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Which Linux?

Discussion in 'off topic' started by PaulMB, Sep 29, 2019.

  1. PaulMB

    PaulMB pfm Member

    Prompted by the thread on the 500 Euro laptop, which indicated there are many Linux users on PFM, I was wondering which distros people have used, and if they have tried many what have they found to be the pros and cons of each. And if they use them as straight Linux, or in a dual-boot arrangement with something else.
  2. chartz

    chartz pfm Member

    I use Ubuntu.
    Very stable, simple updates.
    But then any Linux requires a little dedication. I’ve always thought it’s a computer boffin’s OS, not a layman’s OS.
    It's obviously open, but closed ate the same time. You won't find easy to install apps on the web. You will have to put up with what the system has to offer.

    Managing dual-boot requires no additional tool.
  3. gintonic

    gintonic 50 shades of grey pussy cats

  4. Gaycha

    Gaycha pfm Member

  5. saturn9

    saturn9 guitar mangler

    I use https://manjaro.org/
    I have tried many distros over the years, Manjaro is fast, easy and stable. One of its pluses over Debian based distros like Ubuntu etc is that the software is based on a rolling release model so you get up to date software on an ongoing basis without having to reinstall.

    Agree with the above comment that it takes a wee bit of dedication but it hasn’t been a boffins OS for many years.

    Try it and see.
  6. chartz

    chartz pfm Member

    That one is new to me. Will give it a shot!
  7. bobovox

    bobovox Active Member

    +1 for OpenSUSE. Rock-solid stability, easy installation, YaSt is a very comprehensive admin tool and works well with KDE or Gnome. Offers the choice of rolling release or fixed release versions.
  8. PaulMB

    PaulMB pfm Member

    Surprised by that. My wife uses Win 8 and when she installed it she had to have a technician come in and do it. I looked over their shoulders and it seemed more tricky than Kubuntu. But I suppose it is a question of what one is used to doing.
  9. chartz

    chartz pfm Member

    When you install Linux over a Windows partition you have a choice.
    By default the installer will keep the Win partition and install the dual boot tool.
  10. gavreid

    gavreid pfm Member

    MINT is a good choice coming from Windows
  11. Jim Audiomisc

    Jim Audiomisc pfm Member

    XFCE Mint LTS. Then add rox for a nicer desktop with half-decent drag-and-drop. Not as good as RISC OS in desktop terms, but as close as I can get with Linux without running a RO emulator. :)

    With ROX small 'apps' are easy to install and use. And FWIW I've generated a few for audio processing tasks, etc. Also easy to encapsulate standard programes like VLC, etc, into an 'app' front-end on the desktop.
  12. glancaster

    glancaster In the silicon vale

    Lubuntu LTS (long term support) edition runs well on low powered systems whilst still providing a graphical desktop.

    I’ve never managed to install any version of Linux over the years without a few teething problems at first, but once someone computer literate gets it going, it’s fairly smooth, with minimal maintenance required.

    Kind regards

    - Garry
  13. Marky-Mark

    Marky-Mark pfm Member

    I haven't kept up at all with kernel development, but the distributions and desktops still suffer from issues and instabilities. Ubuntu, what I'm running this minute, routinely breaks things (like wifi) with updates, and there are constant updates. Library issues and application crashes can still ripple through the system requiring reboots easily equaling that of windows. Other than running it on the cheap with a PC or to keep a no longer supported Mac alive with a current browser, I can't think of a reason to run it other than as a hobby.
  14. stevec67

    stevec67 pfm Member

    Ubuntu, 6 years ago, no drama. I'm no computer buff, I just use it. The only bit I couldn't do was install a printer, I had to get a mate to do that.

    It still works, btw.
  15. Jim Audiomisc

    Jim Audiomisc pfm Member

    Curious. I've installed a number of Ubuntu-based disros on four different machines over the last decade or so, and not seen such problems. By default I use synaptic for additions at system level as it seems to keep things in order. But I'll use other ways - curl, wget, etc - for user-space items. My main problem tends to be during the first weeks of using a new install when I keep finding I want something I'd forgotten to add.

    (I tend to add things like ffmpeg at user-level so I can use the latest version, not the 'latest' a distro has on offer. Indeed, I often have more than one version of something in case one has a feature I like.)

    FWIW I'm lazy wrt 'updates' and only do ones that seem vital for the sake of security, etc. If the version of something I have works OK, I leave it be. So I spend almost zero time chasing 'updates'.

    One general comment, though. People should use the official releases. Not 'cover discs' from magazines as they may have been fiddled with. A cover disk live version may be useful as a 'taster' but not for real use.
  16. Darth Vader

    Darth Vader From the Dark Side

    I use Mint daily and find it stable. As for updates you choose if and when you want to update and its a quick and a much simpler process than both Windows and macOS. Mint lets you configure the updates as beginner (all green and stable) you then only install amber updates if needed and never red unless you are an advanced user. I also set up Timeshift so if I install something and change my mind I can quickly go back to before the install. I used it once because I am lazy.

    I can break the Cinnamon desktop with 4 workspaces (those are great and neither Win nor macOS has anything to compete) but then I will be monkeying around with multiple VMs. Otherwise it is stable. I even run some of my old Windows games and even things like dbpoweramp runs without hitch. As mentioned elsewhere I have a couple of elderly users using Mint without problems for getting on for two years now.


  17. h.g.

    h.g. pfm Member

    My flavour of linux has tended to follow the ones used at work in order to maximise collaboration and peer support. The 3 main derivatives (redhat, suse and debian) have been used at various times over the last 23 years and the differences are not worth sweating. Redhat derived stable distributions (Centos, Scientific Linux,... not Fedora) would be my preference at work so long as the old versions of the packages and the server orientation does not cause issues (e.g. some types of software development and/or a significant dependency on recent desktop packages). At present I use debian derivatives at home, Ubuntu, Mint and not sure about the third, and they have issues but likely no more than the other main distributions. Debian I have always found hardwork and would not recommend unless you like that sort of thing which many linux enthusiasts seem to. I have a problem with the gnome desktop core dumping on an old laptop which doesn't happen with kde but the latter suffers significant slowness due to bloat. I ought to install whatever xfce ubuntu is called but so far have not been prepared to lose the time on an old laptop which has developed one or two hardware issues.

    The main linux server distributions are stable and usable operating systems if you are sensible about maintenance. A rung below the old commercial unixes from Sun, SGI, IBM,... but easy to recommend. Desktop linuxes are fine for people with some computer knowledge and realistic expectations concerning the stability and maintenance of open sourced software. Less so for people with no knowledge or interest in computers although I have seen several little old ladies with zero computer knowledge successfully using linux distributions looked after by their relatives.

    PS Dual boot or virtual depends on the hardware and how you use your computer. Virtual is more flexible but requires sufficiently well speced machines and it can also have some issues with hardware like graphics cards particularly opengl.
  18. darrenyeats

    darrenyeats pfm Member

    Debian is far less hard work these days h.g.
    saturn9 and h.g. like this.
  19. Marky-Mark

    Marky-Mark pfm Member

    It's not a one-size fits all argument with Linux. It comes down to the quality of HW support for whatever the system, or whether an update goes OK. And updates can definitely not always go OK. Just yesterday I updated Ubuntu on the Lenovo thinkpad I'm currently using and the install bombed out with a corrupted file just before the kernel was upgraded. If you don't know how to fix that using apt at the CL you're in for a long day if you don't have another device to google fixes.

    On this laptop I'm pretty good If I don't use a browser for over an hour. Much over that and tabs start crashing. If I don't reboot after one or two instances of crashed tabs Gnome becomes unstable and the whole house of cards usually locks solid requiring a hard reset. I've already had a crashed tab this AM ... so my time with this session is late.

    I've lost count how many times WiFi comes up lame after an update. Sometimes it's only the connection indicator that's broken -- I'll have the ? instead of the signal strength meter, but I can be connected. Or not. Or it won't scan for a signal at all, which means I have to manually stop and restart that interface from the CL. You can google these things and see they're a relatively common occurrence.

    If this sort of stuff doesn't bother you then it's fine, but I never have these problems on a Mac.
  20. h.g.

    h.g. pfm Member

    Curiously these types of problems used to be less of a problem on linux ten or more years ago. The gnome project and several of the projects associated with it are not in a healthy state w.r.t. the relationship between developers and users. The same thing has happened in the past with projects like gcc and emacs. A bit like brexit the problems exist now, the way forward is clear but self interest and a lack of will is blocking progress and things are going backwards. "Real" programmers tend to be disinterested in desktop software which also doesn't help.

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