When it comes to Linux, I’m a Gentoo guy. Go ahead, make fun of me and call me a ricer. Then go try to do something difficult on Redhat or Ubuntu, and come back and tell me what you think. I needed a Linux development environment at work, so I took my Windows machine and added a Linux partition. Since Ubuntu has been getting a lot of good press, and I wanted something that would install fast, I tried Ubuntu. Specifically, I installed Kubuntu, because Linus Torvalds doesn’t use Gnome. It really did install quickly and everything worked great out of the box. I installed a number of packages, and they worked too! Too good to be true? Absolutely!
It all started when I wanted to compile something. Silly me, I thought gcc was a basic part of a basic Linux installation…but no, that must be a Gentoo bias, so I installed gcc. Then I decided to install numpy, the latest numerical toolkit for Python. It’s been around for a couple of years as a beta, so I figured there must be an “unstable” build out there. Nope. To get numpy, you have to upgrade from Ubuntu 6.06 “Dapper” to 6.10 “Edgy”. <sarcasm>Because it makes sense to upgrade gcc, KDE, Firefox, etc just to get a new Python package.</sarcasm> Now, go find instructions on how to upgrade the Ubuntu distribution. Then try those instructrions and realize that they won’t work at all for Kubuntu because the package managers are totally different. While you’re there, read the horror stories on the forums from people who followed the “official” upgrade instructions and ended up with less-than-functioning systems. FYI, the Kubuntu upgrade instructions are actually easy to find once you know where to look. Kubuntu 6.10 is installing right now, so tomorrow we’ll see how it went.