[scribus] Thanx for replies to `I FINALLY MADE THE PLUNGE"

John Jason Jordan johnxj at comcast.net
Mon Sep 20 21:27:41 CEST 2010

On Mon, 20 Sep 2010 11:18:17 -0700 (PDT)
Robert Marma <robert_marma at yahoo.com> dijo:

>Anyway, I'm glad that I appear to have made a good choice of distros,
>although I believe it was Jim Ford who mentioned, in his last thread,
>the ease of installing software in Xubuntu.  Although I have no
>intention of abandoning openSUSE at this time, I must confess that
>this feature, in itself, is a very compelling reason to switch, and I
>would appreciate anyone's comments about it. 

I participate n a local LUG (Linux User Group) which puts on a Linux
Clinic on Sunday afternoons. At the Clinic we frequently solve problems
that people are having with Linux, but about half our work is fresh
installs of Linux for absolute beginners. We almost always install
Ubuntu or one of its flavors. In my experience it is the easiest for
beginners to use, plus it is one of the top distros for hardware
support. Although I switched to Fedora about a year ago, Ubuntu was my
first venture into Linux, and I ran it happily for several years. But I
hasten to add that OpenSUSE has its advantages as well, and if it suits
you, then by all means keep it.

In the Linux world there are (with some exceptions) two competing
package management systems - Debian and RPM. Debian was created by a
husband and wife team named Debbie and Ian. RPM was devised by Redhat
and it stands for Redhat Package Management. Each distro will be based
on one or the other. Debian, Ubuntu and its derivatives, plus a few
more are based on Debian package management. Most of the rest are based
on RPM. When I switched to Fedora from Ubuntu I had to learn a whole
new way of package management. 

Probably the majority of old hands at Linux will agree that Debian
package management is marginally superior to RPM these days. But the
difference is pretty trivial once you learn the system. One area of
difference is in package manager utilities, where Debian has an
excellent GUI program (Synaptic). If you switch to Ubuntu you will no
longer have Yast, and you'll have to learn where the buttons are in

Another difference lies in how well dependencies are managed. Mostly
this is a matter of good housekeeping by the managers of the distro's
repositories. Including a package in a repository without including all
of the libraries and other dependencies for the package as well leads
to what is known as "dependency hell," a phrase you will come to hate.
Again, Debian based distros tend to do a slightly better job of this,
but I suspect that it is only because Ubuntu is by far the biggest
Debian based distro. When you are as huge as Ubuntu you have the
resources to police the repositories more diligently.

And that leads me to another comment about distros and package
management. One of the chief differences among the distros is the
philosophy of what they ought to include in their repositories. Some
are rabid about including only open source software. If you install
such a distro you will find that you cannot install Adobe Reader from
the repositories. Ditto for Flash and a host of multimedia codecs. Some
distros (like Fedora and Ubuntu) put all such packages in a separate
repository and require the user to enable the repository manually.
Other distros (like Mint) say "what the hell do we care" and just put
all the non-free and closed source stuff in their main repositories.

As a final comment I should add that, at least in the past, there have
been problems with Scribus on Ubuntu. Apparently the Ubuntu people
decided to change some of the libraries that Scribus depends upon. This
led to bugs in Scribus that appeared only on Ubuntu. I don't know if
this is still an issue, but I do know that Ubuntu occasionally gets
bad-mouthed in Scribus-land.

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