Part of the reason I do the things the way I do is because I do not want the DE's, either KDE or gnome, etc. I use fvwm2 because the mini WM's used by those DE's will not support this in an xorg.conf:
The virtual viewport works like this
Virtual 2560 1600
Viewport 0 0
You can pan around in it.
My actual screen (the viewport) is 1680x1050, less than half the surface area of each desktop pane. That means I can have (eg), firefox open at 1680 x 1300 -- the extra 250 are the menubars up top, so I just slide down to see a page "full screen". With a normal 1680x1050 app, there's still room for a (500px high) terminal underneath and some large monitors and viewers, etc, to the right.
Also, fvwm's uses scripts for configuration which are about 10000% more versatile than the point and click things with DE's:
The only thing I can't have is the compiz eye candy, but to me the choice between that and these two things (the virtual viewport and scripting) is a no contest.
use 1 R A Menu MainMenu Nop
Mouse 3 R A Menu Window-Ops Nop
Mouse 2 R A WindowList
Mouse 1 T A WindowShade
Mouse 1 FS A Resize
Mouse 1 I A Iconify
Mouse 2 TSF A Iconify
Mouse 3 TS A Move
## Windows ##
TitleStyle ActiveUp DGradient 66 #20EC00 #0eaaec
ButtonStyle 4 \
ActiveUp (Pixmap X.png) \
ActiveDown (Pixmap Xx.png) \
Inactive (Pixmap X.png)
ButtonStyle All -- UseTitleStyle
BorderStyle TiledPixmap coolpool.xpm -- HiddenHandles
#Style * UseDecor BlueGreenShoe
Style * HilightFore purple4, HilightBack #fa0f33
Style * Color grey/black, NoButton 1, NoButton 2
Style * BorderWidth 8, HandleWidth 8
Style * StickyIcon, Icon unknown.xpm, NoIconTitle
I also don't like the lame GUI file browsers. Anyone who has used Midnight Commander (ncurses) for any period of time will understand why. But while there are posts everyday on the fvwm2 and mc mail lists, they have been dropped from most major distros. I am sure this is not neglect, so much as awareness on the part of the package managers: people who want that will build from source, but new users will *not* want to go do down that road initially.
As for building the kernel, that's a must IMO, esp. if you dabble in kernel programming. I agree, the optimized speed/size thing is not such a big deal, but there are a lot of "non-standard" options in there that have nothing to do with that. That said, no doubt there are still commercial servers around that just run on a stock kernel.
I don't find it a hassle to build stuff from source at all + I'm bound to learn more by doing it. I don't really have a hard and fast rule about it tho, like I said I do appreciate the repository, to me that's the whole point of the distro. Maybe not using it "as is" or "in the way god intended", but using it none the less. Also, I would say *most* of the software I like needs reconfiguring. I have not seen a stock vim yet that was even half decent. Every time I install a linux, the first thing I notice is that my .vimrc won't work and I need to build vim from source...
Originally Posted by cyberfish
And pretty graphics doesn't have to be about user-friendliness. I don't really care about user friendliness on this level, and actually find it (ironically) a hassle. At one point I was running a system where *all* of the init scripts were written from scratch by me; that would be harder today because of all the "user-friendliness" that got built into the distros. I'm not recommending my setup to anyone, I'm just pointing at a vast, albeit more dimly lit exterior. Different users will find different things "friendly", sometimes in opposite ways (no doubt!). Distro packagers are not gearing their product to me and I don't blame them. I can gear their product to me myself, whereas most people could not. I did not just open the box. I turned the parent of the box inside out and ate it before the box was even born
Originally Posted by cyberfish
I don't think that contrasting linux with windows in this way will benefit linux in the end, unless the purpose is to create an OS more palatable to windows users -- why bother doing that? Linux does not have to $ell units. I have friends with computers who are not programmers; they use windows. I would never suggest they do otherwise. I would actually feel like a jerk if I did that and they took me up on it. Linux is not for the mainstream. AFAICT, if you do a CS degree, you will have to deal with it eventually anyway.
Why? If I didn't make it clear, I don't "heavily mod" fedora core because I think there is something wrong with fedora contrasted to any other distro. I did it because this is *exactly* what I want. If I used some other distro, I would just do exactly the same thing with that. I don't want someone else's vision of the OS. I am very happy with mine; it literally took me years to get there.
Originally Posted by CornedBee
Also I'd rather pick up FreeBSD or Haiku Project than bother with umpteen different linux flavours. I love linux, but I think what I appreciate is the unixness, the kernel, and GNU. The rest is just complicated packaging.
If you go here and click screenshots, the first one is debian 5, which I figure is like a normative linux desktop. The second one is mine, with mc in pink/purple. My normal view is the size of the mc window.