[ltp] Switching from RH8

Tod Harter linux-thinkpad@linux-thinkpad.org
Mon, 17 Mar 2003 09:25:46 -0500

My 2 cents worth:

Personally I've been in Linux land since Kernel 0.92 or something like that 
and the days of "Yggdrasil" (Walnut Creeks Linux distro which was the first 
one and came on 12 floppy disks as I recall and you had to D/L it off a BBS). 
The point being I KNOW all there is to know practically about configuring 
Linux from a command line. I love the command line, I find file managers 
tedious and awkward and would just as soon use 'pico' instead of some GUI 
text editor. 

I STILL like Mandrake, for one reason. There are now 1000's of pieces of 
software who's configuration must be mastered. Just to run my little home 
office network with a server, a firewall, and a couple workstations, a 
networked printer, a couple PDA's that get synced up daily, wireless stuff, 
VMWare for testing windows things, etc. I have maybe 50 applications and 
services to configure, and some of them are fairly complex. Its just NOT 
worth trying to learn the 100's of config file formats that you need to know 
in order to do that. I mean I DO know them, but I'll be damned if I want to 
have to figure out how to do some stupid pet trick with Samba when I can use 
a GUI setup tool to get it to the right thing.

Sure it can be a pain in the butt if some tool doesn't do things the way I 
want them done, and some things like Apache I configure by hand because I 
want ultimate control of that service, but I don't give a rat's patootie how 
DHCPD works and don't want to know, I just want it to assign my printer and 
my laptop and my workstation their IP numbers... If I want to know, then I'll 
poke around for a few hours and figure it out.

I picked Mandrake as a distro to stick with precisely because it has a GUI for 
everything. Thus I have the choice of how to configure stuff. Honestly I'm 
not sure why people insist on saying that its setup is 'nazi' or it forces 
you to do things a certain way either. You can easily hack into most of the 
config on any of these systems, you can easily rip out whole parts of it and 
just do things another way. If you don't like the startup scripts for some 
service, go steal the ones from Debian and use them. If you don't like the 
way Mandrake tries to figure out your hardware configuration, turn off 

I'm not knocking Debian or other distros, I just personally think that having 
NO option to do things the 'easy' way is lack of choice, not a virtue. 

On Saturday 15 March 2003 10:49 am, J Paul Richardson wrote:
> First let me say that some folks may consider this off-topic but what
> the heck.  I need a diversion from reading all the tech stuff.
> I seem to be on the other side of this view.  I've been using Linux
> since 1997; started with Caldera Open Linux (still have the CD here for
> some reason).  Over the years I've tried RH, Caldera, Lycoris, Mandrake,
> Storm and a host of others.  However, I find I keep coming back to RH.
> I'm currently running RH 6.2 on my TP760, 7.2 on my desktop and 8.0 on
> my server.  The biggest reason I for returning to RH is that it is the
> one I am most comfortable with.  I cut my teeth on Solaris (nae, SunOS),
> Ultrix and SVR4 some 15 years ago.  I'm used to working with the
> non-standard aspects of different *nix flavors.  Because of this and the
> fact that RH has a lot of "non-standard" stuff, it always poses a good
> challenge which is something I enjoy.  Plus it keeps my troubleshooting
> skills sharp.  GUIs are simply an quick avenue for me to check my e-mail
> or surf the web; most of my real work is done at the command line.  I
> rarely ever use the GUI config tools that are provided.  So having a
> unified looks and point-and-click tools are moot to me.  Basically, as
> long as the under pinnings work (with tinkering or not), I could care
> less one way or the other.
> As an aside, I would not classify RH and Mandrake as "newbie" distros.
> I think thay are more intermidiate although Mandrake is probably the
> most newbie friendly of the two.  Lycoris and Lindows is what I consider
> newbie.  I've had a few peers who couldn't hack RH because it took too
> much tinkering to work and switched over to one of the more
> Windows-centric distros.
> Anyway, that's my two-cents worth.

Tod Harter
Giant Electronic Brain