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April 01, 2005

New Operating System Experiences

Lately I've had the opportunity to work with some operating systems that are new to me.
The fist is Ubuntu hoary. I've worked with Debian on the server before so it wasn't totally foreign to me. I moved from Gentoo to Ubuntu because I was sick of waiting for slow compiles. All around it seems pretty decent but there are some things I'm not satisfied about:

  1. There aren't any fast North American mirrors (chod's Gentoo mirror spoiled me)

  2. It still has many of the standard gnome annoyances. For instance you need to edit an esoteric config file to edit the default file type handlers.

  3. No packages for some really useful apps like eclipse. (It appears that they are working on this one.)

  4. No packages for useful gratis non-free software like Java and recent versions of RealPlayer (the seem to have RealPlayer 8 though). This may come as a shock to you windows users but realplayer for X11 is really nice. And yes I do have the multiverse repository enabled.

  5. I find dpkg really awkward I've heard for years about how rpm is allegedly inferior but I completely disagree. I love that rpm doesn't require me to poke around in the tarball, allows multiple single issue patches, allows command line build options, and has a single build macro/metadata file.

One thing that I really do like about Ubuntu is their choice to drop ESound in favor of polypaudio. Polypaudio seems to just work. I also like that they ship the non-free but super useful nVidia kernel drivers.

I 'm not sure about Ubuntu's unique color scheme. They a color scheme that they call human which really is brown. Some call it diarrhea brown others seem to love it. I haven't made up my mind yet.

In general Ubuntu just failed to impress me. I've heard their firefox desktop integration patches are pretty good but I don't use firefox. I know it seems to have a lot buzz it doesn't seem all that great.

While all of this is going on I've also been using OpenBSD on the Tau Beta Pi webserver. We chose OpenBSD because of its excellent security record. I made it my goal not to over gnuize the system but I did choose to install nano (I've always had problems with vi(m) over ssh) and gtar (I've grown dependent on gtar's special features) which I've made my default tar.

I had problems setting up apache to use mysql because of chroot consequences. I highly recommend that anyone setting up an OpenBSD system that you put /var/run and /var/www on the same partition. This is because the mysql socket requires a hardlink inside the apache chroot jail. I also had problems with the mysql init script or lack there of (I couldn't find one).

Ports came pretty naturally to me being an ex-gentoo user but I have no idea how to check for updates (etc.) without emerge, yum, or apt.

Posted by ajc30 at April 1, 2005 05:21 PM

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