Ubuntu and I just didn't have good experiences with that so I just avoid it. Ubuntu is to be used exclusively with apt-get and alike package management, not compiling from source (build-essentials aren't even installed by default).

dylunio's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-20

My ideal distro?

Source based so that I had a nice optimized system. A package manager with plenty of packages and is updated regularly. No need to get a new set of CDs each time there is a new release, the package manager would just update the system as newer packages came available. A nice GUI fronted configuration tool, such as YaST. That it wouldn't have KDE or GNOME as default WM's, it'd have E17 or Fluxbox instead.
And lastly a great distro based community.

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Joined: 2005-12-21

I think personally that the best way to find what one really likes in a distro is to try as many as you have time and hard drive space for. Once you know what you like you can quite easily mix and match until you've got what you like the most, in a combination that fits you the most.

Although it's not present in this thread, I've come to see a lot of expert users rejecting and claiming that distributions like Ubuntu are crap because they exclude things like build-essentials. I think we need to all understand what the target audience of each distribution is. :smiling:

libervisco's picture
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"klepas" wrote:

I think personally that the best way to find what one really likes in a distro is to try as many as you have time and hard drive space for. Once you know what you like you can quite easily mix and match until you've got what you like the most, in a combination that fits you the most.

That's true. However, once you do try a good deal of them you already get enough experience to be able to describe exactly what you want. You can then say, I want this that I encountered in this distro with that which I encountered in another distro and then you go fish for the one that fits that combination. With the whole ocean of choice you've got, chances are very good you'll find the combination you're looking for.
In this thread we post these descriptions. Smiling

"klepas" wrote:

Although it's not present in this thread, I've come to see a lot of expert users rejecting and claiming that distributions like Ubuntu are crap because they exclude things like build-essentials. I think we need to all understand what the target audience of each distribution is. :smiling:

Of course. Ubuntu target audience is pretty clear and it's been clear to me from the start. It's normal desktop users who want the ease of use. Many of those experts sometimes might imply they're saying a distro like Ubuntu is crap because it doesn't satisfy their urge for some advanced computing needs, but probably don't mean that seriously. The fact that this distro just has a different target audience can easily slip ones mind, although yes, we should be careful about that. Smiling

I certainly know that I probably don't perfectly fit the Ubuntus target audience and so I'm on a scout for another distro. Until then, Ubuntu does just fine since I've got a nice working system that I can use for all my jobs. Smiling The difference for me is more in details (that matter to me) than something really big and itchy (meaning Ubuntu is great for me, but not yet as close to ideal as I would want and think I can have). Smiling

Thanks
Daniel

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I think another point deserves to be made that even though some things on given distros might not be to one's liking they can still be changed, just as I have done with KDE on my profile on this Suse install and just like I would do with GNOME under Ubuntu or KDE again, under Kubuntu. :smiling:

tbuitenh's picture
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Aw man, that means I can't say "windows is crap", now I have to say "windows doesn't satisfy my needs because it is buggy, proprietary and hard to use, I am definitely not in its target audience".
It's just so much easier to say an OS is "crap". Less informative, true.

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"tbuitenh" wrote:

Aw man, that means I can't say "windows is crap", now I have to say "windows doesn't satisfy my needs because it is buggy, proprietary and hard to use, I am definitely not in its target audience".
It's just so much easier to say an OS is "crap". Less informative, true.

Lol. Well, I'd say an exception is well due in this case; heck I even agree with you. But on a slightly more serious tanget, it is Microsoft and their product Windows that conditioned users to accept and gleefully love the dumbed down operating system that is Windows.

libervisco's picture
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Well I admit I would slip the "windows is crap" (un)argument through anytime. Laughing out loud

But that is just because windows isn't really a good choice among good choices at all. I would say that any GNU/Linux distro that allows you to run it as completely proprietary software free system is a good choice. I just can't say the same for windows because it is a proprietary OS no matter how much Free Software you put on it. In my mind, it therefore isn't a valid choice at all. Infact I think it is just wrong to use it.

So, don't wonder if I would just ignore it if someone trashes windows out of the window, either literally or in language (except when language is profanity or the sort) Smiling

EDIT: Besides, Windows is not a GNU/Linux distro and this thread is about GNU/Linux distros.

Thanks
Daniel

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Joined: 2005-12-20

My ideal distro would be:
Fast, source based- I like speed Smiling
Obscure- I dont like using what everyone else does
Good package management
Good community- Not nessecarily large, just good
Completely free- Well, yeah (solaris doesnt work on this point, only opensolaris does Sad)
Fun to use- let me get in there and edit some files, move stuff
Completely open

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Joined: 2006-01-31

My ideal GNU/Linux distribution on the desktop would:

    Be a live CD
    Load completely into RAM (if there is enough RAM, that is)
    Just have some basic web browsing, messaging/chat capabilities

So basically any small Knoppix remaster such as DSL or Feather Linux.

For a server, my ideal GNU/Linux distribution would:

    Rigorously test software packages before incorporating them into the stable branch
    Have the option of using either binary or source packages
    Have easy-to-use package management utilities

That more or less describes Debian. :wink:[/]

[/]

tbuitenh's picture
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olive: have you tried puppy linux?

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"tbuitenh" wrote:

olive: have you tried puppy linux?

Nope. It looks interesting though. I shall give it a try. Laughing out loud

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I haven't been really happy with Suse (6.2). Although you could compile, and it came with a lot of stuff I somehow haven't been really happy.
I really like Slackware, I think it's not so easy to get things mixed and messed up when you compile everything like it is with Suse.
Since I like to compile everything I'm installing LFS now (had it before, but for some reason changed back to Slack for quite some time). That way I'm in charge of everything, I am the package-manager. Eye No funny package-databases you have to tweak around with when you update some already installed library from source. I don't like that stuff.
And I really like to have a system with really fresh and hot stuff. I don't know if there's a distro out there shipping kernel 2.6.16 and gcc 4.1, but I don't think so. Smiling

Well, for me LFS is a really good thing, near to ideal since I don't have to rely on somebody else.
If something doesn't work the only ass to kick is mine, and if everything works perfectly I can invite myself to a beer. Eye

By the way, maybe you'd like to check http://distrowatch.com
There's some nice overview listing down a lot of distros.

libervisco's picture
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After a while of using it now I'd say Arch is my ideal GNU/Linux distro, or if not perfectly ideal then most likely closest to it. Smiling

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Fair enough libervisco, I never really cared for arch, but then, I am more of a BSD man Smiling.

I do however think the init scripts and etc in rc.conf (as in with slack) is a good idea Laughing out loud

libervisco's picture
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Yep onlinebacon. I like that about it too.

Anyway, it may be ideal for me, but not for everyone. That's how it goes. Smiling

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No it isnt...

yes it is Sad

Anyways, still a slack man here

libervisco's picture
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"onlinebacon" wrote:

No it isnt...

yes it is Sad

Anyways, still a slack man here

Heh what a strange post. Smiling

Cheer up man! Laughing out loud

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