Installing a compiler by default
Henrik Nilsen Omma
henrik at ubuntu.com
Fri Jun 9 19:43:16 BST 2006
Adam Conrad wrote:
> I'm not sure what problem we're trying to solve with this proposal
> except for "old skool UNIX hacks expect to have a compiler on their
> system", which is a pretty poor reason to do anything in a shiny new
> distribution that isn't really targetter at old skool hacks out of the box.
I agree with Adam here. I don't think the fact that old Linux hands
expect it is reason enough to install it.
I'm also worried that it might become a crutch for us in the long term.
When something fails to Just Work we should focus our efforts on making
it work better. That includes improving the technical hardware support,
but also the community aspect of working better with upstreams and
hardware manufacturers to make sure that we can supply relevant binary
modules that work with our kernel (not to be confused with binary-only
modules, which we should reduce the reliance on where possible).
We have to an extent built our reputation on the phrase 'Just Works' and
that is worth defending. If the phrase 'well, you can always compile
this from source' starts getting banded around as good standard
solutions, then we will lose some of that reputation. Our closed source
competitors are very fond of saying 'well Linux is OK for geeks, but you
very often have to drop to the shell to compile something to make it
work'. It's a standard line used consciously. Let's not give them that
I also want to split the use case up further into the Live and Installed
scenarios. It's true that it might be cool to compile some little thing
in the Live session and that installing build-essential into RAM is a
poor option. But how often do you need to do this in a live session
other than just playing around? When is this ever a show stopper for
If someone has serious intentions of using Ubuntu on a machine they will
generally install it, and in that case build-essential is on the CD, so
you don't need the net. People have been citing IRC questions about the
lack of gcc and the user groups of those new to ubuntu but familiar with
linux. But how often has this issue popped up when someone is using the
Live CD and don't have the option to install?
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