I needed a new distro

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I needed a new distro

Postposted on Mon Nov 14, 2011 11:58 pm

I just switched to CrunchBang Linux to end my frustration with Ubuntu. Has anybody else switched to another distro from Ubuntu? If so, why? I switched because Ubuntu was getting sluggish, my favorite apps do not work with Unity, and I wanted to use ALSA instead of PulseAudio. I would consider myself a novice with linux. However, after installing crunchbang, settings up was easier than I thought it would be. NVIDIA drivers installed from the command line from the Debian repo with no problem. My Asus Xonar Essence ST didn't work at first, but I fixed it by just creating an asound.conf file and adding a couple of lines. And flash video plays just fine, even at 1080p HD.
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Re: I needed a new distro

Postposted on Tue Nov 15, 2011 12:31 am

Hi and welcome to the forum. I decided to go with Debian stable and use backports to get a hold of the latest applications. I switched because I think the Unity desktop environment on Ubunti was an impediment.

I am liking the look of Mint, though I am not 100% sure about switching. I like the idea of Debian providing a stable base that doesn't change too often.
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Re: I needed a new distro

Postposted on Tue Nov 15, 2011 1:05 am

I agree. In fact Unity was driving me crazy more often than not. In firefox I use the back button quite often. And every time I would go to click the back button the Unity sidebar would pop out and slow my productivity down drastically. Ubuntu had some great ideas. Ubuntu could still be good again in my opinion if they would backtrack a versions on some things. But I have yet to see any company of any product willing to backtrack on anything, even if it would be for the better. But this is where Linux shines. Choices. And sometimes things fork off if somebody doesn't like the way something is going. Crunchbang uses the OpenBox window manager by default, which is very minimalistic, but very light and fast. And I find it clever that its version naming scheme is based off of the names of Muppet characters. I tried using Linux Mint Debian, but had problems with the installer. Fedora is getting more difficult with every release to install the proprietary NVIDIA drivers. I tried Debian a few times, but with my skill, I had a difficult time configuring it.
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Re: I needed a new distro

Postposted on Tue Nov 15, 2011 1:10 am

Yea tell me about it, I have to do allot of research before I can make any manual changes in Debian. Most of the time I fail and end up asking a question in one of the Debian forums.
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Re: I needed a new distro

Postposted on Wed Nov 23, 2011 2:57 pm

In late 2007/early 2008 I switch from Ubuntu to Fedora.

I got tired of stuff breaking, and the inflexibility of the packaging. I like to run multiple DEs, and it would want to uninstall the ubuntu-desktop package whenever I would try to install something else.

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Getting the proprietary Nvidia drivers to run on Fedora is it's own special little hell. Fedora is geared towards the OSS video drivers, and lots of stuff breaks if you start trying to switch the drivers out. Luckily, the Nouveau driver are getting better with every release, so I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything anymore.

Debian is pretty challenging. I've gotten flak for suggesting Arch Linux, but it's still easier to configure then Debian.

#! is pretty nice. I have a VM of it, and I'm thinking of installing it on my laptop and rescue flash drive. Apt is the only fly in the ointment, so to speak.
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Re: I needed a new distro

Postposted on Mon Jan 09, 2012 7:08 pm

I use to use Ubuntu, but just got sick of all the work and switched to mint. Yes it may be based on Ubuntu but the implementation is much better. Plus, mints debian rolling release is great, you don't have to reinstall your distro every time a new major update comes out.
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Re: I needed a new distro

Postposted on Mon Jan 09, 2012 7:11 pm

guilmon14 wrote:I use to use Ubuntu, but just got sick of all the work and switched to mint. Yes it may be based on Ubuntu but the implementation is much better. Plus, mints debian rolling release is great, you don't have to reinstall your distro every time a new major update comes out.

What are the advantages of Mint over straight Debian Testing (or Unstable)?
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Re: I needed a new distro

Postposted on Mon Jan 09, 2012 8:15 pm

The most obvious one is that Debian doesn't use graphical-sudo by default for installing updates, etc., and wants the root password instead.

This may be a preference thing, but I think the sudo approach is better.
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Re: I needed a new distro

Postposted on Mon Jan 09, 2012 8:39 pm

Hi... Just noticed your thread. I've been using Linux whenever possible (i.e. not mandated by work) since 2000. If you are still starting out, you might want to try out OpenSuse. They have some pretty nice graphical administration tools and good support for a pretty wide range of software. I personally use Arch Linux and like it quite a bit. Arch can, however, throw some curveballs at you by having a "rolling" release schedule. That means there isn't really a "version" of Arch that you use, you just add some repos and keep up to date with them as they get updated. It's a great way to stay up to date, but sometimes things break and you need to visit the Arch website & forums to figure it out. The good news is that Arch has excellent community support, and the AUR system allows you to install a WIDE range of software even if it isn't hosted in the official repositories.
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Re: I needed a new distro

Postposted on Mon Jan 09, 2012 10:19 pm

bthylafh wrote:The most obvious one is that Debian doesn't use graphical-sudo by default for installing updates, etc., and wants the root password instead.

This may be a preference thing, but I think the sudo approach is better.

I agree. I wonder how much trouble it is to enable this mode of operation in Debian?
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Re: I needed a new distro

Postposted on Tue Jan 10, 2012 5:07 am

just brew it! wrote:
guilmon14 wrote:I use to use Ubuntu, but just got sick of all the work and switched to mint. Yes it may be based on Ubuntu but the implementation is much better. Plus, mints debian rolling release is great, you don't have to reinstall your distro every time a new major update comes out.

What are the advantages of Mint over straight Debian Testing (or Unstable)?


Packaging, fit and finish of the installer, and program integration. While Debian Testing/Unstable has all of the the packages that can be found in the latest Ubuntu/Mint build. It doesn't have the polish of the aforementioned items. Our servers run a mix of Debian and Ubuntu and the Ubuntu install is heads and shoulders above how Debian is packaged. Often it's simple things like RAID drivers. Yes I can load the raid drivers at boot during an install, but it's nice that Ubuntu has them turned on by default. No fiddling with grub, just install and go. While I don't use Mint, if it's based off of Ubuntu chances are they havent' removed the convienences.
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Re: I needed a new distro

Postposted on Sat Jan 14, 2012 12:04 pm

just brew it! wrote:
guilmon14 wrote:I use to use Ubuntu, but just got sick of all the work and switched to mint. Yes it may be based on Ubuntu but the implementation is much better. Plus, mints debian rolling release is great, you don't have to reinstall your distro every time a new major update comes out.

What are the advantages of Mint over straight Debian Testing (or Unstable)?


The Mint Debian edition is nice cause i never have to reinstall my computer with linux every time theres a new big update. Plus, its actually really stable. I had it installed on my computer and it never died on me, i never had to wipe the drive cause of some random error.
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Re: I needed a new distro

Postposted on Sat Jan 14, 2012 10:04 pm

I recommend openSUSE. I started using it because I wanted a version of Linux that still officially supported PPC architecture, and while that ship sailed long ago (11.1 was the last version that supported PPC, I run 12.1 now) I'm still a huge fan. Zypper and yast are fantastic tools and I absolutely love KDE. I'm running 12.1 in a virtual machine and it's much more responsive than my native Win 7 install. I'd run it natively, but my school's network doesn't agree with Linux. You can't get on a secured wireless network or the wired network without a certificate. They only supply certs for Windows and OSX.I think it's a pain, and while I'm pretty sure I can work around it I haven't found the time/motivation to do it.

Anyways, after a bit of a ramble: openSUSE has been great for me. I've found it very stable, and extremely full featured. If you haven't already made up your mind, I'd definitely like to push you in that direction.
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Re: I needed a new distro

Postposted on Fri Feb 08, 2013 1:11 am

All distros are pretty much the same. What they vary are in what they try to set themselves apart is the packaging that they use for their software, how it is distributed (binary, or source), the kernel they use (linux, although you can have another kernel like Hurd from FSF), the utilities that come by default, the compiler, etc. You list all of those, and you have a "recipe", which is a "distro". What matters to me is more about the software philosophy where "release only when it is the right time" and not "release and let the poor bastards do the job we are supposed to be doing". Bug hunting is the most under-rated part of software development yet the most important I'd argue.Don't release beta software to your customers to do your job!!!

If someone desires a very limited amount of system administration, there is nothing better than running Debian stable and only running the security updates, and carefully back-porting the must-have drivers that you need, and applications. The worse thing you can do is to run a mixed system where some unstable package is introduced haphazardly and end breaking some very important stuff and you end with a big mess to sort through.

So, for a total newbie, or someone not interested in system administration, and the serious duties that it entails, stick with debian stable, or do only Ubuntu Long-Term Releases if you are afraid of debian.

if you want to run debian unstable or testing and be adventurous, you must take precautions like probably running it on a virtual machine, or in a different partition. If your box is mission-critical, stay away from unstable and testing!!!
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Re: I needed a new distro

Postposted on Fri Feb 08, 2013 9:50 am

uni-mitation wrote:All distros are pretty much the same. What they vary are in what they try to set themselves apart is the packaging that they use for their software, how it is distributed (binary, or source), the kernel they use (linux, although you can have another kernel like Hurd from FSF), the utilities that come by default, the compiler, etc. You list all of those, and you have a "recipe", which is a "distro".

Thing is, some of those variables can make a *huge* difference in the end-user experience, and can shift the target audience quite drastically -- Gentoo vs. Ubuntu, for example. So while all distros will have mostly the same software available in their repositories, I don't think it is fair to say that they are "pretty much the same".

uni-mitation wrote:What matters to me is more about the software philosophy where "release only when it is the right time" and not "release and let the poor bastards do the job we are supposed to be doing". Bug hunting is the most under-rated part of software development yet the most important I'd argue.Don't release beta software to your customers to do your job!!!

It depends a lot on expectations. For example, Fedora has always been a bleeding edge testbed for Redhat, and tends to be a lot less polished than (say) Debian Stable. As long as you have that expectation going in, it shouldn't be a problem.

uni-mitation wrote:So, for a total newbie, or someone not interested in system administration, and the serious duties that it entails, stick with debian stable, or do only Ubuntu Long-Term Releases if you are afraid of debian.

This I can agree with. The only thing I would add is, if you don't want to go the Debian route and (as with the OP) Ubuntu's Unity desktop isn't your cup of tea, Mint may also be worth a look.

(Heh... just noticed that this thread is over a year old...)
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Re: I needed a new distro

Postposted on Fri Feb 08, 2013 2:45 pm

uni-mitation wrote:All distros are pretty much the same.


That's an oversimplification. Distros with the same lineage are similar, because it takes a ton of effort to write everything that makes up a distro and most people just create a subset of whatever their favorite distro is. However, Slackware, Red Hat, Debian, Gentoo, and the other root distros are very, very different. Slackware follows the BSD model, Red Hat follows the SysV model closely, Debian does its own thing, and Gentoo is source based. The GUI tools/DEs also do a great job smoothing out the differences since the distros usually share those.

Then there is the patches that each distro applies to the software. Each patch makes the software deviate from the upstream source just a little bit, or a lot in some cases.

What matters to me is more about the software philosophy where "release only when it is the right time" and not "release and let the poor bastards do the job we are supposed to be doing".


Fedora and Red Hat are really good at this, and it's one of reasons I like them. Fedora is a test bed, and I've only had it break about three times on me. It's seriously amazing how they can put out a solid release every six months.

If someone desires a very limited amount of system administration, there is nothing better than running Debian stable and only running the security updates, and carefully back-porting the must-have drivers that you need, and applications. The worse thing you can do is to run a mixed system where some unstable package is introduced haphazardly and end breaking some very important stuff and you end with a big mess to sort through.

So, for a total newbie, or someone not interested in system administration, and the serious duties that it entails, stick with Debian stable, or do only Ubuntu Long-Term Releases if you are afraid of Debian.

if you want to run Debian unstable or testing and be adventurous, you must take precautions like probably running it on a virtual machine, or in a different partition. If your box is mission-critical, stay away from unstable and testing!!!


I wouldn't suggest Debian to anyone, but the seriously hardcore. It's cryptic, obtuse, and generally a pain.

I'd suggest they run Scientific Linux or CentOS, with, possibly, the EPEL repo, if they want something super stable. Either one of those makes a nice, stable desktop, SL especially, and I've found RHEL/CentOS/SL is much more straight forward then Debian.
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Re: I needed a new distro

Postposted on Fri Feb 08, 2013 3:51 pm

Flatland_Spider wrote:I wouldn't suggest Debian to anyone, but the seriously hardcore. It's cryptic, obtuse, and generally a pain.

I find it a lot less confusing than I used to. Ubuntu served as a good introduction since it is Debian-based but with some extra hand-holding. I am actually considering switching to Debian for my next OS upgrade.
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Re: I needed a new distro

Postposted on Fri Feb 08, 2013 5:10 pm

just brew it! wrote:
Flatland_Spider wrote:I wouldn't suggest Debian to anyone, but the seriously hardcore. It's cryptic, obtuse, and generally a pain.

I find it a lot less confusing than I used to. Ubuntu served as a good introduction since it is Debian-based but with some extra hand-holding. I am actually considering switching to Debian for my next OS upgrade.



I guess for me is a natural progression. I started with ubuntu, and I did the whole distro-hoping thing. That new toy feeling lasts you for a while, but then I committed myself to Ubuntu 10.04 LTS and told myself that whatever happened I would bear through the end of the cycle. Now I think I am quite ready for Debian. I am gonna stick with the 7.0 release when it becomes stable (which should be this year). After that I will try Gentoo.

I think it is better to be master of one good distro that fits your needs than be a jack of all trades IMHO.
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Re: I needed a new distro

Postposted on Fri Feb 08, 2013 5:35 pm

when I said that all distros are "pretty much the same" I think i may have gone a bit too far, but what I really meant was that distros serve an important purpose. This purpose is to provide a "recipe", a shortcut so you don't have to reinvent the wheel, and spend your time in constructing your very own custom distro which can be do, but at a very considerable expense for little to show for it. And after you construct your one-man distro then you have the enviable task of system maintance since that all software isn't bug free and needs to be patched, and maintain the repos, etc. It is very doubtful that one single person can maintain a fully fledged distro independent of any other distro (without the use of Free Software) which is why there are so many distros which are essentially based or a subset of another distro. This is what I meant when I said they are "pretty much the same".

But a distro is not just the recipe, it is the community that supports that distro. It provides a framework in which to pool resources and avoid replication of work. Thanks to many of the ingredients being licensed as Free Software I think humbly we fail to appreciate the level of leverage that we can muster so that we don't have to constantly be reinventing the wheel, and all the benefits that it brings to the whole community. Thanks to Free Software, Linux as a platform enjoys such a robust flexibility, and it practically allows all the myriad of "small distros" to exist because they play an important role as keeping the main distros in their feet since if they implement unfavorable features and what not, then it can be forked, or one of those "small distros" can take it up and become popular.
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Re: I needed a new distro

Postposted on Fri Apr 19, 2013 7:34 am

I started on Ubuntu too. But quickly I've come to dislike it and many distros like it. I am very tired of having distributions deciding what software I want installed on my machine. I mean c'mon, this is why we hate Windows and ESPECIALLY hate buying those Dell or eMachine type desktops from BestBuy- they have 30 apps installed on there- it takes a week to boot!

Then I discovered Arch Linux. Described as Linux with a package manager. -perfect- You install what you need. And it's very easy with the package manager (pacman). And every application you could want will have an up to date wiki on how to install if you're not certain. If you are new, don't be intimidated, its not as hard as it sounds. In fact it'll teach you to become a better Linux administrator. Hell, it'll teach you WHY Linux is awesome.
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Re: I needed a new distro

Postposted on Fri Apr 19, 2013 7:53 am

...and then they'll switch out a major part of the distro (SysVinit to systemd, for example) & unless you've kept up with the news by visiting their website, your next run of pacman will hose your system & require manual fixing because pacman doesn't warn you about these things. I tried to love Arch, I really did, but two or three of those events over several months last year soured me on it. The documentation /is/ very good, though.

My minimalist distro of choice is Ubuntu Server. You tell the installer to put in just a minimal system and you install your preferred packages from there; there' s none of that crap about breaking your system without warning, and it warns you about which packages the one you want depends on. You can also tell aptitude to only install dependencies and not recommended packages. /Plus/ you get access to the whole Ubuntu/Debian repository system, and nothing stops you from compiling your own packages locally & managing them with either the system package manager or with stow.

Crunchbang is a really slick implementation of Blackbox if you want something easier to set up on an old box, though.
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Re: I needed a new distro

Postposted on Fri Apr 19, 2013 8:11 am

thegtproject wrote: it takes a week to boot!

It has been ages since I've had to complained about slow OS boot times. I'd have to go farther back than my 2.4Ghz P4 from over 10 years ago. Modern systems should not have a problem with something as lightweight as Ubuntu. Even my ASUS 1201N with its slow 5400 rpm drive boots Ubuntu in a decent amount of time.
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Re: I needed a new distro

Postposted on Fri Apr 19, 2013 8:36 am

thegtproject wrote:I started on Ubuntu too. But quickly I've come to dislike it and many distros like it. I am very tired of having distributions deciding what software I want installed on my machine. I mean c'mon, this is why we hate Windows and ESPECIALLY hate buying those Dell or eMachine type desktops from BestBuy- they have 30 apps installed on there- it takes a week to boot!

If you don't like having a desktop pre-configured, there's always the "server" flavor of Ubuntu. Or vanilla Debian.
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Re: I needed a new distro

Postposted on Fri Apr 19, 2013 9:17 am

bthylafh wrote:...and then they'll switch out a major part of the distro (SysVinit to systemd, for example) & unless you've kept up with the news by visiting their website, your next run of pacman will hose your system & require manual fixing because pacman doesn't warn you about these things.


This is a part of what I was referring to when I said it'll make you a better administrator of your system. It's not exactly awesome knowing you could break your system but on the other hand it's awesome knowing your distro isn't afraid to explore new territories. But really, as a general rule of thumb, is it really that difficult to fire up archlinux.org and read a headline before running 'pacman -Syu' ?


End User wrote:It has been ages since I've had to complained about slow OS boot times. I'd have to go farther back than my 2.4Ghz P4 from over 10 years ago. Modern systems should not have a problem with something as lightweight as Ubuntu. Even my ASUS 1201N with its slow 5400 rpm drive boots Ubuntu in a decent amount of time.


Indeed. But mostly my point was, I do not like software being installed on my system for me. Give me my hardware with my blank OS on it and let me do the rest :)
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Re: I needed a new distro

Postposted on Fri Apr 19, 2013 9:34 am

thegtproject wrote:But really, as a general rule of thumb, is it really that difficult to fire up archlinux.org and read a headline before running 'pacman -Syu' ?


Is it really that difficult for the devs to not be utter knobs and have Pacman pop up a warning "HEY THIS WILL BREAK YOUR SYSTEM IF YOU DON'T READ THE HOME PAGE FIRST, TYPE 'YES' TO CONTINUE" if you're tired that morning and forget to check first? That's basic ruttin' courtesy.

I've been a Linux user for fifteen years, I don't /need/ to learn the hard way how to pick up someone else's mess.
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Re: I needed a new distro

Postposted on Fri Apr 19, 2013 9:47 am

thegtproject wrote:In fact it'll teach you to become a better Linux administrator. Hell, it'll teach you WHY Linux is awesome.

A lot of people don't care why it is awesome from a technical perspective, they just want to use it to get useful work done. And you shouldn't need to be an expert administrator unless you administer systems for a living (or at least a sideline).

Taking your argument to its (il)logical extreme, everyone ought to learn how to configure and build their own Linux kernel from scratch, and build all of the packages from upstream sources instead of relying on an existing distro.

thegtproject wrote:But really, as a general rule of thumb, is it really that difficult to fire up archlinux.org and read a headline before running 'pacman -Syu' ?

You shouldn't *need* to check a web site before asking your system to update itself (or risk major breakage).

I do understand that this is part of the nature of a "rolling" release. And it is also why I would never install a rolling release distro on any system I use to get real work done. On a secondary "screw around" box, fine. Or if you're a developer who wants (or needs) to stay on the bleeding edge. But for any sort of general use system, it just doesn't make sense.
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Re: I needed a new distro

Postposted on Fri Apr 19, 2013 10:02 am

I'm thinking I've misinterpreted this site as system enthusiasts, groups of people interested in these things, I imagined anyone in these forums would consider themselves power users- or at least an interest in that direction. That has been my mind set on sharing my thoughts, but for some reason I'm getting nothin' but aggro. I haven't blasted the other side as wrong, I've only stated reasons why I enjoy the side I am on. It's insight, not debate.

EDIT: I didn't mean this as condescending I was considering your comment on "everyone should learn how to compile from source" and thinking: Why WOULDN'T the people around here not want to learn that? It's fun for us geeks, right?
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Re: I needed a new distro

Postposted on Fri Apr 19, 2013 10:06 am

Huh, I've never seen a condescending fanboy here before. :roll:

I used to be you, kid. Knock it off or you'll annoy everyone around you.
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bthylafh
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Re: I needed a new distro

Postposted on Fri Apr 19, 2013 1:24 pm

Flatland_Spider wrote:
I wouldn't suggest Debian to anyone, but the seriously hardcore. It's cryptic, obtuse, and generally a pain.

Wow, I always thought it worked just fine with almost no work required. All that apt-get package goodness works very well.

Now my distribution is Slackware and yes, all *nixes are the same to me.

>Makes cat noise and invokes Kipling.
http://www.boop.org/jan/justso/cat.htm
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PenGun
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Re: I needed a new distro

Postposted on Fri Apr 19, 2013 2:22 pm

PenGun wrote:Wow, I always thought it worked just fine with almost no work required. All that apt-get package goodness works very well.

Now my distribution is Slackware and yes, all *nixes are the same to me.

>Makes cat noise and invokes Kipling.
http://www.boop.org/jan/justso/cat.htm


I'm curious, how many *nix systems do you administrate?
slowriot
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