Favourite Distro!

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Postby davecs » Tue Sep 13, 2005 10:14 pm

No, it doesn't pay! :evil: I thought I'd said all I had to say about PCLOS in this particular thread, however, Overflow did make a point about constant and gradual upgrades rather than 6-monthly re-install (meta-distros, I think they are called) and it was only fair that I pointed this feature out in PCLOS.

For the sake of balance, I should also state that Debian also performs the same trick. As does Gentoo. But not many do, especially rpm-based distros like PCLOS.
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Postby ryptyde » Wed Sep 14, 2005 12:36 am

My favourite Linux OS would be Damn Small Linux (DSL).I have installed it to HD,pendrive booted it from a mini-CDR "toram", embedded it in XP and ran it with "qemu".

I like it because it is small(<50MB) and fast when running from ram.When I need to use the GIMP or K3B for example I can quickly load them as modules that are kept in "optional" directory on the pendrive or HD.

My "regular" distro is FC4 at the moment,recently upgraded from FC3.I like FC but DSL is more fun because of it's uniqueness and portability.

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Postby sandyman » Wed Sep 14, 2005 8:10 am

Favourite Distro? It's like how long is a piece of string?

Depends on what you want to use it for.

For server/gateways machines I prefer to use a headless box. Whilst all distros can do this I like Clarkconnect as it does this out of the box and is designed to be used this way. Trustix, SME Server or even FreeBSD would be alternatives I would consider.

As for desktop (or in my own case laptop) distros, if I was looking for one it would probably be *buntu. Ubuntu without Nautilus would be nice as would Kubuntu without all the KDE anal retentiveness.
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Postby marco » Fri Sep 30, 2005 11:24 am

My favourite Distro is Slackware!

It was the first Distro I ever used. I installed it in 1994 on my Olivetti M24 (80-86 Processor, 512kb RAM, 40MB HD) and loved it from the beginning on.

During the last years, I tried many different Distros, like Ubuntu, SuSE, Mandriva but I like the simplicity of Slackware and that everything is where it should be.
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Postby Birdman » Tue Oct 04, 2005 12:00 pm

I think this is a fantastic thread because it really does show how one size does not fit all and how as individuals we value choice.

I joined linux in 1998 with Red Hat 5.2. I have spent a bit of time with Mandrake and did a SuSE install all those years ago when LXF put it on a cover. I have a debian box which I seldom use - found debian hard work but must have another look. I run a Smoothwall firewall box. However, my real love is Slackware. Nordle said it all at the beginning of the thread. A great distro. I have just installed Zenwalk 1.2 from the LXF cover for my daughter to run on her Uni box. I keep promising myself a go at 64-bit Gentoo but life keeps passing me by ... :)
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Postby ggsinclair » Tue Oct 04, 2005 3:13 pm

Well, I have moved up in the world and have upgraded from SuSe 9.2 to 9.3.

It seems a lot smoother - cant quite put my finger on it - its maybe that it just looks better.

Birdman is right when he states that this thread shows how one size does not fit all. That was one of the reasons for this thread, the other to give me some ideas on which distro to try next.

I think (preparing to be shot down!), that until a Linux distro does "fit all" then it will still remain a relatively small player in the market. Distro's like PCLOS do seem to be making big steps into the home user market but, from the comments I have read in the past, seems to fall short on the server / admin side. I am sure Davecs will correct me if I am wrong! :)

Is it time that some of the big players joined together to use the best of the distro's mentioned in this thread, to make a one size fits all package?

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Postby davecs » Tue Oct 04, 2005 3:50 pm

My name taken in vain!!!

PCLOS comes as a single live CD designed for easy installation for beginners. However, once you have installed it, you can download packages from its repositories. All the server stuff is there as far as I know. I don't use it myself. Unlike some other distros aimed at this area, it also includes GCC, and -devel rpms, so you can build stuff from source if it's missing. Requests for rpms are also dealt with impressively by Texstar.

You can also remove unwanted stuff to bring its overall size back to under 2Gb. Provided you have installed an oversized swap partition (at least 2Gb), you can then use "mklivecd" to create your specialist live distro.

If you have enough memory and a bigger swap file, you can even go over 2Gb (700kb compressed) and use a recordable DVD. Over at the PCLOS site and on their wiki there are plenty of examples. A "lite" version is also being made so that you can install a minimal version and add the exact software you want, but this is not for beginners.

All these variations can then use the same repos.

The problem about a "one-size-fits-all" approach is that it doesn't. Suppose I have a Mandrake DVD. There is software for all uses on it, but, as a complete beginner, what do I choose. Do I just select everything? Texstar has recently moved xorg-6.9-cvs20051001 to stable in PCLOS. It seems fine to me, but if I were a corporation with a critical system would I want to take the chance it might melt down?

Where I think we DO need more standardisation is to enable closed-source drivers and programs to work seamlessly across a range of distros. If Acme Corp make a Widget, and their driver works with the last Mandrake kernel but not with the latest one nor with the Debian kernel, they are going to get a bad rep.

So we need to make it easier for drivers/modules to interface with a range of kernels. Then hardware manufacturers may be more willing to provide Linux drivers.
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Postby Nigel » Tue Oct 04, 2005 3:52 pm

And why would you want a one-size-fits-all package ?

The fantastic thing about FLOSS software is the choice - from a stable base (GNU/Linux) come dozens, nay hundreds, of possible setups so you and I (and everybody else) can get the software mix we want.

Windows, even MacOS-X, have separate server & desktop versions, and they are different.

Sorry, the day that Linux becomes a single entity with a single setup is the day I switch to *BSD (or maybe even Solaris)
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Postby ggsinclair » Tue Oct 04, 2005 4:57 pm


I am not suggesting that we move to one linux distro in the future. Choice is necessary and great for computer users worldwide.

What I am suggesting is that there should be a distro which will satisfy the needs of the everyday home user who does not know, and does not want to know, about command lines etc.

Over recent years we have seen great new distros such as PCLOS and the likes of SuSe and Mandriva becoming more and more user friendly.

I suppose the main problem with many distro's is the lack of support they receive from hardware manufacturers. This is a big stumbling block which needs to be overcome. As a community is there anything we can do about this?

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Postby Nigel » Tue Oct 04, 2005 7:04 pm


sorry, I misunderstood - it's been a long day :(

If it's an easy beginner's distro you're after, isn't that what (K)Ubuntu is aiming at ? And drivers written for that would almost certainly work with any Debian-derived distro, which (I'm led to believe) is quite a large share of the "market".

Perhaps we should all be pushing Ubuntu CDs on street corners :wink:

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Postby nordle » Tue Oct 04, 2005 8:11 pm

ggsinclair wrote:Is it time that some of the big players joined together to use the best of the distro's mentioned in this thread, to make a one size fits all package?


Did they not attempt that with, mmm damn it, what was it called, OpenLinux or something similar. Suse and a bunch of vendors made a dsitro, but it didn't last very long (even though Oracle 10g states it as being one of the 3-4 distro's it supports :) )
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Postby wyliecoyoteuk » Tue Oct 04, 2005 10:11 pm

Suse at the moment, though I first flirted with linux at mandrake 4 or 5, I think, tried various distros, mainly from the LF cover cds, Storm is the only one I can remember liking a lot.
Bought Caldera Opendesktop2, then suse 7.1 Pro was bought for me as an Xmas gift.
Was a Mandrake Club member from 8 through 10, then jumped ship for suse 9.
Presently Suse 9.3 64 bit on my home desktop, lots of suse at work.

I have always liked Suse for clarity and the manuals are always good, the money Novell are pumping in seems to be producing a good return.

Mandrake always seemed a little cuter, Debian was just hard work, Redhat (especially the KDE desktop) always felt a little unfinished and restrictive. (these are personal impressions, not detailed evaluations).
Knoppix is cool, Smoothwall does it`s job well, Clarkconnect and Esmith deserve a mention.

I think the best way is to choose something that you feel comfortable with, and stick with it, learn what you can, until you see something that you think will work better for you.
The thing is that some people will like minimalist, some want eyecandy, some just want to get a job done.

At least in Linux, you have a choice, whereas the windows world is trying to cram the same product onto every piece of computing hardware available, from phones to servers!
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Postby urbandryad » Tue Oct 04, 2005 10:44 pm

well, the ONLY distro I've used is ubuntu linux. :3 Its very nice, I like it, but I've had to peel off openoffice.org and alot of the stuff that comes with it to ease up on memory restraints. ^^ I might try DSL or something like Slackintosh next to see if that'll fix my problems. ^__^
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Postby jjmac » Wed Oct 05, 2005 9:16 am

(A John Gleece accent ... pleeeeze)

Favorite distro ... !!!! Favorite distro !!!!,

hmmmmm (what you recon)

now i'm going to have to go and checkup recon & Favorite in the dictionary again :roll:


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Debian all the way

Postby Farslayer » Thu Oct 06, 2005 5:26 pm

Lets see.. I started with mandrake way back when, it had a lot of oddities that were really frustrating so I switched to Red Hat which is what mandrake was based on back in the day.. Much better, Stuck with RH for a while up until RH decided to up and dump support for the RH9 users after a very very short lifespan. fedora changes too rapidly for server use so that's out. and I'm not about to spend the money on the Enterprise edition. Suse was pretty slick but YAST got to be annoying, like the way it always UNDID my video settings every time I launched the video config tool.. I just wanted to make a minor adjustment NOT go through the entire video config again.. and installing nVidia drivers on Suse required contortionist skills.. Too much help and guided wizards are VERY annoying.. Xandros was flashy, but to restrictive on packages, Ubuntu is OK but why use a distro that';s based on something else.. Mepis is Ok but it's based on Debian as well. PClinux, knoppix, I see a pattern forming here..

I ended up going back to the source and using Debian as my distro of choice. THe Debian install isn't half bad now that they have completed work on the Debian installer (which is part of Debian 3.1 stable now.. ) from headless servers to old workstations running a lightweight desktop manager such as windowmaker, or xfce to my main desktop running gnome. Debian covers all the bases has a huge package selection and apt package management system. I run a variety of systems and configurations from Unstable to Stable depending on the purpose of the machine. True I end up doing some configuring manually, but I don't mind at least I have full control and not some wizard changing settings on me. (wizards annoy me in windows as well) My nVidia card works, the games I have installed run without a problem (UT, Quake series, etc.. )

the ability to install a barebones system in about 15 minutes over the internet (net install iso) and then installing ONLY what Ii want is awesome (for servers) .. and when the install is complete all the components are already up to date, I don't have to go back out to the internet and 'update' the machine after I finish the install.

Maybe some of the issues that drove me away from the other distros have been resolved, but I'm pretty happy where I'm at.
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