Picking the Best Open Source Project

I’m pretty sure I’ve addressed this before in some way or another, but I think it bears repeating. I’ve been seeing a new influx of posts on “which is the best distro?” and frankly it’s getting a bit dull.

Newsflash: there is no “best” distro. Every one has their strengths and their weaknesses and every one of them appeals to a slightly different audience. The 3 “daddies” of Linux are Slackware, Debian and Gentoo. Each one has a reputation for being hard to install and administer – wrongly, as over time they have all taken steps to make things easier. I have tried all three and, in my opinion, Slackware is the preferred option. Note those words: in my opinion. Speak to another Linux user and they will disagree – I know people who prefer Debian, Gentoo, Fedora, Ubuntu and so on. It is purely down to personal choice. I have tried a large number of different distros and have settled on Slackware. One is no less or more a Linux user because of the distro they use.

While we’re at it, Gnome and KDE are equally as good as each other, depending on what you want. KDE has more options but Gnome is designed to be more intuitive and easy to use. Oh, Vi/Vim and Emacs? It doesn’t matter which one you use. They both can do pretty much whatever you want them to do. Personally, I use KDE and Vi – though I use Nano more than Vi.

Are we getting the message yet?  Not only does it not matter which you use, no one actually cares.  Use what you want, for the reasons you want to use them.  Or don’t.  I use them and I use the ones I like, don’t care if you disagree or not.

So the next time someone asks you which is best, point them to this.  Or don’t, doesn’t bother me either way.


Posted on 15 March, 2008, in Computer Stuff, Distro Reviews, Idiot's Journey, Rants and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. I don’t care much either way myself. Debian works for me — has been working for years now — so I use it by default. I’m not much into the politics of Linux these days. I’ve become the old battle-weary veteran, not the firebrand flame warrior 🙂

    hari’s last blog post..Boxi and Panjo – Dream on

  2. Exactly – it’s enough that you use it, there’s no need to ask my opinion so you can join a club of users.

  3. LFS! UDE! Emacs! There are no others!

    MrCorey’s last blog post..Weekends are Welcome

  4. Well, that wasn’t satisfying. I guess that that I won’t be joining the flame wars soon, either. 😀 BTW, I’ve not rolled out LFS, as I don’t see the point of watching code compile for days before I have a usable system (I’d use a distro with some nice tools already installed like Gentoo, Debian, or Arch). I have used UDE and it was my WM for several weeks. If you want a GUI system that is truly fast, UDE (with UWM) cannot be beat for speed and features. And, I tend to use nano more often than other editors, although I edit sql with Gedit, as it tends to be the only editor that I’ve tried that doesn’t change the file that I worked on beyond my own changes. I wonder why that is.

    MrCorey’s last blog post..Weekends are Welcome

  5. No problem MrCorey – my blood pressure has not risen at all. The joy of using F/OSS is that there is an absolute wealth of choice – too much choice, some would say. Use Nano, Pico, Vi, Elvis, Joe, Gedit, Kate, etc etc as you need to. But do it because you have discovered that they are the best for you, not because the majority opinion says so.

  6. Everyone who deals with Linux/*nix should at least learn vi. There might be a time when it’s the only editor available and if you don’t know it, you’re screwed. Now I didn’t say use vi exclusively, I just said learn it or know the basics. That’s my stance and I’m sticking with it.

  7. That’s a good word of advice – always have an alternative. I liked using Vi, the few times I had to. I only know a handful of commands and most of them are how to exit 🙂 but it’s definitely handy if a distro decides not to install Nano.

  8. Well, vi is the most commonly installed editor. Sometimes in single user modes and other *nixes during a rescue attempt, vi might be the only editor or choice. That’s my reasoning that everyone using *nix should at least know the basics of vi.

    But it is very powerful, once you learn the keystrokes for commands and such. I don’t like the editor flame wars but I do believe it’s far superior to other editors for it’s main purpose, that doesn’t include emacs or any other programmers choice of editor, that’s a totally different topic when choosing an editor. 😉

  9. “which is the best distro?”
    Well said, Ray. The next time anyone ask this question to me, I’d bring em here hehe. And normally when that kinda question posted in a forum, it’ll lead to OS war. Me no like 😦

    od’s last blog post..osx86 on vmware server.

  10. Exactly od. Use the project or distro that you like to use and I’ll do the same.

  11. Here’s an interesting project, I am posting from Ulteo the online desktop. I sense a blog post coming on…..

  12. The best part about having all of these things to fight about on the FOSS side, is that there’s tons of competition, and because of that, we get choice.

  13. Absolutely. I like that there are many ways to do something and many tools to do the job.

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