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Trouble in Linux paradise using Ubuntu 8.04.1 and openSUSE 11.0

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Oh boy, this week the ‘quality’ of the biggest Linux distributions almost depressed me. Here are a couple fine examples of issues that one will never experience in the commercial software world.

You see, after more than one and a half years of testing distributions, except for the times I was happily using PCLOS 2008, I wanted to try something in the long run. I got the idea that I should install a distro and usefor a longer period of time. My particular point of interest was how well do distributions backport the key applications to their aging releases. This story involves Ubuntu and openSUSE, but it actually starts with PCLinuxOS and a demonstration of what kind of problems may arise with distros that are a one man show.

So there I was, happily using PCLinusOS 2008 MiniMe edition. There is a one damn fine distribution, that is stable, rolling update strategy and light weight. It happened however that the instant messaging network ICQ started blocking my version of Pidgin with a message that the client should be updated to regain access to their network. In the world of Windows this was a no-brainer, but for some reason or another PCLOS had not received an update for some time. This was problematic as I often work on Linux, but I have some key contacts in ICQ, which I was not able to reach using Pidgin. Of course I could have recompiled my own packages, or used another IM client, but those alternatives were not my piece of cake. I want to use Pidgin and I like that things “just work”. What ever the reason was, there was a slight pause in releasing updates for PCLOS and it was hurting my work.

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