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Re: Linux distros
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Perhaps.  I've find that in the long run, maintaining Gentoo systems
requires less time/effort than maintining RPM or .deb based distros.
It does, however, require a little more knowlege.

But, it probably depends on what you want to do with the computer.  If
all you want to do is stuff that the distribution bundler's have
already thought of and included software for, then I'd probably go
with Debian or Xubuntu.

Any time you end up wanting to use software that's not available as
part of the basic distro, I've found that maintining rpm/deb based
systems tends to balloon into a large, frustrating job.

Grant Edwards               grant.b.edwards        Yow! ONE LIFE TO LIVE for
                                  at               ALL MY CHILDREN in ANOTHER
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Re: Linux distros
On 08/10/13 20:49, Grant Edwards wrote:
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I used Gentoo a number of years ago.  It was a fun experience, and  
certainly an educational one - I learned a lot about Linux from  
installing and tweaking it.  But it was not an efficient experience - I  
spent much longer installing and compiling programs than using them.  
Perhaps I lack the self-discipline needed to use Gentoo properly - it  
was too much fun tweaking and re-emerging with different flags instead  
of just /using/ the system.  The Gentoo project is also a source of  
excellent general Linux information and documentation (like Arch Linux).

I can't quite see how using non-distro software would be easier with  
Gentoo, however.  When you are dealing with source that is not in the  
repos, you download a tarball and give it the "./configure && make &&  
make install" treatment.  That applies for Debian, Redhat and Gentoo.  
With the more popular distros, you are more likely to find installation  
guides that match so that you don't need to figure out the details of  
particular dependency package names.  And for non-source programs, it  
will almost certainly be easier with a distro based on one of the big  
systems rather than a more niche distro.

Re: Linux distros
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I didn't phrase my posting well.  I've found that Gentoo has ebuilds
for pretty much all the software I need to use.  When I was using
RedHat/Mandriva/Debian, there were a _lot_ of things for which
packages weren't available from the distributor.  Sometimes you could
find them from third-parties, but then you ended up in a hellish maze
of circular library dependancies.  So the only resort was to to go the
tar/configure/make/install route, which resulted in a constant series
of breakages as libraries got upgraded.

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True, but I pretty much never have to do that with Gentoo while I had
to do that constantly with Redhat et al.  Since the stuff installed
manually from tarballs wasn't hooked into the package management
system, things were continually being broken by upgrades.

And don't get me started on the disaster recovery efforts that always
accompanied major revision upgrades -- I eventually gave up trying to
upgrade across major revisions and just did a clean install whenever I
got to that point. And it wasn't for lack of experience or trying: I
ran multiple RedHat systems starting back when they didn't even have
version numbers: I think I started with either Mothers Day or
Holloween releases (before that I ran Yggdrasil and Slackware). I ran
RH up until 8.00 came out in 2002.  8.00 was such a disaster I
switched to Mandriva for a couple years before switching to Gentoo.
I've been running Gentoo for almost 10 years now, and since I switched
I spend a lot less time maintaining systems. Some of my Gentoo
installations are almost 10 years old, and I've been able to keep them
up-to-date without the periodic clean reinstalls that were always
required when I ran HR/Mandriva.  The oldest one doesn't have any of
the same hardware it started with except for the case.

Maybe things in binary-distribution land have improved, but my recent
brief expeditions into Ubuntu and RH/CentOS territory haven't given
any indication that's the case.

If all you want to do is browse the web, listen to mp3 files, and
spend the rest of your time trying to learn the desktop du jour, then
any of the binary distributions are probably fine.  If I had to use  
one it would probably be either plain Debian or Xubuntu.

Grant Edwards               grant.b.edwards        Yow! Eisenhower!!  Your
                                  at               mimeograph machine upsets
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Re: Linux distros
On 09/10/13 17:30, Grant Edwards wrote:
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OK, that makes a lot more sense.  I am not sure I believe that Gentoo
has more ebuilds than there are Debian packages, especially when you
include additional repositories (like Ubuntu PPA's) which usually work
fine, but I am not going to argue without researching for statistics.

There are, of course, other ways in which Gentoo might suit better -
such as the more "bleeding edge" versions of software.  Debian stable
and Redhat (as distinct from Fedora) are often slow at getting updated

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Re: Linux distros

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I guess I have to agree with that. Android development stuff from Google
and Steam from Valve is just installable the same way as anything

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Maybe you would like Sabayon instead in the binary-distribution land?
Gentoo based but software is prebuilt. Can still use emerge for stuff
that isn't.

Re: Linux distros
On Tue, 08 Oct 2013 18:49:33 +0000, Grant Edwards wrote:

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That is almost true. I had only minor problems installing pure source
packages, provided all dependencies were met. The main problem usually is  
the shortsighted programmer who distributes his/her masterpiece that  
depends on the very latest, or worse, beta version of everything, which  
sometimes forces the user to break a package based system.

Re: Linux distros
On 10/9/2013 2:44 AM, asdf wrote:
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This, however, can be a major ordeal as A requires B and C.  But,
B requires P and Q while C requires M and N.  And each of these

When I build a new *BSD system, I research the release histories of
the various "packages" (not always the correct term) available to
decide which "bug sets" I am willing to live with.  *Then*, the
next step is to figure out which order to build each package
(including the dependencies that I probably didn't explicitly
think of when forming my initial "package list").  With a fair
bit of planning, I can eliminate the need for the build of A
to deviate into the fetch/build of B (and P and Q) and C (and M and
N).  It's just easier for me to keep track of where in the process
the machine happens to be, currently in the event that I have to

[the last being necessary if I notice some error/warning that needs
further clarification (inspection of sources) to appease me.  folks
who create packages should be required to create patchsets that
"fix" all warnings/errors!]

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Or, that requires a specific version of a .so -- perhaps not the
"most current".  Helps when your system allows multiple versions
of a single .so in the "library" and uses symlinks to sort
out which is "current" (so you can build against a particular
*older* version if the newest is found to be problematic).

IME, biggest problem with "packages" is the folks who undertake
their maintenance/packaging aften don't understand the actual
app.  Their criteria for success is:  "Hooray!  It built with
no errors (from the compiler/linkage editor)".  Even packages
that have test suites available in their basic distribution
don't always get built (by the packager) *or* understood!

Of course, those that have *no* formal test suites leave you
at the mercy of the packager:  "What do I know about the
quality of this binary compared to the intended quality
from its original author??"

Re: Linux distros
On a sunny day (Tue, 08 Oct 2013 09:32:46 -0400) it happened Roberto Waltman

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Not sure there is such thing as a 'techie'.
I started with Linux in 1998 with SLS Linux, (Soft Landing Systems). that no longer exists.
Then Slackware, was enlighting, as it had a documentation on a techie level I could read and understand.

Then tried RatHead, that sucks, they are in if for the money and use incompatibility (at that time libc) as 'customer binding'.
Then Suse, that was nice until 7.6 ?? or something until it got bought out and taken over and went RatHead's way.
Then I used grml ( as it was simple and worked, but last time I looked it changed into some live CD that you cannot install.
Then I went Debian (and grml is Debian based so not any big surprises and changes), and still use that.
The Ubuntu you mention is also Debian based, I have it on a PC and a laptop.
On the same PC and laptop I run now by default (multi boot) Slackware.
I do not recommend Slackware as it has its own quirks, not all soft has been ported, and updates are sometimes very hard to do even if you have a lot of experience,
and the 32 / 64 bit problems come into play too.
but I use it every day, call me die-hard.
Then there are my Raspberry Pis that run Debian on ARM processor, and are a pleasure to 'upgrade',
everything works, but that is also due to the good work of the Raspberry foundation?

So, anyways, Debian is the only distro I have ever financially supported, and maybe the cleanest most stable and best maintained.
Canonical is in it for the dollars so do not know where that goes,
but to start on new hardware it is cool, as everything works, they have decent support.

A 'techie' will likely run wine emulator and LTspice... some more programs that need windows emulator.

So maybe stick with some form of Debian for now?
Buy a good book on Unix, get to learn the commands, the file structure, the X server, do not get fooled by all that mousing
that is done in window managers to copy-cat sort of a MS desktop.
Imitating idiots does not bring you anything useful.
The command line, scripting, xterm is the user interface.
Do not be afraid to be root, just think before you hit enter....
I once dropped a full harddisk, oh well. gone...
So make backups, then if you screw up simply restore everything, get your work back from your backups
and be happy.

Re: Linux distros
Jan Panteltje  wrote:
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[More good advise deleted]

Thanks, but you are preaching to the choir.
I begun using Unix on PDP-11's, X on VAX Stations and '386 PCs running
Kodak's Unix. ("Interactive Unix", 16 Mbyte RAM all for myself!)
First X programming on LynxOs, then VAX-VMS. (Am I the last person
left that likes Motif?)
First Linux I used was Yggdrasil, with periodic attacks of Debian,
Gentoo, RedHat,Suse,Ubuntu,(and NetBSD,FreeBSD,Solaris.)
File server runs FreeNAS.
And "root" is my middle name... ;)

I was interested in which distributions are preferred by
technically-oriented users, which I expect to be more interested in
issues such as stability, availability of packages, etc, and less
impressed by "eye-candy" modifications.

This is just scientific curiosity - I am not doing any programming (or
OS switching) at the time.
Roberto Waltman

[ Please reply to the group,
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Re: Linux distros
To the OP: I'm a fedora guy for going on 8 years now.

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I like the way you think.

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Again, right-on. I get so tired of the "community" pushing sudo. Just
"su -" and git 'er done.
Randy Yates
Digital Signal Labs
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Re: Linux distros
Randy Yates wrote:
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What's wrong with sudo -i -H ?  ;)
(after modifying /etc/sudoers to *not* ask for passwords)
Roberto Waltman

[ Please reply to the group,
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Re: Linux distros
On 08/10/13 23:28, Roberto Waltman wrote:
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Or "sudo su -", which is my personal favourite sudo command.

Re: Linux distros
On a sunny day (Wed, 09 Oct 2013 00:05:13 +0200) it happened David Brown

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On the Raspberry Pies I simply changed the /etc/passwd entry for 'pi'
so 'pi' has root permissions and shell in /root
Never sudo again...

Usually I ssh -Y pi@IP_ADDRESS to those,
the default password is still 'raspberry' in there...
I develop a lot of stuff compiling and assembling on the Raspberry.
It is small, powerful, low power... and very stable.
As JTAG programmer:
As PIC programmer:
As DVB-S transmitter:
As satellite tracker:

That is for the 'techies' ;-)

Re: Linux distros
On 08/10/13 15:32, Roberto Waltman wrote:
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Always a risk - you are going to get some very non-technical replies
from there!

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I use Ubuntu a little a number of years ago, but I also didn't like some
of Canonical's moves (or Unity), so I quickly dropped it.

Mostly I use Mint on desktops and laptops, which gives you most of the
advantages of Debian and Ubuntu (i.e., compatibility with these systems)
without the disadvantages of Ubuntu (no secret deals sending your data
to Amazon, no "we know best and you don't need to know" attitude to
development), along with easy support for useful stuff that Debian
doesn't like (such "evils" as binary graphics drivers or media codecs).

I have Fedora on my wok PC, but it is getting out of date - and I think
I will move it over to Mint rather than update the Fedora.

For servers or other small or headless systems, I use Debian stable.
This is perhaps a matter of habit - I have used it on servers for over
ten years.  But I've seen no reason to change that habit.

For a workstation, there are a few things to consider.  One of them is
compatibility with software and guides.  Typically, binary-only software
is either in "rpm" format for Redhat-style systems, "deb" format for
Ubuntu-style systems (being more popular than the parent Debian distro),
or system-independent binaries.  The same applies to recipes and guides.
 Usually it is possible to get everything working on alternative
systems, but you may need to do some "translation" of things like
additional packages to be installed.  So if you know up-front that you
want to run software with particular requirements, that will make your
choice easier.  If you want to run FPGA design tools, then Redhat
systems (such as RHEL, Scientific Linux, CentOS, and perhaps Fedora)
will be easiest.  If you want to build embedded Linux systems, then most
recipes are given for Ubuntu and related distros.

For some software there is /no/ good distribution.  If you want to build
Android for embedded systems, then you can't do it using a modern
distribution - the requirements are so weird and specific, such as
requiring an old version of make and particular versions of Java that
are no longer distributed by Oracle (but available on the net, of
course).  I find VirtualBox comes in very handy for such cases.

If you've got the time, you can try out different systems - there is no
monetary cost (except for things like RHEL where you pay for the support
and services - if you need these, then RHEL will be good value for money).

Re: Linux distros
On Tue, 08 Oct 2013 09:32:46 -0400, Roberto Waltman wrote:

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Mostly CentOS 6 but I have Linux Mint on my laptop.  Mint is Ubuntu
with the traditional desktop.

Republic of Texas

Re: Linux distros
Hi Roberto,

On 10/8/2013 6:32 AM, Roberto Waltman wrote:
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Consider the *BSDs, as well.  I've been running NetBSD/FreeBSD
since ~'93 (v 0.8) and have been very happy with the lack of
"two steps forward, one step sideways and step back" that seems
to plague Linux folks.

Of course, I have no need for the bloated "desktops" -- just a
good, *lean* window manager and reliable OS beneath it.  (Note
the BSD's aren't "just a kernel" so you end up with much of what
a Linux distro would include *just* by installing the "OS".
"Packages" sit on top of that)

But, I only use it for writing applications and OS's (though I
do rely on many of the standard services for my infrastructure,
here).  Any CAD, EDA, DTP, modeling, numerical analysis, etc.
work happens on a Windows machine (I doubt the free OS's will
*ever* catch up in terms of quality and choice of offerings).

YMMV.  I haven't played with FreeBSD in many years -- it started
trending towards the "desktop" market when I left (v2.2?) and I was
more interested in "getting work done" than continuing to support
an evolution in a direction that didn't serve my needs (I was
a frequent FBSD contributor).

Also, I am not keen on wasting my time upgrading OS's and apps
(that time comes out of *my* pocket and I'd rather spend any
"free time" on stuff that I *want* to do -- not "mowing the digital
lawn").  No more so than a carpenter wants to spend his time buying
hammers!  :-/  So, I will run an OS for many years before deciding
that I *should* feel embarassed!  :)

Like any tool, I want to be able to use it when I need it and forget
about it the rest of the time.  E.g., the little box that serves up
TFTP, NTP, FTP, HTTP, DNS, fonts, and acts as a lightweight "software
development server" (i.e., let me write and compile code -- just no
grueling "builds") here has an uptime of about a year now that it's
on a *tiny* UPS.  Previously, it would "go down" each time I turned
off its branch circuit to make wiring changes, etc. (It would have
been longer had I not opted to upgrade the OS in it) I don't think
the box draws more than 20W so it runs damn near forever on a small
UPS!  Even a trivial memory leak would surely have panicked that 128MB!
(new box will be even leaner and run off "flashlight batteries"  :> )

OTOH, if you like playing on the bleeding edge, there are lots of
folks intent on mucking around just to "see how THIS works"...

Pick something that suits your needs, offers the reliability you
are looking for and the amount of "hassle" you are willing to
tolerate.  (alternatively, the amount of *chaos* you seek!)

Good Luck!

Re: Linux distros
On Tue, 08 Oct 2013 09:32:46 -0400

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I like Xubuntu quite a bit, and run it both at work and home.  Ubuntu
as an underlying layer brings a lot of advantages, and trading
GNOME3+Unity+whateverelse out in favor of the very traditional, clean
Xfce is a huge win.

Rob Gaddi, Highland Technology --
Email address domain is currently out of order.  See above to fix.

Re: Linux distros
On 10/08/13 13:32, Roberto Waltman wrote:
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I've used Suse for years. Works out of the box, has a pro os feel, is well
supported and robust. That and a minimum of superfluous decoration on
initial install. Suse is quality and just very well sorted, just like an
Audi, with no obvious snags,

Also like Debian, which is has support for a wider than average range of
architectures including Sun Sparc. Have Debian running on a laptop for
remote debugging and on a Sun V240 Sparc system. Consistent and identical
install and user experience across both architectures. A bit more work
than Suse for admin, but rock solid throughout.

Ubuntu looked like a video game last time I looked at it and Redhat is
just hard work :-).

For firewall, pfSense - ime, the best open source firewall around :-)...


Embedded System Hardware & Software Engineering
Oxford England
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Re: Linux distros

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I have used openSuse for quite a while.  If you want better EDA tools
fedora may be best.  *buntu make me uncomfortable about security.  Maybe
it is time to try Debian or a derivative again.  I prefer package
(dependency) manager style Linuxes currently, though i can and will at
need install from source.


Re: Linux distros

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I have Debian in my home desktop and NAS, Sabayon in my personal
laptop. I picked Sabayon for the laptop to get new stuff quickly since
it's a rolling distribution. So small weekly updates instead of a huge
one twice a year like Fedora or never like Mint...

For chip design work (at work) I've usually used RHEL or CentOS since
that's what the tools officially support.

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