Open Ballot: What's your ideal distribution look like?


Package managers, desktops, installers, multimedia codecs, proprietary driver support, start up and shutdown, and release models. All these things, and many more, separate the different distributions from one another. In this week's open ballot, we want to know if you were king for a day, what combination of components would you pluck out of which distributions to recombine into your perfect operating system?

Tell us what you think in the comments, and as ever, we'll discuss a selection in this week's podcast.

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Your comments

+1 "slackplan9 bsd"

+1 to the suggestion of a Linux distro with BSD user land, statically linked and rather than PATH environment variables etc a proper union mount system with "private namespaces" like in Plan9.

A working Glendix distro (clean Plan9, but with Linux kernel) that could be self-hosting would be very close to ideal (if enough people came to it and ported the most essential suckless applications/libraries to it).

Right Now! It's Sabayon

I think Sabayon is about as perfect as it gets at right now. From it's default LVM installation, cutting edge rolling release based on Gentoo, KDE with good default software installed, stability, all codecs installed ready to rock and roll for doing/playing anything out of the box, beautiful startup screen, Rigo the NEW binary package manager isn't perfect yet, Hey it's new, but I do like it, very simple.

Ubuntu derivatives: Zorin & Pinguy

Personally I like the Ubuntu derivatives Zorin and Pinguy. I would give a mention to Mint and Ubuntu. As one noted, one's favorite distro says more about the person than the distro.

All the major families are very solid. The choice is more the what philosophy appeals to me and which distro allows me to work my way.

Specifically I like the Ubuntu repository system and the generalist nature of the Ubuntu family.

Finally landed on SolusOS

After using Ubuntu for few years then switch to Linux Mint when Ubuntu switch to Unity, but now my heart goes to SolusOS!

Some other points:
* I like Debian-based distro
* Working out-of-the-box with flash (I know, but my work need it) and multimedia codecs ready
* With all my hardware working (no matter is closed source drivers or not) - no point installing the OS if the basic hardware (ie. wireless card, etc) are not working
* Up-to-date application

Debian Is The Best...

My Ideal Distribution Is Debian As Well As Debian Based Distros Like Ubuntu,Mint And SolusOS.

My Ideal Distribution Configuration:

=> Based On Debian Testing. [SolusOs Testing or Linux Mint Debian Edition]

=> Ext4 File System. [Ubuntu,Mint]

=> Desktop Environment GNOME 2. [Debian Stable Squeeze]

=> All Multimedia Codec pre-installed. [Linux Mint]

=> Rolling Distribution. [LMDE Or Arch]

=> Supports Deb Packages. [Debian Based Distros]

=> Up-to-date Applications. [Debian Testing]

=> Fast And Stability. [Debian]

=> Good Community Support. [Ubuntu]

Light Austrumi type

Loved Austrumi for it's very light but stylish footprint.
I wish that Austrumi would re-incorporate analog modem support for us cheapy people who cannot afford broadband in the US.

Noob-Friendly & Geek-Tweakable*

(*I know most Linuxes are very geek-tweakable)

Ideally something Debian/Ubuntu based for stability, updates and repository ease, BUT:

1- OS "Upgrades" at most yearly or (preferably) less (Like Ubuntu LTS), with no major changes to the look & feel.

2- All multimedia codecs should be installed by default, so people can just put in a DVD (or other media) and play it.

3-I'd REALLY like to see a Puppy-like installer that walks the noob-user through installation (and analyses all the hardware first) walking people through initial setup/default-application decisions with some basic queries about their qualifications and end-use.

For example:

A- "You have a powerful machine and can easily run any of the word processor options. If you are a power-user and require a large, fully-featured professional program (similar to MS Word), choose LibreOffice as your default word processing application. If you only need to write business letters, reports or your first novel, you should find AbiWord much simpler and less cluttered to use, yet still fully capable. It will also load and run significantly faster. Don't worry, both will be installed on your computer (you have plenty of available disc space) and you can always choose either one from the drop-down menu, we are just setting up the default program that opens via shortcut."

B- "Your computer has only moderately-powerful capabilities (CPU and RAM). For best performance, we recommend the XFCE desktop environment.
Screenshots of your other options, Gnome 2.x, KDE and Unity are shown below.
If you have mobile devices (tablets, phones) that use Unity or a similar interface, we recommend you choose it just to keep your user-experience consistent across platforms.
If you have used MS Windows extensively and have a hard time learning "computer stuff", we suggest you try Gnome 2.x at first as it will look and feel similar, though, unlike Windows, it can be extensively customized to your personal needs and tastes.
Remember, this is only the *default* desktop environment you are choosing. You have plenty of disc space so all four of them will be installed and available for you to try at your leisure. (And please do! You might just fall in love.) If, after playing around a bit, you find you like another desktop environment better, it is very easy to change the default environment that your computer boots into (of course all of them will still be available should you wish to use another at certain times).

This could seriously ease the main-streaming of Linux (and dispel the "which distro/desktop would compete with Windows FUD), as well as making setup easier for those of us who build boxes for friends.
It's a simple paradigm, give them options but with guided reasons and illustrations/examples for those who don't know what to choose.
Perhaps it could be the basis for a new installer?

If anyone here also reads ZDNET regularly... :P

you are familiar with their trolling MS Fanboi Loverock Davidson..
Surprisingly, I have not seen him comment here and sometimes, in some really sick way, I actually miss his unassailable MS loyalty, mountains of FUD and sociopathic penguin-bashing.
I will therefore leave his comment in proxy:
"The ideal'distribution' is MS Windows." --LRD

I don't much care what it LOOKS like, so long as it ACTS right

S0 much wrong with linux distros that are all bling and no substance! Drop it guys, get the thing working, THEN decorate.

Here's the nightmare, a personal journey:
In fact, here's the average Linux live distro from wherever...

Load up: Specify locale in the boot parms.
Locale ignored, you're in the good old U/S of A, whatever. And you keyboard is presenting you with rubbi$h.
Dig around for keyboard settings, or (Lord forbid) dig away for config files.
But that's after your display doesn't work, and the menu entry doesn't help, just tells you it (mint13, that is) "has no proprietary drivers installed" when you waNt the damn proprietary drivers because the linux driver thingy is out of date & doesn't work with Firefox. Take a computer science class to learn how to install a working Nvid driver, only to be told you have to reboot your liveDVD (which you can't do without starting over, of course) for it to work. D'uh. It's a shorthand lie, anyway, you just need to know how to restart the screen or Xorg.
Only someone thought it was a good idea to disable ctl+alt+backsp. Who knows, maybe they were right at the time.
You can go to terminal at F1 & do such things, but a nooob has NO chance, he's off back to Redmond.

Ok, you have your screen properly resolved & now your keyboard properly set to wherever you dwell. If you're luck you can tweak it so it doesn't drive you up the wall by getting the caps lock by mistake. Or maybe you can't.

For security, you set/change passwords.
(Not that you are warned to do so. I wonder if there's a massive botnet of linux live distros? Should I patent the idea? I could be rich like Dotcom!)

Just for the hell of it, you swap session, but the keyboard defaults back to the good old U/S of A and you can't enter your shiny new pa$$word, so switch off & start the whole process again.
(Maybe Alt+SysRq reisub to do that, but it doesn't work because someone changed it to AltGr+SysRq & nobody told you.)

Look for ever-popular Firefox so you can find out how to sssort out the mess. Not there, some Kdweeb effort that half-works. Install FF, if you're lucky and you know the repository (as a noob, you're expected to be psychic). Find it's several versions old & doesn't work properly, but you can't feedback to Moz because it's not the latest version. Seek out how to get latest/beta FF & take the risk (Hey, don't distro writers know what FF is doing beforehand? Does no-one tell them there's a release schedule?).

Go to your mail. It needs JRE. You haven't got JRE. Or the plugin. More searching (for out-of date versions, but you don't know that until after they install). Spend a few minutes/hours seeking how to get up-to-date JRE & where/how to install it.

Same silly story with the Adobe Crash Player.

Get VLC, find out where the repository builders have hidden the codecs.
(By now, all the noobs have gone. They are in a heap by the window, crying out of frustration.)

Oooh! but just l00k at the pretty effects on the screen...

OK, take look at the text files a Windoh user might have. WHAT??!!!?? Where ARE they??? Zero files? Whaaaa?
Gradually you find out how to get ownership of your own files - ok, you have to do that somehow, but it's not a guided simple process for the nooby-person.

If you're relatively unlucky, there isn't support for NTFS. If you're REALLY unlucky, there isn't support for NTFS but the system doesn't say (because of linux snobbery?) and you corrupt your NTFS files. Or you have an old version which will corrupt your NTFS files without warning. Maybe on an un-re-formatted USB drive. Maybe important data, maybe not. Like you're going to re-format for a live DVD try-out?

Anyway, linux has great data-recovery routines. Pity about the indices & lost file-names & 10% lost corrupted data, though. Can't have been important.

Then you notice the date-time isn't set properly, because you miss a priority appointment.

By sheer chance you happen to be trying PClinuxOS, and some brain-dead joker has fixed the digital clock so that if you select London, it points you at Belfast with the time about five hours out. I can guess some Limey-hating Richard Head, whose uninformed personal politics over-ride any respect for the Project, plus lack of vigilance by aNy0ne else at all. But he did a thorough job & locked away the manual time-setting, too.
Which you might have a chance of finding if you knew the name of the clock widget thing, which you don't and can't find out without more hours at the forum. (They used to feed people to lions at the forums, didn't they? I can think of a candidate, if I can find him.)

Just maybe, you think, it's been fixed in an update, since your attempts at searches turn up nothing or far too much that's no use. See if the live edition can take an update (hey, way out of n00b territory by now..). Risky because the distro hasn't picked up the swap partition but after a few weeks's study you can fix that. But still the swap doesn't always cope so well with updates.
But you might regain space with bleachbit (if you know about it & where to install it; better do that before it's too late). Or one of the other space-reclaimers that don't work (or work too enthusiastically & are lethal in the hands of the ingenue). But they don't work anyway after a while on a live DVD because the systems are set up with some COW-son of a filesystem that doesn't reclaim space or indices or something unless you reboot (which you can't with a liveDVD...). So you end up with swappy panics that won't give the keyboard back so you can save work before giving in to the off button. And presumably shorten the life of your precious blu-ray reader.
(How do they expect servers to work? Reboot all the time?)

No updater. Install updater. Try the update. Get 563 broken packages and dependency hell if you try to fix it. Yeah, like I'm really going to install this one...

Lazy, shoddy, thoughtless distros. Just like the reason I left M*ckros**t.
But what the heck, it's free, and look at the NICE BLING, chaps.

Credit where it's due. PClOS did give me an NVIDia driver straight away, thank the Lord, though it needed some tweaking. Why can't the others do that? And Puppy is a good dog, though a little eccentric at times. Don't even talk to me about Cinnamon, the essence of all that is wrong. But this facility is not available at this time.

Gimme GUI tools

My ideal might look like PCLinux2007 (KDE3). Ran it on this old laptop for 3 years. Later versions are too resource hungry (even LXDE). I want something that installs easily, finds my Wireless connection without messing around, and has simple graphical utilities for tweaking everything. As soon as I have to start editing config files, or use command line, I lose interest, and go back to my main PC running Windows. Currently I've settled for Lucid Puppy 5.2.8, which is eccentric, but tolerable, and at least has the Ubuntu repos available.

A little bit of everything (wow)

1. Menu from (Linux Mint 13 Mate)
Reason: Search and Application is very easy and quick
2. Theme Customization from Windows 7.
Reason: You can easily change or customise the whole theme with slide show wallpaper, sounds, icons, window style etc
3. File Explorer from (Ideally Windows XP but a mix of Krusader and Dolphin is the next best thing)
4. Icons (Fedora) It Should be Glossy and HD Style
5. Dock Bar from Mac
6. Glass App Launcher Overlay like App Drawer from Android or iOS
7. HD Wallpapers selection
8. Easy to learn keyboard shortcuts for App Drawer, Change Workspace, Minimize All etc
9. Widgets (From Android OS) like "News Republic", Weather, Facebook, Twitter, Gmail... Sort of personalized desktop for who you are and feel connected to everything you're about.
10. Automatic File Sorting to Defined Folder like docs to docs and music to music and videos to videos no matter where you put them. they will be in their specific folder and you'll know where to find them after a year or two.
11. MS office with ribbon or libreoffice with ribbon
12. LightRoom 4 on linux (Wow)
13. glossy glass appearence.
14. Window Effects from mint 13 cinamon
15. bleeding edge stable updated os, security, Apps, Driver Support, Kernel etc
16. Multimedia Codecs complete full support
17. Flash And Java
18. IPv6 Compatible
19. Long Term Support
20. Software Manager (Like Google Play or Apple Appstore: Deepin Software Center is Close enough)
21. HDMI A/V out supported
22. Fonts (MS Core Truetype, Mac) Pre-installed
23. Software pre installed list
a. Picasa (Photo Manager)
b. Firefox & Chrome
c. Office
d. Skype (Original)
e. Photoshop Lightroom 4/5
f. vuze
g. Download Manager (Browser integration)
h. Video Editor & Slide Show Maker with Hollywood effects and auto movie maker feature
i. Video Trans-coder from any format to any other without loosing any quality or AV sync for dummies. click and done
24. Light on Resources
25. All processor architecture supported 32bit or 64bit
26. Big Red Shut Down button with sleep and restart in sub- menu

Please can someone make this for me??? I'm just an end-user full of desires for such a OS since the times of MS-Dos. Linux community never helped me then and now that there are so many developers, wont anyone of you make my dream come true :'( in case someone wants to give me such a distro. Still dreaming and wishing ;)


Cyclically (semi) rolling updates. That is stable updates a la Solus.

LXSkins script to change skins without login out/in in between from Cameleon Linux.

Hy-menu of Hybryde linux to change desktop/window manager without login out/in in between.

IceWM, Fluxbox, Open box, Crystal-FvWM, Deepin version of Gnome 2, KDE, Compiz.

Script to check for and run Chromium updates.

Deepin linux software center

Install without having to authenticate.

Libre office
VLC player

my sort of a dream distro would have

stability of debian and/or freebsd
light DE - preferably LXDE or lighter (window manager alternative?)
security and LTS
able to run on old and older machines
configurability/ customization - if i don't want it i can chuck it and if i want it, i can get it
userfriendliness of at least Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE)
good driver support
multiarch support
rolling release or if better alternative, then that.
out of the box audio and flash.
friendly community to aid you in your OS troubles.
Documentation that is easily comprehensible (or at least FIND-able.)
My dream OS should not hang when I am using virtualbox for 8 hours or more to run at least 2 commercial OSes, firefox with at least 90 or so tabs open, opera with 25 tabs open, chromium with 35 tabs open, a libreoffice calc, and writer being used along with a pdf reader/editor and VLC player belting out some tunes all at the same time --- I guess, I can dream on.

My Ideal Distro...

is 64 Bit
DE= Gnome2 Default (no Unity or Gnome3 garbage) IceWM, Fluxbox.
Fully editable GDM
is Compiz and Emerald Friendly
is Debian based.
has Dependable, current repositories.
has bleeding edge kernel
has no amazon search or other Canonical spyware crap!
In fact, just keep Canonical and Ubuntu away from it altogether!

Improved superiority

Basically Ultimate edition as a cyclically rolling release a la Solus
Hy-menu from Hybryde Linux or Look changer from Zorin OS to change between window managers without the nag of loggin in/out in between and all the window managers.
Easier installs a la Bodhi Linux or PC BSDs App café.
Menu look of Matriux linux.
The responsiveness of Backtrack.
A script to automatically check for and install updates for Chromium.
Irfanview via Play on linux.
Hardware recognition of Knoppix.

and of course exchange the linux kernel with the optimized Exton kernel form linux_exton_net

starting to feel pretty good now. i just need for somebody to actually make this distro.

PS When is this poll ever go into an article, Tuxradar?

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