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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Gentoo week and other stuff

Man, it have been a boring week. Besides a Bugday which took place last Saturday (and still have to check out the results of that), there's almost nothing.

The only thing thing that I've noticed on forums is kinda twofold: one user considered moving from Gentoo to Ubuntu, and wanted convincing to stay, and other wanted to try Gentoo while he's using Ubuntu and wanted points to help him out.

This actually caused me thinking. The question here, of course, is more general, and I would say it like this:

  • How does one picks the most appropriate distro for himself/herself and what can we do to make that Gentoo?
Now, this issue is not so simple. While I could understand ones' choice of Linux over Windows or MacOS (and don't start with me on GNU, its semantics for me). But how would one choose a distribution?

On one of the forum threads, someone said "when you choose a distribution, you are choosing the way of thinking, the philosophy and an approach". This is the most accurate characterization I heard about "what I get if I choose {your favorite distro here}?".

So, in a nutshell, one chooses a distro by a most suitable way of doing things on a computer, not according to applications list. I don't care for how long my computer boot, because I have uptime of months, and I reboot it once in a long while. So will it take 20 seconds or a minute, doesn't matter to me.

But if I create a Media Center, I would like it to turn on instantly, and I do turn it off all the time. See, the purpose is an important thing, but the way of doing it is much more important.

Does my mom care what OS her TV runs (or if at all)? Does my dad care for his cell phone OS? Of course not. They want a predefined set of tasks, but these tasks should perform flawlessly.

If I want distribution, with predefined set of tasks, I want them be performed flawlessly. In the end, in screenshots you'll see a standard X with standard window manager with custom theme and icons. How does this provide a mindset of a distro? How would I know whether we're good for each other?

I see many users complain that Gentoo is not Fedora, Ubuntu or Suse. I suppose that after a move to these distros they complain how Fedora, Ubuntu or Suse is not Gentoo. We like to complain.

My friend started his second grad year, started using Red Hat in uni, because thats what they have. According his main complains, its like he's complaining that Linux is not Windows (he doesn't say that directly, he says something like "why don't I have {...} in Linux as I did in Windows. It was so simple!!").

So, why would a person leave Gentoo for other distro or other distro for Gentoo? 2 reasons:

  • He/she did something (or, although more rarely, something internal happened in distro structure) which broke his system and he/she either couldn't recover it or it took a lot of effort; and
  • The perceived mindset of other distro (or Gentoo) seems to be more suitable to this users' mindset at the moment, so user believes that other distro is "better" because it would allow to do things the way he/she can't at the moment with the distro he/she uses.
So can we do anything withing Gentoo to help that? Meaning, keeping more existing users and luring more of a new ones?

I believe so. There are many things that can be done, but the main thing I believe would be creating an easy ways around Gentoo. These would include, some but not limited to:

  • Easier processes for installing and maintaining. (we're close but it's not perfect)
  • Better documentation (either more fun, interactive and comprehensive)
  • Better change notification
  • Better feedback and support.
  • Better accessibility of developers to users and better interaction within community.
I can't say how exactly to do these, I'm trying to figure things each at a time. But as a part of user-user community relations, and part of users-developers relations, all ideas that are out there should be checked (and that's partially what userreps are there for), and in the end I believe we would have the best distro.

The best for out mindset that is.

Feel free to throw more ideas for making it better.

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