planning to go back into Linux, what distro do you recommend?

Lennart Sorensen lsorense-1wCw9BSqJbv44Nm34jS7GywD8/FfD2ys at
Thu Nov 10 14:42:45 UTC 2005

On Wed, Nov 09, 2005 at 04:31:52PM -0500, CLIFFORD ILKAY wrote:
> I would also look into how easy it is to create packages and maintain 
> private package repositories. If one knows how to configure/make/make 
> install, one already knows most of what is necessary to package one's 
> own RPMs.

Well in my experience, I much prefer making .deb than .rpm.  Debian has
much better tools to help do the job right and easily.

> One thing that has not been mentioned as a criterion for selecting a 
> distro is the culture of the community. I know Debian is a solid 
> distro but, I have found #debian to be a distinctly unfriendly 
> environment, especially to newbies. They seem to have a propensity to 
> eat their own young there. Flame fests and "mine is bigger than 
> your's" contests seem to erupt on a regular basis. I have not noticed 
> that to be the case with #gentoo, which is equally busy. I don't know 
> what #fedora or #ubuntu are like because I haven't spent enough time 
> there. #mandriva is moderated so that sort of nonsense is nipped in 
> the bud quickly there. #suse was moribund though there seem to be 
> signs of life recently. Anyone who is new to Linux should hang around 
> the IRC channels for the various distros to get a feel for what the 
> community is like. Are they tolerant of newbies? Are the answers 
> mostly "RTFM!"? Is foul language tolerated? (It is not on #mandriva 
> because the channel ops have decided that they want to keep it a 
> friendly place for people of all ages and cultures. Foul language 
> will get you kicked on #mandriva.) Is there a good mix of people with 
> different levels of expertise or is it just a bunch of newbies trying 
> to help one another? Is there an effort made to teach people to fish 
> rather than giving them fish?

You fail to mention which irc network you are talking about.  #debian on
freenode (which is what points to) is generally very
friendly, as long as you don't ask knoppix questions.  Of course you are
expected to have at least read the install guide.  After all that's why
it was written.

> Note: none of the above absolves the newbie of the responsibility of 
> putting in some effort to help themselves first before asking a 
> question. By the same token, it does not let experienced people off 
> the hook for being solicitous with newbies even if the newbies happen 
> to ask a "stupid" question.

It only takes one ass out of 600 nice people to make a channel seem
unfriendly. :)

Lennart Sorensen
The Toronto Linux Users Group.      Meetings:
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