Originally Posted by waterhead
I believe this applies to Arch Linux. I tried to install it a while back, when done all I had was a blinking cursor, I did not know that a desktop was not installed by default. After installing a desktop, my touchpad wouldn't work. I gave up and installed Ubuntu, and it fully work after the install.
No offence, but reading documentation and release notes before committing is very important in Linux world as distro developers have no reason to make stuff for a wide audience like for Windows world.
Arch has everything needed (usually better because it lives on the edge of the very latest versions) because the distro is designed around building stuff from source with ease, and on average what isn't in official repos is in AUR (the user-made/maintained packages compiled from source). But if you read their motto and wiki you see clearly that it is a developer-oriented distro
, catering to elite terminal wizards.
It even lacks an installer now. Everything
has to be done by hand from the command line after you booted in the system. Also their forums have very strict rules.
To those that want to try Arch for the other interesting features it has, I usually recommend Antergos
(because Arch has indeed interesting features, excellent documentation useful for other distros too, and most users are badass so even if there are much less you usually get better answers to your queries than when going in Ubuntu or Mint forums).
It is basically Arch for the masses (an Arch-linux derivative), with an installer and a live-cd like normal distros, but it just adds user-friendly interfaces over an Arch core. More or less like Ubuntu or Linux mint vs Debian.
Gentoo and Slackware are on the same boat. Both cater to more (very) experienced users that are able to recompile from source (and manually check dependencies), so as long as the source is somewhere, they can have that software it too. FOSS for you, FOSS for them.
I never strayed too far from Debian/Ubuntu/Mint myself. The farthest I got was with Puppy linux and Antergos.
Originally Posted by rgb
The *only* way we will continue to be able to use FOSS OS's in a useful, practical manner on the public/commercial web moving forward is if a few compatible distro families have most of the FOSS install counts.
That's what happened since the start. Debian/Ubuntu RedHat/Fedora and openSuse were the ones that were specifically oriented towards more consumer-like audience. Most others non-package-compatible distros were developer-oriented, experiments (like puppy or tinycore), or very specialistic distros anyway.
Originally Posted by rgb
One of the complaints of desktop linux in the early/mid 2000's was there were "too many" distros, making commercial app/driver support difficult and/or having too many "ways of doing things" (installers, directory strctures, config file styles, etc).
Propaganda. Major distros come from before 2000 and remain largely unchanged as far as structure, packages and configs go (and they aren't exactly horribly different even now).
Each distro's packages are made by the distro maintainers anyway, that take distro-agnostic source code and adapt it to the distro's own startup/logging/chronojob methods.
Hardware support is completely and utterly independent from the distro as the linux kernel is exactly the same (apart from tiny distro-specific modifications like ubuntu that wants support for its own in-house startup system), before the last 4 years no major hardware manufacturer was horribly interested about linux. As simple as this.
Now we even have Steam pushing for good linux hardware support (and throwing money at the issues) for graphics, and with the boom of Android devices (Android is technically a specialized linux distro, the core is still linux) most hardware manufacturers tend to look at linux and FOSS support with much more interest than before.
I also like to believe that Win8 did its part in this, by showing how bad it can get if they put all their eggs in one basket.
The only reason for the lack of support was the lack of market share. 2% of consumer market is still ridiculously low.