Distro Wars are Ignorant

by debianjoe


This has nothing to do with this post.

The other day, like I do once every 3 months, I left my tiny corner of the world where I attempt to out-write my last sed line (hoping that one day I’ll be able to transcend all characters that aren’t “/” or “\”), looking for neat scripts, and playing with lower level programming.  Upon leaving my cave, I hit up a few Linux forums.

I noticed that some faceless internet guy had a totally stock Crunchbang Waldorf install screenshot.  He was praising the sub-500Mb startup, and I kid you not, ended his post with “#donewithubuntu”.  While complaining about hash-tags that aren’t used for commenting or followed by a ‘bang’ would certainly end in me ranting uncontrollably, it isn’t what I was really bothered by.  I wanted to reply with the screenshot of my <32Mb on boot Ubuntu and dwm build, but realized that I would be starting something that I have no intention of finishing.  I didn’t plan on ever coming back, and someone would probably mistake me for trying to show off Ubuntu as being better.  My point is, and has always been, that it’s all JUST Linux.  Perhaps it’s GNU/Linux, or BSD/Linux, or GNU/BSD, but that’s not what people argue about normally.

What gets me is that almost all of this zealotry is based on ignorance.  At the core, almost all Linux distros are infinitely flexible.  You can use Arch-linux with openRC, you can use systemd on Debian, etc.  You can get creative and build something totally original from the kernel and busybox.  The sky is the limit.  To argue over something, it needs to be founded in some kind of facts.  Let’s look at some examples:

“Ubuntu is bloated and purple.” – bad argument

“I tend to shy away from upstart and dislike Ubuntu’s CLA.” – much better.

“I use Slackware and build my packages from source with gcc.” – Not an argument at all, but it is a good way to be totally ignored while people are having an A vs. B discussion.

The point, if there’s one to be found here, is that there is no purpose in being a distribution zealot.  It accomplishes nothing other than dividing an already small community of people who are just starting their journey, and those who have been around for a while are going to most likely just ignore the statement totally.  At their core, most designs are extremely modular and transparent in the Unix-like world.  With enough time and effort, you can make most any of them into any of the others.  It’s all about how each group has chosen to present a semi-finished product, and unless you’re going to be using it in a read-only manner, this is always subject to change.

Find what you like and that fits your needs, use it, and live happily.