We installed Ubuntu on Soni's machine a while ago, forgoing Gentoo because we figured she should start with a "consumer" oriented distribution. Problem is, first time she runs into a problem I haven't the confidence to fix it by "remote control" (as it were).
In particular, Eric3, though it shows up on the Ubuntu web-site as an available package, doesn't show up on her machine as a package. I'm sure it's probably a matter of tweaking the sources-of-packages list on the machine, but walking a new user through fixing that based on years-old memory of Debian and googling just isn't an attractive option.
Because I know Gentoo (and went through the traditional documentation-based installation process where you do just about everything manually) I can pretty much debug/reverse most failures. I could have easily walked her through the problem on a Gentoo box with confidence, but on the Ubuntu box I'd be just as likely to kark the whole machine as get the IDE installed. If I were shelling in myself and fixing it I could figure it out given enough time, but that doesn't help when someone just wants to get to work.
Interestingly, I spent most of Thursday and Friday working on a FreeBSD box, and was far more comfortable with that (FreeBSD was the original inspiration for Gentoo from what I understand). It was a bit crufty (I think Gentoo does a far better job of the package management) but basically everything was familiar once I got used to having /usr/local/etc as well as of /etc and using raw Makefiles instead of a package-management command.
Upshot is we may just install Gentoo on her machine if we can't figure it out fairly quickly this evening.
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