If you’ll permit me a “get off my lawn” moment, I just have to wonder where this particular tool has been all this time.
You see, I’ve said ad nauseum that choice is good, and the fact that there are more than 300 Linux/BSD-based distros is a good thing. In fact, I’ll keep saying that until I die, hopefully several decades from now, but not before creating an OGG file to repeat this statement for the, ahem, “benefit” of others once I’m gone.
One of the complaints that sometimes flies against this position is that there are too many distros. This argument is made by those who can’t easily enter a Baskin-Robbins without breaking into cold sweat — 31 different flavors? Too many! — or have a hard time with choosing what color socks to wear. In many cases, the “too many distros” argument stems from this premise: “There are too many distros, so you and everyone else should use my distro,” and my distro, wait for it, always seems to be the vowel-laden one which goes light-years out of its way to say it’s not a Linux-based distro.
Meanwhile, back at the original point: Distro-hoppers know first hand that trying out a vast range of distros is a time consuming task, and that there must be an easier way to find that special distro.
Leave it to TuxRadar to provide you with a tool to help you out there. TuxRadar’s Linux Distro Picker can help you if you just can’t decide which distro you want to run.
Using a few different ratings systems, whether it’s ranking desktop environments or using a slide bar to enter your preferences, the Distro Picker helps you choose your ideal distro, and offers several other options below ranked by the TuxRadar Match Score in percentages.
So, I keep all the desktop environment settings at 1 (not important at all), slide the Desktop/Server choice to Desktop 99, Server 1; leave “Stability or Bleeding Edge” (because you can’t have both) in the middle, slide the “New or Old” slightly toward the old (no new hardware for me, sadly) and Package Manager set to “don’t care.” Press the button and . . . .
Debian. Hmmm. Not bad. Also falling in the 90th percentile and higher are SalixOS, Porteus, CentOS, Crux, PureOS, Frugalware, Foresight and Damn Small Linux.
Changing the settings, of course, provides you with different results, complete with a helpful description of the distros as a guide.
Give it a shot if you’re not doing anything at the moment. You may find a new distro.
Well played, TuxRadar.
Meanwhile, I still have Schrodinger’s Cat out of the box and I’m still putting it through its paces. A report is forthcoming.
See you next Sunday, if not sooner.
(Make a few changes, push the button . . . What? Slackware? Let’s slide this over and . . . CentOS?)
This blog, and all other blogs by Larry the Free Software Guy, Larry the CrunchBang Guy and Larry Cafiero, are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND license. In short, this license allows others to download this work and share it with others as long as they credit me as the author, but others can’t change it in any way or use it commercially.
(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and develops business software at Redwood Digital Research, a consultancy that provides FOSS solutions in the small business and home office environment.)
First things first: If you’re at Linux World in San Francisco this week, feel free to stop by the Fedora booth and say hello. For those of you keeping score at home, I’m a Fedora ambassador and I’ve been staffing the booth at the exhibition. If you aren’t at the show, you’re missing a good one. More details to follow.
Without further adeiu:
Hopping: The word from the floor is that this is a more subdued Linux World than years past, according to those who stopped by the Fedora booth (where I essentially was stationed all day). I couldn’t disagree more — this place was absolutely hopping on Tuesday and materials and media flew off the Fedora table. A very healthy crowd traversed the floor of the exhibition throughout the day, tapering off during times when sessions were, well, in session.
The crowd on day one was also a huge cross-section of people with a wide range of abilities. Those who are new to GNU/Linux and FOSS — those are the folks whose eyes are a tad wider than the others — were very receptive to our neighbors and us (we’re bounded on the north by Creative Commons, on the south by Bay Area LUG). All were great — and I certainly hope that those who are new to this find the same passion and satisfaction in FOSS that most of us already share.
Observation: Those show-goers who have more experience in GNU/LInux and FOSS generally fall into three categories: uniters, dividers and whiners.
The uniters “get it.” — they understand that, for all intents and purposes, we’re all in this together. Those are the folks I’ve talked to who may not use the same distro or desktop environment that I use, but realize that what’s good for one is good for everyone — we all rise up together. Generally speaking, these are the open-minded folks who keep FOSS afloat, regardless of one’s preferences.
The dividers, well, just don’t get it. The dividers, of which unfortunately there are many, would rather talk about how great their distro is and not pay attention to what you — another distro user — has to say. They come in different levels and garden varieties, but let’s look what could be (could be) more than coincidental happenstance on Tuesday. Exhibit A presents several CentOS users who have come to the Fedora booth to, essentially, tell us how great their distro is in comparison to ours; some without the courtesy to me (or anyone else) to hear us out about why we prefer our distro.
[Note to CentOS users at the show or beyond: Feel free to flame here, but bear in mind that I think CentOS is an excellent distro. However, if the centerpiece of CentOS's marketing plan is to trash other distros, then you may want to try something else.]
While I’m not one to shy away from a debate (or worse), I do have my diplomacy hat on during the show, so you won’t hear any arguments from me.
The whiners: That’s pretty self explanatory, and in more than a few instances, the reason they’re whining has something to do with a facet of a distro — any distro — that’s sort of impossible to address, at least digitally; and if it is addressable digitally, it’s so far removed from the normal course of the average computer user that it’s not included in the release (which begs the question for those advanced users who also double as whiners: Want that feature? Ever think of contributing it?). But this is what we hear: “You’re distro won’t run on my toaster and won’t walk the dog in the morning. What’s wrong with you guys?” A shrug and a smile kind of sends them on their way, and I’m not convinced there’s much we can do about them.
Who’s here: While the usual cast of characters are here, a couple of folks who deserve special mention are here so far and have stopped by the booth. Cathy and Earl Malmrose have the ZaReason booth up and running great guns a few booths down from us — go guys! Tod Landis of dbEntrance also came up from Boulder Creek and spent some time in the booth. Christian Einfeldt of the Digital Tipping Point, camera always at the ready, also got yet even more footage around the Lindependence event from the floor of the exhibition.
[Again, let me emphasize, as I did on camera, that I am not a slob — if it appears I haven’t shaved in several days, it’s because I haven’t: I’m regrowing my beard so I look more like my picture here.]
More from the floor of the show on Wednesday as things develop, connectivity willing.
(Fedora ambassador Larry Cafiero runs HeliOS Solutions West in Felton, California, and is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)