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Quercus
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01 Aug 2018, 11:46 am

For linux-users: What's your preferred distribution? Why?

Being fed up with the daily problems I experience with Windows I decided to give Linux a try. Some friends recommended me an Arch based distribution given the liberty one has to structure; although many websites insist that one has to invest a lot of time to be able to make it work for a newbie (even though one interested in the technical side). What I read about Manjaro and Arch Anywhere seemed positive, so I was wondering if there are some users here who could comment about their experiences. Rolling release for me seems also an important advantage.

I had also a positive impression of what I read about openSUSE (Tumbleweed).

Having heard some negative experiences from users of Ubuntu based distributions I was wondering what people's experience with the Mint distribution is.

I realize however that the possible choices of distributions are many, and having read another topic here that there are many different users here on the forum, it made me wonder what criteria made them choose their current distribution.


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DeepHour
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01 Aug 2018, 6:06 pm

I've tried quite a few Ubuntu-based distributions, with mixed reactions.

Ubuntu itself is solid enough, but there seems to be a widely held view that its best days are over. Canonical was criticized for losing interest in the desktop version a few years ago and concentrating on trying to develop a mobile phone OS (which was a failure), and the distro's reputation has never fully recovered. I found the Unity desktop hard to get used to, and in particular disliked the search-based dashboard-type start interface. The Ubuntu Software Centre, or whatever it's called these days, didn't seem to work very well either.

Mint was a better experience. Very easy to get used to the desktop if you're coming from Windows, lots of useful programs preinstalled, mostly GUI orientated. The drawbacks I encountered were that it didn't seem to work properly in virtual machines, and then the update system started misbehaving after a few months.

The two best Ubuntu-related systems I've found are Peppermint and LXLE, both of which I'm currently using as the sole OS in a couple of laptops. I'm keeping a close watch on the former, as it uses the same update system as Mint, but it's been fine so far.

LXLE has been faultless, and hugely impressive - for a 'lightweight' system it comes with a surprisingly good range of high quality programs, it's user-friendly, and the CPU usage on my i5 Thinkpad rarely goes much above 15%, with RAM consumption generally around 1GB or less, even with six or seven internet tabs open. The 16.04 LTS version is the one to get, as it's supported until 2021.

It was a bit irritating that there's no battery warning feature or any way to put the system into 'sleep' mode on the distro, but it's straightforward enough to install 'Battery Monitor' and XFCE Power Manager, which deal with these issues.

You might also like to check out Antix and MX Linux, both of which have a lot of excellent features and are pretty well behaved, though they're not quite as straightforward as the others I've mentioned. I found MX to be the more impressive of the two.

I've looked at a few other distros, but in general they appeared insufficiently user-friendly for a relative beginner, or just not much good. The thought of Arch, Gentoo, Open Suse, Fedora and the like terrifies me, and I couldn't even manage to get past the complex installation procedure of Debian.

I suppose Manjaro has to be worth looking into on the basis that it's stormed its way to the top of the Distrowatch chart and left the likes of Mint and Ubuntu trailing in its wake, but I'd imagine any Arch-based system would have to be a fair bit more difficult to deal with than the Ubuntu-based ones.


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Spiderpig
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01 Aug 2018, 6:35 pm

I've used Debian essentially from the beginning, switching to Ubuntu for a few years only because I couldn't install Debian on my laptop. Now I'm trying to get the hang of GuixSD.

I'm far from an expert, but Ubuntu's always looked to me like a dumbed down, bloated and less customizable version of Debian. I particularly don't like how it's evolving to be more and more Windows-like.


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Okkano
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04 Aug 2018, 3:19 pm

I'm using arch now, opensuse for my server experiments, and Ubuntu derivatives for a couple of other things but not for my daily workflow.

Ubuntu in itself seems solid and well maintained, derivates like xubuntu, ubuntu mate or kubuntu already fix a lot of the flaws and give a much better experience for imo power users and normal users, the ability to use https://wiki.ubuntuusers.de probably really helped.

KDE neon seems nice too (mostly ubuntu derivative with custom kde software repos)
openSUSE is weird, not only negatively, I'd better inform myself about it.
In general I avoid unity and especially gnome due to perfomance, usability, config reasons.
Mint may have it's appeal, but ubuntu derivatives seem to provide about the same things with better support, while mint seems to have a range of different issues. The gui software by mint seems nice and would probably fit in nicely with other distros.

For most of my time i actually used xubuntu or ubuntu mate for main distros.
I may extremly like customizing, configuring every detail to perfect my workflow, change the ui to make me able to focus much more (reducing visual stimulation while having a powerful yet simple ui is important to me), optimize the entire system (f you nvidia i have optimus), but in the end i want a low mainteance functional os. Ubuntu with wiki.ubuntuusers really gave me a good kickstart, but my nerd instincts and the promise of building things up from scratch while having the newest packages dragged and kept me in arch.


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