[devel] Fwd: [school-discuss] Re: Ubuntu - Linux for Human Beings
Пн Май 2 20:05:06 MSD 2005
Коллеги, а почитайте на досуге графомана-дебиановода, удачно
прикинувшегося "воспитателем детского сада".
Несмотря на ряд фактологических ошибок (mkdir в RH useradd),
хотел бы я, чтобы подобного уровня обзор кто написал об альте
-- и чтобы из этого был толк.
----- Forwarded message from "Karsten M. Self" <kmself ix.netcom.com> -----
Date: Thu, 28 Apr 2005 14:07:32 -0700
From: "Karsten M. Self" <kmself ix.netcom.com>
To: schoolforge-discuss schoolforge.net
Subject: [school-discuss] Re: Ubuntu - Linux for Human Beings
on Wed, Apr 27, 2005 at 09:53:59AM -0300, Stephen Downes (stephen downes.ca) wrote:
> Yishay Mor wrote:
> >[Forwarded from an unsubscribed address--Doug]
> >yet another CD-bootable disto, Debian based, but with a built-in
> I've heard good things about Ubuntu and have a distro at home ready
> to install. But...
> What do people here think of Ubuntu? How well does it compare with,
> say, Mandrake?
My current comparison points include Debian, RH, Mandrake, and SuSE,
with broader and less current experience including many others.
Ubuntu: nice desktop, great management, great infrastructure, good
details, good extensibility if you don't mind diverging from stated
goal path, keep an eye on Cannonical's fortunes. Better than most
of the competition. I'm still partial to stock Debian but endorse
Ubuntu for newcomers with very few reservations.
Ubuntu provides a nicely packaged system, I find it little different
from stock Debian largely, though my own usage is largely oriented
around shell and CLI/curses apps, plus a few others (notably Galeon).
Much of the "you have to be there to appreciate it" work in Ubuntu is in
its desktop polish, which is rather strongly targeted at GNOME (Ubuntu
main distro) and KDE (Kubuntu branch distro), neither of which I use as
a desktop (first preference WindowMaker, strong recommendation of XFCE4
for light/n00b use, and pretty much anything else, including TWM, for
How is Ubuntu Different from Debian?
On differences between Ubuntu and Debian:
And Ubuntu Philosophy:
- Ubuntu is bootstrapped off of Debian. Meaning you're tapping
heavily on Debian infrastructure, including the package management
tools, packages themselves, documentation, experience base, and
There are very few areas in which Ubuntu makes marked departures
from Debian (none of which I'm significantly aware), but most of
these are in the project's focus (desktop, GNOME / KDE), a dedicated
enterprise support source (Canonical), and release schedule (6
- Packages. 6k+ in primary sources, approaching 17.5k+ in additional
sources ("Universe" and others), most of which are stock (or near
- The little stuff. Most of the tools _I_ happen to want (as an
admin) on my systems are there or readily obtainable: vim, w3m,
lftp, screen, wget, ssh. I usually have mc on hand, may have had to
grab that out of Universe. Not that this is particularly
significant for the end-user, but as an admin of a box, these and
related tools make my life much easier. Not everything happens at
console (e.g.: locally) or in GUI.
- sudo installed (and configured correctly) by default. This is a
*massive* win for Ubuntu (though the hoi polloi won't understand
why) and they deserve massive Beaujolais for getting this right.
- Clean network profile: no services by default. Now, if you want
SSH to your box, that's a bit of a PITA, but readily amended.
- ISV support. One potential plus of a commercial entity is forging
relationships with ISVs. This is one place where RH and SuSE offer
major wins. It's not something Ubuntu's made noises about (that I'm
aware) but could be a significant plus over stock Debian, in a "For
those who like that sort of thing, it's the sort of thing that they
like" sort of way.
- Ubuntu is bootstrapped off of Debian ... which means it (as the fine
folks in irc://irc.freenode.net/#debian will be more than happy to
tell you) *isnt'* Debian. Packages _are_ different, there are now
two conflicting sets of Debs floating around. APT _should_ keep
this sorted, but expect confusion to grow with time. Ian Murdoch's
had some widely reported comments on this, slightly overblown, but
considered all the same.
Also, Ubuntu focuses (but doesn't limit itself) to desktops,
emphasizing GNOME/KDE by default. While this _doesn't_ mean you
can't run a different desktop, or that you can't use Ubuntu for
server roles (or that it's pretty straightforward to do so), but
that's not its core mission. If you and [K]Ubuntu have differing
goals, you may want to consider this. I like to know that me and my
tools are reasonably aligned.
As previously mentioned, Ubuntu divorces itself, well, takes up
separate residences is probably more apropos, from Debian. Which
somewhat divides efforts. There's been some grumbling about this.
Most relevant, particularly for organizational adoption, is
long-term viability. The Debian project has over a decade under its
belt, and is a well-organized (or at least organized) effort
comprised of 1000+ developers from many individual organizations,
and many "how do we make this thing work" battles fought and won.
Any time you're considering a distro based on a single enterprise,
you've got to consider that enterprise's survival. Ubuntu and
Canonical have ~1 year under their belt.
- Packages. By default you're _just_ in the stock Ubuntu / Kubuntu
packages, which are all that are supported. It's a considerably
smaller selection than full Debian (though it's roughly as rich as
any other mainstream distro). While Universe (and other
supplemental archives) fill in the gaps, you're now outside the
"supported" Ubuntu package set. Which somewhat addresses the
question of the real value of "support". Note that this is more a
semantic than practical concern, but it's there.
- The little stuff. I _did_ have to go grab a few things out of
Universe, most notably annoying was 'mc'. While I'll admit it's not
a package widely used by most n00bs, it's insanely useful: console;
interactive; remote access via sh:, FTP:, http: and other methods;
virtual filesystem access to archive and package (DEB, RPM, tarball)
formats. OK, it's a tad large than I'd have thought, at ~2 MiB.
But it's an incredibly useful 2 MiB.
- sudo configured by default: Um. This is *not* a bug ;-)
- Clean network profile. As noted above, you'll have to install any
services you want to run, SSH among them. One consequence is that
there is no firewall configured or installed by default,
rationalized by the lack of listening services.
- ISV support. Proprietary SW is _so_ last millennium ;-) But if
you've got to go there, you've got to go there. Yes, I'll admit a
pragmatic need at times. It's just that I avoid proprietary lock-in
The careful reader will have noted a certain symmetry about these
bonuses and complaints. Ubuntu's strengths are in large part its
weaknesses. Its weaknesses (that I've been able to tell in a couple
months of occasional use) are _not_ shows-toppers, but you should be
aware of them.
My one major gripe to date is that the Wiki support suggests Ubuntu can
be installed in as little as ~800 MiB. My experience on a 1.7 GiB
partition (exceeding the install minimum guidelines) is that there's
simply insufficient space to run a system update. A bit of
truth-in-advertising would help here: give yourself 3-4 GiB minimum,
and if you *really* want to be happy, 20 GiB or more is going to give
you space for multimedia files and other detritus of modern computing in
It would be useful to note that LTSP and other thin-client solutions are
well-suited to older HW with limited storage, as a rich GNU/Linux
installation is actually larger than a stock legacy MS Windows system,
though IMVAO the utility is vastly greater.
How Does Ubuntu Compare to Other Major Distros?
Most of the comparisons with other distros are pretty much as for Debian
A general note: the only box on this system I oversaw installation of
was the primary Debian server.
- APT (and Debian Policy) provide huge wins in package management over
RPM based distros. The latter _are_ improving, but still don't hold
a candle. It's not just package availability, it's not just package
quality, it's not just ease of install. It's details like how
/usr/share/doc/ entries are named (by package, *not*
package+version), the menu system (and automated addition /
deletion, including integration into all WMs on your system),
requirements for manapges for all executables (again, more a "the
guy who's got to admin the damned thing" than an end-user issue, but
significant), It Just Works[tm] services, clear /etc/init.d/
scripts, FHS-compliant sysvinit structures, clean and sane
networking config.... I could write an essay on the topic. Oh, I
- Ease of upgrade. No wipe-and-rebuild (RH/FC are *still* walking
this path...). If you're tracking a release state (stable /
unstable / testing), on release day, you just run 'aptitude update;
aptitude dist-upgrade' and you're on your way. If you're tracking a
specific named release, you 's/oldrel/newrel/' in
/etc/apt/sources.list and do as before, to switch (say: warty =>
- Command-line admin utils. Ubuntu's (and Debian's) 'adduser' command
is interactive, prompts for full information -- password, full
name, GECOS fields (office/phone) -- and creates the user's home
directory and associated user group (something not adopted by other
distros). On MDK, RH, & SuSE, passwd, chfn, and mkdir must be run
manually. Another admin point, but another place where The Guy
Who's Got To Fix The Thing[tm] (TGWGTFTT) is going to be a lot
- Ease of updates. Security issue: subscribe to the security
announcements list, and make sure you're running an 'aptitude
update; aptitude dist-upgrade' reasonably frequently (at least once
a week, daily isn't too often). Updates happen smoothly without a
reboot. Ubuntu minimizes user prompts for configuration w/ sane
- Online documentation. Another massive win for Debian is the
documentation packages available -- not just various *-doc packages,
but linux-gazette, RFCs, HOWTOs, and several large books including
rutebook, Grokking the GIMP, and others, and the integrated,
web-accessible, documentation system, 'dwww', indexed via swish+.
The result is instant access to man pages, package documentation,
references, HOWTOs, guides, standards documents, in both a
menu-driven and searchable form. Very impressive. Among the things
I've done with the primary Debian system installed at the school lab
is to exploit its 80 GiB of storage to load it up with docs (for
the day I ride off into the sunset).
- Configuration smoothness. I'm running a lab with the following
distros currently: Mandrake 10.1, SuSE 9.1, RH 9.0, Ubuntu Warty,
and Debian Sarge. Some of the hassles noted:
- Mandrake 10.1 installed (not by me but by the somewhat neophyte HS
teacher of the course) w/o SSH. Had to hunt on IRC to change from
CD installation to online RPM archives (not stated in docs or
readily apparent on Mandriva's website). Had to install clamav
(and RPM deps) from RPMFind, manually resolving deps, prior to
configuring mirrors. Learning curve noted.
- SuSE 9.1: As for Mandrake. sudo (not sure if it was configured
by default or not) doesn't appear to work right. While I *can*
'sudo', I'm forced to give root's password. I may or may not have
needed to add myself to the 'wheel' group to make things work
right (this is a, um, "feature" of some sudos, it's not clearly
documented in SuSE, and clearly doesn't work quite right). I
previously noted that Novell's made finding SuSE docs needlessly
SuSE annoyingly changes the default bash prompt ($PS1) from
'[stuff]$ ' to '[stuff]> '. Which to me is a continuation prompt
($PS2). Confusing particularly if you notice it in the middle of
writing a complex bash line. Nothing a .bashrc edit won't fix.
- RH 9.0. First it must be noted that RH 9.0 is unsupported. It
was released March 31, 2003, and was EOLd April 30, 2004. While
this is RH's prerogative, our illustrative sample of The General
Public (OISOTGP), an enthusiastic but inexperienced HS tech
teacher, picked it as "a recent and current RH release". It's not
immediately evident that FC (highest version: 3 / 4) or RHEL
(highest version: 3, and pricey) are upgrade replacements. This
is a serious marketing / education problem for RH. While the
choice of RH 9.0 is clearly a user error, it's not one that's
immediately apparent, nor is it readily correctable
RH as installed (again: not by me but by OISOTGP), lacks an XPDF
reader, a current (Firefox) web browser, and a few other oddities.
Installing these requires third-party RPMs or repositories (and
yes these exist, and yes, there are third party support options,
but both involve research and time). Current plan is to wipe &
rebuild with a current FC.
There are a number of other niggles, including (this is something
I've experienced w/ RH going back to 5.x/6.x days) terminal
settings which Are Just Plain Broken for remote access. C'mon,
aren't backspace/delete key mapping issues something we solved in
the *last* millennium?
By comparison, the initial Debian box in the lab was installed as
'stable'. While this shares RH 9.0's somewhat stale package load,
it *is* supported. It's also readily upgraded via a quick edit of
/etc/apt/sources.list, then 'apt-get update; apt-get
- Installed base apps: Ubuntu does as well or better than other
platforms for having useful apps installed, particularly noted, PDF
readers. Firefox browser is seen as more usable than Konqueror
(SuSE) by user comments. Selection is considerably more current
than RH 9.0 (EOL previously noted).
- More on terminal: Ubuntu handles a $TERM value of 'linux.screen'
sanely (or is it screen.linux?). None of the others (MDK/S/RH) do.
I get this when sshing to a host from w/in a screen session. I
think. Have to manually set my screen session or edit .bashrc to
My experience with a *wide* range of platforms, from Mac to MVS to PC to
VMS to SunOS to Irix and across a gamut of GNU/Linux distros is that a
cross of Debian's technical expertise and *technically informed*
polish is a Really Nice Thing[tm]. Go Ubuntu! (but Debian Rocks ;-)
Note too: one of the major features of Ubuntu is its stock package
install. There's little barrier to listing these packages and
installing them on a stock Debian.
1. Oscar Wilde.
2. NB: Looking at employment listings (something occupying too much of
my time, hint, hint), I'm seeing *way* too many gigs citing RH
versions dating to 9.x (Mar, 2003), 8.x (Sep, 2002), 7.x (May,
2002), and even 6.x (Mar 2000). For *public-facing* systems. What
this tells me is that RH has long had a real problem facilitating
user upgrades, whether for technical (it's old and vulnerable) or
corporate (it's income) reasons.
I'm pretty solidly convinced that _any_ business model in which sale
of upgrades is tied to revenues is broken. Doesn't mean you can't
sell your software: SAS Institute (a proprietary company) is one in
which what is sold is _access_ to updates, support, and other
services. That is, your current license grants you rights to any
current (or prior, if supported) release of the product. RH may be
headed in this direction. Redmond's got big concerns here.
My experience as a SAS programmer in the 1990s was that *many*
mainframe shops, with full access to the latest release (~6.8 or so)
were still running 5-8 year old v5 versions. Tried, proven, and
carved in stone. Both SI _and_ the customers were reasonably happy
with the situation. It wouldn't surprise me to find that there are
still MVS systems running 5.x in production.
3. ObJWZQuote: Linux is only free if your time has no value.
There's some truth to that.
Yes, it's an old quote. Yes, much mentioned in the essay has been
addressed. Yes, there's *still* some truth in it. And *yes*, I'm
an unapologetic GNU/Linux bigot. And if JWZ's currently using
computers, I'm pretty sure he's glommed on to Mac OS X.
Hrm, looks like it's prolly a mix of GNU/Linux, SGI, and Mac OS X
based on the following and other posts found:
4. Something that seems sadly lacking at Linspire. I read Michael
Robertson's latest comments that "root is safe" as a license to
withhold any personal recommendation for that platform:
Karsten M. Self <kmself ix.netcom.com> http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
What Part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?
Green Acres, The Beverly Hillbillies, and Hooterville
Junction will no longer be so damned relevant, and
women will not care if Dick finally gets down with
Jane on Search for Tomorrow because Black people
will be in the street looking for a brighter day.
----- End forwarded message -----
---- WBR, Michael Shigorin <mike на altlinux.ru>
------ Linux.Kiev http://www.linux.kiev.ua/
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