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Why Top Linux Distros Are For Different Users 496

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the for-the-nubs dept.
Lucas123 writes "Fedora, openSUSE and Ubuntu Linux desktops may look alike, but they've got some important distinctions, like the fact that Fedora and Ubuntu use GNOME 2.28 (the latest version) for their default desktop, while openSUSE uses KDE 4.3.1. And, Fedora's designers have assumed that its users are wiser than the general run of users. 'For example, in earlier versions, ordinary (non-admin) users could install software on Fedora without access to the root password. As of this version, however, local users will need to enter the root password before they can install software (as they do on almost all other Linux distributions).'"
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Why Top Linux Distros Are For Different Users

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  • by nacturation (646836) * <nacturation AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @12:02PM (#30459586) Journal

    And, Fedora's designers have assumed that its users are wiser than the general run of users. 'For example, in earlier versions, ordinary (non-admin) users could install software on Fedora without access to the root password.

    So according to this "logic", Microsoft assumes that its users are wiser than the general run of users too? Nice way to spin Fedora finally addressing this security issue, dude.

    • by Zarel (900479)

      It doesn't even make sense. Changing your app install behavior to work the same way as other distros is assuming your users are wiser than average?

      And, Fedora's designers have assumed that its users are wiser than the general run of users. 'For example, in earlier versions, ordinary (non-admin) users could install software on Fedora without access to the root password. As of this version, however, local users will need to enter the root password before they can install software (as they do on almost all oth

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Chris Burke (6130)

      What I find funny is that I've been using Debian-based distros for many years, and I basically never enter the "root password" to install software or perform other maintenance tasks... I enter my own user password. Not that there's much difference between "access to the root password" and "being allowed to run anything in the sudoers file". Installing software is still a privileged operation.

      I take it they must mean without entering any password at all, as in unprivileged?

      Seems kinda dumb.

    • by sorak (246725)

      And, Fedora's designers have assumed that its users are wiser than the general run of users. 'For example, in earlier versions, ordinary (non-admin) users could install software on Fedora without access to the root password.

      So according to this "logic", Microsoft assumes that its users are wiser than the general run of users too? Nice way to spin Fedora finally addressing this security issue, dude.

      In a manner of speaking, yes. If they assumed that 50% of their users are below average, and that a significant enough percentage of them will click anything you stick in front of them, then they probably would have designed windows to be much more secure. Sure, they would have solved the problem in some cutesy way, like changing the "administrator" to "grown up", and popping up error messages saying things like "You need a grown up to install this application", but they would have fixed it.

      Microsoft's down

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by xouumalperxe (815707)

      So according to this "logic", Microsoft assumes that its users are wiser than the general run of users too?

      While I don't know whether Microsoft actually designed their operating systems with that rationale in mind, C is a clear case of it: most bugs in C programs come from the language being designed expecting people to really know what they're doing. and therefore allowing all sorts of strange stuff.

    • by amorsen (7485) <benny+slashdot@amorsen.dk> on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @12:51PM (#30460462)

      Installing pre-approved software without root access would be a great step forward both for usability and security. Imagine if we can get to the point where a normal user can use a laptop computer for a year without running with sufficient privileges to install untrusted software.

      Sure, there are challenges, first and foremost how to revoke approval of a particular package. That doesn't mean we have to stick with the old trusted root paradigm forever. For the vast majority of Linux laptops/desktops, the user IS the administrator, and we can't expect to educate all computer users to be competent Unix administrators.

  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @12:08PM (#30459714)

    Does the distro work with your printer without any complicated installation procedures?
    Does the distro work with your audio hardware without any complicated installation procedures?
    Does the distro switch between all the resolutions supported by your video hardware?
    Does the distro have a reasonably good package installation mechanism?
    Does the distro support your applications without special package installation requirements?

    If the answer is affirmative to all of the above, then you've got yourself a winner. It's very cool how Ubuntu has essentially forced every other distro to get up to speed on these seemingly basic features. Otherwise, the distros are just flavored differently. It's all the same under the hood.

    • by bertoelcon (1557907) <berto@el@con.gmail@com> on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @12:15PM (#30459844)
      And these are the reasons Windows still has marketshare. The last 2 are not covered by Windows but because its already got the marketshare then the apps are easy to find. Not trying to troll but that is why it does "just work", even with bugs and holes aplenty.
      • by RanCossack (1138431) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @12:32PM (#30460154)

        And these are the reasons Windows still has marketshare. The last 2 are not covered by Windows but because its already got the marketshare then the apps are easy to find. Not trying to troll but that is why it does "just work", even with bugs and holes aplenty.

        I don't want to troll, either, but this really isn't the case; I tried to reinstall Windows on one of my machines for dual-boot (fresh setup on a new drive) using a generic, non-customized XP disk, and it is amazing how much work it was -- hunting drivers down, having to download extra drivers to a USB key so I could get online, and so on.

        You could say Microsoft does a lot of work with its partners to ship customized Windows distros, but out of the box, Windows is pretty bad; we all just either don't have to deal with it or take it for granted.

        (Or don't deal with it at all.)

        • by pmontra (738736)
          Mod parent up!
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by gbarules2999 (1440265)
          Windows 7 is a little better, and this is coming from a Linux user. So they are trying.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by man_of_mr_e (217855)

          I think you will have precisely the same problems with an 8 year old Linux distro as well. SATA won't be supported, newer NIC that don't have an emulation mode won't be supported. Newer video cards won't be supported by X, etc... Now, granted, once you get the basics working you should be able to update but you will still have most of those same issues.

      • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @12:53PM (#30460482) Journal

        And these are the reasons Windows still has marketshare.

        Nah. Main reason is most of the driver and install issues are figured out by the vendors at the factory. Once it comes out of the box the users are willing to take lots of punishment when it comes to Windows. Things dont work. Crapware installed by vendor keeps nagging them to upgrade and get the "new and exciting features". Security holes. Forced to buy anti virus products. Vendor lock. Upgrade treadmill....

        Through it all the people suffer stoically. But when you suggest switching to Linux they balk. The first thing that does not work, they bitch to high heaven and run back to their captors. One would think the typical PC user is suffering from Stockholm Syndrome.

        There are many reasons why Windows has its market share. "It just works" is not one of them.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Just Some Guy (3352)

        And these are the reasons Windows still has marketshare.

        What is this? Proof by counterexample? Let's try those criteria against my wife's HP laptop:

        Does the distro work with your printer without any complicated installation procedures?

        "Where'd I put the driver CD for the HP printer that Linux, FreeBSD, and OS X supports out of the box?"

        Does the distro work with your audio hardware without any complicated installation procedures?

        Ask a Creative owner.

        Does the distro switch between all the resolutions supported by your video hardware?

        "Oh look! 640x400 until I find the right driver on nvidia.com, except that now it's telling me to use the special drivers packaged by my laptop vendor and not the "generic" ones directly from Nvidia."

        Does the distro have a reasonably good package installation mechanism?

        On Windows? LOL. Even billg agrees that "Add/Remove Programs" is a stupid name for an app that d

    • Does the distro work with your printer without any complicated installation procedures?
      Does the distro work with your audio hardware without any complicated installation procedures?
      Does the distro switch between all the resolutions supported by your video hardware?
      Does the distro have a reasonably good package installation mechanism?
      Does the distro support your applications without special package installation requirements?

      Don't have/need a printer
      Don't need audio
      Only need 1 decent resolution
      A Live CD!
      The applications I need are -practically- built into the distro

      Hooray for using Linux Distros as Servers, Routers, and other @ home network enhancements!

    • It's very cool how Ubuntu has essentially forced every other distro to get up to speed on these seemingly basic features.

      I would just point out that everything in your list was available before Ubuntu in distributions such as Mandrake. I'm not going to say you're wrong, though, since Ubuntu did bring something important to the table which apparently did provide a boost: a rich guy who wanted to spend a lot of it.

      • My experience with Mandrake, pre-Ubuntu is that it was buggy as hell. For whatever reason, I would say that Ubuntu has raided the bar for Linux distros.

        • My experience with Mandrake, pre-Ubuntu is that it was buggy as hell. For whatever reason, I would say that Ubuntu has raided the bar for Linux distros.

          Maybe. I have no experience with Mandrake or "Mandriva" for that matter; I have only heard several times that Mandrake excelled at the types of things the OP listed. However, I do personally know of at least one pre-Ubuntu distro with all the "necessities" listed: YDL. Though Ubuntu is not my every-day distro, I have nothing at all against it; as distros go it is definitely a good choice for all kinds of users (not just "n00bs" as is often assumed). A lot of people I know think of Ubuntu as Linux itself

      • by jedidiah (1196) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @01:02PM (#30460650) Homepage

        Ubuntu also brought something else to the table: The Debian package manager.

        RPM was clearly inferior. Debian despite of it's other tradeoffs always had
        a packager that was just the bees knees. I even defected from Mandrake to
        Debian myself over this.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by onefriedrice (1171917)

          Ubuntu also brought something else to the table: The Debian package manager.

          So the most notable contribution of Ubuntu for you is a package manager which existed before Ubuntu... Yeah, I'm pretty sure that is actually in support of the point I made.

    • by armanox (826486)
      Funny how all that always worked for me in Red Hat Linux (I started on RH6.1), years before Ubuntu (ok, I didn't have the last 2).
    • Huh?

      All of the things you are talking about are "solved problems" in just about every modern Linux distribution.

      Your rant sounds like it was written circa 2002.

      Perhaps you are talking about Fedora? Fedora is the "home distribution" for many of the projects that you mention.

      Maybe you forget that Ubuntu cribbed almost all of that stuff from RedHat/Fedora?

      Video resolution? Huh? Really who runs their monitor at less than the max? I'm running at 1920x1200 and there is NO reason to use anything else.

      "without sp

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by man_of_mr_e (217855)

        Video resolution? Huh? Really who runs their monitor at less than the max? I'm running at 1920x1200 and there is NO reason to use anything else.

        Ever tried using a 15" laptop with 1600x1200 resolution? The text is impossible to read. Most people run these at much lower resolutions than the hardware is capable of running at. The same is true of people with poor eyesight.

        You're a classic example of why Linux has problems, claiming there is "NO reason" for something shows a lack of foresight or even imaginat

        • Re:What nonsense! (Score:4, Insightful)

          by idontgno (624372) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @01:48PM (#30461404) Journal

          You're a classic example of why Linux has problems, claiming there is "NO reason" for something shows a lack of foresight or even imagination. Too many Linux developers feel the same. Because they don't have a problem with something, they firmly believe nobody should have a problem with something, and refuses to support it.

          +1 Right On

          There's a lot of "If I don't need it, no one needs it" arrogance in the OS community. Part of it comes from "it works for me, I don't care about you" (which is just fundamental human nature); part of it is the longstanding "RTFM" tradition (i.e., the root geek community that Free Software sprung from put a high premium on self-help. The extreme manifestation, and also the practical reason for full source code disclosure in FOSS, is "Read the Fucking Source" as the rejoinder for someone asking for help.)

          It's a cultural weakness now that FOSS has spread into the general public. Unless you're paying for support, no one is obligated to help you, so if you're not technically savvy and have enough time and effort to chase it down, you're stuck.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Neil Hodges (960909)

          Ever tried using a 15" laptop with 1600x1200 resolution? The text is impossible to read. Most people run these at much lower resolutions than the hardware is capable of running at. The same is true of people with poor eyesight.

          It's called increasing the font DPI. I do that on my 15" laptop which has a screen resolution of 1920x1200, and my eyesight is terrible. If you aren't using bitmap fonts, it should work just fine.

          • It's called increasing the font DPI.

            Then you have to deal with

            • poorly-tested yet necessary apps whose layout breaks at high DPI,
            • apps that don't resize all elements including icons and other graphics,
            • apps that use ugly nearest-neighbor resampling for graphics, and
            • apps whose response time slows down proportionally to the number of pixels in the window.
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Neil Hodges (960909)

              And if you lower the screen resolution, you have to deal with blurriness on LCDs (non-native resolutions) that may make it even harder to look at.

              I know I get headaches if I'm using anything more than a VGA console at a non-native resolution on LCDs.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Sloppy (14984)

          Ever tried using a 15" laptop with 1600x1200 resolution? The text is impossible to read

          If your text is too small to read, it's because your text is too small. You don't need fewer pixels per screen; you need more pixels per character. Fix your fonts, and it'll be easier to read than switching to a lower res.

          I'm not arguing people shouldn't be able to change resolutions, but damn that's a dumb example.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by FranTaylor (164577)

          "Ever tried using a 15" laptop with 1600x1200 resolution? The text is impossible to read"

          Make the text bigger. If you can't then there is a problem with the software.

    • It's very cool how Ubuntu has essentially forced every other distro to get up to speed on these seemingly basic features.

      The "works out of the box" mindset has been around for a while in many distros before Ubuntu. What Ubuntu has done, is gotten itself packaged with netbooks, thus gaining sufficient market share to convince hardware makers to support Linux more rigorously. Furthermore, Ubuntu sacrifices out-of-the-box usability for open-source idealism (not that I have any complaint with that) so people should take that into consideration; although non-free software is easily installable from repositories.

      The one thing that

    • Their support of development tools stinks compared to fedora and on Ubuntu (9.10), the Qt environment has compatibility issues with the Ubuntu "supported" packages. I had issues getting headers files and assorted build environments to work.

      I went back to fedora because it was easier and much quicker than fixing Ubuntu's mistakes.

    • Does the distro work with your printer without any complicated installation procedures?
      Does the distro work with your audio hardware without any complicated installation procedures?
      Does the distro switch between all the resolutions supported by your video hardware?
      Does the distro have a reasonably good package installation mechanism?
      Does the distro support your applications without special package installation requirements?

      It's questions like this that scare Joe Sixpack away from Linux. If all the major distributions were sold at BestBuy and Joe Sixpack walked in and wanted to buy Linux, he'd have no idea which one to get. KDE vs GNOME? If he wants to buy a Logitech Keyboard and mouse, I doubt he'll see SuSE/Ubuntu/Fedora on the back of the box for the Logitech Compact Keyboard Pro [logitech.com], which btw is a pretty generic $29 USB keyboard. It might work, but atleast Joe Sixpack that it'll work with winXP/Vista/7 because it'll say it

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Hatta (162192)

        If all the major distributions were sold at BestBuy and Joe Sixpack walked in and wanted to buy Linux, he'd have no idea which one to get.

        If I walk into Best Buy and want to buy Windows 7, I'd have no idea which one to get.

  • openSuse (Score:5, Insightful)

    by abigor (540274) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @12:10PM (#30459742)

    Nice to see good results for openSuse. The reviewer didn't fall for the immature "Novell is evil!" absurdity.

    • Re:openSuse (Score:5, Informative)

      by Interoperable (1651953) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @12:24PM (#30460036)

      Although, it would be worthwhile to point out that openSuSE doesn't favor KDE over Gnome. It has fully integrated the SuSE environment into both. As I understand it, the decision to set the default selection to KDE is quite arbitrary at this point.

      I'll add that it's a fantastic distro for reasonably modern computers. Yast is a great tool, but the whole thing is a bit too heavyweight for netbooks or old PCs.

  • Of course (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @12:12PM (#30459788) Journal

    If Linux Distro's were targetted for the same users, there wouldn't be anything to distinguish them amongst each other, ultimately defeating the point of having a seperate distro.

    I should write an article about "Why People like different foods" and see if it makes the front page Foodnetwork.com

    In all seriousness though, its a decent breakdown of the Distro's, but I've always kind of been on the impression that anyone who has seriously considered using Linux already knows what distro they expect to be using.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Package management and an active online support/BBS/community. With those things you can do whatever you want with a little patience and research.

  • Who cares.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by salva84 (1701828) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @12:18PM (#30459912)
    Who cares? I've been using Linux around 10 years ago, I'm a computer engineer, and after all, I beeing using Ubuntu until today. I've tried a lot of distros, but I've never found a better distro for me, despite I'm a programmer too.
    • Re:Who cares.... (Score:5, Informative)

      by greenguy (162630) <estebandidoNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @12:31PM (#30460134) Homepage Journal

      I have to agree. I get annoyed when I hear people describe Ubuntu as distro that's appropriate for Linux newbies. It's not that that's untrue, it's that it sells Ubuntu short. It makes it sound like it's dumbed down somehow, and that after using it for a while, you'd want want to move on to something more advanced. That's simply not the case. All the advanced features are there, waiting for you, as soon as you're interested in them.

      • Re:Who cares.... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @01:35PM (#30461180) Homepage Journal
        Agreed, wholeheartedly so. I hopped from the sinking Windows ship after XP and started using Ubuntu on release 8.04. I must admit that I am not nearly as proficient on Ubuntu or Linux as I would like to be, but I am learning quickly. Where the first few months of my Ubuntu experience had me clicking through GUI's and resetting defaults regularly, after a few months of posting on the Ubuntu forums and getting a feel for how problems can be typically trouble-shooted, I started gediting config files and browsing through /etc on a regular basis. I started downloading some programs that could not be found in my repositories (with more confidence) and even started editing my sources list. Eventually I switched my default editor over to vim and began spitting out shell and perl scripts right and left to keep things simple for me and give me some peace of mind security wise. I've been using Ubuntu for just over a year now and, already, I am now posting advice on the Ubuntu forums more frequently than asking for it.

        The point isn't that I learned quickly, its that, since I wanted to learn some of the more hardcore and advanced features of linux, it was easy for me to go out and do so once I got comfortable. The nicest thing about Ubuntu is that it doesn't scare the crap out of you the first time you use it. As a social experiment, I often take my non tech literate friends and sit them down at my central living room computer (hooked to my TV) which is running 9.04 and tell them to put on some music to listen to. None of these folk have ever used anything but Windows. None of them take more than 20 minutes and maybe 1 or 2 questions to figure it out.

        Once someone gets comfortable with Ubuntu, if they want to start developing more advanced skills, they have a friendly place to ask which is easy to find (almost always google search result #1 with the word Ubuntu in it), the Ubuntu forums. When they do start asking about advanced topics, they are never dismissed as newbs or told something condescending. They are never attacked or outright flamed. Instead, if what they are asking about really is something of concern, they are told, in a rational and mature manner, about the risks they may or may not be taking. I couldn't be happier with the Ubuntu experience so far. I may decide to distro jump sometime in the future out of boredom or curiosity, but in terms of need, I really can't see a good reason to find something else.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Rennt (582550)

        Ubuntu is not a toy - but it is a "desktop" distro, which means it does get in your way if you are used to managing a system the Unix way.

        Which is fine - for a "desktop" user. But if you are actually interested in how the system works, you probably *will* want to move to Debian or Slackware eventually.

  • Why can't you just install to /usr/$username/bin? They disallow that these days?

    • Why can't you just install to /usr/$username/bin? They disallow that these days?

      Maybe you mean /home/$USER/bin ... At least I've personally never used any *nix system where installing to user-specific directories in /usr was common; installing to your home directory is, however, very common in every UNIX flavor I've come across.

    • by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @12:43PM (#30460328) Journal

      I've got to say, this is a huge feature that most package managers are missing. If I can download an archive, unpack it, and run it from ~, I should be able to install a package under ~ as well.

  • no root password? (Score:4, Informative)

    by burnin1965 (535071) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @12:20PM (#30459962) Homepage

    in earlier versions, ordinary (non-admin) users could install software on Fedora without access to the root password

    huh?

    I've used every version of Fedora linux and before that I've used Red Hat Linux from version 4.2 until Fedora Core 1. I don't recall ever having the ability to install software without providing the root password. In fact, when this type of insecure feature was implemented in Fedora 12 it caused a huge uproar and the insecure feature was removed in an update.

  • by NukeDoggie (943265) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @12:24PM (#30460030)
    Someone should make a version of Ubuntu or openSuse or Fedora or whatever that is designed for Seniors. Large Fonts, easy to use, very little duplication of apps, no problems... I bet it would spread far and wide. We have the kids checking it out, time to take the seniors... Also, why does all the netbook distros never fit the dialogs on the screen? 800x480 is not much to work with granted...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      In a couple of decades Shuttleworth, Torvalds, and Stallman will all be old enough to take on this project themselves.

  • root password?? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by pydev (1683904)

    As of this version, however, local users will need to enter the root password before they can install software (as they do on almost all other Linux distributions).'"

    You don't need to enter the root password on Ubuntu or Debian; you enter your own password. And that works if you have administrator privileges, which is a choice while setting up accounts.

  • by Stone316 (629009) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @12:36PM (#30460224) Journal

    I installed Ubuntu 8 on my kids computer and they loved it... I played about with it as well and liked it enough that once it came time to rebuild my linux box I decided to install 9.04... I have to say, i'm not impressed with 9.0.4... I have had issues with using the software manager to install new applications.. I miss the popular column and thought that was great. Switching to a static IP address wasn't straight forward... It seems that if you are the type of user that will just download it, install defaults and use it, then its fine. But as soon as you want to make changes, it started to get painful.

    So for now i'm switching back to Fedora.. Something i'm familiar with and just seems to work.

  • Slackware (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spaceyhackerlady (462530) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @12:44PM (#30460348)

    If you can't do it with Slackware, it doesn't need doing.

    :-)

    ...laura

  • Who actually cares? I would have thought that it was obvious and didn't need stating!
  • by Zombie Ryushu (803103) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @01:19PM (#30460940)

    I'm not trying to say that user choice and the variance of Linux distributions are bad, but I see some problems that make my life a headache. Especially on the RPM side of things.

    For example.

    The Four major Desktop distributions out there are:

    Fedora
    OpenSUSE
    Mandriva
    Ubuntu.

    Ubuntu is Debian based, and not like the other three. So, I will set it aside just momentarily. I'd like to focus on the RPM based systems for the moment because that is what I have the most experience with.

    The three RPM based systems have a whole lot of needless Dissimilarities. Even in the RPM system itself. has strange separations in the way it handle packaging. There really is no reason for these differences to exist. Other than making it more difficult to install and manage software, there is no reason for these differences to exist. They just confuse people.

    Another thing that drives me berserk is how the RPM distributors tend to "tinker" with the default KDE and Gnome Installs configuration. For example, replacing the Kicker logo with their own Mandriva/Suse/Fedora logo. This really confuses people. It doesn't add to the user experience at all to change how applications are ordered at random, or change the Icon for the K and Gnome Menus. It just confuses people more.

    You don't see this in the Debian world. They leave should leave the default configurations of KDE, Gnome, and the other Window managers. Also, a memorandum of understanding or treaty should be formed that says that they will have uniform RPM Macros, and Uniform Application categories.

    I do alot of packaging for Mandriva.

  • Gentoo (Score:4, Funny)

    by jittles (1613415) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @01:35PM (#30461196)
    So does that mean Gentoo is designed for users that have more free time?
  • by fluxdvd (264109) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @01:51PM (#30461454)

    To my knowledge (I've been using Fedora since its inception), Fedora has always required root credentials, or the user be in the sudoers list to install software packages. Only in Fedora 12 was that not the default behavior, and there was a BIG uproar over that change (see the VERY lengthy discussion on this issue on the RedHat Bugzilla report - https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=534047), which has since change the default behavior BACK to requiring root credentials to install software.

  • by Tubal-Cain (1289912) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @02:32PM (#30462140) Journal

    Speaking of easy, openSUSE is also the first of the major Linux distros that makes it simple to upgrade the system over the Internet. With most distros, you need to download an ISO image of the new release and then boot from it to upgrade your Linux distribution. However, I was able to do an in-place upgrade of openSUSE 11.1 to 11.2 on my ThinkPad over a Wi-Fi connection. This arrangement makes upgrading the entire operating system as simple as installing one really big program.

    That's been a part of Ubuntu's Update Manager for...how many years now? And in Debian using stable rather than lenny in your /etc/apt/sources.list will achieve the same effect. Or you could just use testing and enjoy more-up-to-date-but-still-stable software that has rolling updates.

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