"It's an Ubuntu World"

Old Rocker old.rocker at blueyonder.co.uk
Tue Jan 24 19:12:31 GMT 2006

On Tuesday 24 Jan 2006 03:49, Senectus . wrote:

> Ubuntu is quickly becoming the defacto standard in user-friendly
> distributions. 

That means there are other user-friendly distributions out there :-) I 
use MEPIS at home now and I think that is more user-friendly; however, 
I do use Ubuntu at the Disability Centre where I help other disabled 
people to use Linux, so I am following this posting with interest.  The 
Centre originally chose Ubuntu because they were given a number of free 
PCs and could get a number of free install CDs from Ubuntu.  That had 
more to do with them using it than any "defacto standard".

> Since it is Debian, apt will allow you to pull from a 
> huge repository of Debian-ready applications and have them installed
> within minutes.

Careful here.  Ubuntu is BASED on Debian but it is moving away from the 
concept that Debian or Debian-based distros should work with any 
package in each of the relevant Debian repositories.  Indeed, the 
Ubuntu repositories hold software that is meant to be used with the 
Ubuntu core alone.  Other packages from the Debian repositories MAY 
work with Ubuntu, but they are not guaranteed to do so.  Even the 
software downloaded by Automatix which is meant to work with Ubuntu is 
not recommended by the Ubuntu developers as the software may break the 

Ubuntu works well, but it is slowly moving away from the concept of 
being a different installer for Debian software; it certainly has its 
own repositories that hold software that cannot be run on other 
Debian-like distros.  It has within it the dangers of a fork with 
duplication of effort that is only to the detriment of the whole Debian 

The Debian installer has been a joke for some time, and although better 
now, it has caused several other Debian-based distros (amongst them 
Libranet, MEPIS, and Knoppix) to produce a different core, a recompiled 
kernel, and so on.  But as far as possible those distros are true to 
the concept of using pure Debian packages.  Ubuntu has been different 
from the beginning.

> Ubuntu is also easily customizable, allowing you to completely change
> the look of the Gnome desktop in just a few clicks.

So is Libranet, and MEPIS uses KDE and it can do that as well.  Most 
Linux distros do that, so I am not sure what point is being made here.

Ubuntu is a Linux distro, and for a number of people I come into contact 
with, using a computer on which Linux is installed is a liberating 
experience.  Many concepts which brought about the open source 
revolution (being able to share and contribute, retaining freedom to 
use the hardware and software, and being able to contact other like 
minded people) are shared by those people (who range in age from 13 to 
72!).  Coming to Linux without any preconceived notion of Windows 
proves a learning experience but a LOGICAL learning experience.  The 
majority of them cannot understand, for instance, why Windows does not 
come with a compiler.  They use Ubuntu at the Centre and I am often 
asked why the build-essential package is not included as standard when 
the same facility is available on other Linux distros.  That is more 
important to these users than "the look of the Gnome desktop".  The 
philosophy behind Linux IS as important as ease of use.


Old Rocker

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