[linux-elitists] [RANT] Debian the Elitist Distribution? [was Re: RFI: Recommendation for a good Vocabulary Builder]

Mike MacCana mikem@cyber.com.au
Sun Feb 15 18:06:27 PST 2004

On Sun, 15 Feb 2004, Shlomi Fish wrote:

> On Friday 13 February 2004 22:56, Teh Entar-Nick wrote:
> I consider myself a Linux guru by far, and still I'm using Mandrake on my home
> computer. I like it and would recommend it to anyone, beginners and experts
> alike. What I don't like is the Debian folks' hubris.
> Yes, the Debian camp is very full of hubris. Among it is:
> * Debianists think Debian is the best possible distribution for all purposes.
> They think all other distributions are inferior, no matter how much their
> people like them.

None of the following comments apply to all Debian users. Much like the
poster above, I think you need the odd broad brush stroke to paint a
picture. There can and are many exceptions to the following:

- Believing that any distro that gives people the option of doing
something in a method that doesn't involve vi somehow magically takes away
the ability to do so. 'I like to hack my config files myself, so I use
Debian'. I do too, but I also like to be able to read my boot messages, so
I use RH. More to the point, there's the rather weird, illogical view that
one must be using a GUI tool to do something, one doesn't know how to do
it by hand. I've recently began wiring a lot of Docbook XML. I began with
vi, but frankly, yanking and pasting <itemizedlist> is a fucking waste of
my time. I'd rather use OpenOffice, export to Docbook and make a minimal
amount of manual changes - not that I can't do it by hand, its just a
waste of my time.

(Oddly enough, the same folk who come out with 'I hate
GUIs' don't seem to mind the ncurses post install apps that Debian
packages use - these are GUI apps by any sensible definition. I suspect a
lot of the folks who hate GUIs hate apps with poor keyboard control that
most GUI apps (particularly of Unix) have. I agree with then in this

- Something Windows users and BSD users and Red Hat users and everyone
else usually does: compare current version of thing they like to ancient
version of thing they don't. An example:Fedora and Red Hat Enterprise Linux
come out of the box with support for RHN, Yum, apt-get and local directory
repositories. Better yet, they're all in the one client and you can mix and
match them with dependencies satisfied automatically.

- Trolling for Debian in every Red Hat story on Slashdot (most
people here genererally don't seem like the type) with the usual 'there's
no Red Hat Desktop release anymore'. Professional Workstation is $130
Australian, which is about three chocolate coins in US$. Fedora is $free.
So is whitebox, and you can get security updates for it for five years,
which is an aeon in the Linux world.

I like Debian. They give a massive contribution to Linux (one of the areas
I see this most as a RH user is in Bugzilla, when fixes from Debian
developers often solve a particular problem). My personal choice is not
the use the distro for a number of reasons. These may or may not include
'why the hell are you asking me for the names of the modules I intend to
use? Welcome to PCI motherfuckers' (seriously, though, its not just the
installer - I like kickstart, Red Hat's boot messages, the consistency of
their desktop, the Fedora / RHEL releases stability / features mix,
package verification, the ability to DCC probe monitors, kudzu, backports
of the useful stuff from cuttting edge releases to stable releases,

I know there's Debian equivalents of a lot of
these features, but a good part of this is to have just one release that
includes the all this stuff out of the box, rather than trying to find out
what it's called under Debian and get it working.


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