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There's a pray-to-god part, true. Largely when it comes to hardware support, which may require some unpleasant steps. Or may not work at all, though that can be usually known beforehand.

But once you get the hardware to work, apt-get install really is a great way to get quality software. You list a bunch of stuff and it will get installed. Without trying to trick you into bundled crap, without charging you, with quite decent documentation included. If you run into trouble, there are people you can reach out to -- other users of your distro, mailing list, even the authors. It's not perfect, and may be time consuming but head and shoulders above of what regular users of other systems can get nowadays.

More than that. Package is maintained by people who use it themselves and will usually get updated in a timely manner, with minimal effort required on your part.

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