Linux's distriubutions

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Linux's distriubutions

Postby Otyugh on Wed Jan 30, 2013 6:08 pm

Hey,
I've a very big newbie question. That's a shame because I'm doing quite a lot with linux already.
There is my very general question : what is the real difference between a Mint and another distribution ?

As I see it, there is the installation "set up" that is different (let's forget it). Then the "default softwares" installed.
Further, there is a few things like the mint "app-store" as i name it, and few little things (is that very wrong to compare theses builtin like the archlinux pacman ?).

So, here is the question. What's more ?
What can't I do, playing with packages on mint for example, that i can't have on another distribution ?
And on the other hand, what can't i do on mint that I could do on another distribution ?

I just wonder if I could have concrete example, because I must say... This wasn't clear for me for ages.
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Re: Linux's distriubutions

Postby tdockery97 on Wed Jan 30, 2013 6:27 pm

The simple answer is that there isn't anything you can do in Mint that you cannot do in most other distributions. Linux distributions run on the Linux Kernel, which is pretty standard among the various distros. Some of the differences come in how the operating system is built, tweaked, and accessories added to it. For example Mint coming with flash and other codecs already installed, and unique additions such as the Mint Update Manager. Many of these things can be added to or subtracted from Mint and the many other distros.

In my personal opinion, the real difference in distros comes from the community of users surrounding the distro.
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Re: Linux's distriubutions

Postby raymerjacque on Wed Jan 30, 2013 6:46 pm

the main difference is that the developers of Mint listen to their users and dont force crap onto them as most distro's do at some point. Also the user wants a user friendly os, easy to use, yet powerfull and sleek looking. and Mint has nailed it, mint also designs its own cinnamon desktop. There is nothing you cant install or use on mint that you can on another distrobution ... but with Mint you do it in style ... that is the difference :)

Wether installing suse, arch, ubuntu, or whatever you normaly use, chances are good that you wont like the main desktop enviroment much and end up installing gnome or mate on it, and then spend 2 weeks trying to transform the desktop to feel good, then mess with codecs, movie players, flash players and a whole bunch of other crap and eventualy when you get everything just right they release an update and break something and you start all over again. It is a nice learning experience sure, but after going through it a few times you kinda get annoyed with it. Mint comes out of the box already with all that crap installed, comes with a sexy desktop, nice sleek feel the desktopenviroment is developed by mint themsevles as well. take you pick man, there is alot of stuff that i feel can be named to put mint on top.

in a nutshell mint works out the box with very little effort needed by the user, where as most other distro's need a lot of work to get to the same point. the more advanced users are so used to learning everything the hard way and living via the terminal and having to spend 2 weeks setting up their os that they see mint as "childs play" or the "easy route"... but secretly they are dying to run it, just afraid their ego's will take damage if they are found running it :)
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Re: Linux's distriubutions

Postby Orbmiser on Wed Jan 30, 2013 7:13 pm

Yep pretty well covered in post above.

Use to use Ubuntu and coming back to 12.10 hated the whole Unity thing. As well as the inclusion of branding amazon search results stored on Ubuntu servers. And the UI user interface isn't too my liking. As well the direction Ubuntu is taking to homogenize user across all devices. And started to ignore users need. As Mark Shuttleworth has a commercial vision in spite of users wants.

Distro's like Debian or Arch requires more geeky powers and knowledge to get running and aimed at the harder side of linux geeks. Also not a whole lot of positive help towards the newbie.

Many of the Disto's are small and have a small user base for support. So learning and getting help in of itself can deter new users setting up and using linux.

Linux Mint family and Captian of the ship is Clem and he listens and tries to give users features and functions they need. Not just what the more geeky types want.

Depending on your hardware compatibility Then Linux 14 Mate or Cinnamon & KDE versions may be worth checking out.
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Re: Linux's distriubutions

Postby Otyugh on Wed Jan 30, 2013 9:03 pm

I need to thanks you all for the fast and well written answers.

Maybe we don't care, but here is my story :
As computing student, and maybe future developper, i wanted to try new things with linux. By ignorance, I was just thinking at the different distro like "a different interface" even if I knew about KDE or Gnome... But I didn't "felt" it.

I must admit I just failed 4 days installing Archlinux because of my computer having a UEFI. I had first "easy issues" that i could fix. I learned what was MBR and GPT, what had to be done for using the UEFI (grub2). At the end of the day, i think it was good to me.
But then i was stuck again and again, and tutorials were irrelevant or outdated. Or maybe I wasn't wise enought, who knows. (the community was a bit sharky though)

So, it wasn't my original plan, but I finally chosed Mint for "having a distro running".
I installed few things, like OpenBox, tint2, nitrogen, PCManFM... And I had the interface I wanted to try.

Then I realized how irrelevant was my way to see things. I wasn't looking at the good things when I was looking to a linux distribution.
Now I think I can have a better view on what are my options.

I'm now wondering if you know a list mentionning what are the "real input" of each distro without talking of "the look & feel" that is quite easy to change finally ? (despite the fact the community inside is the most important, as you said !)
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Re: Linux's distriubutions

Postby craig10x on Wed Jan 30, 2013 9:15 pm

Linux Mint is ubuntu underneath, so it has a DIRECT relationship with the distribution...also if you run ubuntu and don't like unity (though these days, many former unity haters now like it very much) there are other desktop environments that can be installed on it, including mint's Cinnamon, Gnome 3 fallback, Gnome Shell, Cairo Dock session....many options...not to mention different versions of ubuntu with different desktop environments like Kubuntu (kde) Xubuntu (xfce), Lubuntu (lxde), etc...

Hope this hasn't confused you too much :wink:
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Re: Linux's distriubutions

Postby zerozero on Wed Jan 30, 2013 9:25 pm

Otyugh wrote: what is the real difference between a Mint and another distribution ?

picking your first question, the only real difference i see is the package management and its tools.

as tdockery said all linux distros use the same kernel (with more or less tweaks); the userland app are cross-distro, the same for the DE's, WM, shells and whatnot.

it's the package management that makes the difference: is synaptic (a master-piece on its own) in the debian derivatives; is pacman in arch; (probably portage in gentoo tho i never tried it)
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Re: Linux's distriubutions

Postby dee. on Thu Jan 31, 2013 8:09 pm

*puts on my pedant hat*

zerozero wrote:is synaptic (a master-piece on its own) in the debian derivatives;


Actually, synaptic is just a front-end for apt, which is the real package manager.
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Re: Linux's distriubutions

Postby zerozero on Thu Jan 31, 2013 8:23 pm

dee. wrote:*puts on my pedant hat*
:lol:
yeahh i wasn't very precise there: synaptic is a front-end for apt but is the best GUI package manager i know.
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Re: Linux's distriubutions

Postby dee. on Fri Feb 01, 2013 6:00 am

zerozero wrote:
dee. wrote:*puts on my pedant hat*
:lol:
yeahh i wasn't very precise there: synaptic is a front-end for apt but is the best GUI package manager i know.


It's nice when you need specific packages, eg. when you're compiling software and need to track down dependencies. I always have terminal in one window and synaptic in the other, then I just find whatever the configure script cries about in synaptic and install it.

But it's not very convenient for just installing software, I think mint's software manager is better for when you just want to one-click install a software that you want to use, and don't care about optimizing it for your system or getting the very latest version.
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Re: Linux's distriubutions

Postby perduta on Fri Feb 01, 2013 1:25 pm

My understanding is that Mint derives from Ubuntu for those who don't like the Unity desktop that Canonical has introduced.
I too couldn't find my way round Unity... but in all fairness I wasn't at the time interested in learning a new system: I was under pressure to get back on line after my Ubuntu got totally messed up. It was refusing to boot to the desktop and nothing I would do made any difference. Installation had also not gone to plan as it wiped all my data files and I really wasn't in the right frame of mind for learning a whole new GUI paradigm. In fact I was so distressed by the experience that I replaced Linux with Microsoft Windows and only now have started looking very cautiously at Linux again. Had the situation been different then I might have appreciated the functionality of dash and head-up display.

IMHO there are simply far too many distros all promising the same sort of stuff, but fragmenting development efforts and causing unpredictable compatibilty issues. I would much prefer a basic system with NO out of the box packages like office suites web browsers and media players to be removed as it is easy enough with apt-get or synaptic package manager to just get those that I want once it's working. They could even make a package called "generic-packages" for those who don't know what they want. :twisted:

p.s. I advise Googling "Unity Amazon lens" before committing yourself to Ubuntu. :wink:
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Re: Linux's distriubutions

Postby craig10x on Fri Feb 01, 2013 5:04 pm

perduta: though you should note that the amazon shopping search in ubuntu's "dash" (the place where you can search for apps, files etc) can be turned off in a matter of a few seconds in the privacy settings (in system settings)... :)

it is not really spyware as some believe...it is just a way to get searches included from the amazon site, which apparently amazon then gives some $ back to ubuntu...considering how much money they put into the development of the distro, i think one cannot really blame them for trying to find some ways to get some of it back...On the user's end, ubuntu will ALWAYS be free and open source to use, and is the basis for many linux distros out there, including linux mint, zorin, pinguy, etc...
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Re: Linux's distriubutions

Postby dee. on Fri Feb 01, 2013 7:27 pm

craig10x wrote:perduta: though you should note that the amazon shopping search in ubuntu's "dash" (the place where you can search for apps, files etc) can be turned off in a matter of a few seconds in the privacy settings (in system settings)... :)

it is not really spyware as some believe...it is just a way to get searches included from the amazon site, which apparently amazon then gives some $ back to ubuntu...considering how much money they put into the development of the distro, i think one cannot really blame them for trying to find some ways to get some of it back...On the user's end, ubuntu will ALWAYS be free and open source to use, and is the basis for many linux distros out there, including linux mint, zorin, pinguy, etc...


No, the amazon search thing really is problematic for several reasons. It's one of the reasons why I moved to Mint.

Yes, Ubuntu has the right to try to make some profit, but it matters how they go about it. The amazon feature may not be spyware (anymore, after they fixed the embarrassing data leak), but it certainly is adware, and I don't think it does any good to the Linux ecosystem to monetize users in that way. If they'd just implement it as a separate lens, that'd probably be fine. It'd be such a simple fix to all the issues, but their refusal to do so speaks volumes about the priorities of Ubuntu.
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Re: Linux's distriubutions

Postby Otyugh on Fri Feb 01, 2013 7:54 pm

dee. wrote:Yes, Canonical has the right to try to make some profit

Fixed for you ^^
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Re: Linux's distriubutions

Postby craig10x on Fri Feb 01, 2013 8:20 pm

If you really feel that strongly about it, then in principal you should not use ANY ubuntu-based distro because like it or not, your STILL using ubuntu, even if it is in a somewhat modified form...

Sorry, i just don't see it the way you do...and fact of the matter is, it's not like they don't give you a very simple option to turn it off..takes 5 seconds in the privacy settings, if you desire not to utilize it...if no option was provided for that, then i think you would have more of a valid point...
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Re: Linux's distriubutions

Postby zerozero on Fri Feb 01, 2013 8:25 pm

craig10x wrote:then in principal you should not use ANY ubuntu-based distro because like it or not, your STILL using ubuntu, even if it is in a somewhat modified form...
and what is ubuntu? in its vast majority is debian "even if it is in a somewhat modified form..."
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Re: Linux's distriubutions

Postby craig10x on Fri Feb 01, 2013 8:51 pm

quite so, zerozero...however, all i was pointing out is that if he feels that anti-ubuntu because of the practice, if he was really sticking to his principals, then he would not want to associate with any distro that specifically uses ubuntu as it's "under-base" as it were..he would be using, say, debian directly or a direct based debian distro (like solus os or lmde for example) which does NOT use ubuntu as a "go-between"...
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Re: Linux's distriubutions

Postby zerozero on Fri Feb 01, 2013 8:55 pm

we are going a bit off-topic here :D but anyway the correct answer (imo) would be linuxmint that actively removes all that non-sense from our releases 8)
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Re: Linux's distriubutions

Postby dee. on Fri Feb 01, 2013 9:39 pm

craig10x wrote:quite so, zerozero...however, all i was pointing out is that if he feels that anti-ubuntu because of the practice, if he was really sticking to his principals, then he would not want to associate with any distro that specifically uses ubuntu as it's "under-base" as it were..he would be using, say, debian directly or a direct based debian distro (like solus os or lmde for example) which does NOT use ubuntu as a "go-between"...


Umm nope, sorry, doesn't make sense. I disagree with Ubuntu so I'm not using Ubuntu. I'm using Mint, I'm not using Ubuntu. Simple enough for me.

You're making a huge leap of logic here. It does not follow from "I don't agree with the direction of Ubuntu" that "I should not use ANYTHING that uses any of the same packages or repositories as Ubuntu". No, that just doesn't make sense, and frankly it kind of seems like a way to underhandedly dismiss any criticism towards Ubuntu's practices just because you personally don't have a problem with them. It's the same line of pedantic reasoning when people say "if you really cared about using open source you'd not be using X hardware that has proprietary firmware in it".

Mint is not officially affiliated with Ubuntu in any way. A Mint user does not count as a Ubuntu user and Ubuntu/Canonical doesn't benefit or profit in any way from someone using Mint. So why would I have a problem with Mint?
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Re: Linux's distriubutions

Postby craig10x on Fri Feb 01, 2013 10:03 pm

I agree with zerozero, that this IS going off-topic...but i just wanted to make one last comment regarding this...doesn't mint get financial support from certain search engines that are included by default? I haven't used mint for awhile, but i recall something about duckduckgo being the DEFAULT when you install mint and open up your firefox web browser, and it was my understanding that if you use that default search engine, mint then gets contributions from them to support it...

If that is the case, well then how is that different from ubuntu including the amazon search in the "dash"....
Now of course, on mint, you can easily switch the search engine in a few seconds if you desire (to say, yahoo or google for example) and you can switch off the amazon shopping lens in ubuntu's dash in the same amount of time...

So, why object to ubuntu doing that, when linux mint does something very similiar? In other words, why is it bad when ubuntu does it but good when mint does it?

That's my final point...carry on with the topic...just wanted to give you all something to think about :wink: :D
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