Hisham Muhammad (english)

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Do you use GoboLinux yourself on a daily basis?

Of course! I have since day one.

What kind of users do you recommend GoboLinux for?

I think our main audience right now are Linux users who would like to try something really different, and feel the power of a Linux system back in their hands and not in the hands of the package management software.

While our filesystem structure may seem (and perhaps even be!) newbie-friendly because of the logical names and file locations, our goal when doing this was not to be easy-to-use, but to be, well, logical. We lack the layers of sugar coating that some distros have, so Gobo may not be the best option for someone who is new to Linux.

But then again, most long-term Linux users started with some really unfriendly distros back in the day, so I wouldn't say Gobo is for advanced users only either.

How would you recommend a new user to GoboLinux to learn howto use the distribution?

The best first step is to read our quick overview -- then, just download our CD and give it a spin. It's a live CD, so you don't even need to install it at first. Just play around in the directory structure and have a feel of the system. If you feel like installing it, feel free to join us at IRC ( #gobolinux at irc.freenode.net ) or the mailing lists.

Compared to other Linux-distributions, what is Gobo's greatest weakness, and what is its greatest strength?

Hard to tell. I wouldn't call it a weakness, but I'd say the greatest difficulty we face is the fact that we are sometimes fighting an uphill battle against badly designed so-called standards on some fronts and the lack of standardization on other fronts, which leads many projects to just test their software against one or two major distros and don't follow some basic guidelines such as allowing code to be built relative to any installation prefix (note that this doesn't hurt just us, but any user without root access, for instance).

The main downside is that, given that we are a small distro, you don't have the enormous package libraries that the major distros have. The size issue also reflects on the human factor: there are no forums and lists with thousands and thousands of people.

On the other hand, the community, while small, is very friendly, and everyone is invited to our forums and mailing lists.

Our greatest strength is the fact that the organization of the system is totally reflected in our file structure: there are no opaque databases holding the system together, so in case something really bad happens, one can always boot a live CD and get their system back in order by just moving some files and links around, using plain Unix tools. In this sense, we hold the Unix tenet of "everything is a file" to our hearts, moreso than most distros out there.

Do you develop Gobo just for fun, or is there another reason?

Mostly just for fun, but I guess every free software developer has sometimes that feeling that they're making the world a better place.

And we're done, is there anything else you'd like to say which hasn't been asked in previous questions?

I'd like to thank you for the opportunity of this interview, and again, everyone is invited to go to gobolinux.org and check out the project.

We thank Hisham Muhammad for his time and patience, and wish him good luck on future endevours.

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