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Linux Distros [was emacs-w3]

Raman is quite right about avoiding bleeding edge distributions if
your not experienced and able to easily track down problems that often
occur when your using thelatest version of things or don't have the time to
spend resolving problems.. 

However, Debian testing is not bleeding edge. Debian unstable and
Debian experimental are and nobody should run either unless your
prepared to spend time tracking down problems. Debian testing is
actually very stable. I've found it similar to running fedora with
respect to stability and number of problems based on our observations
at work (around 40 servers running either RH Enterprise, fedora or Debian

Debian stable is extremely stable - almost too stable in fact and can
often be a pain if you want to install the very latest of some
software. The really great thing about debian is its package
management - Debian's dpkg and apt-* utilities make life a lot easier
than under a RPM based system. Debian also has the best emacs support
I've seen in any distribution - there are very few emacs packages I
now need to install by hand as nearly everything I need is available
as a standard package in the distribution. Debian is certainly the
first choice if you have a strong philosophical standpoint regarding
open source and GPL etc. It has possibly the most restrictive of all
licensing policies. This is why some popular packages are not found in
Debian. I think mplayer falls into this catagory, along with much of
Sun's Java stuff (though I believe much of this has changed recently
due to Sun's updated license). 

One thing I really like about Debian is that it is still very much
command line driven. There are GUI wrappers for pretty much
everything, but you can bypass them and do it all from the command
line without getting things muddled. I found other distributions were
moving more and more towards customized GUI configuration and
management tools and if you tried to do things at the command line,
you often end up with inconsistencies and anomalies in how things are
configured that can be difficult to track down.  

It would be intresting to know what other Linux distros people are
using. For example, I'd like to hear if anyone has tried Linspire.
This is one of the few distributions specifically designed for a
desktop rather than a server or multi-purpose. It is also designed
specifically for those use to windows and who just want to install
Linux and run it without getting down into the underlying
infrastructure. I also believe as part of the failed MS litigation,
part of the settlement included the rights for linspire to include MS
multimedia codecs. Linspire is also based on debian's dpkg.

Debian based Ubuntu is also meant to be a nice desktop distro.
However, I have heard reports of stability issues from time to time.
It releases new "stable" versions a lot more frequently than Debian
does and I think its based largely on packages from Debian testing
rather than Debian stable. 

I've also heard RH enterprise desktop is quite good. Also, as it is a
"commercial" distro, you are entitled to support. I know people who
run it, but don't know how it is with emacs and emacspeak. 

I've never seen SuSe, but have seen good reports about it. Novell is
certainly putting a lot of investment into Linux these days. It would
be interesting to hear about anyone running emacspeak under SuSe. 

Has anyone ever tried getting emacspeak running under Mac OSX - given
it is BSD based, I can't see why this wouldn't be possible. You can
certainly run emacs and I imagine there would also be tcl available as
well as festival and flite. 

Another interesting experiment would be to see how easily it would be
to get emacspeak running under Open Solaris. This is a very
interesting "free" OS as it has some really powerful features with a
very commercial polish. However, much of the really powerful features
of Open Solaris really only come into their own when using it as a
server in a mid sized environment - for example, its filesystem
features and support for SAN, NAS, fibre channel devices etc is very

I've run Gentoo and found it to be a nice distro because of the
control you have. However, it is definitely not for the faint harted -
you pretty much build everything from source. Its a good distro when
you need a lean system optimised for your hardware, but maintenance is
quite high compared to other distros. 

I've not heard much regarding oralux lately. Given its specific target
towards speech support, its probably worth checking out. My concern
with it would be how frequently it is updated. Maintaining a Linux
distro is considerable work and takes a lot of dedication. 


T. V. Raman writes:
 > you were probably missing some networking related library and
 > installing curl probably pulled it over.
 > If you're "not a computer professional" you should be running
 > something stable --- not the bleeding edge of Debian.
 > >>>>> "Rob" == Rob Hil <robhill@es.co.nz> writes:
 >     Rob> Hello, Curl wasn't installed.  I installed it, and w3
 >     Rob> works, still not on the first terminal I boot up to.  I
 >     Rob> have to change to another terminal, log in, and start
 >     Rob> w3, and it works then.  This is no problem, since at
 >     Rob> least the behaviour is consistent and I can use w3
 >     Rob> reliably now.
 >     Rob> 
 >     Rob> Thanks for your replies: not being a computer
 >     Rob> professional, my knowledge is thin and ad hoc, and the
 >     Rob> pointer to check curl made all the difference.
 >     Rob> 
 >     Rob> Regards,
 >     Rob> 
 >     Rob> Rob,
 >     Rob> 
 >     Rob> -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
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 >     Rob> address on the emacspeak list send mail to
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 > -- 
 > Best Regards,
 > --raman
 > Email:  raman@users.sf.net
 > WWW:    http://emacspeak.sf.net/raman/
 > AIM:    emacspeak       GTalk: tv.raman.tv@gmail.com
 > PGP:    http://emacspeak.sf.net/raman/raman-almaden.asc
 > Google: tv+raman 
 > IRC:    irc://irc.freenode.net/#emacs
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