0th. Summary - this is long enough to have one:
1. No more flames here please.
2. Let's stay on topic
3. Debian, Debian, Debian:
- Mepis for beginners
- Sarge for my desktop
- Woody on servers
4. Commerciality -- semi-rant
4.5 Books of the Year
5. Full rant -- you have been warned
1st. Let's keep the flamage down, please no dissing other distros. It's one thing to say what you like & why, also to say what you don't like & why; it's another to bash (unavoidable pun) w/o reasons. For example: I don't find it useful see or say "Lindows suX" (although I do think that). What makes more sense is: "I don't like Lindows because my understanding is that it, like Winders, logs you in as root & that IMO is a big security risk." Notice I even tried to make allowances for the possibility that my facts might be wrong.
2nd. I would like to respectfully suggest that "dick_onion53" & those who are trying to help him take the discussion of specific problems to a new or different thread. What I find great about this thread is the reasoned exposition of the merits of peoples favorite distros. For instance, I have ordered my ubuntu as a result.
3rd. My real topic -- Mepis for converts.
This week my Intermediate Linux desktop class voted to use Mepis as the "official" distro of the course. Our text is Marcel Gagné's Moving to Linux: Kiss the Blue Screen of Death Goodbye!
. We were trying to use Mandrake Official 10.0 because the illustrations in the text are based on Mandrake 9.?. But when RPMDrake refused to read a CD from the drive used in the install, I gave up on it. (Please, no help on this; if I want to continue w/ Mandrake, I'll use 10.1 Official when I can get my hands on it, for the moment it is on my s#!* list, but I'll probably get over it.)
3.5th. People are paying good money to learn GNU/Linux.
Yes, since Oct. 2004 I have had paying
adult students in a class called "Moving to Linux". This may be a sign that we have reached a turning point in the mainstream acceptance of GNU/Linux.
4th. Looking like Winders &/or being commercial.
Once upon a time, when Linus was in high school, and I was running DR DOS, I looked at Winders and said "If I wanted a GUI, I'd've bought a Mac!" OK, I've mellowed a bit, I like a fine grained display w/ lots of colors that is easy on my eyes. My point is that if we are going enlighten those poor souls still stuck on the dark side, we are going to have to give them something great that is easy to change to. They are used to the M$ desktop metaphor & so that is what we offer them in any distro that uses KDE or Gnome.
If we are going to argue against Lindows/Linspire or Xandros it should not be because they look
like Winders, but because they act
like Micro$oft. Things like root log-ins & getting locked in to one vendor or near trickery to get the innocent to pay for stuff that is available on-line for the cost of the download. And don't trash them for being commercial & trying to sell Linux, RMS, the "purest of the pure", is thoroughly for that, read http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/gif.html
Contrast Mepis: Although I can't find it quickly on their web sites (http://mepis.com/
), in Point & Click Linux!
Robin "Roblimo" Miller quotes them as saying explicitly that you do not need a subscription to use APT (Debian Advanced Package Tool) to get new & updated software, that the advantage on the subscription is you get software that is guaranteed compatible w/ your Mepis system. This impresses me as an open & honest way of doing business. This & the desktop features are why I voted for Mepis.
4.5th. Book of the Year
If you are looking for a good beginner book for yourself or your favorite beginner, get Point & Click Linux! http://www.pointandclicklinux.com/ http://www.phptr.com/title/0131488724.
The statement "The world's first complete desktop Linux migration kit" is not hype. This author may be even more readable than Gagné, if that is possible. I think this is the 1st computer book that I finished in one reading. One of its greatest strengths is that the illustrations are taken from the distro (SimplyMEPIS) included w/ the book. It is so good, I intend to design a beginner's course around it.
Too bad there aren't a set of Book of the Year polls. I would suggest a Beginner category & nominate Point & Click Linux!
. Then a Transition category for Moving to the Linux Business Desktop
5th. Community Schizophrenia or "How Slack set me back 3 years"
Sometimes I think GNU - Linux - Free Software - Open Source Community is ambivalent about Winders (l)users ("wusers"?). On the one hand we love to hate the "Evil Empire" & all its crappy software, starting w/ the OS; on the other hand we realize that if we ever "win" we will no longer be the valiant, oppressed minority, a stance we also love. What we need to remember is that in addition the freedom issues, there is the excellence vs. mediocrity issue. Once any of us decide that freedom & the pursuit of excellence are more important than posing as a "cool" rebel, then we can start of recommending to a beginner something different than what we use ourselves, whether for a desktop or for servers. I think that even the most die-hard user of LFS, Gentoo, or Slack might grudgingly allow that his/her favorite distro might possibly not be the best choice for Grandma or Aunt Tillie (assuming Grandma isn't Adm. Grace Hopper).
Perhaps next year we might have 3 categories here: 'Beginner', 'Desktop', & 'Server' (CLI); or 4 if we add 'LiveCD'.
In 1998 I bought a Slack book on sale. I read the installation instructions several times and gave up. It seemed like there were a thousand (well maybe only 20 or 50) boot images to choose from & no clear idea of which or why. So I gave up & didn't start again until I found HLUG (Houston TX) in 2001. I was not a beginner: 1964 - IBM 7094 SNOBOL, 1971 - Nixdorf Assembly at work, 1982 - Heathkit Z89 CP/M & submit files every program on a bootable diskette. But there are times when I want something that works right out of the box, as do most of our potential converts out there.
<rant /> Thanks for your patience.