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Old 05-10-2004, 12:21 AM   #1
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Heavyweight Distribution?

All the time I hear Linux users complaining about distributions being too "bloated". (Each to his own) Honestly, for us users with dial-up at home (the local 1xEVDO wireless company went out of business a couple of months ago), it's a lot nicer to have packages already on DVD. Even on broadband connections, it's great not having to deal with dependencies. Speaking of dependencies, the major distros, IMO, should include ALL commonly used libraries/etc. which they can legally ship with their packages. It's annoying having to download a library to run a program. Is anybody working on a distribution that has an intentionally high package count?

BTW: I'm using FC1, will be upgrading to FC2 test3 as early as tomorrow.

Last edited by kc0ltv; 05-10-2004 at 12:23 AM.
Old 05-10-2004, 01:26 AM   #2
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I would say most of the the "major" distributions have an intentionally high package count. There was a time when there were people out there that tried to get there distributions to be no bigger then a CD. But now that they aren't afraid to put out distributions on 6 CD's or more (or a DVD) they pretty much do include everything they can.

There are some distributions that while huge might require you to get your own copy of the dvd/mpeg/mp3 lib for legal reasons. But for the most part if you get anything Mandrake, Suse, RedHat or the likes they include just about everything. And sure, these types of distributions are nice for some people.

What I don't like is that many distributions come with 10 different programs to do the same thing. You don't get 1 mail client, you get a dozen mail clients. You don't get one office suite, you get 3 office suites. I think it would be reasonable for the distributions to pick one of each type of program, support it well, and if the user wants a different one they can get it themselves. But that is just me, some people apparently like to have a ton of programs all made to do the same thing laying around.
Old 05-10-2004, 02:02 AM   #3
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Well I've never used Fedora but I can tell you that Debian comes on up to seven CDs (which includes the ENTIRE stable distribution), Mandrake comes on five (which is still a lot) and Slackware comes on one (I think) but includes tonnes of libraries in preference to binaries. In the case of slackware you still have to download source code to some programs but the libraries are well stocked.
Old 05-10-2004, 02:55 AM   #4
Registered: Aug 2003
Location: Belguim, Ostend and Ghent
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Originally posted by adz
... and Slackware comes on one (I think) but includes tonnes of libraries in preference to binaries. In the case of slackware you still have to download source code to some programs but the libraries are well stocked.
Slack comes on 2 disks (+2 source disks), not much software but the easiest system to compile something on I ever tried!
Old 05-10-2004, 04:35 AM   #5
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Slackware 9.0 was on 1 CD, and the second CD of Slackware 9.1 isn't required to install the system.

Slackware 9.1 could certainly fit on a single CD if they trimmed down all the redundant packages, but like jtshaw said, most of the distros seem to want to pack in as many programs as possible, even if many do the same thing.

Honestly, do I need 10 different command line news and email clients?
Old 05-10-2004, 05:01 AM   #6
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It's all "horses for courses".

My personal email client preference is Mozilla, someone else will like Evolution, someone else will like something else. Whilst it would be wonderful to have "Slackware for XavierP" with all of my personal preferences included and nothing else, that would not be practical. Equally, if they only included one of each program, there would be complaints that we are being locked in to one way of thinking - not in the Open Source spirit.

Be grateful that you have the choice of programs, in another OS you really do only have the choice of one program for each and that's the reason that many members here have embraced open source.

My 2 cents
Old 05-10-2004, 08:46 AM   #7
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Since when does "bloat" refer to package count alone? I mean, yes, I've read reviews that lauded distributions like Xandros for avoiding the too-much-choice "problem". I find that kind of "compliment" unbelievable, since if you wanted enough choice to consider changing OSes in the first place, how big a step is it to think that you might also want choice in what applications you use to perform particular tasks? So basically such distros are being applauded for supporting choice up to a point--which they have decided about on your behalf. Yeah, that makes sense.....

But how is limiting the user's initial choices related to eliminating bloat? The choice still exists--- just because you are only given on the CD/DVD, it's not as if Abiword and gNumeric suddenly drop off the face of the Earth, never to be heard from again. You'll still probably discover that they exist at some point, and if you want them, you can still get them (slowly, perhaps, but you can).

"Bloat" to me means "additional extraneous items added to the base system", rather than "so many packages that you need three CDs to fit them all". After all, half the time the reason why packages have to be moved to CD 2 or 3 is because the base system itself is so "bloated" with wizards and GUI tools that the packages simply don't fit alongside it.

Admittedly, I have broadband, so I may have forgotten many dial-up users' issues, but, what exactly are we talking about in the first place, when referring to "bloat"?
Old 05-10-2004, 10:35 AM   #8
Registered: Aug 2003
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true, the things I see as bloated aren't just all the extra wizards and GUI, but tons of services started at bootup that you never need...


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