It took some amount of work to get Linux up and running on my laptop, but I just got a new computer ($50 from Peter's workplace - let me or him know if you are interested, there might be some more left) and installed Linux in an hour two, including copying all the old data from the old computer.  There aren't any interesting notes for people following in the future, because everything worked, without any technical skills.  Hibernation, sound, UPS, display resolution, hot keys, all just worked.  Pretty nifty.  Linux might actually be getting to the point where non-technical end-users can install it, let alone use it on their desktops.

Posted by Jon Daley on April 14, 2008, 6:10 pm | Read 20824 times
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CentOS however, takes more brains than I have. I really don't understand why anyone would use it. It is always out-of-date, in order to get reasonably up-to-date packages, you either have to compile stuff yourself, or use random repositories from around the web, and thus your system ends up a hodge-podge of random packages.

It seems to me that the clear choice for Linux is Debian (and I'd be willing to grant that Ubuntu is alright, though I am less familiar with it, it has similar issues with slow releases, though not as bad as CentOS).

I guessed that it was just bad marketing on Debian's part that it is not as widely supported in the commercial world. A friend thought that perhaps folks really want to have an old system where then they know stuff isn't changing, so it presumably "stable", and easier to support. But, I have yet to find anyone who runs CentOS (or RedHat, or Fedora) with just the base packages, so it doesn't really seem to me that they are really getting the "stability" of the older packages.

Perhaps there just need to be companies that support Debian. Given the ease at which it would take to do that, Lime Daley would be happy to support it for any interested takers.

Posted by jondaley on April 18, 2008, 12:42 am

Oh, and Peter says that his company is making sure that everyone gets a chance to get one computer before anyone gets a second computer, so there might not be any left by the time it comes around again...

We did get a huge (21" viewable) monitor for free from Peter. It is nice when companies get rid of "old" hardware. It barely fits on our computer shelf, but it runs 1600x1200@85Hz reasonably large. Probably if it were just me using it I'd see about setting it higher. Our more recent monitor (17", since Heather got tired of Sidd's 20" when it started taking ten minutes to turn on) could only do 1024x768 or so, unless I was willing to stare at a 60Hz refresh rate, which drives me crazy...

Posted by jondaley on April 18, 2008, 12:46 am

What do you have against Gentoo?

Posted by Mike on April 19, 2008, 10:38 pm

I haven't ever used it. The only thing I ever hear people talk about it how it is better because it compiles everything from source. I guess I am lazy in that regard, that I figure compiling specifically for my machine doesn't make that much difference.

I used to compile my own kernels, though I recently discovered that it isn't as crazy as I thought to use the pre-packaged kernels. And since Debian has a handful of choices of which kernels, that is enough for me. Though I do have one machine that requires an ethernet card or some other driver that I have to remember to recompile when the kernel is upgraded.

Are there other reasons for using Gentoo? One friend has recently been convinced that Debian is better than the others he has looked at; his reason is simply due to the quantity of packages. Debian currently has 22018 packages available. I am always amazed at the number of packages added each week. I also greatly appreciate the vigilance on the policy end of things, enforcing where files are written /etc vs. /var vs. usr, as opposed to other distributions that allow configuration files wherever packages want, it makes configuration, copying, reinstallation, etc. quite easy, since the /usr tree doesn't contain anything interesting (except for stuff I put in /usr/local). I simply keep /etc under source control, and share portions of etc across the handful of machines that I administrate.

Posted by jondaley on April 20, 2008, 12:28 pm
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