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ralph
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2005 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Q-collective wrote:
ralph wrote:
blaster999 wrote:
I don't think Mandrake is "the one distro to rule them all", as rpms are just pain in the arse. Yes, it is easy and nice, but I do not recommend it for my friends, as simply installing new programs like aMule is a complete disaster.

That just simply false. Having played around with mandrake and urpmi I have to say that installing new programs is one of the great strength of mandrake.

And how big is urpmi's repository? Most distro's only have about 2000 packages (like apt-get in Fedora), which is just nothing really

It's big, probably one of the biggest out there. And there are great third party repositories for legaly challenged packages that you can set up with simply copy and paste using http://easyurpmi.zarb.org/
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2005 12:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I personally believe the their judgements are partially based on advertising. They are always giving away Mandrake, SuSE to readers for letter of the week..etc..

Its obvious that they havent spend much time in Gentoo and have a thing against source..

Doesnt really matter we all know which distro is #1.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2005 3:59 pm    Post subject: Re: Linux Format "Ultimate Distros" Article Reply with quote

pwaring wrote:
LucaSpiller wrote:
It says that "in terms of overall increase in performance, Gentoo is unlikely to bring more than 15%". If you consider Mandrake (ranked #1) takes more than a minute to boot up (to the login manager) for me where as Gentoo takes 20 secs to get to the command line and 30 secs to the login manager, I would say that is definately more than a 15% speed increase.


That's one isolated example, the reason Mandrake (and Fedora et al) takes longer to get to the login manager is because they usually switch into run level 5 and have a fancy boot splash prompt whereas Gentoo doesn't by default. You can switch this off in Fedora quite easily, not so sure about Mandrake because I haven't used it for a while but it's probably possible. Besides, unless you're constantly rebooting your machine I don't think a slightly longer startup time counts against a distro in the grand scheme of things.


The graphical boospalsh doesn't impair much on your startup time, the bunch of useless services most binary distro's start by default does.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2005 6:58 pm    Post subject: Re: Linux Format "Ultimate Distros" Article Reply with quote

LucaSpiller wrote:
Looking over this I am really unhappy, was this written by a member of the "I love Debian and hate Gentoo club" or something?


IMHO this is doubtful, and I don't see anything especially troubling here. If they hated Gentoo they could have done a much better job of panning it. ;-)

It seems to me that people are entitled to (a) have their own preferences and (b) not know everything about Gentoo's benefits

The latter point can potentially be helped with the aid of some constructive feedback. It would be a good idea to point out that Gentoo isn't just about optimisation, and that not everyone uses it for performance reasons.

For me, Gentoo is good because of the flexibility and package management, the documentation and support, and because by its nature it practically enforces a certain level of understanding that tends to trade a steeper learning curve for better ease of understanding and fixing problems later.

Compile times on Gentoo can be a tad inconvenient at times, though it's not a showstopper. I like to have a fair amount of stuff loaded and it did take 24 hours to get X, KDE, Gnome, Firefox and a few bits compiled in a recent reinstall. It's sometimes a bummer if installing a new package and its dependencies takes an hour or more, but nothing terrible. Bottom line: it's a trade off, and I don't regret my choice.

Personally I don't like Debian's release cycle, and a few other things not worth fussing over. But if a magazine wants to recommend Debian, let 'em.

Oh, and I stopped buying Linux Format along with most UK computer magazines because the cover price is too high and DVDs full of free software are of little use to a broadband user.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2005 9:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Gentoo isn't just about optimisation


Althought it does so well, I agree with you.

Here is my list of reasons:

1. The forum: nowhere eles do I get so much help. Beets all the support line I have ever called.
2. Configuration: Nothing was predone every thing is costom made so nothing to reconfigure and I know where to search if something goes wrong
3. AMD64: the best distro for it since most other are pretty slow to release pacakage. For it.
4.Portage: Portage is Intutive and powerful. I can build packages on my Fast machine and then have my crappy computers download the prebuilt packages with a custom configuration and everything. This is why I'm using Gentoo as the Distro for the Linux Workstations I want to set up for science students at my University . I know that the Computer Science lab at my University run gentoo. Also I haven't mention how easy creating a Ebuild is.

5. Learning: Gentoo is the best distro to learn without going nuts, It lets you have a lot of leway like LFS but has a Package Manager whit very adavance features.


I've tried most main ditros (Fedora, Debian, Mandrake, Suse, Slackware) and Gentoo is the only one that work well without to much hacking. No predifined configs or anything.

I have to mention that Fedora is also a great distro. I don't use it since gentoo is better in my view but I run it on my dads Computer and he never calls me for help. He runs the updates when they come and he never had issues with them.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2005 9:34 pm    Post subject: Why Gentoo is #1 Reply with quote

Its a shame that the reviewer doesn't know the real reasons people use Gentoo.

Mine:

-IT DOESN'T EVER CRASH!!!!! (other distros will)
-Prelink is trivial to enforce
-Reiser4 is easy to install
-Kernels actually compile
-Compiler tools are all there! (ever try to install from source on a binary distro? Oh, wait! You have to install the compiler tools before you get to compile, cos the toolchain's NEVER complete!)
-Documents are modern, complete and CLEAR.
-Community will actually try to help you. RTFM (if ever mentioned) usually is followed by at least a reference as to where to look in TFM.
_did I mention IT DOESN'T EVER CRASH?

:P :P :P
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2005 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It doesn't surprise me. Linux Format seems to be aimed at the beginner to intermediate home Linux user and IT managers (who generally don't appear to have much IT knowledge here in the UK, at least IME). Of course this is my opinion based on the last few times I read it (quite a while ago now). :wink:

BTW does anyone have the complete list of distros and their final position?
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 7:12 am    Post subject: Re: Linux Format "Ultimate Distros" Article Reply with quote

pwaring wrote:

They probably did mean X and KDE/Gnome, because that's what most other distributions ship with. Last time I tried compiling KDE from source, I gave up because it took well over 12 hours (and that was with X already installed). It can easily take 24 hours to go from stage 1 to a KDE desktop unless you have a very modern machine with plenty of RAM.


Yes, but given the criteria of the article & target POV consumer (average Joe), why on earth would you start compiling with a stage 1? Even I usually start from stage 2 at least.
In this case stage 3 would much more apropriate, possibly even with GRP binaries.

It doesn't take 24hours to go from scratch to KDE when you are using binary install. Compiling from source is an option in Gentoo, not a requirement. The article (and sofar this thread) compleatly missed that point about Gentoo. That is the biggest oversight IMO.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

twoup wrote:
I personally believe the their judgements are partially based on advertising. They are always giving away Mandrake, SuSE to readers for letter of the week..etc..

Do you really think advertising is paid for with boxed sets? The giveaways are generally freebies or review copies of products.

twoup wrote:
Its obvious that they havent spend much time in Gentoo and have a thing against source..

Quite obvious, since Gentoo has appeared on the cover discs more often than SUSE, cover discs that are built on a Gentoo system.


Last edited by nelz on Tue Jan 18, 2005 5:09 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 12:45 pm    Post subject: Re: Linux Format "Ultimate Distros" Article Reply with quote

STEDevil wrote:
Compiling from source is an option in Gentoo, not a requirement. The article (and sofar this thread) compleatly missed that point about Gentoo. That is the biggest oversight IMO.


Shouldn't that be "installing from source is an option"? Unless I've missed a major change in the way Gentoo works once you have a stage 3 with GRP you then have to compile from source from that point if you want to keep your system updated.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 1:07 pm    Post subject: Re: Linux Format "Ultimate Distros" Article Reply with quote

andyfraser33 wrote:
STEDevil wrote:
Compiling from source is an option in Gentoo, not a requirement. The article (and sofar this thread) compleatly missed that point about Gentoo. That is the biggest oversight IMO.


Shouldn't that be "installing from source is an option"? Unless I've missed a major change in the way Gentoo works once you have a stage 3 with GRP you then have to compile from source from that point if you want to keep your system updated.


In make.conf there are mirrors for binary packages too...dunno how up-to-date or complete there would be though, never used them myself (nor used a GRP install)
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 2:08 pm    Post subject: Re: Linux Format "Ultimate Distros" Article Reply with quote

theBlackDragon wrote:
In make.conf there are mirrors for binary packages too...dunno how up-to-date or complete there would be though, never used them myself (nor used a GRP install)


You live and learn. :)

I wouldn't have thought they would be that up to date but I've been wrong about these things before. :wink:

I would've thought that using binary packages would've rendered USE flags next to useless or at least using them would cause breakage and require source code be compiled to fix things. Might as well just use Debian or whatever instead.

I've never used GRP either. I do use a stage 3 tarball on very slow (read Pentium class) machines but then recompile everything when it's up and running.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 2:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Why Gentoo is #1 Reply with quote

YeahSure wrote:
-IT DOESN'T EVER CRASH!!!!! (other distros will)


Given that all distros run pretty much the same software, why would Gentoo be less likely to crash than say Fedora? The only real difference between distros generally is the package management and the installation, the software is (apart from the occassional modification/branding) the same.

Quote:
-Kernels actually compile


Err, kernels compile on other distros as well you know - it's the same damn source tree (unless you're using something like dev-/love- sources). I've compiled 2.4 and 2.6 on various distros and never had any trouble with the actual compilation - the only problems I've ever had is forgetting to compile in support for things like my NIC.

Quote:
-Compiler tools are all there! (ever try to install from source on a binary distro? Oh, wait! You have to install the compiler tools before you get to compile, cos the toolchain's NEVER complete!)


If you use Fedora, you can select to install all sorts of compiler tools. Most people don't want/need them though, so they're not selected by default.

Quote:
-Documents are modern, complete and CLEAR.


Try reading some of the extensive SUSE documentation (and the manuals that come in the box set)...
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 2:50 pm    Post subject: Re: Why Gentoo is #1 Reply with quote

pwaring wrote:
Quote:
-Kernels actually compile


Err, kernels compile on other distros as well you know - it's the same damn source tree (unless you're using something like dev-/love- sources). I've compiled 2.4 and 2.6 on various distros and never had any trouble with the actual compilation - the only problems I've ever had is forgetting to compile in support for things like my NIC.


Most "proprietary" distro's heavily patch their kernels and software (RH2.4 kernel with NPTL anyone?) and don't provide these patches in the kernel source they deliver with their distro and/or don't provide the kernel configuration they used to build the kernel.

Quote:

Quote:
-Compiler tools are all there! (ever try to install from source on a binary distro? Oh, wait! You have to install the compiler tools before you get to compile, cos the toolchain's NEVER complete!)


If you use Fedora, you can select to install all sorts of compiler tools. Most people don't want/need them though, so they're not selected by default.


If you install them that doesn't mean they will work, first of: not everything is there, java packages are very sparse on most distro's, secondly it happens pretty often that paths and stuff don't get updated when you install new development libraries, this is a _serious_ pain.

Quote:

Quote:
-Documents are modern, complete and CLEAR.


Try reading some of the extensive SUSE documentation (and the manuals that come in the box set)...

I don't know about SuSE, but mosttimes the documentation doens't go much further than "how do I install this", maybe you'll get a shell-tutorial and nine chances out of ten they explain the major features of their preferred desktop environment and troubleshooting tips/FAQs, that's not extensive documentation, that's mandatory documentation.

When we are talking about extensive documentation, then I uderstand stuff like how to build packages, how to install/enable this or that feature etc. Most distro's don't have that kind of documentation, worse yet, if you start asking "advanced" questions on their support forums you very often get no reaction (ever asked about Ant and other java-related packages on the Ubuntu forums? I did...I'm still waiting for something resembling a reaction, have been for a week now)
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 3:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Why Gentoo is #1 Reply with quote

theBlackDragon wrote:
Most "proprietary" distro's heavily patch their kernels and software (RH2.4 kernel with NPTL anyone?) and don't provide these patches in the kernel source they deliver with their distro and/or don't provide the kernel configuration they used to build the kernel.


If you're using a distro like that then you can usually just get the latest RPMs for the kernel anyway (Fedora always kept me up to date using yum without any problems). If you really want to compile your own kernel there's always kernel.org which will almost certainly work (though not necessarily with all the add-ons that you already have), but if you're messing around compiling your own kernels you probably won't use Red Hat anyway.

Quote:
If you install them that doesn't mean they will work, first of: not everything is there, java packages are very sparse on most distro's, secondly it happens pretty often that paths and stuff don't get updated when you install new development libraries, this is a _serious_ pain.


The lack of Java packages is usually down to Sun's licensing agreement, not to the distro itself. I can't get the official JDK to install under Gentoo without having to go and fetch the .bin file myself, which sort of defies the point of having portage do these things for me.

As for development tools in general, we use Fedora Core 2 in my CS department and rarely have problems with updates. Given that we have everything from gcc and ddd to Oracle and Perl installed I don't see how you can say that it's a serious pain to upgrade things (or install new ones).

Quote:
When we are talking about extensive documentation, then I uderstand stuff like how to build packages, how to install/enable this or that feature etc. Most distro's don't have that kind of documentation, worse yet, if you start asking "advanced" questions on their support forums you very often get no reaction (ever asked about Ant and other java-related packages on the Ubuntu forums? I did...I'm still waiting for something resembling a reaction, have been for a week now)


Gentoo doesn't have a lot of that documentation yet either - I rarely find the answer I need on gentoo.org and nearly always end up looking on the wiki or somewhere like LinuxQuestions.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 3:36 pm    Post subject: Re: Why Gentoo is #1 Reply with quote

pwaring wrote:
theBlackDragon wrote:
Most "proprietary" distro's heavily patch their kernels and software (RH2.4 kernel with NPTL anyone?) and don't provide these patches in the kernel source they deliver with their distro and/or don't provide the kernel configuration they used to build the kernel.


If you're using a distro like that then you can usually just get the latest RPMs for the kernel anyway (Fedora always kept me up to date using yum without any problems). If you really want to compile your own kernel there's always kernel.org which will almost certainly work (though not necessarily with all the add-ons that you already have), but if you're messing around compiling your own kernels you probably won't use Red Hat anyway.

This is probably true, but I once had to install a RedHat 8 (it had to be RedHat 8), and they wanted to have a 2.6 kernel on it... So basically I'd just have said: use Fedora... But well, companies :roll:

Quote:
If you install them that doesn't mean they will work, first of: not everything is there, java packages are very sparse on most distro's, secondly it happens pretty often that paths and stuff don't get updated when you install new development libraries, this is a _serious_ pain.


The lack of Java packages is usually down to Sun's licensing agreement, not to the distro itself. I can't get the official JDK to install under Gentoo without having to go and fetch the .bin file myself, which sort of defies the point of having portage do these things for me.[/quote]

You never have to download the Blackdown JDK, and while it might nog be as up to date as the Sun one there are no Java-tools that I know of that require Sun's J2SDK. In this respect I think Gentoo's way of doing things is way ahead of the way other distro's do it: they provide the BlackDown JDK which apparently can be downloaded without restriction so you can install all java related packages and at the same moment they give you the opportunity to also install the Sun (and other vendor's) SDK's and switch between them. So I don't really see an excuse for Fedora, Ubuntu and others not to include these packages, unless the Blackdown license prohibits it (which it apparently doesn't as it is included in Gentoo by default, even if you do I binary install iirc).

Quote:

Quote:
When we are talking about extensive documentation, then I uderstand stuff like how to build packages, how to install/enable this or that feature etc. Most distro's don't have that kind of documentation, worse yet, if you start asking "advanced" questions on their support forums you very often get no reaction (ever asked about Ant and other java-related packages on the Ubuntu forums? I did...I'm still waiting for something resembling a reaction, have been for a week now)


Gentoo doesn't have a lot of that documentation yet either - I rarely find the answer I need on gentoo.org and nearly always end up looking on the wiki or somewhere like LinuxQuestions.

As long as it's system documentation you'll find it in the docs, an official Wiki counts as docs too in my eyes. But documentation about Gnome and KDE (and other WMs for that matter) is lacking, and rightfully so I should think, the Gnome and KDE project provide good documentation themselves, why duplicate it? It's other kinds of things I was rather thinking about, like prelinking (Docs), bootsplash (Wiki), lots of other stuff, and of course the extensive portage documentation
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 5:05 pm    Post subject: Re: Linux Format "Ultimate Distros" Article Reply with quote

andyfraser33 wrote:

I've never used GRP either. I do use a stage 3 tarball on very slow (read Pentium class) machines but then recompile everything when it's up and running.


That is one way to do it, but there should be nothing preventing you to eg continue with using a mix of compiled & GRP packages. Small things that compile quickly can be updated normally while the big stuff (gnome/X11/mozilla/etc) can be updated when the GRP packages gets updated.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 5:21 pm    Post subject: Re: Linux Format "Ultimate Distros" Article Reply with quote

STEDevil wrote:
andyfraser33 wrote:

I've never used GRP either. I do use a stage 3 tarball on very slow (read Pentium class) machines but then recompile everything when it's up and running.


That is one way to do it, but there should be nothing preventing you to eg continue with using a mix of compiled & GRP packages. Small things that compile quickly can be updated normally while the big stuff (gnome/X11/mozilla/etc) can be updated when the GRP packages gets updated.


I don't run X on my Pentium PCs. :)

I'm also an eternal tinkerer. If I can easily compile the software for my Pentium MMX I will and Gentoo makes that too easy even if I may not gain much from doing it. :D

I don't use those slow machines for anything except playing with stuff anyway.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 10:34 pm    Post subject: Going off on a tangent... Reply with quote

Heres what ive found and why:

I have found Gentoo is exactly right as long as you have patience and like linux in the 1st place you can't go wrong with it as its extremly flexable. Personally i use mainly fluxbox for games etc and i enjoy having the latest bleeding edge software i have an amd 64 running in 32 bit mode - flys :) the reason being is when ive booted this rig into fluxbox i have only used 50 mb of ram so the other 710 mb's or so is free for my apps and games :D . My games and apps are alot more slugish on say mandrake because it uses 150 mb of ram at startup and its all binary. Its also got neat scripts which allow you to control linux - unlike distros of a similar nature eg slackware and arch which are imo not 1/2 as good. Its got 100,000 packages and there all available with two commands emerge -s x emerge x i personally find mandrake harder firstly because of rpm HELL and because i need to constantly scour the web to find a rpm or whatever its jsut so much easier. the guys at this linux mag should be a bit more patient really. (they probably sat in front and watched it compile on a p2 500 now that would take a while lol (my g3 400 took 56 hours of non stop compilations to get kde :x i had to use debian on that its just too darn slow) anything faster than an Athlon 1.33 ghz would be fine though.... unless you have far more patience than me if so good on and go out for the evening or something because your in for a wait.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2005 2:53 am    Post subject: Re: Going off on a tangent... Reply with quote

Elim wrote:
the reason being is when ive booted this rig into fluxbox i have only used 50 mb of ram so the other 710 mb's or so is free for my apps and games :D .

My entire gnome environment uses about 50M. What the heck are you running in the background? :P


Quote:

My games and apps are alot more slugish on say mandrake because it uses 150 mb of ram at startup and its all binary.

I don't think that it's sluggish because it's all binary. Your gentoo is all binary, too. Although it doesn't have to be. Running C code directly from the source is inconvenient, albeit theoretically possible.

Also, what in god's name is using 150M of RAM at startup? What set of system services could possibly use that much?

andyfraser33 wrote:
I don't run X on my Pentium PCs. Smile

I draw the line at 386's.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2005 5:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

reply to the original post here

first off, the XP is slightly faster than the 64 (5 percent) but i doubt that would matter, and for the most part, the magazine is right. in fact i would say they were being quite liberal with the 15%. thats pretty high benchmark. really should be lower, so i would clap for the magazine on that one. and for the most part, compilations don't usually add enough performance to be noticable. they usually bloat the program too much and actually slow things down if you don't know what your doing. but then again i don't use gentoo for performance reasons
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2005 6:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
first off, the XP is slightly faster than the 64

Are you sure? As I noticed, my new Athlon 64 is about twice as fast as my old Athlon XP (sometimes it is working even faster).
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2005 7:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

if it's the same model xp versus same model 64 (for instance Athlon 64 3500 vs, Athlon XP 3500) it should run 5 percent slower
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2005 7:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And I wonder where did you get this data from. As I've read, the performance of 64's is much greater than of any x86 CPU with the same rating (be it Pentium 4 or Athlon XP).

BTW, this tread is becoming more and more offtopic.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2005 10:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

'lo all,

My name is Paul, and I'm the Deputy Editor of Linux Format magazine. Someone forwarded me this link, and both myself and Nick (the editor) have read through your comments with interest - we do value all feedback, from readers or non-readers, even if you *do* use Gentoo ;) (that was a joke, relax! ;)

First up, as someone else said, we do give away Gentoo on our coverdiscs as new releases come out. Our Disc Editor, Neil, is a Gentoo fanatic, so even if we did have some huge grudge against Gentoo he would make sure to ignore our wishes ;)

Second, we were indeed referring to compiling the system from scratch, ie stage 1 - sorry we didn't make that clear in the article.

Third, we do not, have not, and will never alter our opinions based upon advertising.

Fourth, the final table of placings was this:

1st: Mandrake
2nd: Red Hat
3rd: SUSE
4th: Debian, Yellow Dog
6th: Gentoo
7th: Linspire
8th: Conectiva
9th: Knoppix, Ubuntu
11th: Slackware
12th: MEPIS
13th: Turbolinux
14th: Lycoris, Yoper

We have already received a great deal of feedback about this feature, which is really no surprise - trying to write a feature on distros is as flame-inviting as writing a feature on text editors ;) However, we use a selection of distros in-house here at Linux Format and have no particularly strong ties to any of them.

Fifth: Our awards nominations were decided by readers. We specified classifications (ie Desktop Software, etc) and they told us the products they wanted listed - we didn't just choose ATI as a nomination for Best Hardware Support, and we didn't just choose SUSE for Best Desktop Software.

Sixth: Yes, our testing was quite specific: we wanted to find a distro that anyone could pick up and use. We aren't a newbie-oriented magazine - anyone arguing such probably didn't notice that in the Ultimate Distros magazine we had six tutorials, of which one was newbie-oriented, one was art-related, and the other four were out-and-out programming. Debugging with GDB isn't something we'd choose for a newbie magazine - but we do try to appeal to a wide audience.

I hope this explains our position. We're not Gentoo haters, Debian haters, Lycoris haters, or any such thing - we're well aware that each have their own unique benefits and advantages, and can appreciate them for that.

Take care,


Paul
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