I am in agreement with you here.
I think that it would be nice to have some sort of benchmark test that could be run. I am not talking about a benchmark that would test the hardware performance but usability tests such as:
1, If installing packages has got easier (How long it takes 3 different people to install a package - not including download time)
2, Devices detection improved
3, Documentation completeness
4, Number of reboots to achieve a desired setup and if the GUI or command line was required
If all distributions were held to a common test people could quantify a distribution and if something is different between tests a reporter has something to investigate.
On the other hand its a cost overhead that lwn might not be able to bear.
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