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  1. #1

    Distro Differences

    Hey, I wanted to know what are the basic differences of all distros. What I am trying to ask/say is hard to explain but Ill give it a shot, maybe someone here will understand. In an earlier post I stated I would use slackware as my first linux distro. I said I chose that distro because it's not a easy one for a beginner to learn but I like to go from crawling straight to running. I want to install a basic linux. What I mean by this is Just the OS with no GUI and no programs. I never liked GUIs, even in windows I would do 90% on the command prompt with explorer.exe off. Can I do this with LInux? If i install ubuntu or slackware without the GUI will they be exactly the same? Can you be root on all distros? Are all distros secure the same?

    Also I hear that slackware it's just a little more difficult to install programs but this doesn't bother me. I want to learn the original true Linux way.

    Well hopefully you guys understand what I am trying to say, if this was a total disaster please let me know. thanks.

  2. #2
    Linux Engineer GNU-Fan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    The problem is, there is no "original true Linux way". At least it is hard to find two people who would agree on what that way would be.

    This is due to how the operating system many call "Linux" came into being. There was no single "bing bang" for its creation. Instead, many different people had been working independently on different projects. And a distribution compiles these projects to form a runnable operating system.

    Linux, which is only a kernel, is not very usable by itself. Because there is no way to tell it what to do. You need userland tools for doing useful work.
    One example for this could be a GUI similar to the "explorer.exe". Or you prefer text input, in which case you would use a command line shell like GNU bash. But this is only a matter of taste, neither way is more "original true Linux".

    However, nearly every Linux distribution comes with a common large standard set of programs from the GNU project, which is why I prefer to call the operating system GNU/Linux. Maybe this link will clarify the relations of the underlaying programs a little bit: Linux and GNU - GNU Project - Free Software Foundation (FSF)
    Debian GNU/Linux -- You know you want it.

  3. #3
    Just Joined!
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Well, you could install Arch linux. it pretty much allows you to costumize it the way you want it. And it dos'nt hold your hand, so it will probably teach you a lot about how the system works. I basically just gives you a core system with a shell and a Package manager, requiring you to build the rest yourself, including invoking daemons and setting everything up.

    I don't think Ubuntu allows you to install without a GUI, although you can always remove it after the install.

    the biggest catch about Slackware is that it does nothing to solve dependencies unless you get a third-party program like slapt-get or swaret. it can be a little frustrating to hunt down all the dependencies from every end of the world.

    hope my reply helped!

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  5. #4
    Linux Guru reed9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Boston, MA
    In linux the distinction between the operating system and the applications is a little bit blurred.

    The technically linux part is the kernel, the basic bit that interacts with the hardware. What we casually refer to as linux, is the GNU operating system running on top of the linux kernel. GNU coreutils provides all the basic core utilities and tools, coping files, moving files, and such. But there is no reason the two have to be paired. Debian has a project where they are running with FreeBSD kernel, instead of a linux kernel.

    Distros take all the components, mix em together, and put out a release. They might include custom patches to software, or custom software created by the project, they'll have built the kernel with custom options or patches, there are a lot of little under the hood tweaks that can happen. And when they package all this different software, they need to make sure it all works together.

    A distro like Slackware does very little custom patching. They pretty much package software as released from the upstream developers. They also don't have a lot of graphical configuration tools. Everything is done by hand editing config files. And famously, their basic package manager doesn't resolve dependencies.

    I was the one who recommended Arch to you, primarily based on the package management. Really, manual dependency resolution is a pain in the you know what. On the other hand, Arch does not auto-configure some things that slackware does, leaving it up to user choice.

    I want to learn the original true Linux way.
    I'm not sure there is such a thing. Linux is very customizable. The point is, any particular user can find a system that works for them. If you like having a lot of control over the nitty gritty bits of the system, go Arch, Slackware, Gentoo, or Crux. If you just want a system you can plug in and start surfing the web for celebrity gossip, go Ubuntu, Mint, or OpenSuse.

    But whatever you go with, all distros offer you the power to get under the hood and fiddle. You can accomplish any task on the command line that you could in a GUI, sometimes things are easier from the CLI, sometimes things are better suited to a GUI.

    About 6 months ago I did a little experiment for a while, where I ran without a GUI. Read about it here.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2004
    arch linux
    Quote Originally Posted by Root Bomb View Post
    If i install ubuntu or slackware without the GUI will they be exactly the same? Can you be root on all distros? Are all distros secure the same?
    No, there are at least some subtle differences between each distribution. Even the kernel will often have various changes or enhancements from one distro to the next.

    Yes, you should be able to use the root account from any distro, although that option might have to be enabled. It's also not a good idea to use Linux from the root account. You can gain root permissions from the user account for any admin tasks that you might need to perform.

    You should be able to get pretty much the same level of security from any Linux distro if the proper steps are taken to bring it to any certain level of security.

    Hey, I replied to your Slackware thread and figured you'd be several days into that distribution by now. What happened?

    The only way to find out what you personally think of each distro is to install it and then jump right in, and if you find that you don't like it... install another!

    Hope you have fun with it, and do let us know how it goes.

  7. #6
    Linux Newbie grishi_111's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Jafarpur Sitharra(U.P.)/New Delhi, India
    hey, if you haven't searched and the stuff provided for newbies
    just to remind you you can have a quiz to get a suggestion accordind to your own need.
    go here:
    zegenie Studios Linux Distribution Chooser
    or Distro chooser
    Sorry, Linux is not my passion .
    Its addiction!!!

  8. #7
    Linux Engineer rcgreen's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    the hills
    If you are planning on working without a GUI, Slackware is a good
    choice. You can do almost anything with a non-GUI installation
    of linux, including surf the net, e-mail, and P2P file sharing.

    The classic way of installing software on UNIX, and Iinux, is
    to compile from source code. Everyone should have the experience,
    even if most of us don't do it routinely. Slackware does have
    a packaging system too. Any software you get from Slackware
    should install easily, so long as you get the package for your

  9. #8
    Administrator jayd512's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Personally, I run both Fedora and CRUX.
    That doesn't even count the other distros I've played around with.
    But with all of them, no matter how nice and convenient the GUI tool was, I always used CLI functions for my admin jobs.

    Slack will give you the option of installing without a GUI, but it really doesn't make a difference if you just wanna get down to the guts of Linux as every distro will give you that option.

    New users, read this first.
    New Member FAQ
    Registered Linux User #463940
    I do not respond to private messages asking for Linux help. Please keep it on the public boards.

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