Why Top Linux Distros Are For Different Users
Fair enough. I'll file that away in case I find myself looking for a new distro.
I still hold that I would still be a novice if I hadn't made that step and installed a source-based distro, as I have no professional requirements in the understanding-Linux department, and my fortran work doesn't require much knowledge of anything other than arcane syntax. :)
About portage: except for recent kde-3.5 fiascos, portage has been pretty damn stable since I installed in early 08. I've also found it to be rare that I have to compile those obnoxious packages (no oo.org on my machine though)- the worst is probably xulrunner + mozilla-firefox for those minor version bumps.
Why Top Linux Distros Are For Different Users
Your condescension is annoying. Have you actually read the Gentoo handbook?
I decided to install Gentoo two years ago, after using Fedora for quite some time and Ubuntu before that. (I have had no formal Linux/sysadmin training, and my degree is in aero engineering- not comp sci.) In the course of that first Gentoo install, so much about how a modern Linux system functions made sense to me that didn't before. Of course there's nothing stopping me from learning all that with another distro- but the Gentoo install showed me how it all (grub, parted, lvm, filesystems, kernel config, manual network config, syslog, X, kde, mysql, iptables, apache, etc, etc) fits together to achieve the goal of a usable system.
Once I was introduced to that framework, I could begin to make that crucial step when I stopped searching forums for the right commands to paste into xterm, and instead sought an understanding by reading official documentation and manpages.
To more directly answer your questions: yes, of course I could never go beyond `emerge some_package` and not reap any of the benefits of using a source-based distro (aside from walls of gcc output text that you think I wear as a badge of pride). But since the above framework was cemented in my head, the door to tinkering was placed within easy reach; this is true whether it be as simple as manually configuring some sysadmin-type function like apcupsd, or as complicated as editing kde 3.5 source code in a local overlay to achieve some crazy idea of usability that popped in my head.
Basically, don't knock it till you try it. Learning about what makes Linux tick from a textbook or some presentation is far inferior IMO to struggling with it on your own.
And definitely please don't berate those of us who are simply enthusiastic about teaching ourselves about random Linux nonsense and don't care about your distro wars or whatever.
Best Way To Build A DIY UAV?
Definitely agreed. We used that book for our Aerospace Dynamics class, which was taught by none other than Robert Nelson himself. Great professor; I'm lucky to have been taught by him in several courses and as a research advisor.
Best Way To Build A DIY UAV?
I'm a just-graduated aerospace engineer from Notre Dame. For our senior design project, we build uav's... well, really RC planes. Everything had to be constructed from scratch, except for the electronics (motor/battery/GPS/receiver/etc). This year's goal was to have a mothership-daughtership configuration where the daughtership would detach mid-flight and maneuver on its own. Believe me, it's loads of fun to build everything from scratch, but it is a lot of work. And I definitely think it is doable by anyone, not just aerospace engineering majors.
Here was my team's plane: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eW68B3DnNWA
If you're interested in actually constructing the structure by yourself, I'd definitely suggest picked up a book on model airplane construction. Hobby shop dudes are also a big help, just go in and throw some ideas out and most hobby store owners will be very enthusiastic. And, if you're _really_ interested, I'd suggest Aircraft Design: A Conceptual Approach by Daniel Raymer. Link: http://www.aiaa.org/content.cfm?pageid=360&id=1396
Oh, also, flying a model aircraft requires a hell of a lot of skill- we get the awesome dudes down at the South Bend RC Plane Club to fly ours.
How To Diagnose a Suddenly Slow Windows Computer?
The difference between Windows and Linux in this regard is that Linux provides the ability to efficiently monitor and edit process attributes and the power to setup the machine in such a way that many problems are averted.
As for a couple of the above situations:
updatedb is indeed a cron job as DiegoBravo said, so it is trivial to increase the process niceness so that it doesn't interfere with normal operation. Hell, I do an updatedb and rsync backups of ~60 gigs every hour, no matter if I'm running a CFD simulation, compiling (or emerging) a massive package, encoding a movie, or just have too many tabs open in firefox.
Moraelin brings up the problems with an inaccessible swap. Well, if that's occurring, then whoever set up the system should have spent more time planning his/her partition layout so that a swap partition is mandatory. Reinstallation of Linux a problem? Should have used lvm2, so that you can shrink, grow, or juggle filesystems at will. And if that's still not an option, you can always fidget with vm.swappiness.
My point? The transparency and customizability of Linux (in my opinion) precludes pretty much all of the above problems save drive failure.
Someday You'll Hate Apple (And Google Too)
I guess you did since Apple makes contributions to GCC, and releases those back into the codebase. (snip)
OK, I can admit when I'm wrong; I had no idea Apple released code into GCC. Although I personally have no use at all for Objective-C support, I like the fact that Apple contributed a lot of the code making that possible. Apple went up more than a few notches in my book tonight.
Do you honestly place no value whatsoever in helping people make use of open source applications? (snip) Well OS X ships with all of them installed for one thing, which is as noted helping to spread use of them
Of course, I like that. It would be a tremendous disservice to overlook that- as our friends in Redmond have. Unfortunately, helping people make use of open source applications is nowhere near as valuable as sharing your own expertise and code to the community- and not just a tiny subset of it.
You mean how they want to hold the keys to it in order to strangle the life out it? I guess you must really love DRM to want to see it live forever outside Apple's control.
You mean the iPods that can play MP3 from anywhere, and can run Linux Or perhaps the iPhone - which is just getting an SDK...
Which is as I said based greatly on open source (such as Darwin) and also makes use of a huge number of open source UNIX applications to add value.
In retrospect, I regret bringing up these specific instances. They detracted from my point, and gave you a easy list to nitpick. See below.
Why you typed up a whole message only to blow your own point is beyond me.
I didn't blow my point, I just failed to state it clearly. In short, you can tout all of these episodes in which Apple assisted in or contributed to promoting open source software, but the end point still remains: Apple is a commercial entity intent on maintaining its proprietary modus operanda and the profits it results in. They're selfish. Closed. Restrictive. Bossy. Ask yourself why they provide the services and goods they do. For the betterment of the community? No, it's for the betterment of Apple Inc.. I don't like that, and that's why I have a beef with Apple.
Before you suggest that I'm condemning all businesses or capitalism as a whole, one quick google search of 'largest kernel contributors' should show you some multinational corporations that I like and respect, in comparison to Apple and their half-assed open source support.
Please, please do all of us a favor and at least read the Ars Technica material on OS X before you embarrass yourself further. Basically you are chastising a company that has done far more for open source than you ever will in your whole lifetime.
I don't see a need to make this personal, but apparently you do. Also, I think you see by now that don't need to- or care to- read whatever manual that is. If I was looking for enrichment or enlightenment, my time is better spent at http://www.gnu.org/ .