LINUX BLOG SAFARI

And Now for Something Completely Different

Well it’s a good thing we here in the Linux community had that refreshing and refocusing break recently, courtesy of Linux.com and Carla Schroder, because last week it was back onto the hot coals once again.

The Systemd inferno — which Linux Girl is starting to think of as “The Blaze That Must Not Be Named” — has spread even further, your trusty reporter is dismayed to report, extending now to encompass the entire FOSS community.

The accelerant this time? “Quite a sick place” is how Red Hat engineer and Systemd developer Lennart Poettering described the open source community in a recent post on Google+.

Not only is the community “full of [assh*les],” but “I probably more than most others am one of their most favorite targets,” Poettering wrote. “I get hate mail for hacking on open source. People have started multiple ‘petitions’ …. asking me to stop working. Recently, people started collecting Bitcoins to hire a hitman for me (this really happened!).”

Smoke and flames can now be seen from miles away. Emergency supplies have been requested. In the meantime, the elderly and infirm are encouraged to seek shelter elsewhere. For those who appreciate tequila, Linux Girl recommends the blogosphere’s seedy Punchy Penguin Saloon. ‘Who’s Leading the Charge’ Linux Girl

It was there at the Punchy Penguin late last week, in fact, that a diversion finally arose, and Linux Girl seized upon it with enthusiasm — and both hands.

“Best Distro 2014” is the title of the post that appeared over at Linux Voice magazine, and it’s a juicy one.

“You might be using the wrong Linux distribution,” the Linux Voice’s brave voices proclaimed. “Or to put it more diplomatically, you might not be running the distro that’s best suited to you.”

With that in mind, “we decided to look at the current state of play in the Linux distro world,” they wrote. “We wanted to see which distros excel in certain important areas, to find out who’s leading the charge here in mid-late 2014.”

The rowdy Slashdot masses picked up on the topic in no time, followed soon afterward by conversations and debates in blogobars and watering holes throughout the land. ‘Great for Experimenting’ “To me it is a mix — Ubuntu and Fedora — because I work in two main fields: consulting and training,” offered Google+ blogger Rodolfo Saenz.

“Both distros satisfy my need, and they have the two more commonly used package systems in the Linux world,” Saenz added. “Also, the two distros are great for experimenting, and to my students — they usually come from Windows — it’s easier to adapt.”

The answer from Google+ blogger Alessandro Ebersol — who works on the PCLinuxOS distribution — wasn’t exactly surprising.

‘Fastest to Fix Shellshock’

“It’s gotta be PCLinuxOS,” Ebersol said.

“Most solid Linux distro: Check,” he asserted. “Most DEs available: I make seven different PCLinuxOS versions, not counting Cinnamon, WindowMaker and E-19.”

Also, “fastest distro to fix Shellshock,” Ebersol said. Specifically, “two days after the security hole was made public.”

In short? “Call me biased, but PCLinuxOS is Da Bomb,” he said.

‘The One That Does the Job’

“To me the real point is variety and choice,” Google+ blogger Kevin O’Brien told Linux Girl.

“While some may complain about fragmentation, I love the idea that I can choose a distro that suits my needs,” O’Brien said — “or more than one, if I have several different needs.

“Right now I have three different *nix systems on my home network — two of them Linux and one BSD,” he noted. “The best distro is the one that does the job you need it to do.”

‘Philosophical Questioning’

Similarly, “there is no answer better than, ‘any distro that works for you, has more than two users and has good information and forums online,'” suggested Google+ blogger Gonzalo Velasco C.

For fans of free and open source software, “the present year has been one of philosophical questioning about the future of GNU/Linux, freedom of choice and ‘market’ share,” he pointed out. “So, the answers will reflect this.”

Gonzalo Velasco C. has been using four different distros in the last year, he told Linux Girl.

“I got some update glitches in some, not in others,” he noted. “All of them worked for me in more than one computer, and I can only vote for all of them: PCLinuxOS, MiniNo, Xubuntu and SolydXK.”

‘2014 Has Been Disappointing’

Last but not least, “I wish I could say that Debian GNU/Linux was the best distro of 2014 as usual, but I can’t,” blogger Robert Pogson lamented.

“I switched all my machines to Debian Testing/Jessie months ago, when the bug count was plunging like a stone, and then they went with Systemd,” he explained. “I’ve been updating dozens of packages every day since then and the bug count has gone sideways.

“‘The Freeze’ is still a long way away,” he added. “I would have switched back to Wheezy/Stable if I had known it was going to take this long to sort out the mess.”

That said, “I haven’t really used any other distro than Debian for six years,” Pogson told Linux Girl. “Until 2014 it did all I asked of a distro with very few irritations.”

Looking ahead, “I really don’t know what to do,” Pogson said. “I could go back to Wheezy, but that would just delay the inevitable. I like APT and hate Ubuntu.

“Maybe I will be like the stubborn XPers and just run Debian unsupported,” he mused. “There isn’t any distro on DistroWatch that has the power and flexibility of Debian. I know it will be fine next year, but 2014 has been disappointing.”

Katherine Noyes is always on duty in her role as Linux Girl, whose cape she has worn since 2007. A mild-mannered journalist by day, she spends her evenings haunting the seedy bars and watering holes of the Linux blogosphere in search of the latest gossip. You can also find her on Twitter and Google+.

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