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Stealth Bot 09-30-2013 01:59 PM

Why do certain distros have a reputation of being difficult to use or install
 
Well we all know the usual suspects. Arch, Slackware, Crux, Gentoo and LFS.

I've used the first three except for LFS and Gentoo because I don't have the patience to build them. Crux, however installs a base system via binaries but the kernel is all you need to build during the install process and the software packages after your system is up and ready.

Anyway, I don't see any difficulty using these distros. I mean, if you can read the online documentation and follow directions it is not as hard to use or install as some people claim it to be.

I love these distos because they really make you learn linux whereas others do too much hand holding and you learn very little.

This is just my personal opinion or lite rant of these distros having this kind of reputation.

Cheers

colorpurple21859 09-30-2013 02:26 PM

Quote:

if you can read the online documentation
That is why they are considered difficult. First you have to read vs just inserting a cd and away you go. The second thing is you need to be able to follow instructions and understand what your reading.

Stealth Bot 09-30-2013 02:45 PM

There could be some merit to your reply. Some people may have read the documentation but still found it too complex to do or too time consuming.

Amway, I like these distros and they're not as difficult to use. IMHO

Thanks for the reply :)

peter2012 09-30-2013 03:50 PM

I am one of those Kubuntu cowards who's never really battled with the more bare metal installations. Whilst Kubuntu makes a lot of things easy and automatic, there's still a good deal that can be done with it. That saying, I'd love to try the hard way of setting up an LFS system or getting a bit more into Slackware - just to learn more about the system. It never hurts to engage in the battle to learn something new! At least it keeps the brain going!
The day I give up on learning would be a sad day; I might as well give up on life and apply for a place in the next pensioner's home!

Thanks for writing your opinion, I share it, too! Much appreciated!

Timothy Miller 09-30-2013 06:19 PM

IMO, Arch is difficult to use since every 3 weeks you have to chroot into your installation to fix what the devs decided to break because something shiny caught their eye (slight exaggeration, but still true).

Slackware requires more manual handholding than MANY people are willing to dedicate.

Can't say I've ever used Crux, so no idea.

LFS would be the hardest to install since you're literally building the system from scratch, hence the name. Takes a while to get a working system due to that, too.

Gentoo, in the early days, suffered from the same squirrel-brained devs syndrome that Arch does. It was OFTEN breaking after updates. So it got it's reputation for being notoriously difficult to be able to use. I haven't used it in years myself but I've heard that it's nowhere near as unstable as it used to be anymore.

nonamedotc 09-30-2013 07:16 PM

I would say it all boils down to time and desire. Personally, I prefer using package manager with dependency resolution. Many do not prefer automatic dependency resolution - because they say it breaks things. My own experience does not lead me to that view. I have no desire to compile from source (unless I have to) and absolutely no desire to hunt down dependencies.

I like to try new technologies while at the same time offering stability and ease of use. So, I use Fedora - which suits me perfectly.

frankbell 09-30-2013 09:20 PM

I can't argue with anything anyone has said above, but I do have two cents:

I think the issue regarding Slackware is that it doesn't offer to partition and format the hard drive automatically. Other than that, the installation is fairly straightforward and the installation directions in the various screens are clear (in fact, it may be the amount of detail on some of those screens that intimidates some people). After partitioning, accept the defaults and you are generally okay (though I normally have to do the "expert" LILO install; the automatic one has never worked for me.)

Arch, Gentoo, and LFS are indeed difficult to install (with increasing difficulty in the order listed).

suicidaleggroll 09-30-2013 10:19 PM

Because some people just need to drive to the store, they don't want to have to build the car first ;)

I did find Slack's installation straight forward (other than the lack of an auto partitioner, which was mildly annoying, but I got over it quickly). It was everything that came after installation that made me leave it. Things that SHOULD be straight forward were an absolute nightmare. Yes there's documentation, but I'm the kind of person who likes to work through things myself and then refer to documentation when I get stuck. This process works perfectly fine on almost any Linux distro there is, including embedded systems with restricted utilities and almost zero documentation, but it doesn't work on Slack. Slack forces you to follow step by step instructions for nearly anything you want to do. For me, that's A) annoying, and B) not educational at all.

I don't have the time to spend 3 hours trying and failing to install a web browser, Googling, finding walkthroughs that also fail, finding other walkthroughs that work, but follow the most ridiculously unintuitive process imaginable that doesn't teach you a thing about Linux or how you would do it on any other distribution. Multilib support is laughable, a package management system without dependency resolution is equally laughable, etc.

Of course these are all my opinions, and I'm sure the Slack-brigade will tear apart every one. Either way, as you can tell, Slack was not for me.

m.a.l.'s pa 09-30-2013 10:25 PM

There are times when I just want to do a quick and easy installation, when I want/need to get a computer totally up and running as quickly as possible, so I'm glad that there are so-called "easy distros" out there.

dugan 09-30-2013 11:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by suicidaleggroll (Post 5037676)
I don't have the time to spend 3 hours trying and failing to install a web browser [on Slackware].

I'm kinda curious as to how that happened.

DavidMcCann 10-01-2013 11:17 AM

I'm often accused of being unfair to Slackware, but I've never said it was difficult to install. I did it without reading the instructions: with the new version of Fedora's Anaconda, I had to print out the instructions to make sense of it!

As for Arch, I can't see the point of their lack of an installer, unless it's just that they can't be bothered to write one and are too snobbish to use someone else's. There's the right way, the wrong way, and the Arch way...

dugan 10-01-2013 11:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by colorpurple21859 (Post 5037474)
That is why they are considered difficult. First you have to read vs just inserting a cd and away you go. The second thing is you need to be able to follow instructions and understand what your reading.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Timothy Miller (Post 5037581)
Slackware requires more manual handholding than MANY people are willing to dedicate.

I'd say that, together, these nicely sum up what makes some distributions more "difficult" than others.

TobiSGD 10-01-2013 11:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DavidMcCann (Post 5038058)
As for Arch, I can't see the point of their lack of an installer, unless it's just that they can't be bothered to write one and are too snobbish to use someone else's.

They had an installer, but somehow it ended up unmaintained and nobody wanted to step up for this. So they ended up writing a few scripts instead of an integrated installer and let the user do the work. I don't think that Arch users have a problem with that, otherwise someone would have stepped up to maintain the installer.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Stealth Bot
Anyway, I don't see any difficulty using these distros.

Because you know your way around. The "normal" user, coming from Windows or OS X pre-installed on their systems, doesn't know about partitions and stuff, they are happy with options like "Install alongside Windows" in the installer and would be totally overwhelmed with the mass of options they never heard anything about that you can choose from Slackware's installer or Debian's installer in expert mode, not to talk about distros that don't even have an installer, like Arch or Gentoo. those people usually do not want and do not need knowledge about this stuff, what they want is a working OS to work with, without any hassle about the underlying system.

frieza 10-01-2013 12:09 PM

I find that 'hard' is relative to the skill level of the person making the attempt, someone with 20+ years of Linux experience might find an LFS install to be a breeze, whereas someone with 0 experience with computers at all might find even a basic fedora or Ubuntu installation too difficult.

Sumguy 10-03-2013 11:36 PM

As a general computer illiterate, and Linux noob, I find a distro's degree of difficulty relative to it's level of GUI integration- i.e distros that rely entirely or largely on CLI, are difficult. Distros with GUI for almost everything, are easy. I was thinking of trying a "hard" Linux distro as a secondary OS- mainly for learning purposes....but I just don't know if it's worth it anymore, since the GUIs on some of the best distros (like Debian) are now so good, that they allow Bubbas like myself to do pretty much everything via intuitive GUI- which is how we learned to use Windurs- the difference being, Linux is even easier (and of course, works better) than Windurs.

Ubuntu 10.04 was my first Linux distro. I had wanted to go with Debian from the beginning, but had heard that it was not really for noobs. After just recently switching to Debian 7 "Wheezy", I have to say that I do believe Debian is now even easier for noobs than Ubuntu 10.04. Ithink with some of these distros, their past reputations of being not-for-noobs or "harder" is a reputation that has lingered from their earlier days, when there may have been more bugs and less/no GUI.

Give me a good GUI and I can figure-out almost anything; and do almost anything. Some of these modern distros are now to that point- and since using the GUI is so much easier and more intuitive/requires little or no research/memorizing commands, and allows me to accomplish things so much faster, I'm re-evaluating the idea of learning to be proficient with CLI. I kind of see it like texting: Why type out written messages on a tiny keypad when yolu're holding a PHONE in your hand and could just TALK to the person? [This I will NEVER understand!]


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