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What's YOUR Linux Distro of choice? (and hurdles?)

patarapolw profile image Pacharapol Withayasakpunt ・1 min read

If possible, please also tell about

  • Hardware, or base PC / laptop
  • Package manager, or compiling, and its failures
  • Desktop environment
  • Comparisons between your past choices
  • ext4 vs btrfs filesystem, Swap

Also, tools to cleanly migrate to a new distro?

Discussion

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vonheikemen profile image
Heiker

I'm using Debian stable. I heard that debian was a "rock solid distro that requires very little maintenance" so I decided to try it.

Everything I needed for web development was available to me in the official repositories, that was a nice surprise. Is not the latest version but they work well for my purposes. Now, even though I had no need to look for alternative ways of installing software, someone reminded me that homebrew also works on linux (with some limitations) so I tried that. I took a look at the available packages and saw a great deal of tools I wanted. I'm happy to report that now I have a stable "base system" in the version that just works and I have my non-essential tools in their latest version. Consider me a happy debian user.

Hardware. Currently using a 9 years old desktop PC:
CPU: Intel i3-2120 (4) @ 3.300GHz
RAM: 8GB

The package manager. apt is nice and all but the interface it's still too complex, like when you want to remove (really remove) something you need to do this.

sudo apt purge <packagename> && sudo apt autoremove

Why, apt? Just... why?

Anyway, I made wrapper script around the most common commands to simplify that sort of deal. Now I can write commands like this.

pc install ...
pc remove ...
pc upgrade

I like it.

The desktop environment. I chose LXDE. I know I can run GNOME or KDE just fine but it doesn't feel right.

The good things about LXDE:

  • It's lightweight on your resources. On a fresh install it consumes 313 MB of RAM. Considering this is a fully functional desktop environment that's pretty low.

  • It's flexible. You can use it like a traditional window manager with floating windows where you do everything with the mouse. But it can also be very keyboard driven, you can focus, move, resize your windows with keyboard shortcuts and if you know what your doing you can even get some pseudo-tiling features. It uses openbox as a window manager, anything crazy that openbox can do you can probably do it in LXDE.

  • You don't have to touch a single config file if you don't want to. If something can be changed there is probably a GUI app that can help you with that.

What's the catch?

  • The default settings are just horrible. But that can be changed and it can look good.

  • Development is pretty much dead. Everything seems to indicate that LXQt is the spiritual successor of LXDE.

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darcrux profile image
Gaurav

DEEPIN
Makes you wanna go back to it.. Beautiful UI and user exp.
Major issue installing application sometime need to be done manually or downloading .deb packages which sometimes might have broken dependencies.
But overall just a beautiful OS

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aghost7 profile image
Jonathan Boudreau

Hardware, or base PC / laptop

  • Custom desktop build using nvidia card + intel cpu for personal use
  • System76 laptop for personal use
  • Work laptop is a sager machine (basically just a Clevo reseller)

Package manager, or compiling, and its failures

Well, I mainly use apt, but a lot of the stuff I use for development is containerized. I don't normally install things directly on my machine unless its a GUI application.

Desktop environment

Gnome, I don't like to spend too much time configuring my desktop.

Comparisons between your past choices

ElementaryOS was cool but it seemed to lack features. I'd end up having to drop to the terminal too often to do basic administrative tasks. This was years ago though, so it might've changed.

At some point I was also had an i3 session of set up. The overhead of maintaining it didn't seem to make much sense after I started to use tmux for development.

Currently my desktop is set up with Ubuntu.

All my other machines are using Pop!_OS. The desktop environment comes with several tweaks and there are extra packages available which makes things a little easier.

ext4 vs btrfs filesystem, Swap

ext4 works fine for me.

Also, tools to cleanly migrate to a new distro?

That's really going to depend on what you want to migrate. For me though the vast majority of my games are in steam. My development environment is fully containerized (editor included), and the few external configurations I have are in a git repo. I recently switched of jobs and it took me about about an hour to setup (mainly downloading).

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yujiri8 profile image
Ryan Westlund

Artix!

Artix's pitch is basically Arch without systemd. It supports 3 alternative init systems: OpenRC, runit, and s6. It uses the same pacman from Arch.

I'm running it on a Lenovo ThinkPad with mostly Intel hardware.

The biggest hurdles with using Artix, I'd say, are that it's very difficult to find Artix-specific help by web searching. You almost always get a bunch of Arch results, and if you include -arch, then nothing. And while you'd hope Arch results would still be helpful due to the similarity, they never have been for me. Most things I search for help on are things that systemd has its tentacles all over (because it has its tentacles all over most of the system), so they're not helpful for me running OpenRC.

The installation guide is very unclear about how to partition a UEFI/GPT system, but it's otherwise a good guide, not years out of date like some I've seen.

Preferred window manager: Sway 4 life

Compared to Void Linux: I was able to get it to work. I was never able to get Sway to work on Void due to cryptic errors. And when I tried Void, I had a bad experience where just running seemingly normal install and uninstall commands broke xbps (package manager) and it was like "broken dependencies, I can't install or remove anything right now until you figure out how to fix me". Multiple times. Hence why I didn't try Void again. pacman has been good to me.

Compared to FreeBSD:

  • Compatibility/support. It's Linux, so it has less issues with Linux stuff not working on it. That was one of my main frustrations with FreeBSD.

  • OpenRC and pacman both (pacman with config) provide colored output, which is really nice. As far as I know, FreeBSD's pkg and init system don't support this.

  • ZFS is not supported, but BTRFS is, and seems to be able to replicate the awesomeness of ZFS snapshots.

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mzaini30 profile image
Zen

I use Linux Lite because it's light. Then, I install Plank for Apple-like. Hehehhee...