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Hey cvncpu, what about Pacman? Arch's build system could use some work, but I think the binary side is right up there with apt-get. The only things that really holds ...
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  1. #11
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    Hey cvncpu, what about Pacman? Arch's build system could use some work, but I think the binary side is right up there with apt-get. The only things that really holds it back are that it's a bit of a mess with bash scripts holding things together until it becomes a library (almost done), and it gets a little slow when you approach a thousand or so packages (a database backend is in discussion). But I think the lack of a dpkg equivalent makes up for it

    Anyway, I agree that package management is the most important thing. Next would probably be init scripts, I simply refuse to learn the convoluted mess that is SysV style inits. After that would be standards compliance, especially in filesystem hierarchy, and maintaining developers intentions in packaging.

    And I really don't want my distro to do much beyond that. A flashy installer isn't necessary, it just draws out the process. Arch's installer does pretty much nothing, but unless I need a special kernel it takes me about 5-10 minutes to install a base. Package selection should be minimal for me, since I just want my distro to be a framework for me to build my system. Sane defaults, I guess, are important, but beyond /dev, init, and the kernel (which I build anyway); I think the program writer's defaults are usually best out of the tarball. You can always change it later.

    But that's just my opinion for my own use. I'm getting ready to start up a custom computer build business, and I recognize that while a good user friendly distro requires all the things I mentioned above, it also needs a lot more. But that lies mostly in packaging philosophy (specialized configuration for the sake of integration), and overall more emphasis on sane defaults (both in configuration and package selection. But I think a good user friendly distribution which minimizes growing pains will be based on a good framework distribution like the ones I'd use myself. That, in my opinion, is the problem with many RPM based distros which actually based themselves off of Red Hat some time back, they didn't have a minimalistic base which was easy to iron issues out of, thus problems grew out of control as more and newer code was added.
    Michael Salivar

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  2. #12
    Linux Newbie jamey112's Avatar
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    ok i saw something about a package manager and how easy someting is to install, and reminded me of a question i have been meaning to post for awhile on here. when in linx, i download a .gz file, is there a distro/add-on so i can just double click the damn icon and install it? (yea, sounds like windows)
    Today I fell and felt better, Just knowing this matters, I just feel stronger and SHARPER!!!, Found a box of sharp objects, What a beautiful THING!!! Box of Sharp Objects - The Used

  3. #13
    Linux Guru techieMoe's Avatar
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    Perhaps I'm taking this too literally, but to me, what *makes* a distro is a kernel and some software upon which to run it.
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  4. #14
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    Package Manager (as said several times now)
    Speed
    Stability
    Flexibility (can be customized)....whether in commands, or the ability to choose the packages to be installed

    Gentoo is the one for me

  5. #15
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    I'm not quite sure a distro needs a package manager.

    To me, the only thing that a distro needs is a base system; basically a distro is any complete linux system (application or not) that you can install, which means it comes with a kernel, and some essential utilities and libraries. I imagine any *good* distro will offer a complete set of development tools as well as additional applications and system services.

  6. #16
    Linux Guru bigtomrodney's Avatar
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    What I like to see is polish. It's not at all necessary for a distro, I mean yuo can have it as raw looking as can be and it may well be the best server OS available(not looking at any one distro ) but what I like is the ability to really look under the bonnet - but when you're working to have a clean, consistent looking desktop that just works without any bull. When I need to work on a document, I don't want to have hand check things after boot, or issue commands by hand. Day to day, things should just work.

    A thought struck me - and by no means am I trying to flame here but as a LAN admin it just seems like an obvious point. Some OSes just work out of the box, just work but slowly come to the crunching point and stop working. Things break themselves. But then there is linux, it may not work out of the box all of the time, you may spend a few weeks tweaking but by god once it's configured it'll run forever.

    It's really a trade off, do the work now forever, or have it work now and fix it later. I love linux

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by techieMoe
    Perhaps I'm taking this too literally, but to me, what *makes* a distro is a kernel and some software upon which to run it.
    Heh, this is quite true. I'd say this is #1 for me.

    #2: Like many have suggested, a decent package management system. Since GNU/Linux is really just the assembling of many different components such as the Linux kernel, the GNU userland, and various other parts, it really takes a good package management system to make them all work together happily.

    #3: A useful bug reporting tool/bugfix system. What's the point of running GNU/Linux if you can't easily report bugs and easily fix them? I tend to stay away from distributions that rely on third party software developers' QA, because some of them do not test their packages thoroughly. Instead, it should be the distribution's responsibility to test for bugs and fix them.

    #4: An update system, capable of uprading the distribution to a newer version. When I install an operating system, I expect to never have to re-install it again. For example, if you installed version 2.0 of Foo Linux, there should be a utility available to upgrade to version 2.1 flawlessly.

    #5: Good community. I don't necessarily care about how large or friendly the community is, but if there is a problem, there needs to be a community available that is capable of answering any question.

  8. #18
    Linux Guru lakerdonald's Avatar
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    To me, what makes a GNU/Linux Metadistribution is not just the package manager (as most can be easily ported among metadistributions), but rather the defaults; default settings, default programs and default environment. I think that a good Metadistribution sets itself apart based on its default environment. It should include the most recent stable versions of each program, but no "Stable" branch should include beta, testing, unstable, or development sources (ad nauseum). The real challenge when rolling a distribution is getting a given set of programs working together in one, cohesive system.
    Once you get past the environment, then I think that the settings and programs are most important. The default shell, should be, an sh-compatible one (like bash); the compiler should be GCC, as it is the defacto standard; make the default Windowing system xorg-x11; and use GNU alternatives to common tools, when possible. I think that the choice of Init system falls under this category as well.
    The default settings should be sane. If the distribution defines a default setting for CFLAGS to be passed to the compiler, it should use little (-O or -O2) or no optimization, even if the author uses -O5 for his personal compilations. After all, the distribution is about the user, not the author.
    Once you get past the default environment, programs, and settings, then, and only then, do I feel that the package manager should take any weight in a GNU/Linux Metadistribution's evaluation.

    That's just my two cents, if you don't like it, redirect your response to /dev/null.
    -lakerdonald

  9. #19
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    Integration, software that comes with the distro, and most of all: distro's with a concept (unlike those big DVD-distro's that come with loads of apps).

    Don't get me wrong, I started with SuSE, Debian and Fedora, but now I'm using Minislack, a slim variety to Slackware, and I like it a lot... One desktop environment, one word processor/spreadsheet, one video player, one audio player, stuff like that, not those crowded start menus... Lot easier on the eyes too.

    I'm starting to like the 'less is more' adagio
    ** Registered Linux User # 393717 and proud of it ** Check out www.zenwalk.org
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  10. #20
    Linux Guru budman7's Avatar
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    ok i saw something about a package manager and how easy someting is to install, and reminded me of a question i have been meaning to post for awhile on here. when in linx, i download a .gz file, is there a distro/add-on so i can just double click the damn icon and install it? (yea, sounds like windows)
    With it being a .gz file, you would have to unzip it.
    Right-click on the icon, click "extract to" where you want it, probably home. Then you can click on the icon, and select to Install with Yast.
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