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Old 04-05-2006, 04:01 PM   #1
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Do distro specific applications take the learning away from the basics of Linux?

Just wondering.
Does anybody think that a lot of these newer distros take some of the learning curve away from the end-user?
Gentoo has emerge utility.
Suse has Yast
RedHat uses RPM's
All of these major distros have like, their own software for that specific o/s that makes things easier.

Is it little things like this that would prevent a highly experienced user of one distribution from being as productive or even knowledgeable when sitting at the keyboard of another?

Like, people who use Yast a lot. Generally are probably pretty good with Linux, but what if those people had to configure a system from the console, say, in Slackware?
What about people who don't know how to compile things because they rely too much on emerge and RPM's?

I'm curious, are there any distributions that don't have many of these conveniences, more like a generic Linux that will teach you to be efficient without being on a specific distribution?

Old 04-05-2006, 04:21 PM   #2
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The learning curve to install software is about 3 minutes long.
good old . ./configure && make && make install
or apt-get -install yourapp

There is more to linux than just installing yourapp.
You will learn a lot from any distro you take, no matter the package manager.

Try LFS for best learning distro, although I wouldn't recommend it for complete newbies. This one has nothing specific (no package manager, no graphical interface, nothing ... just a book). Make yourself confortable with the basic bash commands first : ps, ls, cd, adduser, make and stuff. Install some easy distro like ubuntu or knoppix or debian. No matter which one, you will have to compile and make install one day or another (that is common to all distros). Look for drivers for your hardware, spend some time configuring your firewall, play with the X config, change the desktop manager, recompile the kernel, read some howtos and you'll quickly become a guru, even if you install openOffice with Yast or urmpi.

Last edited by Agrouf; 04-05-2006 at 04:36 PM.
Old 04-05-2006, 04:29 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by hunterhunter
I'm curious, are there any distributions that don't have many of these conveniences, more like a generic Linux that will teach you to be efficient without being on a specific distribution?

Arch, Gentoo, LFS, Debian, Slackware....

I have been working with Arch for a few days now---really good learning tool.
Old 04-05-2006, 04:31 PM   #4
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I don't think the "conveniences" take away from the learning curve--most distros have a package manager of some sort anyway, and it's usually pretty easy to find documentation on them. There are, however, some universal package managers like alien that allow the end-user to install most types of packages, not necessarily the ones native to his/her system.

Experienced users *should* be familiar with multiple package managers, or be able to find out how to use them. Also, experienced users *should* be able to use a console effectively.

As far as a "generic" distro goes, try building your own That'd be the best learning tool of all.

Last edited by pda_h4x0r; 04-05-2006 at 04:50 PM.
Old 04-05-2006, 05:35 PM   #5
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I'm not necessarily speaking about installing apps though. I just meant things like for instance. Yast only comes with Suse, right? Also there is the Suse firewall, it's not iptables. I'm just saying that if one gets used to the conveniences of a given distro then it could make them weaker in other areas. For instance if I only used Suse firewall, then configuring iptables on another would be a nightmare, right?

Kinda see where I'm going with this? I wasn't necessarily saying installs.

You guys did, however, answer my question. I think I'll give LFS or Gentoo a shot. I'm leaning more towards LFS because it seems more generic.

Also another thing. If say for instance I was used to the emerge application. I could just compile it on any Linux distro anyways, right?

Many thanks.
Old 04-05-2006, 05:45 PM   #6
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I don't think distro specific apps take any learning away from Linux. The way that I look at Linux distros is that they are seperate OSes that have many things in common and there is no such thing as a generic Linux distribution. If you are willing to go under the hood, the skills you have learnt can be used on other distros. If other distros have their own tools, its usually trivial to learn how to use them.
Old 04-06-2006, 08:53 PM   #7
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Even there are some change in each distro, always one thing is common and supposed to be common :


So, a linux user must learn using command line and try to perform operations using command line(installing,un-installing, editing config files etc.). I think this is the best way to learn linux basics.


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