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46

Most recent distributions have a tool called lsb_release. Your /etc/*-release will be using /etc/lsb-release anyway, so if that file is there, running lsb_release should work too. I think uname to get ARCH is still the best way. e.g. OS=$(lsb_release -si) ARCH=$(uname -m | sed 's/x86_//;s/i[3-6]86/32/') VER=$(lsb_release -sr) Or you could just source ...


32

I would assume most distros accept individual private donations (they may also accept free hosting). However, that is probably not the bulk of their financing in most cases. Note that some of the major distros may have some paid staff, and possibly also office space, the cost of which likely exceeds that of hosting the repos1. This should not be taken to ...


31

Take a look on Linux From Scratch, LFS they have a tutorial which teaches you how to build your own Linux System, once you understood that you can select a package manager and a set of packages hence creating your own distro. A thing to make the answer a bit more complete, ArchLinux is a Linux Distribuition which uses almost 100% vanilla packages. This ...


30

In practice the distros all use much the same development tool chain, so they don't really differ significantly as a platform for general development work. Some do, however, have specific advantages that may be relevant to certain types of development work: The commercial distros (RHEL, SLES) have the best support from third-party closed source vendors. ...


24

I'd go with this as a first step: ls /etc/*release Gentoo, RedHat, Arch & SuSE have a file called e.g. /etc/gentoo-release. Seems to be popular, check this site about release-files. Debian & Ubuntu should have a /etc/lsb-release which contains release info also, and will show up with the previous command. Another quick one is uname -rv. If the ...


23

whohas package (link) may help you. Example % whohas pidgin|grep "pidgin " MacPorts pidgin 2.10.6 https://trac.macports.org/browser/trunk/dports/net/pidgin/Portfile Slackware pidgin 2.7.11-i486-3sl slacky.eu ...


22

Debian has some features that you could consider "advantages" depending on your needs and use cases. Stability. The Debian Stable branch has been tested extensively, generally for at least a year, as the Testing branch. The only updates Stable get are mission critical bug fixes and security fixes. This makes it an extremely stable platform (i.e., ...


22

Usually each Linux distro has a few central servers were they put directly all the packages. But there exists mirrors arround the world that have copies of these packages. These mirrors comunicate directly with the central servers looking for updates periodically. Normally there is a delay in the release of an update between this central servers and the ...


20

The Yocto Project is a "distribution builder". There is extensive documentation and a graphical builder, called Hob.


19

lsb_release -a is likely going to be your best option for finding this information out, and being able to do so in a consistent way. History of LSB The lsb in that command stands for the project Linux Standards Base which is an umbrella project sponsored by the Linux Foundation to provide generic methods for doing basic kinds of things on various Linux ...


17

Red Hat is worth over a billion dollars these days. Yes, they make money. By doing consulting, offering support, providing training etc. That said, there's not a lot of open source companies that actually make money. Canonical certainly doesn't (yet). Novell is in a patch of bad weather. Mandriva is always in a patch of bad weather. Zarafa is relatively new ...


16

Linux by itself is not very useful because there are no applications: it is purely a kernel. In fact, when the kernel finishes booting, the first thing it does is launch an application called init. If that application isn't there, you get a big error message, and you can't do anything with it*. Distributions are so named because they distribute the Linux ...


15

No, sudo cannot be considered universal. It isn't installed by default in FreeBSD or NetBSD. You have to build it from Ports. (Naturally, sudo is installed by default on OpenBSD.) It's installed by default on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and its derivatives (CentOS, Oracle Linux, Scientific Linux...) but in its stock configuration, sudo has less power than ...


14

In Larry Wall's original Perl v1.0 posting to the comp.sources.misc newsgroup on December 18, 1987, he said: If you have a problem that would ordinarily use sed or awk or sh, but it exceeds their capabilities or must run a little faster, and you don't want to write the silly thing in C, then perl may be for you. In a much later ...


14

The closest thing I've come across to a tool like this is pkgs.org: pkgs.org - Linux Software Catalog and Packages Search The pkgs.org is created to provide you with the simplest method of searching and downloading the newest versions of the best Linux software - without the usual excessive popups or spyware. Also use it to find alternatives to ...


13

The answer is/isn't sexy, depending on your point of view. Perl is very useful. Lots of the system utilities are written in or depend on perl. Most systems won't operate properly if Perl is uninstalled. A few years ago FreeBSD went through a lot of effort to remove Perl as a dependency for the base system. It wasn't an easy task.


12

I have use openSuse for several years and have dabbled in Ubuntu and other distributions. What to expect: Centralised configuration is possible using Yast. You may or may not like this - it seems to generate quite strong opinions in a lot of people but I don't care about it much. Different desktops which work. The openSuse DVD includes several desktops, ...


12

You should definitely give a second try to Archlinux... It's slogan is: "A simple, lightweight distribution". You may object but in my opinion the installation of Arch is very simple and basic (just don't forget about the great and rich documentation available on wiki: https://wiki.archlinux.org/). I can install the whole system in less then half an hour ...


12

I don't know about Arch and Debian, but oftentimes those GUIs are made with dialog(1), which takes a bunch of command-line arguments and then renders a dialog with ncurses. For examples, the Linux kernel menuconfig looks like this: An example dialog usage is: $ dialog --title "Hello" --infobox "Hello there Unix and Linux Stack Exchange" 20 100 Which ...


12

The degree to which something is a derivative of another is contextual to the project itself. As for your specific examples: Mint (aside from the Debian edition) relies heavily on the Ubuntu infrastructure. It not only is based on Ubuntu (in that Mint is essentially Ubuntu with in-house modifications), but it also relies on Ubuntu's package repositories, ...


12

Package Managers & Dependencies Most Linux distributions use package managers for software installation and removal. Package managers provide some benefits such as the possibility of using a central repository from which (almost) any piece of software can be downloaded, the organization of pieces of software into bundles that can be installed as one ...


11

You'd have to further distinguish between Debian stable and testing/unstable, and between following all Ubuntu releases or only LTS releases. Debian stable and Ubuntu LTS release only every couple of years. Pro: you're not upgrading all the time. Con: the software and especially the drivers may get updated. Ubuntu has a few more things that work out of the ...


11

Each distribution (despite of lsb efforts) use or may use (or even may lack it) a different file in /etc/ to declare what is its name and version. You sould add a condition in your script for each one. Also take in to account that some distros are derived from other major ones and may or may not adapt their version files. If you don't want to reinvent ...


11

There's absolutely no "best" distro for programming. One may argue that Unix in general is more programmer-friendly (and even this is debatable), but comparing distros on this level is just nonsense. In other word, a skilled Unix user will know how to turn any distro into her favorite programming environment with little efforts. However, depending on your ...


10

Well, here you find some information, I don't know if accurate or not, I suspect not too much. Anyway, each major Linux distribution has almost everything one can ever need. What is missing are essentially niche applications, or applications that in some way cannot be packaged.


9

If you would unify the distributions system configuration tools and general behavior there would be no need for different distributions. An advantage would be to define some binary interface for the applications. The The Linux Standard Base Workgroup tries to define some. Here is a list of the specifications which are the base of some iso standards: LSB ...


9

Ubuntu is a good choice for a first distribution, if you want something you can get up-and-running quickly and easily. You might also consider fedora as well. You can certainly theme an Ubuntu installation. See this thread for a good starting point - HowTo: theme your desktop


9

By lines of code, the answer is unequivocally Red Hat, as shown in last summer's Gnome code census. That means Red Hat Enterprise Linux, or else Fedora. But, that metric isn't necessarily completely fair. Other companies like Canonical contribute in other ways that are also valuable. There was a huge controversy with much yelling and flaming, and good and ...


9

I don't believe there is. The reason for this is probably that people that use tiling window managers tend to be a) quite technically proficient, and b) tend towards minimalism—or exacting standards of control over their setups. Neither of these two conditions lends themselves naturally to pre-built solutions. If your window manager of choice is ...


9

You're right, Debian stable does not have a rolling release model in so far as once a stable release is made, only bug fixes and security fixes are made. As you said, there are distributions built upon the testing and unstable branches (see also here). What is it you're expecting from a rolling release distribution based on stable that is not satisfied by ...



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