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My Distro Is Better Than Your Distro

I was hanging out in ##linux on Freenode this morning, willing to help anyone out who needed it, and I came smack into the middle of an argument about why Gentoo is the best distribution in the world, and Debian is the worst. As the conversation progressed, it was clear that the one running Gentoo had never touched a Debian system, or was even half-way familiar with its structure. He was claiming that Debian mucks up the vanilla source code, breaks things, and Debian is now a business. It became immediately clear that his knowledge of GNU/Linux has been entirely limited to Gentoo, and he was suffering a bit from fanboy-ism. This person continued with is anti-Debian pro-Gentoo rhetoric until he was banned from the channel.

Grow up! People, please! For the love of everything good and holy, we're in this together. Gentoo, Debian, Fedora, openSUSE, Slackware, Ubuntu, whatever. We're all part of the same ecosystem that keeps us loving what we do. We've "drank the Kool-Aid" so-to-speak. We all know what it's like to free our Microsoft bonds and run a Free system. It's fun. It's invigorating. It gives us bad grades in college, because we don't do our homework and hack instead (I don't speak from personal experience. Maybe. :)) So, why the hate? I understand the occasional teasing and poking fun. In fact, even a quality argument about different aspects of distributions of software is appropriate. But when the argument turns emotional and personal, and attacks are made, generalizations brought out, and all-in-all a pissing contest, then I don't understand it. Why?

Ubuntu is my personal choice of distribution with Debian coming in second. I'd run Fedora third, with CentOS fourth. openSUSE would come in fifth probably with Slackware and the free BSDs not far behind. I don't know much about many distributions, such as Gentoo or Foresight, but I'm willing to give them a try. Keeping myself open to trying new distros, coupled with learning what makes them tick, gives me the upper hand. Taking on a fanboy attitude, claiming my distro is the best, get me nowhere. Putting down other distributions get me nowhere. Generalizations get me nowhere.

Just a rant I had to get off my chest. That is all.

{ 28 } Comments

  1. web123 | January 2, 2009 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    OK, your distro (Ubuntu) is better than mine ๐Ÿ™‚
    I don't care.

  2. web123 | January 2, 2009 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    > web123 using Mozilla Firefox Mozilla Firefox on Fedora Linux

    What the f#ยฃ$!

  3. Aaron | January 2, 2009 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    Eh? Caught using Fedora? ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. LT | January 2, 2009 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    I know happens a lot and will keep happening. Personally I dual boot with linux as my primary operating system. I'm a user that loves proprietary drivers. Yet I'm still running the free operating system that I love. Nothing wrong with that right? Linux ftw!

  5. Roger | January 2, 2009 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    > He was claiming that Debian mucks up the vanilla source code

    I'll bet he wasn't running vanilla-sources either (the gentoo package for the unpatched kernel).

    Me, I'm happy with running running gentoo, opensuse, ubuntu and even windows (see above). The distro isn't really the important bit.

  6. Wolfger | January 6, 2009 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    > Iโ€™ll bet he wasnโ€™t running vanilla-sources
    > either (the gentoo package for the
    > unpatched kernel).

    Well, at least Gentoo offers choices about which kernel to use.

    I basically agree that Gentoo is the best distro out there. But I'm running Ubuntu. What does that say? I guess there's different values of "best". Ubuntu is significantly easier, which makes it better for most users. Myself, apparently, included.

    P.S. Why do I get an error message "You must submit a comment using the comment form." when I try to submit this comment? Seems the OpenID implementation is broken

  7. ethana2 | January 2, 2009 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    I don't know which OS is the most technically superior, I like the idea of gentoo if it was centralized compilation (binary distribution for almost every processor model)..
    ..but I do think that the Ubuntu brand, community, and Canonical are in a position to make a serious difference, for whatever reason.

  8. ikkefc3 | January 2, 2009 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    What, you can't take that my distro (opensuse) is better than yours (ubuntu) ๐Ÿ˜‰

  9. Debianista | January 2, 2009 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    What a nonsense, everybody knows Debian is the best an one and only true distro ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. Jeff Shipley | January 2, 2009 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    I have a pretty good respect for most distros, although they all have their own shortcomings (unfortunately, most seem to share the same shortcomings :)).

    I think that I've settled on Debian (for now at least), but I don't think that I'll ever stop trying out new distros from time to time.

    I'll admit that I've never tried Gentoo or Slackware, and that I don't really have any desire to, but I still think that they're decent distributions.

    I think that most fan-boyism could be cured by just a little bit of experimentation and consideration.

    (I have OpenID authentication errors every time I try to put a website into the website field here)

  11. Aaron | January 2, 2009 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Yeah. I'm aware of the OpenID auth problems and submitting a comment. I'm working on it. I may just disable OpenID until the plugin I'm using gets fixed.

    Thanks for the info.

  12. vorian | January 2, 2009 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    When there is a distro-war, everyone loses.

    It's hard enough to get emotion across a medium like IRC, but when it's heated.. boy things can go crazy.

    (besides, if you use GNOME, it doesn't matter how good your OS is - it'll be crap) ๐Ÿ˜›

  13. Aaron | January 2, 2009 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Hah! Everyone knows GNOME rules the world! You must be an Emacs user! j/k. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Manish Sinha | January 2, 2009 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    >>besides, if you use GNOME, it doesnโ€™t matter how good your OS is - itโ€™ll be crap

    Looks like you also suffering from the same fanboyism effect? What's your fav? KDE? I won't say that KDE rocks or sucks but it surely eats a lot of system resources on my laptop.

  15. matthew | January 2, 2009 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Aaron. I completely agree with your rant and I'm glad you made the post.

  16. Mike | January 2, 2009 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    LOL. Gentoo is toast. Forget what he has to say.
    Debian is the way.

  17. Sameer Morar | January 2, 2009 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    When people start comparing distributions, my response usually is that different distros have their strengths!! I usually break it down into the following, and encourage people to try out as many as possible, and select something that they are comfortable with (this doesn't mean that I won't tease them for their final choices, but that's just in jest!!):

    Gentoo: the ebuild system is great to use if you are an upstream developer
    Ubuntu: fantastic community support, so it's awesome for home users, and those that are new to the foss ecosystem
    Redhat / Fedora: if you need to use enterprise software, such as oracle etc...
    SLES / openSUSE: if you need to integrate into MS & Novell environments

    Personally, I run Ubuntu on everything, with the exception of an XBox, which runs gentoo, as that's the only thing that I can find which works and can be brought up to date easily (but painfully slowly)!!!

    People should make the same argument for all the other potential flame wars, eg emacs/vi/gedit/etc... or gnome/kde/xfce/enlightenment/etc... Focus on the strengths of a product and whether the user is comfortable within that environment!!

  18. Michael Goetze | January 3, 2009 at 12:21 am | Permalink

    A master was explaining the nature of Tao of to one of his novices. โ€œThe Tao is embodied in all software - regardless of how insignificant,โ€ said the master.

    โ€œIs the Tao in a hand-held calculator?โ€ asked the novice.

    โ€œIt is,โ€ came the reply.

    โ€œIs the Tao in a video game?โ€ continued the novice.

    โ€œIt is even in a video game,โ€ said the master.

    โ€œAnd is the Tao in the DOS for a personal computer?โ€

    The master coughed and shifted his position slightly. โ€œThe lesson is over for today,โ€ he said.

  19. Endless Linux | January 2, 2009 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    We should be united in "Fan-Boy-Ism" of Linux, not our respective distros... ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. Linux Canuck | January 2, 2009 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    The best distro is the one that works for you! I am glad to have choice. The more choice the better.

    BTW, I use Ubuntu, but don't think that it is the best choice for everybody. It works for me and that is good enough. If you use something else, that is fine by me. The day that everyone uses the same distro will be a sad day indeed.

  21. LinuxLover | January 2, 2009 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    This is a major problem for the growth of Linux. Linux users should unite, no matter what their personal choice of distro is. The in-fighting is bad for Linux and Open Source. We have to remember our common enemy: The proprietary OS companies.

    BTW, since this thing can't detect my distro, it's PCLinuxOS. I guess it only detects the major distros?

  22. Michael Goetze | January 3, 2009 at 12:19 am | Permalink

    A master was explaining the nature of Tao of to one of his novices. ``The Tao is embodied in all software - regardless of how insignificant,'' said the master.

    ``Is the Tao in a hand-held calculator?'' asked the novice.

    ``It is,'' came the reply.

    ``Is the Tao in a video game?'' continued the novice.

    ``It is even in a video game,'' said the master.

    ``And is the Tao in the DOS for a personal computer?''

    The master coughed and shifted his position slightly. ``The lesson is over for today,'' he said.

  23. Michael Goetze | January 3, 2009 at 12:20 am | Permalink

    This was a reply to comment #12. Your blog software just forgot that the moment I hit "Preview".

  24. nnonix | January 3, 2009 at 3:27 am | Permalink

    Gentoo is famous for having users like that. They don't just drink the cool-aid. They eat the cup.

  25. Wolfger | January 6, 2009 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    Yum! ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. User | January 3, 2009 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    Something worth reading from long time Linux user:

  27. akf | January 6, 2009 at 5:43 am | Permalink

    Ah, this discussion reminds me of the good old times.

    C64 forever!

    ...err, why doesn't it detect my C64?! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  28. Alexandre Franke | January 7, 2009 at 5:28 am | Permalink

    Aaron, be sure to have a look at Foresight Linux. I see that you already have experience with several families (deb, rpmโ€ฆ) but not that much with Foresight Linux so I can only recommend that you try it ๐Ÿ™‚

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