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Old 01-09-2006, 09:45 AM   #16
Dtsazza
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Just a little something to add to this thread that I haven't seen mentioned yet - as Ray2047 says, it's really the front-end that you'll notice most as a migrating Windows user, closely followed by the package management. A lot of the other differences are behind-the-scenes things like directory structure, startup script locations etc. that you needn't really concern yourself with if you're steering clear of the command line (and that you can easily pick up later should you decide to dive in after a bit). Ease of installation is also a good thing, of course, but most if not all major distributions have a graphical setup that rivals Windows' for ease-of-use.

I can recommend KDE as the easiest desktop to get used to for Windows users, so if you are going to go with Ubuntu (a worthy choice), you might prefer their Kubuntu flavour - pretty much the same distribution, but it comes with KDE installed rather than Gnome.
 
Old 01-09-2006, 11:42 AM   #17
davholla
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Electro
Package based distributions like Mandrake or Mandriva, Redhat, Fedora, Suse, Mepis, Slackware, Debian, Ubuntu are a pain in the ass to install programs because all the dependencies you have to install.
I think that you do not get many problems using apt-get. I have had knoppix installed to my hard drive for a year and I love apt-get.

Last edited by davholla; 01-09-2006 at 11:44 AM.
 
Old 01-10-2006, 12:56 PM   #18
Dtsazza
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Electro
Package based distributions like Mandrake or Mandriva, Redhat, Fedora, Suse, Mepis, Slackware, Debian, Ubuntu are a pain in the ass to install programs because all the dependencies you have to install.
I think you may have missed the point of dependencies. They're not optional extras which might be nice to have, they're things (e.g. common libraries) that the program depends on. If you don't install the dependencies, you can't install the program. This reason is in fact package managers' greatest strength; they save you from having to run around collecting up all the dependencies yourself.

In addition, Debian's apt-get (at least, others may do something similar) does give you a list of Suggested and Recommended packages whenever you do an apt-get, which is actually really nice (a bit like Amazon's "If you liked this, you might also like...").

The only way to solve dependancy problems is to actually have the program be entirely self-contained, which while it is easier for the user to download, involves including the same code over and over (imagine if every C program had to explicitly contain fopen!) which would bloat the size of the program, and make it harder to maintain (if there's an error in a library which gets patched, you have to go through every program and replace the lines you cut-and-pasted rather than upgrading the library).

I really fail to see how compiling all the programs and libraries by hand is easier than letting the package manager download their respective binaries.
 
Old 01-10-2006, 10:22 PM   #19
Electro
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I do not like package based distributions because the libraries that one program needs are mostly optional and not everybody uses those optional features. A service like SAMBA is usually compiled with everything in an RPM file and usually it does not include large file support. On a production server, there is high chance there will be vulnerabilities in certain extra features in SAMBA. By compiling SAMBA, the admin can pick what features he or she needs to minimize security problems and include the features that they need.

By compiling programs you have the ability to pick what features you want. With Gentoo, you can update or revise every library and program to not use PAM which does have security issues if you are not careful. With package based distributions, you are stuck with what you got. A program can actually make the program size smaller and be less memory hungry when selecting only the features that you need. When using Pentium 4 (80786) systems, the performance boost is very good if programs are compiled for it. Normally, RPM are compiled for 80686, so Pentium 4 will get a massive performance penalty.

A program can be compiled as static which means it is self contained or does not need any libraries to load before the main program to load. This takes up memory and a little more space but it does make it easier for novice Linux users to run with out any problems. Usually Linux commerical software are compiled as static to minimize glitches that may come up with the user's system. If the program is compiled as static, no need to cut and paste lines of code. There are headers to include in the c or cpp file. An edit in the header files is all is needed.

I am not missing the point of dependencies. Most dependencies are not needed for many programs to run. Dependencies usually gives the Linux community a black eye. If distributions uses a similar way that Gentoo uses and standardized it, it will make it easier to install programs in Linux.

You can go with package based distributions but I am sticking with compiling because for me it is the easiests way to install and upgrade programs and libraries. Gentoo makes this process even easier.

I have tried package based distributions for a few years and Gentoo offers flexible program installs that can only done with compiling programs.
 
Old 01-11-2006, 05:14 AM   #20
Dtsazza
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Ah, right, I take your point - that by reducing the feature set of your deployed application, you reduce the number of libraries etc. that it relies on to run. In which case I completely agree with you that you gain more flexibility and potential reduction in size, because packages will be configured with the most general feature set.

From a beginner's point of view, packaging is useful for those situations where you just want the software to install and work without having to worry about passing lots of arguments to ./configure; and since most users a)have lots of hard drive space, and b)aren't running mission-critical applications, this is acceptable (though you do have a good point about compiling to CPU-specific code). And I will say that it's disc space (and potentially an extra library or two that could have a security hole) that's the main issue; I've not encountered and major problems getting then dependencies since it happens automatically, so the main hit is that it'll take a bit of extra download time. To my mind, packaging is a nice thing to have to ease you in to using Linux, or for those apps that you don't really care about tweaking much. You can always build from source anyway (and with apt-get at least, you can download, configure and install source packages through it so that it knows you have that 'package' installed, albeit from source).

Out of interest, what is it about Gentoo that you feel makes it ideal for compiling programs from source? I was under the impression that if you get down to the compiling level, the choice of distribution isn't going to affect things much (since you're just working with gcc, libraries and files) so I'd appreciate your input.

Last edited by Dtsazza; 01-11-2006 at 05:16 AM.
 
Old 01-11-2006, 10:18 AM   #21
sdtke212
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As I have never used Linux before, I just installed Debian with *so far* no problems. I really haven't done much with it and don't know to much about it, but it's an option. It picked up all my devices so far and all my drives (floppy, 2 dvd).

Just my two cents
 
Old 01-11-2006, 10:52 AM   #22
davholla
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Electro
By compiling programs you have the ability to pick what features you want. With Gentoo, you can update or revise every library and program to not use PAM which does have security issues if you are not careful. With package based distributions, you are stuck with what you got. A program can actually make the program size smaller and be less memory hungry when selecting only the features that you need. When using Pentium 4 (80786) systems, the performance boost is very good if programs are compiled for it. Normally, RPM are compiled for 80686, so Pentium 4 will get a massive performance penalty.

.
Are there any figures to show for example how much quicker Firefox i s for a given machine running Debian or Gentoo with the same back ground services ?
 
  


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