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Re: [linux-dell-laptops] Next distro?

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  • ken
    ... Given the below, this is a good thing to know about Ubuntu. I too spend quite a bit of time as root, so much so that I perpetually have a terminal window
    Message 1 of 19 , May 24 4:34 AM
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      On 05/23/2007 01:51 PM somebody named Douglas S. Oliver wrote:
      > ken wrote:
      >
      >
      >>> I just made a couple of little tweaks, for example I made a root
      >>> account so I could su - and not have to sudo for all my work. Sudo is
      >>> fine and safer, but if I need to run a number of programs that need
      >>> root access, it's easier to simply become root. To do that, I simply
      >>> needed to make a root password. I used: sudo passwd and entered the
      >>> new password when prompted--really easy.

      Given the below, this is a good thing to know about Ubuntu. I too spend
      quite a bit of time as root, so much so that I perpetually have a
      terminal window logged into root so I can jump to it, run a few or a few
      dozen commands, and then get back to what I was doing previously. I
      couldn't see having to type a passphrase that often and would think that
      it could actually be *less* secure in some circumstances.


      >> Every linux distro I've ever installed (dozens... going back to kernel
      >> v.0.9.13) always required creating a root password as part of the
      >> initial install of the system. (?)
      >
      > Well this is one of the interesting surprises with Ubuntu. At set up and
      > install, you're only asked for a personal password--NOT root. That's why
      > everything has to be done via sudo. It took me a second to realize what
      > I needed to do. Once I set up a true root password, I was all set to go.

      If I go with Ubuntu, I'll be doing the same


      >>> Because I often prefer to use a text console with my favorite
      >>> programs, I had to install the programs that don't typically come
      >>> with X. For example, vim, joe. As far as I know, all the usual
      >>> compiling programs are there by default, and if not, they're easy to
      >>> install. It is not easy to boot directly into a text console.
      >> Do you mean boot up *not* into the GUI...? so that you have just a
      >> black and white screen with a CLI prompt?
      >
      > Yup.
      >
      >>> You have to remove the gdm boot script from the rc3 folder (I'm on a
      >
      > That's remove the /etc/rc3.d/S13gdm soft linked file. Ubuntu basically
      > copies or links all the rcX.d files to the same place. This means that
      > if you want to force a cli or tui, you need to telinit 1. Of course, if
      > I'm correct, you then do not have the multi user protections present in
      > run level 3. Stopping the gui from loading makes it kind of like RedHat
      > run level 3, which is how I first learned to use Linux in 1998. I first
      > started using computers in 1976 pre dos days, so I don't shy away from a
      > B/W terminal.

      The standard way to do this has always been to edit /etc/inittab,
      changing the line

      id:5:initdefault:

      to

      id:3:initdefault:

      (changing the runlevel from "5" to "3").

      Does Ubuntu deviate from this tradition/standard also?


      >
      > Take care, Douglas

      Good talking with you,
      ken



      --
      "This world ain't big enough for the both of us,"
      said the big noema to the little noema.
    • Douglas S. Oliver
      ... Hash: SHA1 ... The answer is a simple yes. This is what I was trying to say, though clumsily, when I said that everything except run level one is linked to
      Message 2 of 19 , May 24 8:51 AM
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        ken wrote:
        > On 05/23/2007 01:51 PM somebody named Douglas S. Oliver wrote:
        >> ken wrote:
        >>>> B/W terminal.
        >
        > The standard way to do this has always been to edit /etc/inittab,
        > changing the line
        >
        > id:5:initdefault:
        >
        > to
        >
        > id:3:initdefault:
        >
        > (changing the runlevel from "5" to "3").
        >
        > Does Ubuntu deviate from this tradition/standard also?

        The answer is a simple yes. This is what I was trying to say, though
        clumsily, when I said that everything except run level one is linked to
        run level four or five. For example, if you telinit to run level 3, you
        wind up back at the initial gui log in screen. The same is true if you
        use <ctrl><alt><backspace>, which would normally kill your gui session
        and drop you at a text terminal. You might be met with an admonishment
        that "only root can to that." Ubuntu is really set up for folks used to
        MS Windows. New linux users should normally stay away from acting as the
        root user. There's simply too much power there; however, for an
        experienced linux user, being forced to stay away from becoming root, is
        an annoyance. And I should say that my Ubuntu 7.04 has no inittab file.
        I think an earlier version did have that file, and I tried changing the
        initdefault which because of the soft linking business, had no effect. I
        think a while back I tried teliniting to run level one and then using
        startx to get an X session. From there I could use
        <ctrl><alt><backspace> to pop out of the gui to the terminal. Silly way
        to do this. That's when I learned from a web search about the disabling
        the gdm in rc3.d. Anyway, it's been fun to play with this newcomer on
        the block. Talk to you later--Douglas


        - --

        ******

        Douglas S. Oliver

        "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity,
        and I'm not sure about the former." --Albert Einstein

        "....What right do I have to think?" --Ugarte, December 1941

        ******
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      • ken
        ... Wow! Thanks for the explanation. Ubuntu s too weird for me, too far off from unix. The search goes on. -- This world ain t big enough for the both of
        Message 3 of 19 , May 24 6:02 PM
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          On 05/24/2007 11:51 AM somebody named Douglas S. Oliver wrote:
          > ken wrote:
          >> On 05/23/2007 01:51 PM somebody named Douglas S. Oliver wrote:
          >>> ken wrote:
          >>>>> B/W terminal.
          >> The standard way to do this has always been to edit /etc/inittab,
          >> changing the line
          >
          >> id:5:initdefault:
          >
          >> to
          >
          >> id:3:initdefault:
          >
          >> (changing the runlevel from "5" to "3").
          >
          >> Does Ubuntu deviate from this tradition/standard also?
          >
          > The answer is a simple yes. This is what I was trying to say, though
          > clumsily, when I said that everything except run level one is linked to
          > run level four or five. For example, if you telinit to run level 3, you
          > wind up back at the initial gui log in screen. The same is true if you
          > use <ctrl><alt><backspace>, which would normally kill your gui session
          > and drop you at a text terminal. You might be met with an admonishment
          > that "only root can to that." Ubuntu is really set up for folks used to
          > MS Windows. New linux users should normally stay away from acting as the
          > root user. There's simply too much power there; however, for an
          > experienced linux user, being forced to stay away from becoming root, is
          > an annoyance. And I should say that my Ubuntu 7.04 has no inittab file.
          > I think an earlier version did have that file, and I tried changing the
          > initdefault which because of the soft linking business, had no effect. I
          > think a while back I tried teliniting to run level one and then using
          > startx to get an X session. From there I could use
          > <ctrl><alt><backspace> to pop out of the gui to the terminal. Silly way
          > to do this. That's when I learned from a web search about the disabling
          > the gdm in rc3.d. Anyway, it's been fun to play with this newcomer on
          > the block. Talk to you later--Douglas

          Wow! Thanks for the explanation. Ubuntu's too weird for me, too far
          off from unix. The search goes on.

          --
          "This world ain't big enough for the both of us,"
          said the big noema to the little noema.
        • Sword King
          Apparently I have way less experience with Linux and even computers than you guys, but I easily solved the problems you are discussing on my Inspiron 1100
          Message 4 of 19 , May 24 6:21 PM
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            Apparently I have way less experience with Linux and even computers
            than you guys, but I easily solved the problems you are discussing on
            my Inspiron 1100 (Xubuntu Feisty) by creating a shortcut to a root
            terminal in X, thereby alleviating the need to 'sudo'. It's usually
            one of the first things I start when I fire it up, cuz I like to play
            around way more than is necessary to get work done.:) For example, I
            go there and use aptitude to update or install software.

            I also made a shortcut to open Nautilus as root, so I can go poking
            around in places I shouldn't be allowed, and found a way to insert a
            context menu item "Open as Root". Needless to say, I don't remember
            how I did these things, but they are beneficial.

            SK

            --- In linux-dell-laptops@yahoogroups.com, ken <gebser@...> wrote:
            >
            > On 05/23/2007 01:51 PM somebody named Douglas S. Oliver wrote:
            > > ken wrote:
            > >
            > >
            > >>> I just made a couple of little tweaks, for example I made a root
            > >>> account so I could su - and not have to sudo for all my work.
            Sudo is
            > >>> fine and safer, but if I need to run a number of programs that
            need
            > >>> root access, it's easier to simply become root. To do that, I
            simply
            > >>> needed to make a root password. I used: sudo passwd and entered
            the
            > >>> new password when prompted--really easy.
            >
            > Given the below, this is a good thing to know about Ubuntu. I too
            spend
            > quite a bit of time as root, so much so that I perpetually have a
            > terminal window logged into root so I can jump to it, run a few or
            a few
            > dozen commands, and then get back to what I was doing previously. I
            > couldn't see having to type a passphrase that often and would think
            that
            > it could actually be *less* secure in some circumstances.
            >
            >
            > >> Every linux distro I've ever installed (dozens... going back to
            kernel
            > >> v.0.9.13) always required creating a root password as part of the
            > >> initial install of the system. (?)
            > >
            > > Well this is one of the interesting surprises with Ubuntu. At set
            up and
            > > install, you're only asked for a personal password--NOT root.
            That's why
            > > everything has to be done via sudo. It took me a second to
            realize what
            > > I needed to do. Once I set up a true root password, I was all set
            to go.
            >
            > If I go with Ubuntu, I'll be doing the same
            >
            >
            > >>> Because I often prefer to use a text console with my favorite
            > >>> programs, I had to install the programs that don't typically
            come
            > >>> with X. For example, vim, joe. As far as I know, all the usual
            > >>> compiling programs are there by default, and if not, they're
            easy to
            > >>> install. It is not easy to boot directly into a text console.
            > >> Do you mean boot up *not* into the GUI...? so that you have
            just a
            > >> black and white screen with a CLI prompt?
            > >
            > > Yup.
            > >
            > >>> You have to remove the gdm boot script from the rc3 folder (I'm
            on a
            > >
            > > That's remove the /etc/rc3.d/S13gdm soft linked file. Ubuntu
            basically
            > > copies or links all the rcX.d files to the same place. This means
            that
            > > if you want to force a cli or tui, you need to telinit 1. Of
            course, if
            > > I'm correct, you then do not have the multi user protections
            present in
            > > run level 3. Stopping the gui from loading makes it kind of like
            RedHat
            > > run level 3, which is how I first learned to use Linux in 1998. I
            first
            > > started using computers in 1976 pre dos days, so I don't shy away
            from a
            > > B/W terminal.
            >
            > The standard way to do this has always been to edit /etc/inittab,
            > changing the line
            >
            > id:5:initdefault:
            >
            > to
            >
            > id:3:initdefault:
            >
            > (changing the runlevel from "5" to "3").
            >
            > Does Ubuntu deviate from this tradition/standard also?
            >
            >
            > >
            > > Take care, Douglas
            >
            > Good talking with you,
            > ken
            >
            >
            >
            > --
            > "This world ain't big enough for the both of us,"
            > said the big noema to the little noema.
            >
          • Douglas S. Oliver
            ... Actually, what you have done is not really related to what I was discussing. Also, Xubuntu is a bit of a different beast. In straight Ubuntu, one doesn t
            Message 5 of 19 , May 25 2:20 AM
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              Sword King wrote:
              > Apparently I have way less experience with Linux and even computers
              > than you guys, but I easily solved the problems you are discussing on
              > my Inspiron 1100 (Xubuntu Feisty) by creating a shortcut to a root
              > terminal in X, thereby alleviating the need to 'sudo'. It's usually
              > one of the first things I start when I fire it up, cuz I like to play
              > around way more than is necessary to get work done.:) For example, I
              > go there and use aptitude to update or install software.
              >
              > I also made a shortcut to open Nautilus as root, so I can go poking
              > around in places I shouldn't be allowed, and found a way to insert a
              > context menu item "Open as Root". Needless to say, I don't remember
              > how I did these things, but they are beneficial.
              >
              > SK
              >

              Actually, what you have done is not really related to what I was
              discussing. Also, Xubuntu is a bit of a different beast. In straight
              Ubuntu, one doesn't really need to become root to install and modify
              programs. In fact for lack of a root password, there is no true
              linux/unix root account. Instead the users are added to the sudoers
              account/group. Sudoers are given root privileges through their own login
              password. What do I mean when I say there is no true root account? It's
              not possible to login as root out of the box. That's because that would
              require a root password. What you have done, SK, is cool, but at some
              point you had to give a password. I'm guessing you used your login
              password, not a root password. For me now, with a root password, I open
              an xterm and switch to root with the "su -" command and give the root
              password. Su means switch user, and the dash means switch to that
              account. You'll notice that your account is located at /home/<your
              username>/, whereas, the root account is located at /root/. The
              difference is this, if I simply type su and the root password, I remain
              in whatever folder I was in when I entered the su command. I also don't
              inherit root's settings for the display and such. The dash says to
              switch user and inherit that user's settings. This is a subtle but
              important difference.

              One of the main issues I was discussing related to working without X,
              i.e, no gui. I think that everything you've done here SK still remains
              within X. Ubuntu normally only allows you to work in either traditional
              linux/unix run level 1--single user mode, or traditional level
              4--multiuser graphical mode. Level 1 is a single user text console mode,
              but not the traditional multiuser text mode of run level 3. SK, type
              this: telinit 1 <enter> to see what run level one is like. To return to
              the gui, simply type telinit 4 <enter>. Keep hacking, and please share
              with us how you did your cool shortcuts. --D

              --

              ******

              Douglas S. Oliver

              "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity,
              and I'm not sure about the former." --Albert Einstein

              "....What right do I have to think?" --Ugarte, December 1941

              ******
            • John DeCarlo
              Ken and Doug, Using apt is much easier and more reliable than using rpm. Trust me, I used rpm and Red Hat for decades. When I switched to Ubuntu last year, I
              Message 6 of 19 , May 25 7:14 AM
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                Ken and Doug,

                Using apt is much easier and more reliable than using rpm.  Trust me, I used rpm and Red Hat for decades.  When I switched to Ubuntu last year, I was delightfully amazed at how much I had been missing while using rpm.

                Booting to single user mode is very easy - When you are booting the machine, type "e" at the grub menu and add a "1" to the boot line.  The other option is to kill gdm or kdm to avoid rebooting.

                apt supports downloading and compiling source as well as binary.  Typically repositories have both a "deb" and "deb-src" equivalent, depending on what you want to do.  When using the right tools to install from "deb-src", it will run the install script and compile and make and configure for you.

                Ubuntu is very much a "free" distribution.  So they don't install "non-free" stuff by default (like MP3 support, or DVD play via libdvdcss).  But "Feisty" makes it very easy to install those capabilities when you need them.  The first time you try to play an MP3 file, it will ask you if you want to install MP3 support, even if it is non-free.

                As for changing networks, Ubuntu Feisty comes with networkmanager, allowing you to see what networks are accessible and choose one to connect to.  I haven't used it that much, though, so I don't have step-by-step.  Just look in the menu under Internet.

                Feisty is also very good at hardware detection, and most things "just work" out of the box on laptops nowadays.

                Hope this helps.


              • Gilbert Mendoza
                ... Hash: SHA1 I hate to add to an already long thread, but ... Just because the root account is not given a password during the installation process, doesn t
                Message 7 of 19 , May 25 1:19 PM
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                  I hate to add to an already long thread, but ...

                  Just because the root account is not given a password during the
                  installation process, doesn't mean it does not exist. The root
                  account has simply been "locked", and most certainly does exist.
                  (check out "man passwd" for the "-l" option).

                  "sudo -i" and "sudo -s" are two very easy ways to run any
                  prolonged root shell without enabling the root account, exposing
                  it to local and remote dictionary or brute force password
                  attacks. That is unless of course a sudoer user doesn't have a
                  weak password. :-P But that's another topic. (the -i will drop
                  you to the /root/ directory, and -s will leave you in your own
                  /home/user/ directory. See "man sudo".)

                  Elevating user privileges on a need-only basis is considered an
                  industry wide best practice and is generally accepted by most
                  experienced administrators.

                  Changing to runlevel 1 (single user mode) just to gain a root
                  shell is NOT what one should do if they simply wish to gain root
                  access. Runlevel 1 actually stops many services according to
                  their init level configurations, and is typically used when
                  performing maintenance, troubleshooting, or system recovery.


                  As for the default runlevels, Ubuntu moved to "Upstart" which
                  doesn't use /etc/inittab, but still evaluates it if you create
                  one. (see /etc/event.d/) If one wishes to not use the graphical
                  logon manager "GDM", they can simply

                  a) remove the symlinks in /etc/rcX.d
                  (sudo update-rc.d -f gdm remove)

                  b) remove gdm altogether (sudo apt-get remove gdm). This of
                  course is a dependency of the ubuntu-desktop meta-package,but if
                  you are already comfortable with using a console only, who
                  cares.

                  c) or even remove just one of the gdm rcX.d scripts, and
                  designate that runlevel of your choice as being a non-graphical
                  multiuser. To be thorough, you can add a corresponding "K13gdm"
                  symlink, so that switching back and forth between this runlevel
                  will stop gdm accordingly.
                  i.e.
                  cd /etc/rc2.d
                  sudo rm S13gdm
                  sudo ln -s ../init.d/gdm K13gdm

                  For regular use of the console, you may also want change your
                  frame buffer size to a higher resolution to 1024x768 or higher by
                  editing /boot/grub/menu.lst.
                  i.e. add "vga=791" to the defoptions variable:
                  # defoptions=quiet splash vga=791


                  Anyway, hope this is useful for you folks.

                  GM
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                • Douglas S. Oliver
                  ... Hash: SHA1 ... Thanks much, Gilbert. This is really useful information. Am I right in thinking that sudo -i and sudo -s are a little like the difference
                  Message 8 of 19 , May 25 2:52 PM
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                    Gilbert Mendoza wrote:
                    >
                    > I hate to add to an already long thread, but ...
                    >
                    > Just because the root account is not given a password during the
                    > installation process, doesn't mean it does not exist. The root
                    > account has simply been "locked", and most certainly does exist.
                    > (check out "man passwd" for the "-l" option).
                    >

                    Thanks much, Gilbert. This is really useful information. Am I right in
                    thinking that sudo -i and sudo -s are a little like the difference
                    between having a root password and using "su <enter> and <password
                    enter>" and "su - <enter> and <password enter>? The difference here
                    being the added safety of using sudo and staying out of the root
                    account. I've been using linux for almost 10 years but am a relative new
                    comer to sudo. A few years ago I was studying for my RHSE cert. At that
                    time we were warned to watch out for users using sudo when they had weak
                    passwords, as you have said. That's why I stayed away from it till now
                    with Ubuntu. Not because of a weak password, but because it was easy to
                    use su when and only when I needed to become root. I made an rm error as
                    root once on my system. Trashed everything! I just needed to do that
                    once to become respectful of becoming root. Thanks again--Douglas

                    - --

                    ******

                    Douglas S. Oliver

                    "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity,
                    and I'm not sure about the former." --Albert Einstein

                    "....What right do I have to think?" --Ugarte, December 1941

                    ******
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                  • Gilbert Mendoza
                    ... Hash: SHA1 No problem at all. You are correct regarding similarities between su , su - , sudo -i and -s. su - and sudo -i elevate privileges to root
                    Message 9 of 19 , May 25 4:58 PM
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                      No problem at all.

                      You are correct regarding similarities between "su", "su -",
                      sudo -i and -s.

                      "su -" and "sudo -i" elevate privileges to root and use the shell
                      environment for the root user in /etc/passwd. you will notice by
                      issuing a 'pwd' command, you are placed in the /root directory.

                      "su" and "sudo -s" elevate privileges to root and use the shell
                      environment of the user running the command. So, you will stay
                      in /home/user, and any bash aliases, etc, will remain intact.

                      There are many advantages in using sudo vs. su, but primarily it
                      comes down to the granularity of control one has in limiting what
                      sudoer's can do with their privileges. For instance, with sudo
                      you can allow a user (or group of users) to to run a small set of
                      commands with root privileges, without granting access to more
                      sensitive functions.

                      Have a great weekend...

                      GM

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                      --- "Douglas S. Oliver" <dsoliver@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Thanks much, Gilbert. This is really useful information. Am I right in
                      > thinking that sudo -i and sudo -s are a little like the difference
                      > between having a root password and using "su <enter> and <password
                      > enter>" and "su - <enter> and <password enter>? The difference here
                      > being the added safety of using sudo and staying out of the root
                      > account. I've been using linux for almost 10 years but am a relative new
                      > comer to sudo. A few years ago I was studying for my RHSE cert. At that
                      > time we were warned to watch out for users using sudo when they had weak
                      > passwords, as you have said. That's why I stayed away from it till now
                      > with Ubuntu. Not because of a weak password, but because it was easy to
                      > use su when and only when I needed to become root. I made an rm error as
                      > root once on my system. Trashed everything! I just needed to do that
                      > once to become respectful of becoming root. Thanks again--Douglas
                      >




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                    • Lamar Owen
                      ... While there is nothing wrong (and a lot right) with apt, let s compare apples to apples here. The raw rpm command is equivalent to the raw dpkg command.
                      Message 10 of 19 , May 25 8:18 PM
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                        On Friday 25 May 2007, John DeCarlo wrote:
                        > Using apt is much easier and more reliable than using rpm. Trust me, I
                        > used rpm and Red Hat for decades. When I switched to Ubuntu last year, I
                        > was delightfully amazed at how much I had been missing while using rpm.

                        While there is nothing wrong (and a lot right) with apt, let's compare apples
                        to apples here. The raw rpm command is equivalent to the raw dpkg command.
                        The equivalent command to apt in a Debian-inspired distribution on, say, a
                        Fedora Core installation, is 'yum'. You do that same sorts of things: 'yum
                        install kshisen' will pull in any needed RPM's from the repository, exactly
                        like 'apt-get install kshisen' would.

                        Now, with Ubuntu or plain Debian you will get a substantially larger
                        repository of software available; and it's not as fractured as the typical
                        RPM third party repositories are. But that has nothing to do with the tools
                        that are available.

                        I've been evaluating Kubuntu 7.04 in a virtual machine for a week or so, and I
                        like most of what I see. The biggest thing is the unified repository. The
                        second biggest thing is that the gnuradio and usrp packages are 'just there'
                        in that repository, whereas getting RPM's of same is difficult. However, I
                        find that adept-installer is just about as slow as pirut (GUI yum frontend on
                        Fedora Core 5 and above), and that's with identical hardware. Now,
                        adept-manager is quite a bit better.

                        Incidentally, there is an apt version for RPM-based systems. You can even get
                        synaptic on Fedora Core if you'd like.

                        I'm using Fedora Core 6 here on an Inspiron 640m, and most things work fine
                        (no headphones is an annoyance, but the sound does at least play; I haven't
                        worked much on the wireless, but that's a low priority for me; LCD backlight
                        control with Fn-UP or Fn-DOWN isn't working, etc).
                        --
                        Lamar Owen
                        Chief Information Officer
                        Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute
                        1 PARI Drive
                        Rosman, NC 28772
                        (828)862-5554
                        www.pari.edu
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