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Re: Distributions

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Ivan Savcic wrote:
| Sorry for that personal message, I misclicked. It wasn't aimed at you
| specifically.

Apology accepted.  I am sure most everyone, myself included, has made similar

| Anyhow, to get back on topic.
| I have myself tried and used a lot of distributions and I have used
| (and plan to use more of) FreeBSD. I went through RPM hell of various
| distributions, experienced compiling from source and living on the
| bleeding edge with Gentoo. I even used Debian 3.0 back in the days it
| was just released, though my general *NIX knowledge was too low at
| that time to know how to deal with various errors that arose, again
| probably because my lack of knowledge.

I have also used various distributions.  Gentoo is based on Slackware, thus it
is mainly a source-only distro.  Ubuntu is based on Debian, but is supposed to
be more user friendly - when I first tried it, I couldn't even boot the install
CD, as I recall, since I couldn't specify "noapic" for it.  I've tried FreeBSD,
and may try it again, though I want to try OpenBSD first.

| When Debian Etch was released, I wanted to give Debian a shot again in
| some server scenarios, because of it's stability, security and ease of
| upgrading. I now deeply respect the concept of "stable", having been
| through security-through-bleeding-edge concept of Gentoo, for example.
| Long End of Life of stable Debian seems priceless. Yet, on the other
| hand, Backports filled the gap caused by some oldish packages and in
| general there are a lot of packages for people to use.

I remember the days of Sarge.  I used backports then, as well as compiling
source.  Why?  Is it that I have a lot of time on my hands?  No.  It is/was to
streamline the package, and optimize it for my processor.  The main problem
with precompiled distros, IMHO, is that because the packages, especially the
kernel, have to run on a multitude of different systems, they tend to be larger
and slower than if you compile those packages, optimized for your system.

| I now perceive myself back in those days as a person who wanted to try
| a lot of things for no specific reason. I wanted faster apps (ricer,
| eh), more apps, more eye candy... Now, when I administer several *NIX
| servers on a daily basis, I want stable stuff, in all meanings of the
| word. Stable filesystem, stable kernel, stable services, to name a
| few.

All GNU/Linux distros I've tried use the same basic kernel (where support for
the filesystems is built), and have the same basic GNU/Linux services.  So you
can have that stability with virtually any distro.  In my experience, the
compile options used to compile the kernel, the filesystem tools, etc. is what
determines whether it will be stable.  Sometimes, the kernel version itself
will make a system unstable.  For example, having kernel compile options set
that your computer doesn't support can make the resulting system unstable.

| So to wrap this long rant up, less people use Debian? Who cares!
| People who use it *know* why they use it. Why try to "sell" a distro
| to people who are still impressed by CFLAGS and a ton of eye-candy?
| That extra 1% of performance, but occasional crashes? Who tweak their
| systems all day long, but are doing essentially nothing?

So you are saying that there is only *one* good distro, and only *one* correct
way of doing things (your way)?  People choose different distributions
according to their needs.  I am a programmer, so I choose to use source
packages, and to carefully configure and compile the kernel.  I choose source
packages no matter what distro I am using at the moment.  I don't care about
"eye-candy", I care about performance and reliability.  Often I find that, by
default, certain drivers that would speed up my system and make it more stable,
are disabled.  Oh, and one more thing - there is definitely more than a 1%
speed difference doing it that way, you just have to understand what the
various flags do.



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