[CentOS] Thanks, good bye, and an observation from a newbie.

Craig White craigwhite at azapple.com
Sun Oct 16 17:02:05 UTC 2005

On Mon, 2005-10-17 at 00:47 +0900, Dave Gutteridge wrote:
> CentOS mailing list,
> 	Thank you all for answering my questions and being so supportive over
> the last few months as I was running CentOS on my home machine.
> 	I have switched over to Ubuntu, and I will be devoting my learning
> efforts to that distribution from this point on. However, while I'm sure
> a new distribution will have the inevitable learning curve, a lot of the
> tips and tricks I learned here will definitely help me get a head start.
> 	Because a "good bye and thank you" message on it's own would not carry
> new information, I wanted to just offer an observation of mine which
> might help this list in communicating with future newbies who don't
> quite grasp CentOS objectives, as I did.
> 	It seems to me there is a division between a developer's focus on how
> things work, and a newbie's focus on results.
> 	Taking my recent situation with finding an MP3 player, I would look at
> PlayerA, and PlayerB, which both ran on CentOS. One had a great
> interface, and the other had a good tag editor. But I hoped to find a
> player that had both features together.
> 	Then I look on the web and discover PlayerC, which seems like it might
> carry both the features I want. I download it, but it doesn't work.
> 	I come to the list and ask why, and I'm advised that CentOS is an
> enterprise level distribution, and not meant for running cutting edge
> applications. So I'm confused. After all, PlayerC doesn't do anything
> that PlayerA and PlayerB don't already do on CentOS, it just happens to
> do them together. How, I wonder, am I doing anything "cutting edge", or
> that would threaten the stability of CentOS?
> 	It took me a while to realize that I was thinking about the results -
> playing MP3s, for example. But when developers were speaking about
> "cutting edge", they were speaking about the fact that the makers of the
> player were using exotic techniques which were incompatible with CentOS.
> Those techniques are opaque to me, so the miscommunication continued.
> 	So my parting advice is to suggest that the next time a newbie can't
> grasp why CentOS doesn't do what other distributions do, or why some
> applications don't work even though they are only doing something that
> other working applications do, that you explain the difference between
> results and methods.
> 	Had I seen that difference earlier, I might not have struggled with
> CentOS so long. It's clearly not the distribution for me.
> 	That's my suggestion, for whatever it's worth. I hope it can help with
> future newbies, as I would guess that I won't be the last to try CentOS.
> 	Good luck with making CentOS a preeminent enterprise class solution.
> It's a great distribution, and deserves its due of appreciation.
> 	All the best.
It is incredible that you could learn so much and yet learn so little.

No distribution is all things to all people. As hard as any of them try,
there's always a delicate balance between stable and the 'unstable'
which tends to have the software and hardware features that you want.

Unfortunately for you, you started with Fedora Core 4 which was
extremely experimental with gcc-4 and thereby living up to its promise
to push the edge of development when Fedora Core 3 would have given you
a stable end user interface with the application suites whereas CentOS
prefers the stable and thus doesn't have the diverse end user
applications. Fedora Core 4 is working pretty well now.

Ubuntu is a nice distribution but that isn't all things either as you
will soon discover and I expect that I will see you again on the Fedora
list before too long but who knows.

I know that I told you my recommendation was to have a server distro
like CentOS on one system to keep your files, email and stuff and your
desktop on another box so that you could wipe it, test another distro
and not lose anything as that would give you the best of both worlds -
stability and continuity with a desktop capable of using newer software
and technology. 

As you gain more experience with Linux, you will come to recognize that
Linux is not stagnant but an ever growing, ever changing product and
that stable means things that have been working long enough now to give
you less than you want on your desktop but you shouldn't have to fool
around with it and unstable means you gotta fool around with it to get
what you want on your desktop.

As for your 'observation' - I'm quite certain that you were given the
right story all along, you just didn't know which voices to listen to.


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