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I decided to post a little introduction to myself here: Ask me who I was last March, and I would have had WinBloze 7 Beta on my main computer and would have been part of Micro$uck's test project for WinBloze 7 and would have been excited about it. However, that changed as soon as my network adapter changed and the new one worked with Linux. As soon as I tested the new adapter with Mint (I'd say about a year ago, in July 2009) I began to really value Linux for what it is.

However, I knew about Linux long before that. I started with gOS 2, which was my first distro. I had tried it back in about February 2008. I first learned about Linux back in mid-2007, from an article in PCMag that spanned several pages. I had quite a hard time back then, and Ubuntu Hardy was no different than gOS.

So then what took me so long from knowing about Linux to finally becoming an active user? My house was nothing but Wi-Fi. My mother set a secure wireless network up back then, and I couldn't connect to it because my adapter (Linksys WUSB54GSC) wasn't recognized by Linux. I had the patience to continue.

Then, in June 2008, my family got hit by the economic collapse here in the USA: The mortgage on my old house doubled and my family had to leave because of the rate increase. So, we were stuck in a hotel room until my family and I could end up in a new house. That Christmas, I wanted a netbook, and got my wish (the one I'm typing on, an Acer Aspire One AOA110-1545). It came with Linux preinstalled, and I liked it all around.

From then to June 2009, I still had WinBloze on my desktop, as Linux still didn't work with my wireless network adapter. Then, in June 2009 as I said, I got a new wireless network adapter, and in July decided to test it with Linux Mint 7. It worked, even from the Live CD! Now,

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Rolling-Release Distro Face-Off: Linux Mint Debian Edition vs. Gentoo

Posted 09-12-2010 at 12:08 AM by Kenny_Strawn
Updated 09-14-2010 at 05:28 PM by Kenny_Strawn

Here are the pros and cons of several rolling-release distros that I have found:

Pros of Gentoo:
  • Is rolling-release and also source-based
  • Gentoo's ebuilds pull the most bleeding-edge software and dependencies from the apps' websites' Git repositories
  • Package manager actually supports binary packages (in the confines of proprietary drivers/browser plugins)

Cons of Gentoo:
  • Live CD only boots to a console
  • The command that it comes with to configure network connections only supports Ethernet
  • Have to install updates every week (from source, which takes forever)

Pros of Mint Debian Edition:
  • Unlike Slackware, Gentoo, or dumb-Debian (that which has a dumb terminal for a Live CD environment), actually has a Live CD desktop that closely resembles the mainstream Mint desktop
  • Has a binary package manager (apt-get), which may be less bleeding-edge than source-based package managers but also takes less time to install/upgrade (something newbies like)
  • Comes with CCSM, Adobe Flash Player, Wi-Fi drivers installed with NDISWrapper (mintwifi), proprietary nVidia and ATI drivers, MP3 and other codecs, and plenty of other goodies prepackaged
  • Pre-released updates for it integrate APT and search engines into the Search bar of the Mint Menu, allowing you to search for and install packages, search for files on your HDD, and search the Web from the Mint menu (kind of reminds me of Windows Vista's "Start Search" functionality (without all the M$ restrictions, of course))
  • Also comes prepackaged with all the Ubuntu-prepackages goodies you know and love (like OpenOffice, GIMP, Rhythmbox, and the like)

Cons of LMDE:
  • The fact that it is rolling-release means that updates are again released nearly every day (Unless I set the updates to automatically install, say, on a weekly schedule [wondering how I do that] for a Linux convert, there is no way the convert is going to stay)

The verdict:

For newbies: Linux Mint Debian Edition

For hard-core power users: Gentoo
Posted in Uncategorized
Views 10237 Comments 9
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Total Comments 9


  1. Old Comment
    I'm downloading LMDE to try it in VirtualBox. Seems like it could be nice.

    Also, you forgot Arch! It's also rolling-release.
    Posted 09-13-2010 at 11:27 AM by MTK358 MTK358 is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Very true, MTK. However, Arch is basically on-par with Gentoo in regards to the Live CD environment and also, despite using fewer characters to install software, Arch's package manager, syntactically, is definitely not for newbies, unless they use a GUI frontend.
    Posted 09-15-2010 at 12:07 AM by Kenny_Strawn Kenny_Strawn is offline
  3. Old Comment
    And as an update, most newbies consider anything in the command line "cryptic" and using one-letter options will only add to their opinions, especially if the letters are both capital and lower case (in my opinion that closely resembles an ASCII encryption key, despite the fact that I know those letters are abbreviations of whole words).
    Posted 09-15-2010 at 09:02 AM by Kenny_Strawn Kenny_Strawn is offline
  4. Old Comment
    pacman has long options. For example,
    pacman -Syu
    can be typed as
    pacman --sync --refresh --sysupgrade

    Also, it has binary packages, so it has less complexity and no waiting for compilation to finish.
    Posted 09-16-2010 at 04:04 PM by MTK358 MTK358 is offline
    Updated 09-16-2010 at 04:05 PM by MTK358
  5. Old Comment
    Okay, that I didn't know. However, isn't it easier if you don't have to type the '--' in front of the option?

    However, yes, Arch is definitely something to consider. Maybe if there was a Mint based on Arch I would try it.

    Or at least a distro that boots to a GUI from the Live CD based on Arch.
    Posted 09-16-2010 at 05:41 PM by Kenny_Strawn Kenny_Strawn is offline
  6. Old Comment
    That would be cool. And I still think that Arch's package management system completely beats the crap out of Debian and Red Hat. It's simplicity and elegence are outstanding, mostly because it was designed as a dependency-aware counterpart to CRUX's ultra-minimalist package manager.

    The nice features:
    • One application. Just one. No dpkg-deb, dpkg, apt-get, apt-cache, aptitude, etc., just pacman.
    • Super-simple package format, just an archive (good old tar, not obscure formats like ar or cpio) of the root directory with a file called .PKGINFO that contains metadata.
    • Marking as dependencies. If a package is marked as a dependency (i.e. was not explicitly installed but just pulled in as a dependency), it's automatically removed when it's not needed by other applications. And this mechanism is clearly exposed to the user.

    The big road block for pacman-based newbie distros: no GUI front-end
    Posted 09-16-2010 at 07:19 PM by MTK358 MTK358 is offline
    Updated 09-16-2010 at 07:27 PM by MTK358
  7. Old Comment
    Yeah, maybe you can try using Glade or Qt Designer to create one!
    Posted 09-17-2010 at 06:54 PM by Kenny_Strawn Kenny_Strawn is offline
  8. Old Comment
    The problem is that there's no good documentation for libalpm (Arch Linux Package Manager) (pacman is just a command-line interface to libalpm).

    EDIT: A little concept interface, just an idea:
    It's a Qt Designer UI file.
    Posted 09-17-2010 at 07:24 PM by MTK358 MTK358 is offline
    Updated 09-17-2010 at 07:41 PM by MTK358
  9. Old Comment
    Hey, if you don't know how to navigate the libalpm man pages, just create the GUI and leave it up to the community to integrate libalpm into it (perhaps using a Git tree). This is what you can do with FOSS -- only contribute a certain amount of code and let the community do the rest of the work. It's what every project maintainer does!
    Posted 09-17-2010 at 08:43 PM by Kenny_Strawn Kenny_Strawn is offline


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