And which ones have you tried - which did you like, not like so much…
Which Linux distro do you use on your desktop or dev machine?
Pop!_OS was pretty polished but I ended up sticking with Manjaro for the rolling releases. Been running Linux on the desktop since 1998, the early days of RPM based systems left me with a hatred for them so I stay clear even to this day.
I stick with Kubuntu, though I’ve done so many modifications over time that it doesn’t always upgrade cleanly, but a little work fixes that up again, lol.
My SO uses Kubuntu as well, she sticks to latest releases rather than stable (so 20.04 currently), but she’s a heavier heavy gamer than me in most cases.
I’ve used all of the well-known distros, but I stick with Slackware for personal use. Almost every distro is janky, and no distro is janky in the same way, but I haven’t run into any jankiness on Slackware yet.
I use Pop!_OS 20.04 LTS, but I would like to use FreeBSD(I never use it before in my entire live) or Nix(I think use this OS because the easy way to version you enviroment and reproduce you desktop enviroment and because the nix package)
Even if I enjoyed Slackware years ago, isn’t it just too outdated now, with the last release 4 years ago?
I’m using Linux for about 20 Years now and tried many distributions. One main distro was Gentoo which I used during university, but nowadays I’m using Linux Mint
“I use Manjaro by the way”.
My story went as follows:
- When I started out at the university, at some point it was pretty much required that we started to run Linux (either directly or as a VM) for certain programming courses. The professor provided a ‘Linux Mint’-ISO for us.
- I’ve used Linux Mint (with the Cinnamon window-manager) for multiple years. I very much like it. The main drawback I had at some point is that it uses Ubuntu’s packages, which often lag behind one or multiple years.
- At some point this urged me to try something new. I switched over to Manjaro, which is a user-friendly layer on top of Arch-linux. Arch-based systems use a rolling release, meaning that all packages are always reasonably up-to-date (but on the other hand it is required to update frequently because if you wait too long, updates can take forever). It was also nice that Manjaro supports Cinnamon, allowing me to keep the change in user experience small.
- Later on, I took the jump over to Manjaro + KDE Plasma as window manager. Plasma feels quite similar to Cinnamon but has some extra bells and whistles. What the most important feature is? Wobbly windows !
I think I can go public with my new Desktop environment now… Its working without flaws for 4 months now.
I switched to nixOS in February, the SDD which I used as an excuse to re-install the system was one of the last deliveries we received before the lock-down-lite.
My linux story goes a long way and I used some distros…
It all began ~2000 out of curiosity and a “SuSE 6” (+/- 1) CD in some magazine I used to read during my lunchtime.
I installed it side by side with windows in a dual boot, but didn’t really use it. Back in that time I was more into games than work. I used it for my daily dose of internet (back then an hour per day, as it was billed by the minute). Browsing and chatting from linux felt more secure. I was the only one in my class back then who did not caught a virus…
Eventually I had to join the forces for my civil duty, and was mostly offline again for some years, Shortly after Blizzard released WoW, I moved to a place where I had steady internet access again (also most military training was over). Due to WoW I used Windows most of the time. Some Ubuntu and OpenSuSE in a VirtualMachine.
Eventually my Laptops Graphics Adapter broke and Windows was unable to boot and if it did, it bluescreened within the first 5 minutes of usage, while an accordingly configured linux was sustainable and even able to play videos. (Well it was basically framebuffer and all hardware support of the graphics adapter disabled, so videos weren’t allowed to be much bigger than what we are used to be a smartphone display today ) It was an Ubuntu 14.04 or 16.04.
Once I got the money to buy a new one, I was back on dualbooting with windows. I used an Ubuntu again, always on most recent branch, no LTS.
Eventually I started studying CS, when I installed the exact same version of Ubuntu which was used at unis computers as well.
I tried various other distros in VMs back then.
In the third year of studies I tripple booted between windows (games), ubuntu (Uni stuff) and Funtoo (personal). I had quite a good experience using Funtoo, up until to the point when I wanted to update the systems GCC (knowing it will cause a recompilation of the world) though something went wrong and I ended up in a state where GCC 7 was partially installed but GCC 4 as well, and each tried to use parts of the other installation.
I was unable to recover from that.
This was when I switched to “Arch Linux” as the promise it gave was “as current as Funtoo (or even more current), but precompiled”. I had 3 or 4 nice years using Arch Linux.
No big troubles, though annoyed by how hard it is, to set up environments on two systems that would have been equal or at least “similar enough”.
That drove me towards using nix (the package manager) on Arch Linux. And after my Office VM caught “fire” (Kernel decided to mount all drives RO because of some BTRFS driver error) I switched to nixos there first. After my small laptop got random BTRFS errors as well (which had been all recoverable so far) I switched it over to nixOS + ZFS as well. My main computer had to wait a bit longer. The SDD was ordered, but not yet delivered.
I have to say though, for the small laptop, I have to revert from ZFS to some “classic” FS like ext4 or get an SDD as well, spinning discs are just not suitable for ZFS…
I liked all of them, when I used them. Though today I wouldn’t use anything but Arch or nixOS for desktop, while suggesting Ubuntu to friends and family who wants to get their feet wet with linux.
From todays point of view though, I really have a problem with Ubuntus stance on
snap trying to sneak it as default package manager, rather than an addition, and the age of many packages from the standard repository. As well as I have to say, beeing able to tweak every little bit of compilation on Funtoo was nice, but the hours and hours wasted due to recompiling half of the system for gaining some cycles here and there really wasn’t worth the effort, not even in the long run. If one had really bad luck, a simple package update could have take days, during which the computer was barely usable and after which one had to do the next system update, as the package index has moved one a lot…
NixOS though is nearly as current as Arch Linux, easy to modify to my needs, and even updating packages beyond what is in the official channels is often just some “
overrideAttrs” away. Similarily its as easy as bumping the version if one wants to change some set of compile flags. And what I really like the most, its easy to install different versions of toolchains, or even the same version of toolchains with different options/plugins/whatever in different environments/projects. It really helps with encapsulation. Last but not least, I can pin my environment to a certain commit of the channel, and whenever I load that environment, it will be the same. I can transfer it to another computer and load it. I will have the same versions of everything up until to the glibc.
Slackware 14.2 is only too outdated if you install it and then don’t bother to use slackpkg to install updates and new official packages. Patrick Volkerding and company are still patching 14.2 and releasing updates. I’ve got the latest Firefox ESR, GNU Emacs 26.3, and other tools and libraries relevant to the stuff I do at home.
Granted, Slackware 14.2’s GIMP is still 2.8, but there’s nothing stopping me from installing flatpak from slackbuilds.org and then getting the latest GIMP (or Glimpse) from FlatHub. Also, KDE is still 4.x, and XFCE is still at 4.12, but I’m using FVWM instead of a full desktop environment so I’m fine.
Now, if I was doing development with bleeding-edge tech I might run into tooling problems with Slackware, but I doubt they’d be intractible. It only took me fifteen minutes to get the latest stable Rust installed, for example. But this is my personal machine. I use it to maintain my home page, mess around with the new Gemini protocol, and write terrible science fiction that nobody in their right mind would want to read.
I don’t need a rolling-release Linux distro for any of that. Slackware is fine for me. If you’re happy with Linux Mint, more power to you. Likewise Nix, GUIX, Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, Manjaro, etc.
I only tried Debian, Ubuntu and CentOS before but I haven’t been impressed by any of them. Debian was especially frustrating; it was on multiple occasions that I lost a finely working system and had to patch things in X11’s
xorg.conf in a root text-only shell. USB devices stopped responding. Sound cards too. Many people tried to tell me that “I am holding it wrong” but I still think they miss the point: no matter what, you must not break your user’s system!
Too many Linux enthusiasts look at it as a toy that you should perfect and keep tinkering with in your free time. And that’s… some kind of a rite of passage, I guess?
(CentOS was a little better, but not much. It only took one X11 breakage and one sound driver stopping to work out of the blue and I lost patience and uninstalled it.)
Nope. I am not interested in kernel design, hardware compatibility or all that. I am interested in software development so anything lower-level than that should be wrapped up nicely and handled for me. (Might explain why I eventually went for macOS.)
What I use
For hobby Linux projects and general sanity checking (“is what I am coding working outside of macOS?”) I settled on Manjaro + XFCE. Boring and well-working UI, and an amazing Linux distro. Really well-maintained, neat, very fast and lightweight. Still have that spare i3 CPU laptop and Manjaro is on it for about a year now, and I’ve worked actively on it multiple times – zero issues!
IMO Manjaro maintainers definitely are in tune with the sentiments I expressed above so I’ll stick to it.
Sure, but are important core packages kept up to date? Some of them had pretty embarrassing – and decades-old! – bugs which have been discovered in the last 1-2 years.
Yes, I think they are. If you’d care to name specific packages I can search for them in Slackware’s changelogs. Better yet, why not grep the Slackware stable (x86_64) changelog and see for yourself? A whole bunch of CVEs in the kernel got patched yesterday, for example.
Because I don’t want to. I am busy enough. Hence I am asking you.
Thanks for the info, it’s a pretty valuable data point actually. I’ve heard network and system admins praise Slackware many times for “never doing anything behind your back” which is something I like. What they failed to mention was that they customised it manually and extensively and I have exactly zero motivation to do that. Still, I’d consider it for servers!
Well, just as you value your time too highly to do your own research, I value my own time too highly to continue engaging with you. Have a good weekend.
I answered your question honestly, that’s all. There was no ill intention.
You sure about that? 4.x was deprecated something like 13 years ago, that’s horribly ancient…
Manjaro. My “go outside and work in the park” computer is an HP Stream 11, the one with the famously funky touchpad. None of the other distros could control the touchpad, but Manjaro could. QED.
I’m quite sure. Slackware 14.2 is still using KDE 4, and still occasionally provides patches to account for bugs, CVEs, etc. However, I don’t use it myself because I never liked KDE. I stick with FVWM instead.
Lol, it’s amazing anything would be using such an ancient KDE, KDE4 wasn’t even really ‘completed’ as it was a mostly-rewrite of KDE3. KDE5 is where it finished the rewrite and became one of the fastest and lightest DE’s around. Should try KDE5. ^.^
KDE4 might still be in Slackware 14.2, but nobody is obligated to use it. You don’t even have to install it, but that might lead to headaches later on if you try to run scripts from slackbuilds.org that depend on KDE4 (but that’s easily fixed using slackpkg).
Incidentally, I tried KDE5 once on a distro that wasn’t Slackware. I wasn’t impressed. It was too much like Windows for my taste. Old-fashioned window manglers like FVWM and Openbox are more my style.