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Which linux distro do you feel has taken the biggest step forward in 2010? Which one has been the biggest dissapointment?
For me the most improved linux distro this year has been the latest version of Knoppix. As a relative newbie to linux, I found it to have a user-friendly interface, a good selection of software applications already included, instant wireless connection recognition (which I can't say the same for some of the other leading distros!) as well as a decent package installation manager. There are a still a few annoying aspects to this distro but with a little more work it can certainly give some of the other more 'popular' ones a close run in the not too distant future.
Biggest dissapointment: I feel Ubuntu has not made any significant improvement this year with its releases. Unfortunately I stilll get the same old problems with wireless connectivity on my machine and there is some serious bug(s) with regards to the synaptic package manger that need to get sorted out asap.
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I have not tried many distributions in 2010 (despite a short look), but for me personally my desktop Linux has made the biggest improvement. I have learned really much in the last year about Linux in general and Debian in my special case. So I was able to setup my desktop systems much better. For example, at the beginning of the year I was using Gnome, but for me it was to bloated and came with too much stuff, that I have never used. So I looked around and made the change to LXDE, which I could set up much better for my preferences. But looking further into LXDE made me look at Openbox (which is used as WM in LXDE) and I gave it a try. Now I run Openbox as base for my "personal DE". That I think is for me the biggest improvement.
The distro that I would think of as "The Looser of the Year" is Ubuntu.
Here are the reasons: I personally think the last somewhat usable version was 9.10 (I find it rather funny that, where other distros get better with later versions, Ubuntu don't). 10.04 and 10.10 where released buggy (how disappointing is a buggy LTS version?), and never really fixed. And in my eyes, Canonical does no favor with that behavior to the Linux community. Ubuntu is the most used distro for beginners on desktop systems, and even worse the most recommended distro for people willing to change from Windows to Linux. And what do they find? A distro that is as buggy as Windows. No wonder that many new users look at that and think "Whoa, they all lied, it is not more stable than Windows. And even worse, I can't use my iWhatever with it, and my games also don't run. And I have to go to a forum to make my graphics run as intended. What a crap."
P.S.: I wonder if this thread will end as flamewar.
I tried Sabayon this year. The very first update to the system hosed it big time. That took care of that. I haven't tried any others this year. Maybe in 2011 I'll give another a try.
The biggest problem with other distros is in downloading all the stuff necessary to compile extra software. I like to try new stuff occasionally, and Slackware makes that so easy with a full install. I haven't seen an option for a full install with any other. For example - Mandriva PowerPack. The dev tools are there, but you have to search them out. I never saw an option for a full install anywhere. It may be there and I'm just blind, though.
Biggest dissapointment of 2010:
Basicaly all releases from every distribution.
Why you might ask in great wonder...
The latest (fast growing) trend with distribution builders and OSS builders in general, is: Quantity before quality.
If you look at how distributions have grown till now, starting from say 2000, you'll notice how many dull errors in design where made especially the last , say 5 years, of this era.
With this is mean, lack of innovation on the endusers perspectives combined with half ready apps emerging all around (resulting in frowns with the users, and crashes, annoyances etc etc), yet those software builder claim the tool(s) to be ready (stable/fully functioning).
e.g. the choice for Nouveau to be default (resulting in throusands of complaints about blank screens upon booting etc), or the latest Xorg (while the distro builders KNEW there where no Nvidia drivers ready for it, still they release it! how stupid can one be? i really wonder)
Or what about the forced introduction of PulseAudio (early this year)? (even when the pulse developers adviced against it, the distro builder yet again choose to release it in their distribution anyway!)
Numerous examples can be brought up, for the last 2 years alone.. the pinguin is sinking further and further in it's own shame....
Huge sloppy security issues emerged all over the place, since years of absence in the Linux world. (and read the word sloppy here, with a big underline, since that's the key word!)
The "We must conquer Windows territories" kind of vision by many distro builders. Well, as you can read, they are doing a good job there *wink*, since windows does the same stuff.. in the same wrong way. Darn it!, and i was thinking they where talking about market penetration rates, not the windows bugs/errors[/sarcastic mode]
anyway.. many distro's had annoying bugs, and where put on release far too early in the testing phase (read part about quantity), giving a sour taste to it's userbase.
let's forget 2010, and hope 2011 will be the resurrection of the good (quality) years of GNU/Linux distro's! Amen!
Ps.. i don't say Gnu/Linux is very bad in conditional terms, i say it's going worse compared to earlier years, i noticed a steep downward curve instead of climbing.