I tried but failed to pass the CAPTCHA test for a comment on a revised poll on “community” distros. Several articles have been written on the subject lately: “A commonality in these articles is that both of these writers seem to think the community surrounding a distro can easily be as important as other considerations such as which package manager or desktop environment the distro uses by default. Indeed, a distroâ€™s technical aspects might very well be guided by the nature of the distroâ€™s community following.”
see Do-over for Linux Community Distro Poll Â« FOSS ForceFOSS Force
Any distribution of GNU/Linux could be said to be a “community distro” in that it’s FLOSS and anyone including end-users could run, examine, modify and distribute it. The question really boils down to the health and vitality of the community surrounding particular distros. I recommend distros that have been around a while with large repositories and large numbers of contributors. Debian GNU/Linux is my particular favourite because, with the APT package management system, huge repository and huge fleet of mirrors around the globe there’s very little that can’t be accomplished with it and one person can easily manage a system large or small. What more can be asked of a distro? Debian is completely open with a large core of package managers, users able to examine and post bug-reports often with immediate responses and great documentation both within packages and on Debian sites. Of particular value to people who actually depend on IT to work or study or enjoyment is that Debian is serious about the quality of each package and the compatibility of the whole system with formal rules for packaging and releasing distros that all but guarantee working systems indefinitely. It is a healthy and vital community.
As an example, consider an IT person in charge of a fleet of PCs and servers in some organization. Obviously, being able to backup and restore and roll-out software is vital. One package recently added to Debian GNU/Linux is quite useful in such roles. Look what “clonezilla site:debian.org” in a search engine gives you:
- The announcement of the intent to package Clonezilla.
- A quality-control report showing the status of various tests and the bugs and important details.
- Dependencies and other details.
- Hundreds of communications involving the package in discussions and documents in the community.
The bottom line is that a user of Debian GNU/Linux can deploy the package with confidence knowing everything about it, including the source code and the experience of a huge number of real people using it. Most importantly, any user can have an idea of an IT system and can create it in a few minutes with Debian GNU/Linux. A few clicks brings together the work of thousands in a few minutes to build that house, barn or gather in the harvest, just like the pioneers sharing the big jobs in the old day. Is that a healthy community or not? I relied on that community for years when I was teaching in remote locations with little or no local IT support. The Debian community never let me down.