Why UMD?

I get a lot of people asking me... why bother? Why create a system that's (relatively) complicated, and why label it "minimal" when it uses such things as GNOME or KDE? Well, I guess that all depends on your definition of "minimal".

In the traditional sense, minimalism was the bare minimum of what you needed to operate. My variation on minimalism is heavier on system resources than most "minimal desktops" (using IceWM or Fluxbox, for example), but it's still a stripped-down version of the base Ubuntu install. I decided to use GNOME (initially) because I'm aware that other, more traditional desktop environments tend to seem scary and confusing to the Linux newbie. My distribution is not intended to cater to the pure first-timer, but it is also not exactly geared toward the Linux expert either.

Why did I do it? I guess you'd need to look at the project's origin for that. Shortly before the release of Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala), it was announced that Empathy IM would replace Pidgin as the default IM client. After trying it out, I decided that Empathy was far too immature for production usage, lacking very important base features such as stable file transfer, Blocking, and OTR (off-the-record) chatting. I downloaded and installed the 9.10 release ISO and tried removing Empathy. However, once it's installed, Empathy has several packages that "depend" on it that are important to the base system. I decided to see if these dependencies were real -- which they were not. I then built my own version of the UMD script, so I could easily deploy my version of Ubuntu. A friend of mine suggested that I add user choices into the mix and release it, so I did.

I take pride in the choice given to the user by my project that is taken from them by the Ubuntu team. Sure, you can install Chromium, or Opera, or SRWare Iron in place of Firefox. But uninstalling programs leaves so many files behind (even after performing rm -rf ~/.mozilla). It's always best to start from the bottom and work your way up (any user familiar with Windows bloatware knows exactly what I'm talking about).

I suppose the better question would be: why didn't I do this before?

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