I know nothing about programming and very little about packaging. Of course, it would be great to have huge repos like some of the Big Boys. But...
Those packages don't get in there by rubbing a magic lantern. Someone has to build them, and that takes time and sometimes a lot of effort. If we had more volunteer packagers with the requisite skills, we could have much more in the repos. So those who are unhappy about the size of the repos could maybe volunteer to create some of those packages they want.
I can point the finger at myself. I've done two or three packages for VL6 but I've run into difficulty with some I wanted most and simply had no time to get past the problems. In a few months things should be more settled here and I hope to get back to some packaging.
Imagine if VL could hire a full-time packager, or a part-time packager.There probably isn't the money for that and maybe it wouldn't be the best way to spend it, but it would probably take care of the problem.
I've also thought that there should be a way to get the three versions out without such a big gap between releases of each. I don't know if the best way is to start with Light and then add on for Standard and SOHO or to start with Standard, lighten it up for Light, and hook KDE onto Standard for SOHO. Maybe there are difficulties with this I don't see. But when I've added KDE from the repos to Standard, it has worked fine and I still don't have to run the KDE desktop if I don't want to. I have Light on my laptop and I like it very much. Mine isn't "light," though, as I've built on the base of Light and have plenty of nonlight stuff on it. On another laptop now serving as a desktop because the laptop screen's backlight has stopped working, I have VL6 Light plus KDE, but I use IceWM because I don't like KDE. IceWM is a really nice desktop for those who have never tried it. I prefer XFce because it's easier to configure but I sure don't mind using IceWM during the many hours every day that I use the Dell laptop. Maybe we could have ONE release with all the needed stuff there and options to install for Light, for Standard, and for SOHO, with different packages being selected for each one. So I'd just select Light if that's what I wanted or SOHO if I wanted KDE and more bells and whistles or Standard if I wanted something in between. All these options probably wouldn't fit on one CD. So do we have to stick to that as a rule?
I definitely would not want us emulate Ubuntu and have an absolute schedule for releases every six months. It's too much like CorelDraw in my Windows days, where they always scheduled a release in time for the annual shareholders meeting. Those releases were invariably really buggy and it would take a couple of service packs until they got stable. I've read plenty of complaints when new releases of Ubuntu and others come out and people figure it'll be taken care of through updates. Why not just delay the thing until it's ready?
That just subjects users to being involuntary beta testers, which is not what the users expected. No release will ever be bug free, including VectorLinux, especially when there are as few beta testers as we have. (Hint, hint--this is something you can do even if you don't know much about running Linux. You just need enough free hard drive space to create a new partition for testing.)
I don't think it's a notice on DistroWatch that makes people try a distro. Well, maybe some of the techie types. But with general (normal) users, I think it's a sort of word of mouth. The online computer press has latched onto Ubuntu as the One True Linux, mentions it every time desktop Linux comes up, and in the public's eye, Linux equals Ubuntu. I see a lot of ignorance in reviews of distros. The reviewers know a few distros and those are the ones they mention. They certainly haven't tried every good candidate out there. It's a lot easier to just repeat the Standard Script, which is Ubuntu, Ubuntu, Ubuntu. I think VectorLinux is easy to use, and if you throw in opensourcebistro and this forum, we are among the easiest, most user friendly distros. You'd never know that from reading the online computer press, though.