Originally Published: Thursday, 6 July 2000 Author: David McKee
Published to: featured_articles/Featured Articles Page: 1/1 - [Std View]

Why the Distro Flame Wars Must End

So here I am. After nearly two months of reading, talking to users, and getting all the information I can on Linux, I'm ready to take the leap into an unfamiliar operating system and working environment. Armed with a couple of books, and more than enough pizza and cigarettes, today is the day I kiss goodbye to unreliable operating systems.

So here I am. After nearly two months of reading, talking to users, and getting all the information I can on Linux, I'm ready to take the leap into an unfamiliar operating system and working environment. Armed with a couple of books, and more than enough pizza and cigarettes, today is the day I kiss goodbye to unreliable operating systems.

Two friends are with me. I'm not sure if they are here for support or to watch Linux go up in flames. In goes the CD into the drive and the installer fires up. The install goes painlessly, except for a small glitch with my video card memory. So far, my friends are impressed, and so am I. Next comes the reboot. With a slightly sweaty palm, I remove the CD, reboot the system, and wait.

My friends are whispering amongst themselves, most likely expecting Linux to crash. But Linux boots up perfectly, and up comes my new shiny desktop. Even they are speechless at the ease with which everything loaded. And not one memory error, or any other error for that matter.

Now my Ethernet card needs to be set up. With the aid of my books, and the settings I previously knew, I had the system online within 5 minutes. I had been reading up on Linux, so I had a good idea of where to turn for help, so off I head to IRC. Finding a Linux chat room was no problem at all, with literally hundreds to choose from. So I picked a room that had quite a few guests and settled in.

Now while the install was painless, I knew it still needed a bit of tweaking, and I couldn't find the information in my books. So bravely I typed my question and awaited all the great help I would get. I stated clearly, "I have a Intel ethernet express 100 PCI card running on Linux Red hat 6.1 6.1, but seems to be in 1/2 duplex. Can i get a suggestion on how I may make it full-duplex?" Well to my shock, and to my friend's surprise, great help was not what I received. I was greeted by people asking how the install went, and I said great, and they said that they also used Red Hat.

What I was not prepared for was the chorus of "Redhat's not Linux" or "you should get a real distro of Linux like Slackware." The person who said Slackware was told by others in the room "Slackware sucks, run Mandrake or Debian."

That warm glow I felt just moments earlier, and the joy of having my new OS, soon evaporated. Even my two friends were in shock, asking me "Are all you Linux people like that? You can't even agree amongst yourselves for heaven's sake." While I was not deterred from my pursuit of an answer, or my desire to run Linux, it did leave me with a slight foul taste in my mouth, and needless to say my two friends won't run Linux.

Not only did that little distro flame war manage to deter two people from ever wanting to run Linux, it also ruined for me what was a great experience. So before we all go saying "my distro is best, and yours is lame," we should think about what the person on the other side of the question is feeling at that time. And we should try unite the community in the joy and wonderment that is Linux.

LinuxWolf

This article is my personal experience and opinion and does not reflect that of the site hosting this or its owners.