1. Why have you started to use Linux? Did you use other operating systems before choosing Linux?
I fiddled around with Mandrake, Debian, Slackware and Suse, about 2000 - 2003. Mostly they were a pain and I quickly went back to Windows.
2. What made you consider starting/joining the development of an 'alternative' distribution?
They were a pain as I spent ages trying to get them to work properly, always ran into limitations, bugs, weird things. Slowness. I decided that I needed to understand more about what happens "underneath" and why not build my own distro from scratch at the same time, that works "properly" (for me at least).
3. What did the 'big' distributions lack (or had too much of)?
Basically, they were difficult to use, difficult to configure, slow, buggy, limited hardware compatibility.
4. What do you say to those who think the Linux world should be more united and focus on co-operation rather then resolve problems by forking projects?
I have no response. Creativity flourishes in what may sometimes seem chaotic.
5. Is Puppy your primary operating system? How many other distros have you used so far? Which ones?
I created Puppy and that's all I use. Even today, whenever I try another distro I very quickly rush back to using Puppy.
6. What is Puppy's killer feature(s)?
Just about everything. Extremely small, that is, under 100 MB and able to load totally into RAM thus runs incredibly fast. Running from the live-CD is, unlike other distros, fully featured -- meaning you can do everything, even compile kernel modules. Get rid of the mentality that you must install to hd! (but you can do -- Puppy installs to anything).
Then there's our "multisession" CD/DVD where everything is saved back to the CD/DVD -- no need for a HD at all (see http://puppylinux.com/multi-puppy.htm). Despite the tiny size, every application is there, and I mean everything. Basically it's boot and go, mostly we have got everything autodetected and setup -- for example, Puppy is one of the few distros still actively supporting Internet dialup -- last week I demonstrated Puppy on someone's laptop and his internal software modem was autodetected and autosetup and dialup just worked, as-is, no messing around -- that is still a work-in-progress though.
The list goes on.
7. What do you plan to implement/improve? What can we look forward to in Puppy's next release?
Puppy does not have udev/hal/dbus. Right now I'm working on "pup_event" which is my lightweight replacement. It takes care of loading modules, firmware, hotplugging. Like so many things in Puppy, I reinvent the wheel, as for example Puppy's own PET package management system, and our SFS system -- SFS files are another "killer" concept that only one other distro that I know of has anything similar (see http://puppylinux.com/development/package-management.htm). To find out what is happening at the leading edge, I have a blog: http://puppylinux.com/blog/.
8. What do you consider the largest obstacle for mass deployment of Linux on the desktop?
Hardware compatibility. Also, there are still some gaps in available applications.
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