Let's build the perfect (simulated) Distro!


Let's build the perfect (simulated) Distro!  

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Max Norris

Personally, I'd hold off on the preferred software selection vote until after picking a desktop environment. The QT vs GTK thing; I know it really doesn't matter from a technical standpoint but I prefer to keep it as "pure" as possible when it's feasible. Amarok on a Gnome desktop wouldn't be my first pick for example, and vice versa. Extra baggage, interop, consistency, and all that. I wouldn't go overboard on number of choices out of the box either or you'll wind up with something like OpenSUSE's ISO which is pretty big; nothing wrong with a default then having whatever software center-like program opening up to show options, can be done after the install. Choice is fine and all that but personally prefer one solid 100% option to 20 hits-or-miss options, if that makes sense, otherwise you're going to wind up with a bloated kitchen sink distro.

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abecedarian paradoxious

didn't neowin already try something called ######... oops, I mean shift.

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Unobscured Vision

Personally, I'd hold off on the preferred software selection vote until after picking a desktop environment. The QT vs GTK thing; I know it really doesn't matter from a technical standpoint but I prefer to keep it as "pure" as possible when it's feasible. Amarok on a Gnome desktop wouldn't be my first pick for example, and vice versa. Extra baggage, interop, consistency, and all that. I wouldn't go overboard on number of choices out of the box either or you'll wind up with something like OpenSUSE's ISO which is pretty big; nothing wrong with a default then having whatever software center-like program opening up to show options, can be done after the install. Choice is fine and all that but personally prefer one solid 100% option to 20 hits-or-miss options, if that makes sense, otherwise you're going to wind up with a bloated kitchen sink distro.

That's why the chosen pieces of software will be freshly downloaded after the user makes the selections, hits the 'Proceed' button, and enters their password. This way:

 

1) Image sizes are reduced

 

2) The base system installs are smaller

 

3) Any security issues present in an out of date Web Browser that would have shipped with the Distro is now a non-issue since the system will always have the most current Web Browser available (Firefox, Chromium, Google Chrome, Opera, etc)

 

4) The same holds true for Media Players and corresponding Codec files

 

So, to my thinking, we're actually saving a ton of space this way. Upwards of 60-90 mb (or more) in the image size by NOT including the above in the default install.

 

Does the idea have any merit?

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simonlang

That's why the chosen pieces of software will be freshly downloaded after the user makes the selections, hits the 'Proceed' button, and enters their password. This way:

 

1) Image sizes are reduced

 

indeed it would lead to much smaller images. however we would still need to figure out which basic apps to even include in the live-image. remember: many like to try out not only the distro but also the programs it comes with before deciding if they install it or not.

 

2) The base system installs are smaller

 

but remember: afterwards the user will face again the problem of deciding, downloading and installing all stuff. small images are nice but just a little bit stuff should be included by default.

 

3) Any security issues present in an out of date Web Browser that would have shipped with the Distro is now a non-issue since the system will always have the most current Web Browser available (Firefox, Chromium, Google Chrome, Opera, etc)

 

i don't see much of an issue here. running an older webbrowser in the live distro is still secure as it does not affect your system. firefox gets updated with the ubuntu ppa, etc.

for chrome actually it's a pretty good idea though! 

 

4) The same holds true for Media Players and corresponding Codec files

 

this will be tricky and a challenge, i am highly interested to see how you guys tackle this. 

 

So, to my thinking, we're actually saving a ton of space this way. Upwards of 60-90 mb (or more) in the image size by NOT including the above in the default install.

 

Does the idea have any merit?

hope this text i answered the quotes with is shown in bold? qupzilla seems to have a problem with inverted/bold and underlined text here on neowin. 

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elenarie

I don't think you will bloat the image that much if you include everything, assuming you're not including redundant stuff.

 

4) The same holds true for Media Players and corresponding Codec files

 

Isn't VLC available on Linux? So just use that for the media stuff and you're covered. It says about 20MBs compressed for Windows, can't imagine it being any bigger for Linux. So 20MBs to cover all media use cases seems like a good trade-off. Same for Firefox, would cover all browsing needs.

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rfirth

didn't neowin already try something called ######... oops, I mean shift.

 

Shift Linux, Fusion OS, and I'm sure a few more failed discontinued Linux distro projects.

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Max Norris

Does the idea have any merit?

Sure, I see where you're going. Only drawback off the top of my head would be a longer install time for some people, not everybody has broadband -- but *shrug* not going to make everybody happy regardless, you either got a big ISO or you got a wait as it downloads, tradeoff either way. My original concern wasn't the size (I'm on broadband, so hit me with your best shot) but just the software itself versus the environment it's running in.. qBittorrent on Cinnamon or Evolution on KDE as examples, not ideal.

 

I don't think you will bloat the image that much if you include everything, assuming you're not including redundant stuff.

That depends -- you can go kitchen-sink like OpenSUSE's installer, that ISO is a gig bigger than even Windows. But personally that's a non-issue anyways -- if you're still stuck on dialups this probably isn't the distro of choice.
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Unobscured Vision

Thanks for the input, everyone. All opinions, positive AND negative, if constructive, are accepted and weighed in.

 

And remember also that this is a simulation -- an experiment. If there's enough interest, then certainly a discussion can be started about actually making this Distro a real thing. This experiment is for users to chime in and say what they want and don't want/like in a Distribution. Maybe some attention can be garnered. This is how Change is put into motion.

 

Arch-based and Ubuntu-based have 17 votes each.

 

Debian-based has 11 votes.

 

Red Hat/SuSE/Fedora-Based has 5 votes.

 

Gentoo-based has 4 votes.

 

Source-based has 3 votes.

 

Slackware-based has 2 votes.

 

Custom/Other has a single vote.

 

Right now Ubuntu-based and Arch-based are tied. And I know I said that voting was done Saturday at noon EDT. Time for a runoff vote!

 

I did indeed vote (last Monday, I believe), and my vote went to Arch-based, so I am unable to break the tie. Therefore, we'll leave the voting open for another day, until tomorrow (Sunday) at 12pm EDT.

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Unobscured Vision

hope this text i answered the quotes with is shown in bold? qupzilla seems to have a problem with inverted/bold and underlined text here on neowin. 

Yep, looks fine to me in Google Chrome on Mint 17.1. No font issues here. And thanks for your insights. You can be sure I'll pick your brain frequently.

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Unobscured Vision

Looks like we have a winner, and it's Arch-based. Thanks go to everyone who participated in this round of voting, and everyone who added the helpful insights and commentary.

 

The next round of voting will be up soon.

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Mindovermaster

:D

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Phixion

Wait a minute... wasn't there already a Linux distro made by Neowin members?

 

I forget the name.

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simonlang

Yep, looks fine to me in Google Chrome on Mint 17.1. No font issues here. And thanks for your insights. You can be sure I'll pick your brain frequently.

 

indeed. i am on chromium atm and can see bold text again. seems to be a qupzilla bug then  :(

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Haggis

Wait a minute... wasn't there already a Linux distro made by Neowin members?

 

I forget the name.

There was

both times though it never took off

although in saying that the 2nd time it never even got started

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  • 3 weeks later...
xxxxxx.xxxxxx

I've took my time before coming to this thread and refrained from adding 0.02c... until now.

 

A simulation or not, building the ultimate or "perfect" linux distribution is a fantasy. GNU/Linux is great at what it does. It gives the user choices, it gives the user freedom. It does this by being open-source and freely available to change, distribute and create.

 

Linux users vary. The general users who want something to work for the simple tasks on their high end machine - they want ease of use, minimal user intervention and for all their obscure hardware to work straight out the box. For these users you have the *buntus. The power user, who wants a system that they can install and configure exactly the way they want it. get into the bear bones of the system without having to deal with bloat. These kind of systems require much more manual intervention and tasks are less automated such as configuration of services for example. For these users you have the likes of Archlinux, Gentoo and in even some cases Debian. Then you have all those in between which usually have a distribution already created with them in mind; media based, pentesting, livecds that dont require installation, server systems, embedded devices.

 

My point is Linux distributions are individual however they offer choice. Unlike other operating systems, Windows and MacOS you are not forced to agree to use applications and interfaces that a corporation full of designers have decided looks good to the user. You can design your system to be exactly what you want it to be, so that it is fit for purpose and looks aesthetically pleasing to you. After all you are the person going to be using it. 

 

So, back to the "perfect" Linux distribution. If there is to be such a perfect distribution, it would incorporate every aspect of every distribution to meet the needs of every GNU/Linux user. It would allow the use of .rpm , .deb, .tgz, .tar.bz2, etc compiled packages. It would include apt-get, pacman, emerge, abs, ports, yum etc package management systems. It would include a comprehensive CLI installation procedure allowing the system to run as an apache headless webserver on ~10MB disk space or a full blown all-you-can-eat system taking up TBs of precious space and a GUI installer with options of comprehensive or simple installation methods, where simple would use generic configuration files to "just get the user up and running". The system would be able to run on all architectures be it i386, i686, ia_64, amd64, arm, ppc, sparc, /390, pc98 etc.

 

With so many variables, its just too far out of reach to create such a "perfect" distribution of linux. What you may want to suggest is to build the most complete, secure "switchers" distribution of GNU/Linux. Something which would seem more at home for Windows and MacOS users wanting to try Linux for the first time, but that has something that current offerings don't.

 

:)

 

 

 

...

I attempted to install Arch last night (per the documentation for Virtualbox), and I failed to get it working. I'll keep trying until I get it right. It's likely my fault anyway. :yes:

 

As an Arch user, i have to say that getting Archlinux to play nicely on virtual machines is a PITA. It is much more advisable to simply make a small partition on your hard drive and install there using GRUB as your boot menu. You can always set Windows as the default boot in GRUB and bring the menu delay down to 1 second.

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T3X4S

a perfect example of a microcosm - this thread suffers the same issues the linux community suffers - inability to agree/decide

Or is it just me flexing my anger since Im a linux newb & I cant take the blame so I blame the community ?  :blush:

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Unobscured Vision

Sorry for the lack of forward momentum on this.

 

I've attempted on my own to get the most current Arch going on my own various times both virtually and on bare metal and neither resulted in success. Consulting the documentation (which is substantial) wasn't much help, and it's not my first rodeo with 'nix (I've been using one Distro or another since 2003). I'm at a total loss to explain why I'm having these difficulties.

 

I'll keep trying. It's got to be my fault, somewhere down the line. Several thousand Arch Linux users can't be wrong, and the documentation is not incorrect.

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123456789A

Well I think since Arch isn't working for you, we should eliminate it from the options as Slackware is clearly a better choice.

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Mindovermaster

Well I think since Arch isn't working for you, we should eliminate it from the options as Slackware is clearly a better choice.

 

For you? Maybe. I find slackware to be harder than Arch.

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Unobscured Vision

Well I think since Arch isn't working for you, we should eliminate it from the options as Slackware is clearly a better choice.

I don't think that's the Democratic thing to do, since the Community members that voted chose Arch-based. My problem is getting vanilla Arch to install and boot up. I'll figure it out, and I'm not aware of any time constraints. ;)

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Thomas the Tank Engine

100% LSB compliant!

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Haggis

Sorry for the lack of forward momentum on this.

 

I've attempted on my own to get the most current Arch going on my own various times both virtually and on bare metal and neither resulted in success. Consulting the documentation (which is substantial) wasn't much help, and it's not my first rodeo with 'nix (I've been using one Distro or another since 2003). I'm at a total loss to explain why I'm having these difficulties.

 

I'll keep trying. It's got to be my fault, somewhere down the line. Several thousand Arch Linux users can't be wrong, and the documentation is not incorrect.

 

what bit is failing?

 

i have tried arch a few times on bare metal and vm and always had issues with networking

 

I installed it a few days ago through on ESXi and managed to get it working

 

the documentation is good but i agree its annoying when it does not work

 

so let us know where you have issues :)

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Unobscured Vision

Bootloader installs fine, no problems with installing the file system, the base system and a DE, I reboot the system, GRUB appears as it should, I select which one I want to boot, hit enter ... and nothing. I've left it there for upwards of half an hour. It just sits there, no Kernel or other messages of any kind appear at all. It's almost a hard lockup. And I assume that Arch is one of those Distros that keeps verbose messages at boot, correct? I'd be sorely disappointed if I were to discover otherwise ... well, not terribly so, but still.  :rofl:

 

If GRUB was borked up somehow, it would tell me, so that eliminates GRUB as the culprit. I can fix a GRUB problem easily.

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