So I recently tried installing Slackware 12 (I have been running Slackware 10), and discovered it doesn't include Gnome. I don't use a Gnome desktop; I use good old twm. And yet, it turns out that I use several useful Gnome applications that won't compile on Slackware 12. So I decided to look into other distributions.
Last night I tried Ubuntu 7.04. Well, I won't be staying with that one. First of all, after installing it, my system won't even boot. Grub dies with "error 15". Maybe this has something to do with the fact I installed on hdb instead of hda, or that I use Reiserfs, or something. Whatever. I did manage to boot it by adding it to my Slackware LILO config.
But that's where I get off this train. I use RCS to track changes to administrative files. There's no rcs. There's no cvs. There's no tcsh. There's no emacs. There's no flex, bison, or m4. There's not even a stdio.h. You get gcc, but I'm not sure what you could compile with it. This is the same problem I had when I tried running Debian a few years ago. I refuse to suffer through the slow trickle of chasing down the packages I need, one by one.
I like to install add-on packages from source. Ubuntu and Debian seem oriented towards just accepting pre-compiled bundles off the internet for everything. If I wanted to work that way, I could run Windows.
I want a Linux with a reasonable base system with the standard stuff I have come to expect on a Unix system. I guess I'll try Gentoo next. And if that blows, there's Fedora. And if that won't do, it'll be time to look into the aftermarket Gnome hacks for Slackware.