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Old 07-15-2005, 06:33 AM   #1
Daejavu
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Exclamation Where the Difference Lies ?


Hello LQ ...

Ive been using linux for sometime just for curious purposes ... trying to know what it is and stuff .. ive used diff distros including some of the top noch like RehdHat 6-9 to Fedora core 1 ,Mandrake 7-9 , Suse Live Eval and couple of more ... recently i tried Ubuntu linux and found it very good and easy to use ... i almost got my self shifted from windows to linux !
But since the first day i started working on linux till the last day (when my hdd went Kaboom and linux is nomore for me for a while) , ive been wounderrring my self as to WHAT is the main diff ebetween all of the distributions .. as i explained ive been foolling around with some distribbutions , but never was able to find a MAJOR difference among them .. i mean from my newbie point of view , the directory structure of the system is almost same . the way you have to compile programmes is the same , most of the packages used are the same, the desktop ..well thats not a thing to add .! but most of the things ive seen in all the different flavours are the same ..

so my question is ... of all the Distros out there .. WHAT makes one different then the other ? whats in Slakware thats not in RedHat or what makes it different then others ? whats in Mandrake that is different then Ubuntu ?

if u guyz can understand what iam trying to know then kindly do give a reply with a good explaination ... orr if time is a bit problem for explainations , send me a link or something

will appreciate alot !!
 
Old 07-15-2005, 02:37 PM   #2
The Stranger
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I would have to say that the difference is the packaged software that each disto runs with. I just started this whole Linux thing and began with SUSE 9.1. It is KDE based, although you can set it up in GNOME, but the software installation is run through Yast. I have downloaded some live cd's of Ubantu, which is GNOME based (although you can get Kubantu with KDE) and it has several packages that are akin to it. Of course you get the main packages such as Open Office and the like, but what I have noticed is that Linux is like ice cream, there are a bunch of flavors, you just have to find the one that tickles your taste buds the best.

I know that this is probably simplistic, and that different flavors may also have different intrinsic functioning, but on the surface as a newbie that is what I have seen.

-TS-
 
Old 07-16-2005, 01:32 AM   #3
69_rs_ss
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Underneath it all, they are all the same. The main differences are the package management between the distros, the default DE/WM, and if they are using distro specific tools. There are some other subtle differences like Suse installing some apps to /opt whereas others distro will install the same app to /usr/bin. That's about all I can think of right now.
 
Old 07-16-2005, 01:59 AM   #4
aysiu
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Well, the similarities you're noticing are due to all these "different" distros essentially being based on a Linux kernel. They are all Linux, after all.

These are concretely the things I've found distinctive about distros:

1. Logo. May seem superficial, but a lot of distros plaster their logos and icons all over the place--the splash screen, the desktop, the menu button.
2. Desktop. Some default to Gnome, some to KDE, some to Fluxbox, some to nothing (you choose desktop upon install). Again, may seem a stupid distinction to make, but it has a practical effect. For example, Ubuntu defaults to Gnome. That means the bulk of the users like Gnome, and the bulk of the suggestions and user tips have to do with Gnome. The documentation for the KDE Ubuntu (Kubuntu) is a lot skimpier, even though it's Ubuntu as well.
3. Installation. Installations ask you different questions. Some of it is auto. Some manual.
4. Live CD option. Some distros have live CDs so you can test drive them. Some distros are only live CDs, no installer.
5. Software installation method. Debian-based distros use apt-get. SuSE use YaST. Fedora uses Yum. Mandriva has its urpmis.
6. Bloat or skimpiness. Some distros you have to install from scratch--they take nothing for granted. Others load you with every program and its cousin. Of course, you can always install more or uninstall more programs. But the default is up to the distro.
7. GUI/command-line. Many distros try to give as many GUI solutions as possible. Many distros make you use the command-line for every single bit of configuration.
8. Cost. Some distros cost a lot of money. Some cost a little. Some encourage a donation. Some are completely free and appreciate a donation.
9. Size. Some distros have four CDs. Some distros fit on 50 MB of a USB pen drive.
10. Documentation/Community. Having support for when you need questions answered varies considerably from distro to distro.
11. Longevity. New distros crop up every day. Some will die... very soon. Others will last or become consolidated with others.
12. Hardware Detection. Unfortunately, there's no one distro that will detect all hardware the best. Some are better than others for particular pieces of hardware. Some are better for laptops. Some are better for desktops. Some favor certain manufacturers. It all depends.

That's all I can think of. Apart from that, they're all Linux. You add a bunch of bloat to Damn Small Linux and a KDE desktop--it's hard to tell that apart from a default Mepis installation. You can always configure Linuxes to be something else. Hope that helps.

Last edited by aysiu; 07-16-2005 at 02:02 AM.
 
Old 07-16-2005, 06:23 AM   #5
Daejavu
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Wink

welll thanks for the clearence fellows ...

i think the ice cream example givven by The Stranger was preety good and thats almost what i think of it as well ...

but what i think now is that with sooooo many companies out there making this linux according to their own tase and making it better an easy ... cant they all work together to make one linux that can shake ms win ? (it might be a bit senseless question but i had to ask it )
 
Old 07-16-2005, 11:24 AM   #6
The Stranger
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Well I don't think that making Linux one would necessarily be the best thing. Like aysiu said, all the distros are based on the Linux kernel, but it is the way in which that kernel is presented/installed/used etc.

One of the coolest things about Linux is that it comes in so many flavors. If they were to integrate them all into one distro, it would be like M$ a system obviously most of us don't like. I don't see it as a competition, but as the world grows and people knowledge about computers they are free to make a choice. Whether they like M$, or Linux. With Linux, they can make another decision on what distro they like. I think that is what it is all about, the choice, because without that, there is little progress (and someone gets awfully rich ).

I have been using SUSE 9.1, 9.2, and now 9.3. I am comfortable with it now. I have just downloaded Ubantu which is completely different than SUSE (SUSE being KDE while Ubantu is GNOME). I am scared to install Ubantu since it is so different, however, it is another tool that I can use to learn what this machine on my desk does and how it does it. For me that is the thrill of it, progressively learning more and more with a different distro. With M$, it is making the user more and more ignorant of how a computer works and why. It is striving to become user friendly so that programs will do all the work, you just pop in a CD and everything is done for you. I don't want that, I want control, something Linux offers.

Anyways, before i turn this into a HUGE rant, I'll end it there as being my $0.02 worth

-TS-
 
Old 07-16-2005, 08:21 PM   #7
ctkroeker
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The difference?
1)- The programs the distro contains.
2)- The packaging format, e.g.: apt-get, emerge.
3)- The window manager.
4)- Not terribly much else.
 
Old 07-16-2005, 09:18 PM   #8
aysiu
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Quote:
Originally posted by Daejavu
but what i think now is that with sooooo many companies out there making this linux according to their own tase and making it better an easy ... cant they all work together to make one linux that can shake ms win ? (it might be a bit senseless question but i had to ask it ) [/B]
Well, it's debatable. To a certain, extent--yes, we don't need 400 distros splitting people's talents and replicating each other's work. On the other hand, having different flavors allow people to be independent and innovate on their own and share ideas with others. It's the same dilemma companies and projects face in all of life, not just in computers. I've found that sometimes when I collaborate with people at work, we get more done. Sometimes, when we work separately, we're more efficient. There has to be a balance. If there were just one Linux company, there wouldn't be a KDE or a Gnome (interesting history on that, actually). There wouldn't be a whole lot of innovation. On the other hand, things are completely out of control. We don't need hundreds of distros. Maybe we should have six or ten.
 
Old 07-18-2005, 09:56 AM   #9
69_rs_ss
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Why though? The amount of distros have not hampered the evolution with linux so far, why do you think it will in the future? And yes, there may be 400 distros but there are only 10-15 that are heavily used. The rest are small projects. And who knows, maybe one day a small project will come out with some mindblowing program that it otherwise wouldn't have if these people were made to work on one of the "top 10".
 
Old 07-18-2005, 12:40 PM   #10
sekelsenmat
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Quote:
Originally posted by Daejavu but what i think now is that with sooooo many companies out there making this linux according to their own tase and making it better an easy ... cant they all work together to make one linux that can shake ms win ? (it might be a bit senseless question but i had to ask it ) [/B]
I don't agree with this. If you were a computer programmer you would know that putting hundreds of programmers doing the same thing just won't help. There is a limit for that.

Also Microsoft dominance is not related in any way to linux having many distros. It's related to other things that would not change in the case of a single distro, like:

- Propaganda
- Availability of pirated windows (creates a Windows using culture, so people will use windows on their business and then they will pay for it)
- Inercia. Everyone already uses it, why change?
- More, but that's out of the topic

You also won't help by removing lot's of distros because the people that work on the majority of them are volunteers, and they work in it because they like doing so. They won't stop doing what they like and start doing what someone else wants. They would rather stop working as volunteers.
 
Old 07-19-2005, 06:26 AM   #11
Daejavu
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well i gotto agree with sekelsenmat in the volunteer part !! hes got a point .

if the core of the operating systems the same then this means that a programme compiled on SuSe is also good to run on Ubuntu or RH etc etc ?

and were can i find info abt the developements being made on the linux kernal or core ?
 
Old 07-19-2005, 10:15 AM   #12
69_rs_ss
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Quote:
Originally posted by Daejavu
if the core of the operating systems the same then this means that a programme compiled on SuSe is also good to run on Ubuntu or RH etc etc ?
If you have the source code, it can be compiled under any version of linux.
Quote:
and were can i find info abt the developements being made on the linux kernal or core ?
There are mailing lists for kernel development that you can subscribe to.
 
Old 07-19-2005, 03:15 PM   #13
sekelsenmat
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Quote:
Originally posted by Daejavu if the core of the operating systems the same then this means that a programme compiled on SuSe is also good to run on Ubuntu or RH etc etc ?
Yes, exactly. Very, very few programs don´t work on different distros, and those are mainly configuration tools that don´t work due to differences on the configuration files position / name.

Different packages are made for different distros because of:

- Different packaging system

or

- if the packaging system is the same, then the name of the required packages may not be the same. For example, Mandrake call Firefox: mozilla-firefox or firefox and Suse calls it MozillaFirefox ... that can cause some trouble in the dependencies...

or

- Same package system, same dependencies, but the method of building menu shortcuts is different. (OpenOffice fits this category)

but then it is the same executable, the package is what changes.

Quote:
and were can i find info abt the developements being made on the linux kernal or core ?
The kernel page is: http://www.kernel.org/

There you can find the kernel mailing list. The talks about kernel development are made there. You can find the archives for that list on google.

search for "kernel mailing list archives" or something similar.

I think that the oldest archives from linux would be more instructive.
 
Old 07-19-2005, 03:17 PM   #14
sekelsenmat
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Quote:
Originally posted by 69_rs_ss If you have the source code, it can be compiled under any version of linux.
But the executables are also portable, on the same architecture of course.
 
Old 07-20-2005, 05:37 AM   #15
Daejavu
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speaking of executables and that the source code can run on all Flavours ... it always had bugged me that like ms win platform where .exe in the executables , what are the main execuatables of linux . ...

i mean when u compile the source code by what extension does it save the main executables (diff distros save in diff directories) ...
 
  


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