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

CLIFFORD ILKAY clifford_ilkay-biY6FKoJMRdBDgjK7y7TUQ at
Thu Nov 10 21:40:31 UTC 2005

On November 10, 2005 09:42, Lennart Sorensen wrote:
> 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.

I have not seen any evidence of that. Care to share?

> > 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. :)

True, which means the channel ops have to be much more vigilant on 
busier channels, like #debian where you can have 800 people, because 
the odds are higher that you will have such idiots. Another problem 
is when the channel gets so busy that following conversations is like 
drinking out of a fire hose. The value of the channel is diminished 
when it gets too busy. I am not sure how to address that issue. 
Channel splits have been tried on some channels, like #python, but it 
did not work out very well. Arguably, one should not be using IRC for 
complex issues anyway but there are times, such as when you are 
communicating directly with the maintainer of a package, that IRC is 

Clifford Ilkay
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