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Old 03-22-2010, 03:22 AM   #1
jqpdev
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Why is Ubuntu and its splinter distros so popular


The thread title holds the question. What's so great about Ubuntu (and its splinters) that makes it better than the other distros like Mandrake/Mandriva, Redhat, Debian, SuSe, and Slackware?
 
Old 03-22-2010, 03:34 AM   #2
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The question implies that Ubuntu and its splinters are "great". What is the basis for that? Undoubtedly they are popular in the sense that many people do install and run them. Perhaps the real question is "Why is ubuntu so popular?".
 
Old 03-22-2010, 04:06 AM   #3
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Given that Mandrake hasn't been around for quite some time, the question sounds a little like an long-outdated computer-sciences/homework assignment (no offence intended at all, if you are actually just curious).

Ubuntu is not better than Slackware, but that's just my biased opinion. Some distros are less suited to certain things too, IMHO (for example, most people probably would not run a production server made out of Ubuntu-- some people probably do, yes, but most don't). Here's a story:

My roommate, she is not biased towards Slackware like I am. She wants a desktop that *works*, and is easy to use. She recently switched to Ubuntu 9.04 and wiped Windows away for good. She was quite happy for a time. When 9.10 came around, she upgraded, and discovered stuff that used to work, now did not. She went back to 9.04. When 10.04 came out (beta right now) she again tried it out: It took forever to boot up, and then she found that not only did the stuff that was broken in the last release, not get fixed, but it was more bloaty, and slower than ever too. She tossed Ubuntu and switched to PCLinuxOS. Now she's happy again.

Indeed.. "Great" and "popular" are very different, and "great" is entirely subjective. Ubuntu is a truly great replacement for Windows, definitely. But a replacement for Slackware? No.
 
Old 03-22-2010, 04:19 AM   #4
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When did Mandrake become extinct?
 
Old 03-22-2010, 04:22 AM   #5
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http://desktoplinux.com/news/NS3254578534.html

Based on the above article, somewhere around 2005 :/
 
Old 03-22-2010, 04:53 AM   #6
jqpdev
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@Grapefruitgirl
I know the company merged with Conectiva and went through the name change as well as the product name change. The Mandriva website is functional and offers a link to download its 2010 release. Thus extinction is only semantics.

I would like to understand the differences in the distros. and I don't see or understand what sets Ubuntu apart from any of the other distros other than that it is popular. From my current experience with 9.1 desktop is that it is a waste of a blank CD.
See why here: http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...esktop-796990/

Somewhere between 2003 and 2004, I pitched switching to Linux to replace a large chunk of the server environment for a mid-sized non-profit. I found Mandrake and Suse to be the easiest of the distos to use at the time. My demonstration to the IT staff was made using Mandrake and they liked it. The large chunk of server environment translated to approx 30 server boxes across 9-12 sites. Actual migration probably would have been done with Red Hat and support contracts and some server consolidations.

Another demo of Linux as a desktop replacement to Windows XP was done with Mandrake. This time it was done for the not so tech savvy middle and upper management staff. Everyone liked it but they were cautious. The organization lost funding/income streams and the project died. Lots of lay-offs in all areas of the organization meant Linux wasn't top priority for people. Most were so concerned with not getting laid off that they had no interested in taking on "risky" projects.

So my original question still stands.
 
Old 03-22-2010, 11:42 AM   #7
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It is you who is characterizing Ubuntu/Kubuntu as the "latest and greatest" and then asking here what makes it so great. So, how about telling us why you think it is supposed to be the best. Are you willing to try other distributions, or are you determined to use only the so-called "latest and greatest", [K]Ubuntu in other words, and are going to declare Linux a failure if you can't get those two working on your system?
 
Old 03-22-2010, 12:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jqpdev View Post
What's so great about Ubuntu (and its splinters) that makes it better than the other distros like Mandrake/Mandriva, Redhat, Debian, SuSe, and Slackware?
I think the number one factor making any software popular is the perception that it already is popular.

By the time you know enough about Linux to make an informed choice between distributions, you don't need to anymore; You know enough to customize any distribution into being what you want.

So when making that uninformed decision about software, most people look at popularity as a measure of quality. So being popular makes software more popular.

I'm not entirely sure how Ubuntu became super popular. Now that it is so popular, that is a factor keeping it so popular.

That said, I think Ubuntu is actually superior to Redhat, Debian, SuSe, and Slackware for a desktop (not server) Linux system and especially for a Linux beginner.

The number one thing making Ubuntu superior is the existence of Debian. Debian is a great foundation on which to build a Linux distribution. A whole lot of the work of building and maintaining a distribution can be simply inherited from Debian. Those who maintain a distribution such as Ubuntu can focus on just a fraction of what it takes to maintain a distribution while delivering a complete distribution.

Ubuntu is better than any distribution not based on Debian because Debian is a better (especially more complete) base.

Ubuntu is better than Debian, because Debian has a bit too much open source fanaticism for the good of the end user. Maybe Debian is legally and/or morally more correct and maybe their approach is better for the long term health of the open source community, but at any given moment more compromise on those issues is better for the end user.

Ubuntu is also better than Debian because of the things Ubuntu has added, especially toward making Linux a little more beginner friendly.

I think Mepis has done a slightly better job of layering a few beginner friendly changes on top of the Debian base. I think Mepis is a better Linux distribution than Ubuntu. But at the level of a comparison against Redhat, Debian, SuSe, and Slackware, the difference between KUbuntu and Mepis is almost invisible.

Ubuntu also has a big support team that less popular distributions such as Mepis lack. That is a second way that popularity leads to more popularity. Popularity tends to increase support resources, which increases popularity.
 
Old 03-22-2010, 12:56 PM   #9
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popular != great

It's popular because it's very much like Window$, and it appeals to n00bs. (go ahead, flame me)
 
Old 03-22-2010, 01:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
It is you who is characterizing Ubuntu/Kubuntu as the "latest and greatest" and then asking here what makes it so great. So, how about telling us why you think it is supposed to be the best.
No, he/she is not.

Ubuntu is demonstrably the most popular linux distribution. For example, according to a poll by Linux Journal, some 31% of respondents, or 2848 people, used Ubuntu. The next higher number was Novell/Suse with a mere 983 votes, or 11%.

The poster is obviously noting Ubuntu's popularity and asking why is it so popular, why it gets so much attention, when in their experience, there is nothing special to recommend it. To which I have no particular answer.
 
Old 03-22-2010, 01:06 PM   #11
jqpdev
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Quote:
Originally Posted by penguiniator View Post
It is you who is characterizing Ubuntu/Kubuntu as the "latest and greatest" and then asking here what makes it so great. So, how about telling us why you think it is supposed to be the best. Are you willing to try other distributions, or are you determined to use only the so-called "latest and greatest", [K]Ubuntu in other words, and are going to declare Linux a failure if you can't get those two working on your system?
I characterized Ubuntu/Kubuntu as latest and greatest because it seems to be quite popular. The same could be said of Mandrake, SuSe or RedHat in the past. Its been at least 5 to 7 years since I spent time with Linux and its time to get reacquainted. I'm open to trying other distros. However, I would rather not go through a lengthy trial and error process only to discover the information gained could have been obtained via a handful of replies to a simple forum post.

So I'm asking the community for advice and insight. Ubuntu and [K]Ubuntu v9.1 desktop distros fail to boot after installation on hardware that is 6 to 12 years old. The hardware is in good working condition and was pulled from safe storage. It might be that I'm overlooking something or that simple fix/workaround is available.

So let me ask more specific questions (from this point forward in this post I will refer to Ubuntu and [K]Ubuntu as just Ubuntu)...

1- Can anyone point me to an objective analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the Ubuntu v9.1 desktop and server distros?

2 - Can anyone point me to an objective comparison of Ubuntu v9.1 desktop and server distros against any of the following distros (stable releases only): Red Hat, Fedora, Slackware, Mandriva, SuSe, OpenSuSe, Gentoo or Debian.

3 - Can anyone list reasons for and/or against choosing Ubuntu v9.1 desktop/server based on their own experience?

4 - If you had to choose desktop and server distros for a series of large scale deployments, in a business or US federal government environment spanning multiple geographic locations, and you had a budget of $800 million US, which distos would you choose and why?
 
Old 03-22-2010, 01:16 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jqpdev View Post
3 - Can anyone list reasons for and/or against choosing Ubuntu v9.1 desktop/server based on their own experience?
a couple reasons for
ubuntu is relatively simple to install/configure (though the same can be said of several modern distributions)
ubuntu is based on slightly older but known to be stable packages as opposed to bleeding edge but less tested packages
reasons aainst?
not many i can think of

Quote:
Originally Posted by jqpdev View Post
4 - If you had to choose desktop and server distros for a series of large scale deployments, in a business or US federal government environment spanning multiple geographic locations, and you had a budget of $800 million US, which distos would you choose and why?
as for a deployment THAT big i would probably go with an enterprise grade linux like redhat or suse enterprise because they come with support packages
 
Old 03-22-2010, 01:16 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by reed9 View Post
No, he/she is not.

Ubuntu is demonstrably the most popular linux distribution. For example, according to a poll by Linux Journal, some 31% of respondents, or 2848 people, used Ubuntu. The next higher number was Novell/Suse with a mere 983 votes, or 11%.

The poster is obviously noting Ubuntu's popularity and asking why is it so popular, why it gets so much attention, when in their experience, there is nothing special to recommend it. To which I have no particular answer.
Yes, he did. He referred to another post about the same topic where he says, "I'm picking up Linux again after several years. The last version a Linux I had was Mandrake v9.1. However, in looking to get the latest/greatest Linux I downloaded Ubuntu and Kubuntu." I reject the idea that the most popular is the best. If that's the case, let's all dump Linux and use Windows.
 
Old 03-22-2010, 01:57 PM   #14
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Yes, he did. He referred to another post about the same topic where he says, "I'm picking up Linux again after several years. The last version a Linux I had was Mandrake v9.1. However, in looking to get the latest/greatest Linux I downloaded Ubuntu and Kubuntu."
This is a slightly pointless conversation, but, I still think this is mis-characterizing what the poster is saying. Especially since the poster clarified with, "I characterized Ubuntu/Kubuntu as latest and greatest because it seems to be quite popular." Which is what I'm saying - he/she looked at what's happening in the linux world, saw Ubuntu was crazy popular, and is wondering why.

Quote:
I reject the idea that the most popular is the best. If that's the case, let's all dump Linux and use Windows.
I agree with you on this. But neither I nor the poster said said that what is most popular is best.
 
Old 03-22-2010, 02:10 PM   #15
jqpdev
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Thank you guys your replies are quite helpful.

I can't objectively evaluate Ubuntu because it fails to boot (on my hardware). If its failing to boot for me it is quite possible that its failing for others. The fact that it fails to boot after a fresh install lead me to the question of how is this distro (product) so popular if one can't use it. I tested the hardware with Microsoft's products and there are no problems. The old Mandrake v9.1 recognized the equipment as well.

My expectation is that the Linux install scripts and hardware detection would have improved greatly in 5 to 6 years to the point that slightly older main stream equipment would be usable with little to no end user involvement.

I agree most popular does NOT equal best. However, there is no ONE best distro for every set of equipment and every end user. More popular does not equal best but it does imply better community support, and a greater amount of shared knowledge of the product.

If Ubuntu is quite popular then support should be quick and easy to find. Anyone care to take a stab at my other post? -->
http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...esktop-796990/


Also Reed9 pegged it with: "I'm saying - he/she looked at what's happening in the linux world, saw Ubuntu was crazy popular, and is wondering why."

Last edited by jqpdev; 03-22-2010 at 02:12 PM.
 
  


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