Linux

My distro can beat up your distro

Starting from the premise that all Linux distros are equally bad -- as well as all operating systems of any kind -- one geek argues for common sense and a little civility.

I just had to read a blog titled, "All Linux Distros Suck." The author, Anonymous Geek, is actually a Linux user, but his/her post is really a refutation of the popular tactic of talking smack about people who are using any other Linux distro than the one you're currently using. And of course, the broader message is that all OSs suck across the board -- so get over your proselytizing ways when someone comes to you with a simple question or problem.

The reality is that all Linux distributions suck. No matter which distro you choose, if you use it for enough different tasks, you’re *going* to tickle some bug in some library, or some quirk in some tool, or some idiosyncrasy, or missing package, or weird config syntax, or oddball package management… stuff.

How often, when conversing with other Linux users, do you get, "You're still using that!"? This, delivered in a tone that implies you are only one evolutionary step from opposable thumbs. Having read through a fair number of technical forums, I definitely understand where this guy is coming from, but Superior Technical Attitude is by no means the sole domain of the open source community. There are many IT folks who sneer at the pathetic choices made by other techs -- why, on this very TechRepublic site, I've seen members use rather impolite terms to describe contributors, commenters, editors even.

Perhaps it's because I'm such a curmudgeon, but I always appreciate those who will call a spade a spade. Again, from our Anonymous Geek:

Once you realize that it isn't just a single distro, and not just a single operating system, and not just a variant or version or whatever, but that *everything* basically sucks, you might become disillusioned, or even depressed. Don't be. It's the golden age. It's like the world before cars, and everyone is waiting for someone to invent a car.

About

Selena has been at TechRepublic since 2002. She is currently a Senior Editor with a background in technical writing, editing, and research. She edits Data Center, Linux and Open Source, Apple in the Enterprise, The Enterprise Cloud, Web Designer, and...

53 comments
bookkeeper
bookkeeper

First on all i have found out that alot of techs have that attitude "that my OS is better then yours" I maintain that the more their are the more choices we have and it is quite interesting so what different people come up with some of them are really neat. And the more we learn. Sighed Just an opinion

LinuxPops
LinuxPops

No product is perfect but Linux and it's applications have come so far. If you're not happy with it, fix the quirk that's causing the problem.

BALTHOR
BALTHOR

I could not get it to run a single application if there even is such a thing for Linux.Linux applications are RPM and not exe.I don't think that it would be too hard to click that box in during OS writing to allow exe's to run in Linux.An OS that looks good is just a good looking image file.

lastchip
lastchip

Even though I'm reading this, and replying in Debian, according to you, I shouldn't be. Apparently, no applications run in Linux. Linux applications are RPM. Really? Some maybe, but I've yet to see one in Debian! So I guess this good looking OS, is some sort of magical figment of my imagination!

Jaqui
Jaqui

we don't want to confuzle him any worse than he already is. I don't have rpm or debs, my linux apps are either tar.gz, tgz or tar.bz2 there are many other linux application forms as well, as we both know, but the poor git just wouldn't be able to understand that. ;)

apotheon
apotheon

Why would I give a crap about LSB? BSD Unix is clearly superior. "[i]from sources is the only way to go, since distributing executables is how malware is spread.[/i]" Like I said, I prefer ports -- both installing from source and ease of use. Best of both worlds.

Jaqui
Jaqui

there are so many different methods for package management that finding the right one is time consuming. if you throw in the LSB package header format requirements for LSB compliancy, it limits the options. from sources is the only way to go, since distributing executables is how malware is spread.

apotheon
apotheon

Ports -- that's where it's at. Tarballs of source code wrapped in an excellent interface. It's the best of both worlds. Of course, I hear good things about pkgsrc too, but I haven't used it, so I can't really comment much on it.

Jon
Jon

I'm sorry, but your comment does suggest other wise. There are ton's of applications that you can run in linux. .EXE is windows not linux. That is where wine comes into to play. Also, RPM is not the only package type. There are Tar, and yum as well. To me personally I believe you use a linux OS to get away from costly appilications to find a low cost solution to it. Nothing is free, and that I will live by. But, don't bash something saying it can not do something if just you have not taken the time to find out how to do it. If your not willing to research something, then you are in the wrong field.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

As a new member of TR, there are a few things you should know about our resident idiot non-savant. He never responds to anyone and rarely expresses an informed opinion. The only reason to read him is to see what dumb-@ss statement he's made this time.

Jaqui
Jaqui

figured out that and RPM is more like a windows MSI than an EXE? huh doesn't sound to good for you.

jdclyde
jdclyde

Because it quickly shows me who it is I should ignore and/or chastise. There is no single best tool for every application out there, and only a close-minded fool will think there is. I find it is more a case of people "liking" something based more on that is the ONLY thing they know, and are trying to pretend they are relevent. They are not.

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

is its almost better to make a tool you know well fit, then to try to master a new tool and implement it to fast... But neither is an excuse to not continue your lernin' and keep an open mind.

jdclyde
jdclyde

how many times I have seen people use a spreadsheet to write a paper. Some things are really bad fits.

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

I will be sitting in the sun and drooling myself durring lunch..

jdclyde
jdclyde

But I DO get a lunch hour. As last night was dart/tequila night, lunch today is a bottle of coke and a nap! B-) Maybe a few advil too... ;\ Time to set the alarm on my cell phone! :D Besides, gotta be chipper this afternoon. Got a few pretty ladys will be calling! B-)

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

Do you have a State job?

jdclyde
jdclyde

was in meetings all day instead of doing work..... X-( It is my goal for the day, right after my nap, to get it working. B-)

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

But sometimes the bad fir works well enough for the price =\ Real World != Best Case. BTW How is NTop doing for you? Any use?

jlwallen
jlwallen

the biggest difference is: package management Desktop used so most times Linux users are arguing for or against the above under the umbrella of their distro. case in point - i used Red Hat/Fedora for nearly ten years. I loved rpm. People made fun of me for using rpm. and then they made fun of me for using yum. i couldn't figure it out until i used apt/apt-get. now i get it. and then i switched camps. why? because i felt apt-get was better than yum. but i would use any linux distro over any version of windows any day.

apotheon
apotheon

There are more major differences than package management and the default GUI. Other differences include the software archives, dependency definitions for packages, and upgrade paths. There are other defaults than the GUI that are important, as well -- such as the default security model and default core tools aside from the package manager. Package management and GUI config are probably the most immediately recognizable, of course, but other matters become very important as you keep using a given distro, after you've already installed it.

Jaqui
Jaqui

"Anonymous Geek" is right, there are bugs that need to be worked out in the code, and sooner or later they will bite you in the a$$, no matter which distro you use.

jlwallen
jlwallen

but at least those "bugs" aren't called "features" as they are in some other OS. ;-)

Jaqui
Jaqui

Anonymous Geek should wake up and smell the coffee if he is just realizing this. and, get off the pot to fix what he doesn't like instead of just moaning about it.

Selena Frye
Selena Frye

How often do you get fellow techs trying to convert you to their distro, application, solution, etc.? Do you have a habit of doing it yourself? 'Fess up!

domicius
domicius

I think the guy (who wrote the blog post) is exaggerating, but at least he made me laugh when he said: "I’ve made a hobby of leading zealots into logical corners like this. It’s great fun." Although I would be much more amused if he had given us a showcase of that... BTW, I think he should try my distro - then he would no more write things like that... ;)

Larry the Security Guy
Larry the Security Guy

We did have one guy who openly touted Macs, and would try to talk smack about other systems, but it was mostly in friendly jest. In the end, we still use our personal preferences, we ask about what benefits and pitfalls others experience with theirs, whether we've experienced the same and/or found a solution. No touting, no proselytizing. Just acceptance and healthy interaction.

walterhtx
walterhtx

Okay, I am by no means, or stretch of the imagination, a linux-expert. I am a Windows systems admin, who very much disapproves of the Redmond licensing scam. Microsoft is not unlike the IRS - they literally get you coming and going. I don't have a fundamental problem with Windows XP as an OS (flawed as it is), again it is the cost of the OS and the cost use it in a networked business environment. Their greed is out of control. I have experimented heavily with Linux over the last couple of years. Anytime a new distro comes out (from anyone) - I download, install, and explore each with the hope that someone has perhaps finally produced a real open-source alternative to Windows...but there is always something that is just not quite right. However, Microsoft has taken a few steps back with the release of Vista. Granted it isn't as bad as Millennium was, but as an IT professional, I can honestly say that I see no compelling reason to move from XP to Vista (except that you will be forced to when they E.O.L. XP). As a matter of fact, I have begun to extol the virtues of the open-source alternatives (even though they aren't quite ready). I am an avid fan of Ubuntu Gutsy, and look forward to Hardy. Even though, I get paid by the Windows world - I willingly admit that I have been trying to win converts for Ubuntu. There...I said it. I know that the estimation of value, quality and functionality are all pretty subjective when it comes to choosing a desktop environment for linux, and there are several people who can make a sound argument for every linux distro out there. However, for ease of use, stability, price (free) and support (most of the Ubuntu support forum users are very helpful and not elitist-douchebags) Ubuntu takes the cake.

apotheon
apotheon

"[i]As a matter of fact, I have begun to extol the virtues of the open-source alternatives (even though they aren't quite ready).[/i]" . . . aren't ready for [b]what[/b], exactly? I've been using open source alternatives for years, and they sure as heck seem ready for all kinds of stuff, to me. In fact, for most purposes, it appears to be MS Windows that still isn't ready, from where I'm sitting. Perhaps you can clarify for what exactly you want open source OSes to be "ready", so that we can have a meaningful conversation about the matter -- and perhaps [b]make[/b] open source OSes "ready" in those respects. "[i]Ubuntu takes the cake.[/i]" I find Ubuntu distinctly deficient in a number of areas. If you want something with Microsoft-style "user friendly" features, [url=http://pcbsd.org]PC-BSD[/url] is a much better choice in general.

Jon
Jon

I can't figure out why people need to bash anyone else. I said nothing in my paragraph that speaks otherwise, yet you have to open your mouth, with the comment of an 8 year old that just started playing CS. You forgot to say you pwned someone as well."Teh n00b speaks up... " I have spoken.

walterhtx
walterhtx

I gather that you haven't read my other post "Lost in translation". I wasn't calling you a noob - I was referring to myself. It was an admittedly feeble attempt at humor. I don't take myself very seriously at all, much less when I am posting about my opinions and experience on forums. By the way, I don't play computer or video games. In fact, I almost never even post to forums. I just thought I'd throw my two cents in on this topic. I apologize again for the misunderstanding.

jdclyde
jdclyde

that is a very n00b'ish attitude to take... :p It is a fact that at one time, everyone was a noob. The only time it bothers me is when some dumb punkassbitch runs around calling anyone and everyone that they run into, a noob. These people need to be taken out and have a good "fragging" take place on whatever game it is they are addicted to, and most likely, playing with gear they bought off ebay.

walterhtx
walterhtx

I was actually referring to myself as "teh n00b". Sorry for the confusion. ;)

Jon
Jon

I wasn't flustered at all. I just don't like the word n00b being used, referencing to anyone.

jdclyde
jdclyde

I think he was jokingly referring to himself, not you? Relax, pretty sure it wasn't an attack, and if it was, it would be lame enough that only a REAL n00b would get their feathers ruffled over it? ;\ Don't worry, be happy! :D

RknRlKid
RknRlKid

I always find the argument is more of the GUI than the distro. But they both pretty much are the same, I guess. Gnome (SuSE, Ubuntu, 1/2 of Mandriva) vs KDE (Linspire, Kubuntu, PC Linux OS, the other 1/2 of Mandriva). I got my feet wet with Linux using Mandrake. I didn't find out it was really repackaged Red Hat until much later. I've used Red Hat itself too, as well as Caldera OpenLinux. I use Ubuntu now. Linux to me was always what was "under the hood" and the rest was just the GUI on top. I prefer Gnome (mainly because I am more used to it), but I've used KDE and XFCE too. Its all user preference.

apotheon
apotheon

GNOME and KDE both suck. I'll stick with AHWM (or wmii*, perhaps -- I've been meaning to give that a serious try, but haven't gotten around to it). My choice of distribution has never been based on the default window manager, except in cases where using a non-default window manager was difficult to accomplish with the distribution. In other words, the choice of default window manager could only drive me away from a distro if the default wasn't easily replaced -- no choice of default window manager ever convinced me that a given distro was the [b]right[/b] choice. It's always stuff like what constitutes a "minimal" install for a given distro, dependency configurations for its packages, upgrade paths, software archives, and core toolset (like the software management system) that gave me reason to pick one distro over another. That's the same stuff that ultimately convinced me that FreeBSD was a better choice (for me, anyway) than [b]any[/b] Linux distribution. (* = . . . or maybe even dwm or awesome)

votary.of.truth
votary.of.truth

I try that in my office sometimes. We use OpenSuse 10.x and i think we should be switching to something easier as the average worker at my workplace isn't "linux literate" Its good to preach, but bad to breach ! Besides i guess everyone who loves LINUX at some point or the other tends to advocate it. Ain't no harm there :) PEACE

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

if people around me do not convert to Ubuntu, I make their lives miserable.

Jaqui
Jaqui

naw, you are an HERETIC! you think Ubuntu is worth using. :D

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

The LCBO between home and work seem to be cutting back there sake selections but I'm not above a special stop along the way for the good stuff. I may even have a half bottle of Hakutsuru in the cubbard.

jdclyde
jdclyde

force them to go out of business! :p

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

Actually, I don't drink beer... only alcohol I drink is Tallisker, Crown, Jameson's, and Saki. When I did drink beer I liked Shinerbock and Dos Equis. Can you still buy Old Milwaukee's Beast?

jdclyde
jdclyde

you settle for budlite too? :p

Dumphrey
Dumphrey

Im not really either... I run XP and Ubuntu at home. And Ubuntu is not so bad when you take it for what it is...LinuxLite.

brian.mills
brian.mills

Maybe it's because I'm easygoing, or maybe because I seem to always pick the most popular distro among the Linux users I'm around at the time, but I've never really had anyone trying to convert me to their distro of choice. Back when I first got into Linux, I was hanging around on IRC with a bunch of Debian users, so Debian (Woody) was the distro of choice, because if I had any problems I had help readily available, though stupid questions usually resulted in answers that would hose my system if I'd been dumb enough to take everything those IRC folks said as gospel truth. I got out of Linux for a while, mostly due to insufficient time to fiddle with it and more important things going on (like finishing college and getting married) but when I decided to dive back in, Ubuntu had gotten pretty popular, and being Debian-based, I figured I'd give it a go. It's so much easier than I remembered Linux being back in the day. I'm now happily running Ubuntu Gutsy on my laptop at home and loving it, except for the total lack of power management. I hate not being able to put it to sleep or hibernate, because it runs too warm to leave on all the time, and I'd like to untether it from the power cord a bit more often than I do now. Had I made different distro choices or spent time around different groups of people I'm sure I would've been subject to people trying to convert me to their preferred distro. Probably the closest I've come to having people trying to convert me is anytime I mention Photoshop on a forum somewhere, someone inevitably says I should use the GIMP or GIMPShop instead. Of course Photoshop is my wife's domain, and she's a professional graphic designer, so industry standards pretty much trump free software, especially when she needs 100% compatibility between her software and the client's. I don't think I try to convert other people to my distro/application/solution preferences, though I will mention alternative solutions to the ones most people know and are familiar with, especially since most open source software is available for free and a lot of people I know don't have a lot of disposable income. I just try not to shove my opinions down anyone's throat. I don't like it when people do it to me, so I try not to do it to other people either.

Jon
Jon

I feel that I give someone the chance to always give me their ideas, whether I use them or not is up too me. I heard that linux had alot of possiblities for open source network tools a few years ago, so I took a look. I'm very glad I did since most companies will not be willing to buy the IT department software to aid them in daily or weekly tasks. Lets face in MS performace monitoring is not going to get you were you need to be. I'm not going to preach linux being far superior, or visa versa windows being superior like some people will. I think all tools whether it be for Windows, Linux, or Mac based, really do not matter, they have a purpose just like you and I. The point is to learn everyday, isn't that why we are in this field? I know myself, I would not want to be repeating my daily tasks everyday, I like the change and the thrill that there's something I still haven't figured it out. Basically I love technology even though I know one day it will bite me in the back!

Neil Higgins
Neil Higgins

Having used Ubuntu 7.10 since October last year,I decided to have a look at OpenGEU linux,which is a "wire-up" of Gnome,Enlightenment,and Ubuntu.With an install desktop,designed by an Italian artist,who calls himself."TheDarkMaster",I knew I could be in for the Da Vinci Code,and I was not far wrong.At the cutting edge of distro's (apparently),three installs later,due to configuration-software dust-ups,I too thought "linux sucks". But wait.I love Linux,as a lot of my friends subscribe to Redmond,and iTunes,so each to their own.Is any distro,OS,abacus,superior to the other? I think not.If your happy,then that is the end of it. Er...I am writing this via Open Office,on OpenGEU however.So it just goes to show,once a linux convert.....

Neil Higgins
Neil Higgins

It was Automatix2 which "destroyed" my first install,although I had been warned,as OpenGEU does not "officially" support it.WINE "left a bad taste" on my HD,second-time-around (a bug?),so now I have left well alone,and all is well.My media files plays fine,via Rhythmbox,and VLC,and my desktop is a happy bunny,or is that penguin? I shall stick with it I think,as the eye-candy is good (in linux?),although I did not install for simply the Themes of "The Dark Master",but was interested in how GEU would work.Now it does.

rhomp2002
rhomp2002

I got a magazine at B&N the other day and there was a copy of OpenGEU with the magazine. I installed it and it works very well right out of the box for me. I liked it pretty well. I also have some other distros I am working with to see which I like the best. Dropped a bunch of them but still have some I like a lot. For sure I am staying with Linux from now on. The question is which distro.

Dr Dij
Dr Dij

Windoze. If they could all get together and gang up on it by making their features better / easier to use so that the masses would accept them...

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