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Old 10-04-2012, 10:08 AM   #1
eBlip
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why all the distros of linux


can somebody please explain this to me..
if i understand correctly linux is open source.
so why all the different distributions..

im only interested in command line stuff for starters
so would i be right in thinking that i can get any linux distribution.
and then as and when i need certain software...eg...a word processor..or a python compiler or a disk burner or a port scanner...i should just be able to get a copy of a port scanner from anywhere and install it on my linux system. and it will work.

if so then are the distros just packages of certain free software with a certain look...is that all they are....and that this package of software should be able to be loaded up to ANY LINUX SYSTEM.

im sorry if i am being naive ...but i just want clarification from someone who knows..

thanks guys.
 
Old 10-04-2012, 10:15 AM   #2
acid_kewpie
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Generally speaking you can compile whatever Linux software you want on any distro, but where the main differences arise is the prebuilt packages. You very very rarely really need to compile your own software as you'll get a drop-in package for your system, e.g. an rpm file on fedora / redhat, a deb file on debian / ubuntu / mint, etc. I'd generally recommend to stick with a major distro like the ones mentioned here as you'll probably find anything you want ready to install very simply using their package management system.
 
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:22 AM   #3
eBlip
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oh i see..
so if i just downloaded nmap from somewhere...i would have to compile it myself. which could get complicated...before i can install it.
oh im from a windows background...and thought i couldjust download and install it...i dont know anything about compillation.
you see my aim is to get command line linux and to run everything from command line without a windows environment.
by going through directories and then running the programm i want..
plus i dont want anything whatsoever on my pc that i dont use...i want a slim version of linux..that does everything i want and no frills..

is this going to be difficult to achieve without compiller experience.

thank you.
 
Old 10-04-2012, 10:33 AM   #4
TroN-0074
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Sure you can install any GNU-Linux distribution, or any UNIX compatible Operating System for that matter and start a session without graphical interface.

The many distributions out there are because they target different group of users. Some distros are more for office and business environments, some other are more for house and home users, some distros out there are more for servers and networking managements. Most tools can be install it in any distro of your preference and you can customize the distro you are using to be more for your liking.

Each distro has its own package manager so you install more applications to your computer from your distros package managers repository instead of just downloading from any web site.

Some distros have newer versions of software than others depend on what you are using.
Good look to you.
 
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:34 AM   #5
acid_kewpie
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not a problem at all. it's *MUCH* easier than windows.

If, for example, you install Ubuntu, from a command line you'd just run "sudo apt-get install nmap" and absolutely nothing else. No going online to a website, do manually downloading a setup.exe or anything. Painfully simple and fast.
 
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Old 10-04-2012, 11:45 AM   #6
dsplayer14
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EDIT: nvm
 
Old 10-04-2012, 12:06 PM   #7
DavidMcCann
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All the things you mention will be in most distributions.

It's generally best to use programs from the distro, if available, rather than adding things yourself. Commercial software comes complete with every thing you need, including library files. Open-source software doesn't: they just tell you what libraries they used and leave it to you to get them before you attempt to compile. The distributor will have made sure that you get all the dependencies of the program and, importantly, that all the programs that use a given library are happy using the same version.

A port scanner may not be installed by default, but your distro's repository will have one: a quick check shows mine has Nmap, for example.
 
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Old 10-04-2012, 12:15 PM   #8
eBlip
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hey thanks for that info david mccann...im getting more of an understanding now..
i think ill try and get a programm running by getting the code ...finding out what needs linking to it..and then compiling it...see if i can get it to run
that is exactly the type of stuff i want to learn about..the actual low level computing stuff.

thank you
 
Old 10-04-2012, 01:46 PM   #9
guyonearth
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Linux is just a kernel, you can build up anything around it that you want, and everybody's got their own idea of what that should be. The advantage is that you have a lot of things to choose from as far as software and desktops. The disadvantage is that the continued fragmentation dilutes resources that could be used to make the overall system better, often into vanity projects that go absolutely nowhere.
 
Old 10-04-2012, 01:56 PM   #10
eBlip
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yes guy on earth...i think the best policy may be to forget all the distros...and just have choice of a fantastic gui that can be modified easily to suit the user...or command line..and all the distro companies would be better off focussing all their efforts on say one word processor development...or a port scanner...and make the available sofware library for linux the best software available in the world for everything from image manipulation...to word processing ..to databases...and security etc.

that would be an ideal world...and some of the guys just continually add improvements to the gnu/linux kernal and functions.
this hundred different distros is possibly waste of huge talent that would be better placed improving something else...

but in the name of open source....i am still happy with the way things are...its a powerful medium and free.
 
Old 10-04-2012, 02:09 PM   #11
johnsfine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eBlip View Post
you see my aim is to get command line linux and to run everything from command line without a windows environment.
You can certainly do that with Linux, but I think that is just a way to make things harder for the sake of being harder.

Quote:
i dont want anything whatsoever on my pc that i dont use.
That is even harder and even more pointless.

Disk space is cheap. Many developers of open source software don't even pay attention to which basic packages they are making their software depend on. Since all that basic software is free, there isn't much reason to avoid depending on it. But for an end user, especially a beginner, that is trying to trim out everything he doesn't need, things can get messy.

As you seem to have figured out, compiling from source gives you a better understanding of what depends on what and a better chance to trim down to only what you use. But that is a lot of work and I don't see the point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eBlip View Post
this hundred different distros is possibly waste of huge talent that would be better placed improving something else...
I think that is unquestionably true. The answer to your thread subject question is certainly "because they can" not "because they should". But you seem to understand already that is all an acceptable consequence of the freedom of open source. The barriers to creating a new distribution are set pretty low to begin with and then there is no real enforcement of the rules, so the effective barriers are even lower: Typically no one forces the creator of a new distribution to provide copies of whatever GPL source code he chose for creating his binaries, even though GPL legally places that burden. So anyone with the ego to create a distribution can do so. There is no requirement that the new distribution fill some valid niche.

Last edited by johnsfine; 10-04-2012 at 02:28 PM.
 
Old 10-04-2012, 02:17 PM   #12
eBlip
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hi jobnsfine...there is something in me that gets a kick out of the low level stuff...im into networking and tcp ip protocols and direct access to routers and switches ..and all that info can be accessed through the command line....i suppose im a bit geeky to be honest..always trying to understand the way things work....maybe i will leave out the slimming down of my system for now..it sounds like quite dodgy and the backtrack 5 that i use is loaded with good stuff anyway..just the ubuntu seemed to be full of games and the like.
 
Old 10-04-2012, 02:20 PM   #13
TroN-0074
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Well if you cant live without compailing then Gentoo Linux is what you are looking for (http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/handboo...l=1#book_part1), If learning and understanding is the objetive of your search then Linux From Scratch is what you need to install (http://www.linuxfromscratch.org/lfs/download.html). There are also other distros you might need to keep in mind
Arch Linux (http://www.archlinux.org/download/) and SlackWare (http://www.slackware.com/). Some people try these distros then quickly releaze that is more than what they can handle.

So if you are a new comer I would suggest you to try a distro that is fully funtional from installation instead of having to set up everything from the ground.

Having only one flavor or distro doesnt work in the open source world because everybody like different stuff, so to me having several choices of GUIs, Text editors, web browsers, terminal managers, etc is what is all about. Just stick with what you like and works best for you and leave the other fellows live alon.
Good luck to you

Last edited by TroN-0074; 10-04-2012 at 03:31 PM.
 
Old 10-04-2012, 02:40 PM   #14
eBlip
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wow tron....that stuff has blown my mind...
im gonna try the linux from scratch ..ill just partition my hard drive and play with it until i pull this thing off...what a great way to understand the workings of linux ..plus i suppose it will give me a solid foundation for systems administration.

thank you.
 
Old 10-04-2012, 02:46 PM   #15
acid_kewpie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eBlip View Post
wow tron....that stuff has blown my mind...
im gonna try the linux from scratch ..ill just partition my hard drive and play with it until i pull this thing off...what a great way to understand the workings of linux ..plus i suppose it will give me a solid foundation for systems administration.

thank you.
LFS??? Jesus, I didn't expect that... really??? I'd strongly suggest you don't until you're familiar with Linux as a normal user.
 
  


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