Personal suggestion for fixing the Linux situation

Peter Alcibiades palcibiades-first at
Fri Jul 16 03:25:19 EDT 2010

Here is how I would go about tracking down these things.  Just to recap, 
the things we are seeking to track down are these four:

-- not all and only installed fonts are visible and useable
-- revPrintField does not work properly
-- virtual desktops don't work
-- editor slows down, freezes and crashes

Are there other priority areas?  There are other niggles, but are there 
other real basic functionaliry showstoppers?

My suggestion for going about tracking this down is quite different from 
what most people here will instinctively want to do.  The general view here 
is that Linux is an enormously complex mix of components, so the thing to 
do is pick some large general purpose distro and standardize on it.  I do 
not believe this to be the solution.  In fact, it is a wrong diagnosis of 
the problem.  This approach, which regards each distro as a distinct OS, is 
actually part of the problem.

Were I in charge of the effort I would proceed in EXACTLY THE REVERSE WAY.  
I would seek to find the minimum installation set, and within that, the one 
closest to the way packages are released by the developer, that will allow 
the reproduction of the problems.

You can argue about which distro will most readily meet these requirements, 
but if you want to start from something fairly simple and mainstream and 
not start compiling the whole thing from scratch, the contender that leaps 
out at you is Slackware.  I accept, there could be an argument for going 
even further down, like Slitaz or TinyCore.  Maybe that is worth a try as 
well, but they are not, as Slackware is, deliberately as untweaked as 

So I  would propose doing a minimal install of slackware, with nothing but 
the basic system and the most basic window manager, probably OpenBox.  
Maybe Metacity without Gnome desktop environment, if you want to be as 
close as possible to mainstream what it will have to run on.  But no 
Firefox, no OpenOffice, no apps at all.

If you can reproduce the problems on this sort of minimal install, then you 
are much closer to the source, because you have basically ruled out all 
distro specific issues.  If not, then start to add stuff until you do get 
the problems.

I understand that on this list there is a, well, a precoccupation, with 
Ubuntu as a distro for use.  This is not about use however, this is about a 
tool to get to the source of the problems.

I'm prepared to do serious work on this, but am not capable of writing 
patches to the IDE myself, and before getting started on the project, would 
welcome comment, and would like us to have an agreed approach, so what do 
you all think of the above?  It would also be nice to have some feedback 
from Edinburgh, to the effect that given contributions from us, they will 
do their bit also.


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