[clug] MtM - content update

Nathan O'Sullivan nathan.osullivan at mammothmedia.com.au
Thu Mar 15 05:09:28 GMT 2007

On Thu, 2007-03-15 at 15:46 +1100, Chris Smart wrote:
> 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.

To be clear, I was talking about specific applications. I realise the
majority of distributions default to a particular desktop environment.

> > 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.

Maybe it applies to you and maybe it doesnt, but to me its just varying
degrees of "like". We all have our preferences, but if Ubuntu suddenly
didnt exist I would be more than happy to switch to something else. Do
you really "not like" Ubuntu? Or do you just like another distribution

I think it can be hard to factor out familiarity preferences. I fully
acknowledge that I prefer Ubuntu because I've learned how its particular
package management, init scripts, etc, work. If I had learned something
else, I'm sure I would just prefer that instead.

> 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.

Thats a fair enough point. Ubuntu's 1 program per application-type is
what tipped me in, but you are right other people will have their own
tipping points.

> > 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?

Personally I find it borderline too many, because I wonder what a user
would find in Mandriva that would not be found in the first 3. But I
know little about it, perhaps it does bring something important to the
> 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?

I fully realise I am about to argue the opposite point :) but I
personally would not like to try recommending one of Ubuntu/Fedora/Suse
on a website -  because how many of us have actually used all 3
full-time, for a few months to gain familiarity with all 3? And even if
you have, would you really be able to definitively say one is best for a
new user?

As had been said elsewhere, if it were for someone I knew (and would
personally assist) you would of course go with the distribution you know
best. For a larger pool of readers, I'm not so sure.

So after counterpointing myself, I will say this: I think Debian and
Gentoo should be left out.

> Hmm.. worth a thought.
> Cheers,
> Chris

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