Clarification re Ubuntu and compilers

Some questions imply that I wasn’t terribly clear about this, so now I will be clear: Ubuntu has supported binary gcc and g++ packages. You can install them via apt-get/aptitude/synaptic. (By the way, on Debian systems I use aptitude now because it especially marks "packages that were only installed because I installed another package that depends on it" and automatically removes them when nothing depends on them any more. Even better than deborphan.) It’s probably easier to grab the build-essential package though, which drags in those and make and a few other things as dependencies.

The ‘problem’ with the compiler is not that it is not packaged and supported, it’s just that if you whack a CD in your machine, choose the default install, and then log into your brand new Ubuntu machine, you will find that the compiler is not yet installed.

This is not something I personally consider a problem, possibly because I’m a Debian user and also because while I have tried the RPM distros I came to them rather late anyway (RH8) when apt-get like tools (yum, apt for rpm) were not far away. I’m very used to the idea that software that’s not installed yet is just sitting in an archive or on the CD somewhere for me waiting for me to use a nifty tool to download and install the package. (As for satisfying dependencies of packages, my automatic reaction on any distro whatsoever now is "what’s the apt-get equivalent on this one?" It pretty much always has an answer now too.)

It appears though that some people don’t think this way. They think "either it’s on the computer at the end of the install or it’s a major disaster involving downloading the packages myself and resolving the dependencies by hand or it’s a super-major disaster involving downloading the gcc source and trying to bootstrap a gcc compile." They don’t imagine this fourth option where it’s not on the computer yet, but hey, it’s just there on the CD waiting for me to type "aptitude install gcc". (Actually, there are people who do realise this and just hate the idea, but the entry wasn’t about them.)

And these users are not a good fit for this particular design decision of Ubuntu’s. Which is a pity actually, because I thought it was rather a good one myself.