What Rough Beast: the Prelude

Sunday, January 22, 2006
This month is the twentieth anniversery of the first computer virus. I am going to celebrate by sitting down with a large glass of wine and contemplating which Linux distribution I want to play with next.

17 comments:

MeaninglessHotAir said...

Despite years of searching, I've yet to find the perfect distro.

Nowadays it's the repository that matters, much more than the distribution itself. Although there are a gazillion minor choices, there are essentially four major choices, Redhat, Suse, Debian, and Mandrake. I abandoned Redhat when the CEO announced that people should use Windows on the desktop. Linux on the desktop is where it's at for me. Mandrake, being French, isn't going anywhere that I can see. That leaves Suse and Debian. Without question Debian is the superior repository, but then the question comes down to actual installation, which means picking a particular distribution built on top of the repository.

The three Debian-based distros I favor are Ubuntu (which I'm using to type this), Mepis, and Knoppix (and its many variants). While Knoppix is nothing short of magical, it's not really suited or designed for permanent installation. Mepis is really really good but still isn't quite ready for prime time, still has bugs being worked out. Ubuntu is extremely high quality and maybe the best system out there period. However, it is Gnome-based and I agree with Linus Torvald's recent criticism that Gnome is getting dumber by the release. Despite years of effort some of its core functionality is still buggy. It's pathetic. (Yes, I've tried Kubuntu and it is terrible.)

PCLinuxOS is, like Ubuntu, quite wonderful, but like Mepis it's still at a beta stage of development and it suffers the rather serious drawback of being Mandrake-based.

So it's down to Suse. Still a great distro overall, but I upgraded from 9.1 to 10.0 on my laptop a month ago and promptly lost my sound and can't seem to reclaim it. I hate it when that happens. I'm ready to replace it with something else but can't find anything worth the effort. "Still waiting for that blue-jeaned, Linux queen...."

Syl said...

Linux was built on the back of years and years of security patching and hole plugging in Unix.

Just saying.

David Thomson said...

"...but I upgraded from 9.1 to 10.0 on my laptop a month ago and promptly lost my sound and can't seem to reclaim it."

Oh my God, I’m so glad that my family owns a three and a half year old IMac. I lack the patience to fool around with either a Windows or Linux product. The vast majority of people merely want to turn on the computer and go about their daily business. Linux is mostly useful for the dedicated semiprofessionals.

flenser said...

It's one thing to discuss war, religion, politics, abortion, evolution, and so on. But a debate about OS's is going to get ugly.

ambisinistral said...

I've worked cross-platform and the notion that Macs OS are far superior and more stable to others is the one triumph of Apple's marketing department. Well, at least to the extent that they talked a core group of Mac fanatics to buy into it.

I've been using SUSE for some time and am happy with it.

chuck said...

Oh my God, I’m so glad that my family owns a three and a half year old IMac.

If the new intel based OSX would run on plain old Intel hardware, I'd buy it. I moved from the Mac originally because of the lack of software.

As to Linux, Over the years I've mostly bounced back and forth between SUSE, RedHat, and Debian. For the last two years I've been mostly running FC3, but Ubuntu 5.10 is very nice. Like MHA I had problems with SUSE10 and dropped it. So at the moment I've got FC3, FC5T2, and Ubuntu installed and will probable move to either Ubuntu or FC5 when my current project ends and I can risk upgrading my work system.

I also have Windows installed, but haven't booted into it in months: I don't play games enough to make it worthwhile. Oh, and Lindows was a nice Linux distribution last time I tried it, but extended access to the repositories costs money and it isn't so hot for software development.

Morgan said...

Must be clean living, but I almost never seem to run across viruses, either on Mac (one in 20 years) or Windows (a few over the years, but nothing that caused a loss of data).

Knock knock.

Buddy Larsen said...

I can overhaul a flathead 6, and repair 8-tracks.

chuck said...

I can overhaul a flathead 6...

Oh Hell, Buddy, *anyone* can overhaul a flathead six. Last one I saw, though, was in a Studebaker pickup.

Buddy Larsen said...

Studebaker--still the finest art-deco front-end in Americaricana.

MeaninglessHotAir said...

Here's a glowing review of Fedora Core 5 (still in beta). Maybe I'll switch to that when it comes out in March.

Also, here's a nice review of Gentoo, which deserves honorable mention if nothing else. I still have the urge to do a full Gentoo install at some point before I die.

Morgan said...

"Fedora Core..."

That Roger Simon gets around, doesn't he.

Seneca the Younger said...

Yeah, Syl, but the folks at Microsoft had access to the same knowledge and they didn['t take advantage of it.

(Actually, linux is basically new code --- it's the *BSD distributions that are built on top of real unix.)

Seneca the Younger said...

Buddy: One word:

Avanti.

Eric Blair said...

MHA encapsulates pretty much exactly why I haven't bothered with Linux.

On top of the Geek-speak, the unpronouncable and in-joke names, the possibly complete or incomplete software, you still have the fact that when you install it, you still got problems you can't fix.

Like I would want to adjust my carburator, head space and timing, and fuel air mixture before I started my car. And then find out the radio doesn't work.

I want a tool to do stuff. Linux is a hobby, not an OS.

Does this means Windows is great? No, but it at least I can pretty much do what I want to do.

chuck said...

Does this means Windows is great? No, but it at least I can pretty much do what I want to do.

Yes, that is exactly the point. For what I do, Windows does not offer the tools and convenience I want. For other folks, Windows is probably all they will ever want or need. It is simply a case of using the right tool for the job.

Syl said...

StY

Yeah, Syl, but the folks at Microsoft had access to the same knowledge and they didn['t take advantage of it.

Oh, please.

If MS were re-writing unix you would have a point.

chuck

It is simply a case of using the right tool for the job.

The OS isn't the tool, the software available that runs under it is.