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Discussion on: Au Revoir, Gentoo - Sell Me A New Linux Distro

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FJones

Particularly with the background of wanting easier - and less time-consuming - configuration, I'm definitely going to recommend Debian. If the hardware doesn't give you hassle, that is. Debian is often somewhat picky about the systems it runs on smoothly, and you'll fall into the same configuration hell on those it doesn't like. In all honesty? Abandon ship if you run into larger blockades - at least if configuration hell is a crucial factor for you.
As for your question re: selective updates - it's reasonably easy. You can pin existing packages, request specific versions, limit your updates, and restrict (or widen) your upstream repositories more or less at will. A common factor with debian is doing major distribution upgrades purely by switching the upstreams, though this does reduce stability substantially.

Manjaro is often more like a "slightly less painful Arch", so I'd advise against it.

Fedora I have little experience with, but generally seems stable and easy-to-use.

OpenSuSE is okay. I worked at a place in public service that mandated it, and it was painless. But I never dug deep enough into it to give a solid recommendation.

FreeBSD I can't speak to, because I've been avoiding it like a plague - but from personal preference. Don't let that discourage you.

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Ben Lovy Author

Awesome, this is helpful. Thanks for your perspective!