[buug] Linux Mint, Ultimate Edition

Karen Hogoboom khogoboom at gmail.com
Thu May 26 04:20:36 PDT 2011

Why are there iMacs at LHS?

On Wed, May 25, 2011 at 8:10 PM, Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> wrote:

> My friend Grant Bowman has said here a few times what members of the
> Ubuntu community tend to say a great deal.  (I don't mean to denigratek.
> Grant, who wears many hats including Fedora Ambassador.)  Let me quote
> one iteration of a fairly standard Ubuntu speech:
>   I think we [Grant and Larry Cafiero] agree that Ubuntu with its
>   community groups, state by state local community structure,
>   focus on the desktop experience and existing user population
>   (especially in Berkeley from what I can tell) act as "training
>   wheels" into the Linux world for newcomers to begin using
>   Linux. No other distribution has been as successful reaching out to
>   "simple end users" as the Ubuntu community project.
> The project's recent marketing reach has been undeniable, much of it
> made possible by the efforts of volunteers like Grant.  However, whether
> it has actually _met_ the needs, real or perceived, of those 'simple end
> users' is a more complex question.  (And that's without even talking
> about Unity, Mac-styled buttons for no reason other than marketing,
> etc.)
> Complex or not, I'm obliged to grapple with it because I maintain some
> widely used Web pages that have been up since around '94, many of
> which directly address newcomers' choices, attempting to advise them.
> Maintenence of such pages is an ongoing chore:  You vgrep your old pages
> and suddenly say 'Huh?  Installation floppies?  What's that still doing
> there?'  Anyway, today I was de-cobwebbing one of the 'I'm new to Linux'
> items, http://linuxmafia.com/~rick/faq/index.php?page=kicking#distro ,
> and was obliged to do some hard thinking about its recommendation until
> today of Ubuntu / Kubuntu / Xubuntu / Lubuntu in the top tier.
> Problem is:  Some of the stuff new users typically seek (proprietary
> codecs and such; see below), and complain about the absence of, _is
> missing_ by default.  By policy.  I respect those omissions; there are
> good reasons for them, and there are 'restricted formats' pages (etc.)
> about how to retrofit them.
> And yet the point remains.
> Linux Mint and Ultimate Edition are Ubuntu with those things merged in.
> So, if the aim is to make things as easy as humanly possible for 'simple
> end users', shouldn't they merit higher recommendation?  Shouldn't
> PCLinuxOS, MEPIS Linux, and Zenwalk Linux _also_ merit higher
> recommendation by that same reasoning?
> Here is my revised Q&A on that point, flattened to ASCII.  (Visit above
> URL for the version with links and markup intact.)
> Q:  Which Linux distribution should I get? Which distribution is
> friendliest to new users? Should I get Ubuntu?
> A: Linux poses three distinct challenges: building, administering, and
> using the system. You might be ecstatic with a Linux system constructed
> and configured for you, but will (if you're an "ease of use" person)
> probably be unhappy with the unfamiliar challenge of loading any
> operating system on Intel-type PCs. (MS-Windows is typically
> mis-perceived as "easy to install" by those who never install OSes, and
> who use whatever comes pre-loaded.)
> You can buy pre-assembled, pre-configured Linux systems from many
> vendors. Those I know of in the San Francisco Bay Area are included in
> my Other Local Linux Resources list. Please note that all of them do
> mail-order business. Additionally, you can buy a hard drive pre-loaded
> with a configured Linux distribution from Cosmos Engineering.
> The questions of which distribution is "best" and which is "friendliest"
> are both inherently debatable: Most opinions you'll hear will be both
> bigoted and based on incomplete, out-of-date information concerning most
> (or, often, nearly all) alternatives.  Anyone who tries to give you an
> easy answer to either question is trying to sell you something.
> You, for your part, should think long and carefully before you ask such
> questions: Are you even serious about trying Linux at all?  How are you
> going to distinguish between competent, relevant answers and blasts of
> hot air from people barely less ill-informed than you are?
> No, you should not automatically gravitate towards Ubuntu, just because
> that distribution is best-known in the USA. (Before 2011, this FAQ item
> used to say "Red Hat" rather than "Ubuntu", but the distribution touted
> to the masses changes from year to year.) One of the glories of Linux is
> the richness of choices that you can sample many of at low cost.
> Consider trying several of them consecutively, using one of the
> multi-distribution jewel-case sets described in a prior section.
> I _personally_ strongly prefer the Debian distribution, especially for
> servers. However, newcomers should consider starting with Linux Mint,
> Ultimate Edition, MEPIS Linux, PCLinuxOS, or Zenwalk Linux, for desktop
> Linux machines (not Debian).
> The "Ubuntu" distribution family, comprising Ubuntu Linux / Kubuntu /
> Lubuntu / Xubuntu (a single base distribution with your choice of four
> desktop environments) is focussed on new users but has ongoing
> moderately serious bug problems (less so in the "LTS" = Long-Term
> Support releases), omits support for proprietary AV formats (including
> Adobe Flash and MP3s) and Hollywood-type movie DVD playback for
> understandable reasons of legal complications, omits some similar
> popular proprietary software such as proprietary Sun Java, and popular
> proprietary hardware drivers such as those for Nvidia and ATI video
> chips (albeit quite good open source drivers are provided), for some
> problematic wireless chips, etc.  Linux Mint and Ultimate Edition, cited
> earlier, are Ubuntu-family distributions from outside maintainers that
> merge in those "desktop enhancements" so they work out of the box, but
> are otherwise pretty much the same as standard Ubuntu.
> If you want a cutting-edge but at least somewhat new-user-friendly Linux
> distribution but are not fixated on out-of-the-box support for
> proprietary AV formats, DVD playback, the Adobe Flash browser plugin,
> etc., then openSUSE, Kademar, aptosid, and Mageia all merit
> consideration.
> If you're undecided on the question, read Karsten's Distributions Guide,
> consult DistroWatch, and consult the Linux Distribution Chooser, first.
> You may also find it interesting to compare the "look" of different
> desktop environments and window managers at the "Window Managers for X"
> pages.
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Karen Lee Hogoboom
Computer Programmer
Phone:  (510) 666-8298
Mobile:  (510) 407-4363

khogoboom at gmail.com
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