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June 22, 2006

The Distro Dance

by @ 7:26 pm. Filed under General Linux, Work-Related

As of Monday, June 3, 2006, I will no longer be working at Novell doing the SUSE Linux CoolSolutions stuff. I have accepted a position doing PHP and system administration on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server machines. I will also be receiving approximately a bunch more than I am now. You see, I can be bought. I have no shame. I am in it for the money. It’s all about capitalism; the American dream, baby.

As such, I am no longer absolutely bound under penalty of death by schoolbus to using ONLY SUSE Linux. A while back I told someone (seems like it was Hans Fugal) that if the time came that I wasn’t bound to SUSE Linux by way of my vocation, that I would try out Debian. Well, as I said I would, I am taking a look at it. After 3 days of jigdo downloading stuff, I finally have two DVD images. Dude, that is a ton of packages. Is there any other Linux distro that has more packages than Debian does? Wow.

Anyone else have any reason that I should try any other distributions while I’m at it? Don’t just randomly name Linux distros. I have a link to DistroWatch, too. I can just as easily go to that page and click the links on each distro. If you are going to make a suggestion, please tell me why I should look at that distro. The more details you give, the more likely I am to not delete the comment.

Yes, I’m in a bit of a mood.

27 Responses to “The Distro Dance”

  1. Scott Morris Says:

    Interesting. If you could seriously keep going, please do. I’m totally all ears, man. Thx for the suggestion.

  2. Christer Says:

    I have to suggest Ubuntu to you. I use it on all of my machines & love it for its Desktop simplicity and its ability to expand quickly on the server level.

    1) single CD install
    2) most popular on Distrowatch 2yrs+ means something
    3) 6 month release cycle = regular, focused progress
    4) HUGE userbase & support system.
    5) best hardware recognition/support of any distro I’ve used.

    I could keep going.. I figured that might be a good start though 🙂

  3. Scott Morris Says:

    Wow, ok. That is quite interesting. Very interesting. I’ll have to digest some of that for a while. Looks cool, though.

  4. Aaron Says:

    I agree with Christer. It is rock-solid (building on Debian), enormously popular, and exceptionally easy to use. However, if you are going to try Debian, you might as well use Ubuntu. Ubuntu does a better Debian than Debian. 🙂

    The only thing I think Christer may have missed is the commercial support, which is essentially what seperates it from Debian. Durability, scalability and reliability with financial backing. You can’t go wrong, even if you tried.

    More importantly, Ubuntu could use a solid Linux user such as yourself. We as the Ubuntu-Utah team could use you too. Come visit us in the #ubuntu-utah channel on freenode or on the mailing list as Christer mentioned.

  5. Scott Morris Says:

    Very cool. I would be interested in checking it out. I’ll pop into the IRC channel some time and say hi and check things out.

    *hmmm…. thinking*

  6. Christer Says:

    few more things I came up with:

    6) release for i386, ppc, 64bit & sparc architectures.
    7) 6 month release cycle (as above) + 3yr support (Desktop) and 5yr support (Server)
    8) CD release for gnome, KDE or Xfce. “Server” release as well.
    9) LiveCD with included GUI installer (try it. like it. install it!) or text-based “old-school” installer.
    10) “Server” release includes one-touch LAMP installation.
    11) “Server” platform certified for IBM’s DB2 and MySQL.
    12) APT package manager with 20,000+ packages.
    13) No special ‘enterprise’ release. All packages, all support & all features available to everyone.
    14) Based on Debian stability

    Desktop info here []
    Server info here []

    More info here [] (includes links for Kubuntu(KDE), Xubuntu(Xfce) & Edubuntu)

    Ever need tips or help contact me & the Ubuntu Certified Support Team for Utah. [] #ubuntu-utah on or for mailing list. [local download mirror (torrents are FAST with regular 1000+ seeds)]

  7. Hylke Says:

    I’m constantly switching between SUSE and Fedora, both great distros. But it’s been a while since I left Fedora. This time Fedora Project has to come with something really special for me to switch to it again :D.

  8. Chris Says:

    If I were to try any other distribution than SUSE it would be Fedora. Good reviews and apparently the only ‘biggie’ release this year that didn’t have one or the other problem:

  9. Paul Mellors Says:

    What about Microsloth Windo$e?? Go for a real challenge 🙂 /me ducks and runs like hell. 🙂

  10. foez Says:

    Well I think that Ubuntu is a very good distro. But it has it’s glitches just like any other. I always return to Suse after some weeks with another distro. ( Yeah, it does look like a long term marriage)
    Scott go look for the “green grass” 😉

  11. anzevi Says:

    Dude, forget everything and grab a No.1 enterprise distro’s daughter – Fedora Core 5 and USE IT! I use Redhat EL on all my serers in production, and I use Fedora Core 5 for Desktop OS on my laptop and home machines.

    The bottom line is – Fedora JUST WORKS, and it’s simple, stable and as I said, EVERYTHING JUST WORKS. No need to fsck around with package management tools and basic stuff like that 😛 Redhat has a tradition, and tradiotion’s name is – FEDORA!

    USE IT!!!!

  12. Hans Fugal Says:

    I don’t remember convincing you to try Debian, but it sounds like me. 🙂 But I too would recommend Ubuntu. Like he said, Ubuntu does a better Debian than Debian, for some definition of better. That definition of better is the one that most sane people care about, although some wackos like myself prefer real Debian. Some of the reasons:

    – I’m used to real debian
    – Ironically, it’s easier to be bleeding edge on real debian (with ubuntu you have a potentially six-month old snapshot of unstable)
    – Some of the debian principles that I believe in conflict with some of the goals of ubuntu. They’re not black and white good/evil differences, and I accept the loss of some benefits by sticking to them. But stick to them debian does, and ubuntu doesn’t.

    I put ubuntu on all friends and family computers when they ask for linux these days.

  13. Scott Morris Says:

    Fortunately for Paul, he’s well out of my range by now… 🙂 But my radar is still on, and missles armed. 😉

    Alrighty… so Ubuntu (how do you say that, anyway?) and Fedora seem to be what I’m gathering. Here’s what I need:

    1) Relatively intuitive to admin as either desktop or server (i.e., I could walk someone through a gui over the phone).
    2) Absolutely solid as server.
    3) Bleeding-edge package releases for desktop.
    4) Hard-core mainstream – the bigger the install base, the better.
    5) Highest possible number of packages available. I *HATE* screwing around with stuff that doesn’t come natively.

    Who can compare Ubuntu and Fedora on these 5 points for me?

    Did I mention that it absolutely *HAS* to be stable?

    Thanks for your comments thus far. Very insightful.

  14. Jayce^ Says:

    Debian is a great choice, along with the ubuntu/kubuntu options. The one note I would make is don’t bother with DVD images. Get a net install (netinst) cd, it’s tiny. Very base system, and then extra simple to get your packages from there. Much nicer.

  15. anzevi Says:

    Debian/Ubuntu is still old school. Fedora is new, stabele, Redhat supported, latest and fancy. Go with Fedora/redhat, go Certificate yourself for Redhat Certified Engineer and the jobs will be rolling. Trust me on this one 😉

    Scott, you said it’s all about the money… It is, yes, also in Europe, so, you have only two choices – Redhat and/or SUSE – the only two ones enterperise systems, that can get you a brand new home and a brand new BMW ;.)

  16. Luke Says:

    “2) Absolutely solid as server.
    3) Bleeding-edge package releases for desktop.”

    Perhaps one size does not fit all? Can these two requirements truly be met with the same solution?

  17. foez Says:

    Haha,after reading all this. Hitler wanted too much like you I guess. Put your blues records on and sing “Lord please have mercy on me” or “Bill please don’t take me to the other side” . Sleep the night over and try again. Good luck m8 😉

  18. anzevi Says:

    Scott, a Million dollars question for you: why don’t you stay with SUSE? 🙂 It looks like now that you’re off the hook, you’re running away from SUSE although you’ve been using it for quite some time. How come? 🙂

  19. Paul Mellors Says:

    Hello Scott [hangs head in shame]

    Go here for some videos on how to say Ubuntu 🙂


  20. Scott Morris Says:


    You know, that is a great question. I have ADD and I like to have new and exciting stuff. Small things drive us ADDers up the wall (how ’bout some help, here, Steve). So, with this whole screwed up package updater thing…. and with me not having lots of luck with smart, well, my somewhat exaggerated reaction is to just dump it and start over with something else. You see, the longer I use something, the more I find out about it that drives me out of my mind crazy. However, I also obviously more and more about how to use it, so it’s kind of a catch 22. Eventually, I come back to my senses, but sometimes it takes a while. I tried using Gentoo for about 2 years before it drove me so stark-raving crazy that I was about to jump in front of a train. But along came SUSE, and I *HAD* to know it so I could write articles for CoolSolutions about it. And I could only use SUSE, so that I could stay on top of my game.

    So, when I found out that I didn’t absolutely HAVE to use SUSE anymore, my ADD kicked in and I wanted something new, cool, and novel that I could play with and learn, etc. However, I did quickly come to the realization that I wouldn’t know a lot of what I know about SUSE.

    With that all said, I am reasonably sure that I will just stick with SUSE for the time being.

    Thanks for the kick in the head to help me come to my senses. 🙂

  21. anzevi Says:

    Very good Scott, good choice! 🙂
    When you’ve found the one distro that works for you (read: the distro that you can actually work something on, not that you have to work in order to get the distro working) just stick with it. In my case this is Fedora, although I like all the candys that SUSE is providing in OpenSUSE distro.

    Sooner or later everybody realize that switching distros “every month” is just a waste of time.

  22. Scott Morris Says:

    Totally true, man. I think I’ll just stick with SUSE. 🙂

  23. David Says:

    1.) Gentoo
    2.) Ubuntu
    3.) Debian
    4.) Fedora

    Reasons: Microsoft Windows

  24. Yaakov Says:

    Try a bunch of them? Instead of burning lots of DVDs, try to find what ever net install CDs for any distro you can get your hands on. Try ubuntu, debian, slackware, gentoo, what ever you have the room for. You’ll see which one makes you most comfortable, and which one needs more work for you to like it. No point on polarizing yourself yet just when you got your freedom.

    And with that, depending what you want to do, I recommend either ubuntu or debian.

  25. Chris Monson Says:

    For what it’s worth, we use Ubuntu quite a bit at Google. It’s a very nice distro: stable, easy, loaded with packages, and just works. We also standardized on it in my old lab at BYU with very good results.

    And Scott, why do you never tell your close friends news like “I’m leaving Novell”?


  26. Jeffrey Silver Says:

    I use Debian because of the package selection.Suse has it’s own firewal and I wanted to use Guarddog.Ubuntu stopped working when i tried adding
    a program from the universe repository.

  27. Ulrich Kaufmann Says:

    Interesting. I think I am coming from the same direction as Scott – been so badly burned by the Suse 10.1 updater that I am looking for something else. (It didn’t help that it threw exceptions in MONO code… I don’t think I remember agreeing to THAT being installed!)

    A Python and MythTV friendly distribution would suit me, and both Fedora and Ubuntu look good.

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