[clug] MtM - content update

Chris Smart chris at kororaa.org
Thu Mar 15 04:46:47 GMT 2007

On Thursday 15 March 2007 15:26, Nathan O'Sullivan wrote:
> I guess you could argue about the relative popularity of distributions
> all day, and not get anywhere. It was certainly my impression that
> Madriva usage - and hence, support community - was well below the above
> 3 above, but I will happily stand corrected!
Although not definitive, Mandriva is number 6 on the distrowatch.com rankings 
and I know Mandriva does have a large following still.

> Choice is a funny thing. I'm glad to have it, but I personally did not
> get into desktop linux until the release of Ubuntu - and I was able to
> make the switch for one reason: lack of choice. Ubuntu picked what they
> felt was a good mix of applications, and with that I was able to get a
> foot in on the desktop and proceed with my usual workflow.
Yeah I understand this point of view and that it has worked for you, but 
Ubuntu was not the first distro to do what you describe. Suse by default 
selects a nice KDE env for you, though you can also click one button that 
changes it from KDE to GNOME. Mandriva is KDE based, Fedora is GNOME based by 
default. I do like the way Ubuntu has one single CD though which makes it 
easy to just get up and running.

> I guess my point is, if it were up to me I would just say "Try Ubuntu,
> if you do not like it linux is not for you". Course we have our funny
> distribution-wars online so you have to end up suggesting multiple
> things to avoid being labelled a zealot.
Well I don't like Ubuntu personally and if Ubuntu was the only distro on offer 
then by your reasoning I should never be using Linux. What a shame that would 
be for me. Luckily there was choice for me to choose. The fact that not 
everyone runs Ubuntu is testament to the fact that choice is a good thing.

What if the choice wasn't Ubuntu, but Suse? If you had only been offered Suse 
and never the option of Ubuntu, you'd never have been using Linux. I think by 
the same token we simply MUST give end users a choice to experiment with 
which distro they like most.

> But still, I personally think the less suggestions the better - how is a
> new user going to choose between them? Could you say why Fedora is
> better/worse than Ubuntu in a non-technical manner?
Yeah I agree, and that's why I carefully selected 4 instead of 4,000 ;) People 
can download the livecd of each and test it out. What doesn't work for one 
person will work for another and people will settle on what they are most 
comfortable with.

> If we cannot offer solid reasoning to choose between these
> distributions, why are we trying to make a new user choose between them?
> Informed choice is great, but sometimes we need to rely on other's
> advice to get started.
I agree that people need advice and a push that's why I started the website ;) 
But I cannot suggest just one distribution, they are all great in their own 
way. Plus if I suggest only one distro, then what about user interface? Only 
suggest GNOME? And what about every other application?..

> If we accept that we have to offer distribution choices, I would hope we
> could at least try to make sure there are not too many.
Yeah I agree, but do you think 4 is too many?

Maybe I can suggest Ubuntu or another distro if they don't know where to 
start, but let them know about the others that we recommend?

Hmm.. worth a thought.


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