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What kind of distros should we promote?

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Gustavo's picture
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Joined: 2006-09-11

Hi all.

I think we should only promote those distros that (at least) comply with the following requirements:

  1. It's a free distro made of free contents by default. So, we shouldn't promote openSUSE anymore, IMHO.
  2. It has a good i18n support.
  3. It can be used in a plenty of different computers (even old comps).
  4. It has good free support.
  5. It is an user-friendly system.

Thus, I think we only have one choose: (Edu/K/X)Ubuntu, despite I know it's not a fully free distro and its i18n support sucks, but, who has a better suggestion? Fedora only supports x86, x86-64 and PPC computers.

I also think that we have to talk about the different flavors of Ubuntu (What makes them different). In the mean time, we only talk about Ubuntu, but, what happens if someone have installed K/Ubuntu in a legacy computer? S/he has to think that K/Ubuntu sucks as it's very slow. So, for example, we have to say that Xubuntu is made for legacy PCs.

Actually, talking about gNewSense would be great, but very secondary, IMO. Don't you think?

Finally, what do you think about only promoting Ubuntu and forks?

Cheers!

PS: Don't you think that we should mention that Ubuntu is not a fully free system?

PPS: You might want to take a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_Linux_distributions

AndrewB's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-18
Why not an older more stable

Why not an older more stable OS such as debian?

Or something forked from Fedora, such as BLAG.

Ubuntu is already too big, and I think people should be driven away from it.

tbuitenh's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-21
Quote: So, for example, we
Quote:

So, for example, we have to say that Xubuntu is made for legacy PCs.

Perhaps we also need a definition of "legacy PC".
By coincedence, my father recently successfully installed XUbuntu on our own legacy PC: an i586/133Mhz/48M.

Is it possible? Yes, but very difficult. The text mode installer goes into "low memory mode", and still hung because the swap partition wasn't big enough (!) .

Is it usable? No, it's like drinking peanut butter through a straw.

As a rule of thumb, I would not recommend installing XUbuntu on something that came with Win95 or lower on it. Computers that old are simply not suitable for first experiments with Linux.

michuk's picture
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Joined: 2006-08-20
ubuntu is ok

I think promoting *buntu is a good option. This wold be probably less confusing for the newbies. We could still mention different desktops like GNOME, KDE or XFCE as the alternatives.
If someone wants to learn more about linux distros, there should be a clear indication that there are many of them and some good feature comparisons can be found on polishlinux.org Smiling

Also, I think recommending BLAG or some other niche distro (like gNewSense) does not make much sense and would not be very useful for a newcomer. They would only get themselves into troubles by installing them and trying to get help later.

dylunio's picture
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michuk
michuk wrote:

Also, I think recommending BLAG or some other niche distro (like gNewSense) does not make much sense and would not be very useful for a newcomer. They would only get themselves into troubles by installing them and trying to get help later.

Why? all BLAG is is a Fedora Core on one CD, with 100% Free Software. How does this make this harder?

dylunio

michuk's picture
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Joined: 2006-08-20
Quote: Why? all BLAG is is
Quote:

Why? all BLAG is is a Fedora Core on one CD, with 100% Free Software. How does this make this harder?

Well, I just don't think recommending "side" distros for the newbies is a good idea. It's always easier to get help when using "mainstream" distributions. And a newbie doesn't even need to know that the distro he/she uses is derived from another one. Most Ubuntu users may not even know about Debian and there's nothing wrong with it, as long as they can get help easily with their "ubuntu system".

Also, I believe that recommending "free software only" distros is not a great idea, too. Most users need a stable replacement for Windows. They want to do all the things they were doing in Windows. They don't care what the reason is that they cannot play a WMV file. They will simply switch back to Windows if they find that Linux cannot do things they are used to do.

Now, we need to ask ourselves a fundamental question: Are we prepared to sacrify some of our believes (like the free-software only thing) to get those users on the "right side" (make them switch to Linux), or are we not? I believe that it's much better if they switch and use some non-free software on Linux than if they not switch and stay with Windows (and use mostly non-free software). Later on, when there is enough people using Linux already, we can go further, but for the time being, I think that the quest of switching o Linux is the essential thing. Even if "the Linux" is Linsprire or Xandros.

Still, recommending Ubuntu is in my opinion a fair compromise between those 2 visions and I think this is the way to go.

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04
Mostly because of gNewSense,

Mostly because of gNewSense, the Ubuntu compromises have come to my attention more lately. I definitely see your point michuk though and right now I'm not sure what to say. I'm trying to be a so called "pragmatic ideologists" using pragmatic principles in service to ideology rather than vice versa and I'm not entirely sure yet if compromising with Ubuntu is really the right way here... Maybe it is...

But I can't help by think about Fedora Core 6 on this one. It is apparently now a fully Free Software system out of the box and is I believe one of the mainstream distributions. At the very least it looks like Fedora could be the good candidate for replacing openSUSE recommendation.

To me, the standard principle I judge a distro by when it comes to ideological issues is that it doesn't contain anything nonfree in its default install, even if it offers nonfree software choices off the net. This is something I can live with.

Though I know that the ideological perfection would be something like gNewSense and I support such projects because they bring out the efforts of replacing nonfree things with free ones which then get used by other distros too (which really does push the Free Software cause and quality up at the same time I believe).

Anyway, at this point, Fedora and Debian fit the bill there.

AndrewB's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-18
Heh, distro wars

Heh, distro wars continue.
My vote still goes to FC or BLAG. I started with RedHat, found it very easy.
There are hundreds upon hundreds of ubuntu sites out there...

AndrewB's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-18
And 'side' distro's are

And 'side' distro's are infact better. As they are specialised in helping new users, or some are. As apposed to what a governing body thinks is what users want.

libervisco's picture
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I don't really see a distro

I don't really see a distro war developing here. Nope. We're just discussing various options trying to come up with the best ones to recommend.

I think recommending Fedora instead of openSUSE would be a good move. BLAG can be mentioned as a second alternative for people who want a one-cd install. On the Ubuntu front, we can either leave it at Ubuntu I guess, or replace with Debian..

ariadacapo's picture
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Joined: 2006-07-13
I think we are never going

I think we are never going to be out of these discussions Smiling

First, I really believe we should not point solely to Ubuntu. It's almost an insult to the fantastic diversity out there. Visitors might come out thinking GNU/Linux is Ubuntu and this is Canonical marketing.

Now about dumping SUSE (something we discussed at length already)...
* we have to really decide why. Personally the MS/Novell news leave me quite uneasy but I'm unable to make a jugement on OpenSUSE in particular.
* if we do change it for another one, it'd be really good to have a KDE-based distro. I can already hear the KDE people rolling down on GGL.o should we go Gnome-only. I personally much prefer Gnome, but what a better example of the diversity of GNU/Linux than to have two desktop environments to propose?
Joe User will say: if it takes me half an hour to spot the difference between Ubuntu and Fedora Core, then how am I going to choose? How relevant a choice is this?

I perfectly agree with Michuk ("They don't care what the reason is that they cannot play a WMV file. They will simply switch back to Windows"). Go talk to the people around you... real people, your neighbour, the baker, the first person you meet in the street... I can confidently point *any* user to the Ubuntu forums, less so to the blagblagblag.org website where the first sentence already mentions anarchy. (which I fully respect).
To quote AndrewB... "what a governing body thinks is what users want." --> but most users want a governing body, for their computer.

For a suitable candidate, I still don't know. My list of priorities would be
1. mentor organisation cares about freedom and openness (RedHat and Canonical come first I guess...)
2. beginner-friendly installation and use (musn't type code)
3. beginner-friendly, pleasing, clear, very active website/forums (because newcomers just aren't going to have a one-time perfect switch)
4. good internationalisation (this has come out of the translations =)

Now the only thing that bothers me with Fedora is that non-KDE thing.

About the computer age and hardware support, keep in mind the Choose a distribution page is already long and must not become an encyclopedia.

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04
ariadacapo wrote: Now about
ariadacapo wrote:

Now about dumping SUSE (something we discussed at length already)...
* we have to really decide why. Personally the MS/Novell news leave me quite uneasy but I'm unable to make a jugement on OpenSUSE in particular.

The openSUSE project is sponsored by Novell and its trademark is owned by Novell. I think that Novell hence has quite an ability of steering the direction of the project and providing legal clout for further inclusion of proprietary software in it in the future. I am not an expert on anything SuSE nor the state of the openSUSE community, but this does pose doubts about the future of openSUSE as a Free Software distribution unencumbered by proprietary software or now even Microsoft's interests..

ariadacapo wrote:

I perfectly agree with Michuk ("They don't care what the reason is that they cannot play a WMV file. They will simply switch back to Windows").

The right answer to this really is that we should then give them give them a reason to care. This of course requires that we explain what exactly is the reason why a certain piece of software can't be used. This stems from what is the real and original goal of Free Software, freedom and not just popularity. If we have to sacrifice freedom for popularity we're missing a point and deviating from the long term roadmap. There is a significant argument to be made regarding the support for 100% Free Software distros. If we support these instead of those with mixed proprietary stuff, we generate greater incentives for development of stuff that is still missing, such as free versions of flash, java, wireless support etc. The list isn't even that long anymore. But if we just keep supporting distros which simply settle with including proprietary software we diminish the incentive and hence the energy to produce alternatives. This is why gNewSense, BLAG etc. make so much sense and are so important.

I think the best acceptable compromise here is not in recommending distros which include a little proprietary software by default (like Ubuntu), but recommending distros which include none of it by default, but at least allow installing these things from repositories (like Debian and quite a few of others, possibly including Fedora).

And I know it's a tough thing. There's probably one single reason why settling *only* for this kind of compromise is a tough thing: it means we should dump Ubuntu. And it doesn't seem like anyone here is really willing to do that. Well at least I'm posting this for future consideration. Maybe we can at some point plan on dumping Ubuntu when gNewSense gets better, maybe changes name to something attractive or I decide to fork another distro with a full steam marketing involved (for once!) and include FSF in the whole thing as well. Sticking out tongue

That said, I remain neutral on the Ubuntu front. It is your decision. But as for the "RPM" front I guess we're still choosing between openSUSE, Fedora or something else we have to find that is prefferably using KDE by default.. But of other major distros we only really have Mandriva (the free edition) and PCLinuxOS which supposeldy has a fully free MiniMe installable livecd.. Funny thing how with so many distros around it is still so hard to choose what we need here..

ariadacapo's picture
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libervisco wrote: The
libervisco wrote:

The openSUSE project is sponsored by Novell and its trademark is owned by Novell. I think that Novell hence has quite an ability of steering the direction of the project and providing legal clout for further inclusion of proprietary software in it in the future. I am not an expert on anything SuSE nor the state of the openSUSE community, but this does pose doubts about the future of openSUSE as a Free Software distribution unencumbered by proprietary software or now even Microsoft's interests..

As I read further down the agreements and public statements, I am indeed beginning to feel a deep mistrust for Novell. Ballmer's statements are really frightening. It even makes me think about opening an anti-FUD section on GGL.o.
Things will get clearer in a week or so, IMO, and unless Novell does something very convicing it will probably be time to get rid of OpenSUSE and point "our" newcomers to some more responsible people.

libervisco wrote:

This stems from what is the real and original goal of Free Software, freedom and not just popularity. If we have to sacrifice freedom for popularity we're missing a point and deviating from the long term roadmap.

Yes indeed, but I think the game changed since this goal was emmitted. In the long term roadmap, freedom can only be sustained with popularity.
Let's look around. Every - let me insist, just every- computer I can see around me is running Windows. Firefox is absolutely great, but only reached a dishearting 20% market share.
Meanwhile "they" are working on excluding us. Imagine a world where the only music you can listen to is DRM-protected. Where all emails are sent with Trusted-Computing-enabled clients (who conveniently don't trust non-MS-partners). We'll keep on running our Free Software but the whole community will slowly die out.

But if Ubuntu reaches a 20% market share, Free Software will always stand a chance. Even with non-free drivers installed. We can work on this - why not build a website that proposes to switch non-free-distros users (non-beginners) to free ones?
For now beginners need to have all chances on their side. Everyone of them.
I try to change things around me; I have succeeded in switching people to GNU/Linux, and I have also failed to convince others; most notably my own father who still runs IE, damnit. The thing I learn throughout is that each small obstacle hampers the whole thing. If the wi-fi doesn't work, it's the entire "GNU/Linux thing" that gets blamed, not just "that card on this computer on this distro for that reason". If it doesn't Just Work, most people won't bother.

That's why we need to stick to the easiest distros around. Hopefully, we do enough to explain what free software is and why it's important. Once a newcomer has switched to Ubuntu, the goal of "fully free" software is close by.

tbuitenh's picture
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I agree, ariadacapo. I think

I agree, ariadacapo. I think the only way to free an average user is one piece of software at a time. First the OS (the most harmful), then the apps, and then the binary blobs in some drivers for the OS.

For the apps, it's best to provide converters, even if that means including some proprietary code. People don't want to keep their WMVs, they want to keep what is inside those files. So free the files for them rather than keeping them locked or discarding them.
Also, I'd like to see a free PDF reader that doesn't have any trouble reading any of my files.

And binary blobs for things like wireless or video? That extremely single purpose software doesn't do much harm to user freedom. It can make the OS unstable without being fixable, but at least in case of my ipw2200 card, that doesn't happen. YMMV with ATI video drivers Sticking out tongue . Anyway, proprietary software that sits between the OS and the hardware should be of little more concern than proprietary hardware. Annoying, but not a priority.

free-zombie's picture
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Quote: Fedora only supports
Quote:

Fedora only supports x86, x86-64 and PPC computers

how is that any worse than ubuntu ? ubuntu also supports SPARC in recent versions, but who uses that ? Really, the people we are targeting USE x86, x86_64 or PPC. Actually, Fedora might be worth mentioning because it supports mactels.
I think GGLo shouldn't only mention one distribution, or one "dynasty". Ubuntu/Kubuntu are good distros and deserve being mentioned first, but only mentioning them looks bad. I cannot say whether Fedora is a good choice for a new user nowadays because my FC6 install is suffering from severe kernel cancer.

Maybe GGLo should mention *buntu, including Kubuntu, and Fedora or SuSE for the new user, and maybe carefully point to Debian GNU/Linux as the distribution with the highest focus on stability and running on many patforms.

AndrewB's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-18
Google Trends Shows how big

Google Trends Shows how big Ubuntu has become. Do you want your site to just be another statistic. Another ubuntu help site. Linux distro's are different and stand out in their own ways. Your site should too.

AndrewB's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-18
Ok fedora.. Q. I want a

Ok fedora..

Q. I want a distro that has a working X enviroment. Is fedora right for me?
A. Yes fedora gives you the opportunity to install KDE, Gnome or xfce. And any combination or all 3 of these. Not denying the fact that YUM can then install E, openbox, blackbox, fluxbox .....

Q. I need something to read a pdf file quickly, i don't have time to compile from source.
A. Sure open up YUMEX and type in search pdf.

Q. I can't find any applications with YUM that support XXX/I cant find libFoo with yum, HELP?
A. Cool, just use apt then, yeah thats right, its preinstalled and ready!

Q. I really can not be bothered downloading 5cds, any way around this?
A. Sure is! Either just do a minimal install, or download BLAG and GNU, a one cd OS based on fedora.

Q. AndrewB, why are you so smart?
A. Cause I am

Fedora to ubuntu, "Everything you can do, I can do better".
Ubuntu to Fedora, "No you can't".
*insert rest of song.*

Gustavo's picture
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Hi! tbuitenh

Hi!

tbuitenh wrote:
Quote:

So, for example, we have to say that Xubuntu is made for legacy PCs.

Perhaps we also need a definition of "legacy PC".
By coincedence, my father recently successfully installed XUbuntu on our own legacy PC: an i586/133Mhz/48M.

Is it possible? Yes, but very difficult. The text mode installer goes into "low memory mode", and still hung because the swap partition wasn't big enough (!) .

Is it usable? No, it's like drinking peanut butter through a straw.

As a rule of thumb, I would not recommend installing XUbuntu on something that came with Win95 or lower on it. Computers that old are simply not suitable for first experiments with Linux.

Well, I must say you're right: I installed Xubuntu on an Celeron/700Mhz/64MB and its performance sucks. Maybe Xubuntu is perfect for a computer with >=128MB of RAM.

michuk wrote:
Quote:

Why? all BLAG is is a Fedora Core on one CD, with 100% Free Software. How does this make this harder?

Well, I just don't think recommending "side" distros for the newbies is a good idea. It's always easier to get help when using "mainstream" distributions. And a newbie doesn't even need to know that the distro he/she uses is derived from another one. Most Ubuntu users may not even know about Debian and there's nothing wrong with it, as long as they can get help easily with their "ubuntu system".

I also think that we should only promote mainstream distros: I think our goal is not only making people make the switch, but also keep them happy in GNU/Linux.

michuk wrote:

I believe that recommending "free software only" distros is not a great idea, too. Most users need a stable replacement for Windows. They want to do all the things they were doing in Windows. They don't care what the reason is that they cannot play a WMV file. They will simply switch back to Windows if they find that Linux cannot do things they are used to do.

Unfortunately, that's right.

michuk wrote:

Now, we need to ask ourselves a fundamental question: Are we prepared to sacrify some of our believes (like the free-software only thing) to get those users on the "right side" (make them switch to Linux), or are we not? I believe that it's much better if they switch and use some non-free software on Linux than if they not switch and stay with Windows (and use mostly non-free software). Later on, when there is enough people using Linux already, we can go further, but for the time being, I think that the quest of switching o Linux is the essential thing. Even if "the Linux" is Linsprire or Xandros.

I agree with you, once again.

ariadacapo wrote:

First, I really believe we should not point solely to Ubuntu. It's almost an insult to the fantastic diversity out there. Visitors might come out thinking GNU/Linux is Ubuntu and this is Canonical marketing.

Well, that's right.

ariadacapo wrote:

For a suitable candidate, I still don't know. My list of priorities would be
1. mentor organisation cares about freedom and openness (RedHat and Canonical come first I guess...)

That's an important point I forgot to mention.

ariadacapo wrote:

About the computer age and hardware support, keep in mind the Choose a distribution page is already long and must not become an encyclopedia.

But, I think it's a very important point and people should be aware of it.

libervisco wrote:
ariadacapo wrote:

I perfectly agree with Michuk ("They don't care what the reason is that they cannot play a WMV file. They will simply switch back to Windows").

The right answer to this really is that we should then give them give them a reason to care. This of course requires that we explain what exactly is the reason why a certain piece of software can't be used. This stems from what is the real and original goal of Free Software, freedom and not just popularity. If we have to sacrifice freedom for popularity we're missing a point and deviating from the long term roadmap. There is a significant argument to be made regarding the support for 100% Free Software distros. If we support these instead of those with mixed proprietary stuff, we generate greater incentives for development of stuff that is still missing, such as free versions of flash, java, wireless support etc. The list isn't even that long anymore. But if we just keep supporting distros which simply settle with including proprietary software we diminish the incentive and hence the energy to produce alternatives. This is why gNewSense, BLAG etc. make so much sense and are so important.

I feel the same you feel, but I think it's a sacrifice we have to do in order to promote GNU/Linux among the "common" people, for the time being.

libervisco wrote:

I think the best acceptable compromise here is not in recommending distros which include a little proprietary software by default (like Ubuntu), but recommending distros which include none of it by default, but at least allow installing these things from repositories (like Debian and quite a few of others, possibly including Fedora).

But, it's not something very easy and quickly to do for a common person. They want something that just works.

Once Linux is the world's most used OS, we can easily do so.

libervisco wrote:

And I know it's a tough thing. There's probably one single reason why settling *only* for this kind of compromise is a tough thing: it means we should dump Ubuntu. And it doesn't seem like anyone here is really willing to do that. Well at least I'm posting this for future consideration. Maybe we can at some point plan on dumping Ubuntu when gNewSense gets better, maybe changes name to something attractive or I decide to fork another distro with a full steam marketing involved (for once!) and include FSF in the whole thing as well. Sticking out tongue

And that would be great!

ariadacapo wrote:
libervisco wrote:

This stems from what is the real and original goal of Free Software, freedom and not just popularity. If we have to sacrifice freedom for popularity we're missing a point and deviating from the long term roadmap.

Yes indeed, but I think the game changed since this goal was emmitted. In the long term roadmap, freedom can only be sustained with popularity.
Let's look around. Every - let me insist, just every- computer I can see around me is running Windows. Firefox is absolutely great, but only reached a dishearting 20% market share.
Meanwhile "they" are working on excluding us. Imagine a world where the only music you can listen to is DRM-protected. Where all emails are sent with Trusted-Computing-enabled clients (who conveniently don't trust non-MS-partners). We'll keep on running our Free Software but the whole community will slowly die out.

But if Ubuntu reaches a 20% market share, Free Software will always stand a chance. Even with non-free drivers installed. We can work on this - why not build a website that proposes to switch non-free-distros users (non-beginners) to free ones?
For now beginners need to have all chances on their side. Everyone of them.
I try to change things around me; I have succeeded in switching people to GNU/Linux, and I have also failed to convince others; most notably my own father who still runs IE, damnit. The thing I learn throughout is that each small obstacle hampers the whole thing. If the wi-fi doesn't work, it's the entire "GNU/Linux thing" that gets blamed, not just "that card on this computer on this distro for that reason". If it doesn't Just Work, most people won't bother.

That's why we need to stick to the easiest distros around. Hopefully, we do enough to explain what free software is and why it's important. Once a newcomer has switched to Ubuntu, the goal of "fully free" software is close by.

I fully agree with you.

tbuitenh wrote:

People don't want to keep their WMVs, they want to keep what is inside those files.

I don't think it's always true: What if they want to share those files with windows users? "Hi, Bob. Here's the video of my birthday, but you have to download and install a program to play OGG files".

Also, I am pretty sure that converting their multimedia files is something they're not willing to do.

AndrewB wrote:

Google Trends Shows how big Ubuntu has become. Do you want your site to just be another statistic. Another ubuntu help site. Linux distro's are different and stand out in their own ways. Your site should too.

This is even better.

Finally, this is what I think about...

  1. Debian: It's not a user-friendly OS.
  2. Blag: Too radical (IMO) and doesn't seem to have a very active community (especially in other languages).

I insist that Ubuntu and forks are a good choice to promote. On the other hand, I've changed my mind and now I think Fedora is a good choice as well.

I vote for (Edu/K/X)Ubuntu and Fedora.

Cheers.

AndrewB's picture
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Gah
Gustavo wrote:

Finally, this is what I think about...

  1. Debian: It's not a user-friendly OS.
  2. Blag: Too radical (IMO) and doesn't seem to have a very active community (especially in other languages).

I insist that Ubuntu and forks are a good choice to promote. On the other hand, I've changed my mind and now I think Fedora is a good choice as well.

I vote for (Edu/K/X)Ubuntu and Fedora.

Cheers.

BLAG and GNU is not radical.No help? Have you even checked out the amount of help out there for fedora??

You are saying fedora is a good choice, and on the other hand saying BLAG is a bad.
THEY ARE BASICALLY THE SAME THING.
Differences being,
One is on 1 cd.
One has free software by default.

EVERYTHING else is the same.

Gustavo's picture
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.
AndrewB wrote:

One has free software by default.

That's what I mean by "too radical".

Why are we going to promote the fully free and incomplete version of Fedora if we can promote the original one (which is more used)?

"If you have problems, ask for help in the Fedora forums, despite you use Blag"... Is that what we're going to say?

AndrewB's picture
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Yes, cause BLAG is

Yes, cause BLAG is fedora.

And incomplete because stupid companies will not open their source? Ok then.

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04
Andrew, you're shouting.

Andrew, you're shouting. Eye

Anyway, I suppose I can live with Ubuntu and Fedora being recommended. I understand your points about new users, but I am still a bit vary about anything that proposes compromising freedom for the goal of freedom, and when we say we want to switch people to GNU/Linux, that's why we do that, right?

So the main question for me that remains (and which we don't have to really continue discussing here) is whether it is really succesfully possible to promote freedom while still making short term compromises to it. I really want to think that one through systematically and finally decide what my stance would be. Smiling

But what I think remains the most important thing of all is that even if we accept certain bits of proprietary code in a free system for whatever reason, we don't settle on that as if it was the final solution. We must call for and support the development of alternatives. Again, this is why gNewSense and BLAG are important. These guys go step further and deliberately deprive themselves of anything nonfree in order to feel most of the motivation to go and find or develop alternatives. And indeed, through such actions, through this stubborn "fundamentalism" we do get alternatives produced. Just look at free ATI drivers (now even nvidia ones are being developed), the gnash and GCJ, all sponsored by FSF and all already working or coming close to it. And when they work, they usually end up working better than the proprietary counterpart (drivers are a good example). Free Software does very often mean better quality too, while that binary blob in the system is like a stone in a shoe. You can't do anything about it if it bothers you but to kick it out.

Even if you compromise, you can't forget that the goal is not to keep those proprietary things in. We must replace them sooner or later.

AndrewB's picture
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Sorry for shouting.

Sorry for shouting.

a thing's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-20
Huh?
AndrewB wrote:

Q. I want a distro that has a working X enviroment. Is fedora right for me?
A. Yes fedora gives you the opportunity to install KDE, Gnome or xfce. And any combination or all 3 of these. Not denying the fact that YUM can then install E, openbox, blackbox, fluxbox .....

What's the relevance of this? Our target audience doesn't even know what X is.

ANdrewB wrote:

Q. I need something to read a pdf file quickly, i don't have time to compile from source.
A. Sure open up YUMEX and type in search pdf.

Again, what's the relevance? Fedora comes with Evince by default, and KPDF and XPDF are on the CD too.

AndrewB wrote:

Q. I can't find any applications with YUM that support XXX/I cant find libFoo with yum, HELP?
A. Cool, just use apt then, yeah thats right, its preinstalled and ready!

Apt4rpm is dead. Few repos still support it.

AndrewB wrote:

Q. I really can not be bothered downloading 5cds, any way around this?
A. Sure is! Either just do a minimal install, or download BLAG and GNU, a one cd OS based on fedora.

The default install only requires the first two CDs.

tbuitenh's picture
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WMV WMV WMV
Gustavo wrote:
tbuitenh wrote:

People don't want to keep their WMVs, they want to keep what is inside those files.

I don't think it's always true: What if they want to share those files with windows users? "Hi, Bob. Here's the video of my birthday, but you have to download and install a program to play OGG files".

Also, I am pretty sure that converting their multimedia files is something they're not willing to do.

Well, that's the point. Users don't give a damn what format their files are in, as long as they can view and share them. It doesn't have to be OGG, what's wrong with good old MPEG?
True, they probably don't want to wait hours for all their movies to be recoded, but it's a good idea to at least not save any new or edited things as WMVs.

AndrewB's picture
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a_thing The relevence was

a_thing
The relevence was to show how open and useful that fedora was. I knew there were given apps for opening pdfs, but it was used as an example.
It was to show that there are tools for making a fedora very easy to use for new users, and it is not too hard.
...

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04
Someone on gNewSense

Someone on gNewSense mailing list argued that Fedora may not be considered fully Free Software even if it claims it is fully Open Source. I'll quote:

J.B. Nicholson-Owens wrote:

I don't think being "100% Free Software" is Fedora's goal. According to
http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/FedoraMyths

"Fedora itself is a completely Open Source project. Fedora has a
publicly-available CVS repository, and the source code for every package
is readily available. All code must be covered by an Open Source license
for inclusion in Fedora, guaranteeing your rights to modify and
redistribute the software."

what I'm getting at here is that to me this language says Fedora can use
the slightly looser definition of "open source" to allow software under
licenses which are not deemed free by the FSF but are deemed "OSI
Certified Open Source Software" such as:

- the Original Artistic License,
- Apple Public Source License v1.x,
- Reciprocal Public License,
- and some other licenses listed on
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/license-list.html#NonFreeSoftwareLicense

whereas gNewSense would not distribute software licensed under any of
these licenses. This is one of the practical differences between the
free software and open source movements that comes from the different
definitions of the terms "free software" and "open source".

One must also consider that software can be non-free regardless of the
form in which it is distributed. Thus, source code counts too, not just
binaries.

Using rpm and grep, I found some packages that may match what you're
asking about. I tried to target packages made by Red Hat, Inc. or the
Fedora Project. Querying all the packages on a friend's Fedora Core
system, I saw:

- cracklib:ugzilla> which is licensed as "Artistic"

If cracklib is licensed under the original Artistic license (instead of
the clarified Artistic license), the FSF deems cracklib non-free.

- a number of packages whose license is listed as "Freely Distributable"
including krbafs, cyrus-sasl, fonts-ISO8859-2-75dpi, and dos2unix.

Mere redistribution permission is insufficient to be free. Without
knowing the exact terms under which this software is distributed to
users, it's impossible to say for sure if any of these programs are free.

Another area of concern is repositories -- what software will the
organization distribute to their users from repos under their control,
even if not part of a default install? Debian, for instance, carries
unambiguously non-free software in repos under their aegis (the
"non-free" repo).

Ubuntu recently bragged about how Ubuntu users could install the
proprietary Opera web browser "with a couple of clicks" while
simultaneously claiming they "will not have restrictive licenses
associated with it". I blogged about this
http://www.digitalcitizen.info/2006/07/06/ubuntu-gnulinux-tells-you-who-their-friends-are/

when Opera and Ubuntu distributed the press release on this matter.

Does Fedora do something comparable?

I am aware that full freeness is not the topmost goal of everyone here, but since we stated Fedora is fully free and this challenges it, I thought it'd be interesting to post.

Thanks

libervisco's picture
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Further responses to that

Further responses to that post on a mailing list pretty much resolved the issue. Apparently all software included in Fedora *are* Free Software and the only reason FSF isn't endorsing it yet is because on its websites the more permissive "open source" movement is still reffered to rather than Free Software which implies not enough vocal dedication towards freedom I suppose.

Gustavo's picture
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Hi everybody. I think that,

Hi everybody.

I think that, unless someone have something else to say, we should vote for the (two?) distros we're going to promote.

I suggest these options (in the same order they came to my mind):

[A] Ubuntu without forks.
[B] Ubuntu with forks (Kubuntu, Xubuntu and Edubuntu).
[C] openSUSE.
[D] BLAG.
[E] Fedora.
[F] Debian.
[G] gNewSense.

And I vote for [B] and [E].

Cheers.

free-zombie's picture
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Joined: 2006-03-08
B+E seconded. add a touch

B+E seconded. add a touch of F if required.

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04
Eh my friends, I really

Eh my friends, I really don't know anymore. I'd go with you on B and E, but in an ideal world I'd vote for D and G. Eye

Note that with bad experiences with Fedora making me hesitant to recommend it to newbies and what I know about other distros, there is really no ideal. Someone has got to start another perfect distro. Eye

Anyway, let the poll decide, fairly. If you'd like you can count me as neutral.

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