Friday, May 16, 2008

To all you purest, loyalist and devotees of Linux

One of the hardest things to deal with in Linuxville is distro love. Often you hear of folks who swear by a particular distribution of Linux. We get so personal with our connection to the distro we are using as if it has the ability to do all and be all. These are of course good and confident feelings and my intent is not to discourage them but to insist on a little reality. While most distros seem well thought out it is obvious that not all can do things exactly the way we wish. Choices and compromises and decisions have been made to produce something so that you might have an out-of-the-box Linux experience. We should not expect that provided solution to be optimum for everyone. This is why so much attention has been spent on being able to delete and install portions of Linux. Then the GUI desktop itself has become a large part of what is provided in the distro. The major desktops are based on a particular library, Gnome and Xfce use the gtk and KDE uses the qt libraries. Then developers have written similar solutions from those libraries that integrate well with the desktops also written from those libraries. Of course you can use a mix of these solutions in your installation of Linux with various degrees of success. So you can be GUI focused which reveals that different distros function the same when sharing the same GUI. Or a name brand loyalist, pushing and recommending a particular distro. Or a mix of the extremes. You have to ask the question, if the new car out of the box experience is so great, so satisfying, why do you see fuzzy dice, new hub caps, seat blankets, beads, knick-knacks, tissue boxes, trim lights, hood scoops and assorted stuff in the new car by the first weekend of ownership ? The out of the box thing may be a great concept for business transport but the drive to personalize and accessorize makes it mine. Being able to cover all of the user choices in one distro is near impossible, but you should always have the feeling you can personalize and accessorize. I drove Ford cars for years, I now own a Chevy. I've had 4 station wagons in a row, I now have a sporty sedan. I have had Slackware and Red Hat, now I have Debian. Eventually you discover what works for you, what you are willing to deal with and who supplies what you need? My moto, "It's all Linux inside."

My latest move is SimplyMepis 7.0. It uses KDE desktop and the Ubuntu repositories. It has good looks and feels solid. Similar to Kubuntu? Yes, but lets not split hairs. I am looking away from the millionaire's OS's to see what else is out there. Mepis has the coolness factor without the political/social philosophy thing Ubuntu has. Gosh, what people do to sale cars!

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