Which Linux distro do you use

Before I start, I should mention I’m a novice with Linux, and what I express below is mainly through personal experience, and personal opinion.

The easy to setup and use distros.

1, Linux Mint 19.2 Cinnamon (Tina)

Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu, but is more advanced and polished. With a minimum of effort you can add an Nvidia GPU driver from the graphics driver tool.

If you need Linux Mint to browse a home network with a Windows PC. It will prompt you to add Samba support, and configure it for you. That’s about it setup for you. You can then browse the large software repositories and add your software. All done with an easy to use package management tool.

In my experience Linux Mint is very stable.

2, Ubuntu 19.10 (gnome).

The simplest to setup. It will even install an Nvidia GPU automatically during install. Nice clean looking GUI, but I found it had a few stability issues. 19.10 is new and needs a little time to mature. Again it has a large repository of installable software to choose from with an easy to use package management tool.

If you can’t manage to setup and use Mint or Ubuntu, then perhaps you should stick with Windows.

The not so easy to setup distros.

Manjaro ( all flavours ).

Manjaro is easy to install and for the most part easy to setup. A GPU driver is easy to install, as is a printer. The difficulties started in setting up Samba and networking in general. Downloading and installing Samba is easy, but setting it up was a nightmare for a novice, as it required quite extensive use of ‘terminal’ and setting it up with commands. Things were also not helped by the ‘Linux snobs’ who replied to countless forum threads that I read, whos only input was to say “Google is your friend” or “read the documentation”. (more on that later).

In the end Manjaro was worth it, because the software repository is massive, and add to that Manjaro is nice looking, fast and stable.

The distros that were just to much effort.

Fedora

Fedora is slick and fast, and very easy to install. Installing a GPU is not hard, but not as easy as it could be. Pretty much everything else has to be done manually. The software package management is easy to use, but there isn’t much in the way of the huge libraries available in the other distros I’ve mentioned. So you’ll pretty much have to install everything manually.

MX Linux.

MX Linux graced my HDD for about an hour. IMO its ugle, poorly arranged, and has a horrible package management tool.

So is Linux about to be the goto OS in place of Windows?

NOT A CHANCE at the moment. There are many reasons for that. Windows may be bloated, But its still the easiest OS to setup and use. Hardware support is miles ahead of Linux, and the quality and quantity of software available is light years ahead of Linux.

IMO, for Linux to succeed it badly needs a unified hardware driver model, and a unified software management model. Things are moving a little on the software management side with ‘snap’ and ‘flatpak’ but it still has a long way to go before it gets anywhere near Windows.

Then there are the Linux snobs, who seem unwilling to help a novice user. There is no point in saying ‘you do that from terminal’ if you don’t explain how. Thankfully there are many Linux users who are only to glad to help a novice user. So maybe Linux has a bright future after all.

So, have I ditched Linux?

No. I have Linux Mint on the main PC, and Manjaro on the second PC, and I’m enjoying both of them.

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Thank you for sharing your experiences, I find this thread very useful since my main PC running Win 7 won’t get update to Win 10 and probably one day I shall switch to Linux. Approx. 20 years ago I was giving RedHat a try, struggling to compile the kernel based on the HW of my PC, configuring desktop etc. After approx. 6 months of polishing I could reach a fairly satisfactory setup and… my HDD died - I never repeated the struggle again. Then with Knoppix I used live-linux as a recovery system, or for web-browsing, but never got close to install any distro (Slax with it’s rich module repository was tempting under some time).
For me the biggest challenge is that I run laptops only, and probably I won’t be able to have all of the HW up and running (like web cam).

I still use Knoppix, too; installed on a thumb drive with persistence.
Unfortunately it is recently being updated only yearly, as Klaus probably spends his time doing things that actually earn him a living.

Thanks Dee :smiley:

Thanks for sharing your observations on Linux and other Distro’s
I may have to check out Manjaro at some point, but for now I will stick with the simpler Linux Mint
I did find it easier to set up and use for basic browsing
I also tried Ubuntu a few years back and did not like it as much, I agree with you on the stability issues that it still seems to have.

There is a good chance that Ubuntu would setup all the hardware for you, even the webcam. Its bundled with a webcam app.
Try a ‘live’ version of 19.10 on USB drive. and see.

@schuster
Funny you should mention Knoppix and how frequently its updated, as a new version has just been released today.
https://distrowatch.com/?newsid=10746

@bean55
Mint rocks, but if you want to try Manjaro, its easy to get a live version and run it from USB, to see if you like it.

Thanks, I had seen advance notice in a quote from the Debian mailing list.
Unfortunately it’s just a bugfix for the bootloader which was having trouble finding the 32-bit code in some configurations.

I just forgot to mention, that my setup is depending on connecting to USB-dock (DELL’s version running on DisplayLink), the latest version of Ubuntu supported is 19.04, will give it a try if I have some time. It only doesn’t sound too appealing to run a distro which is reported to have stability issues :wink:

Its about 6 weeks since I used Ubuntu. It was a new distro at the time, and may well be stable by now.
Try it live from a USB flash drive, and see what its like.

You have point here. In general for an old HW is it worth to run latest distros or better to stick to 18.04 LTS? I have an HP 8560w laptop, so I wonder if I haven’t missed “the train” and maybe support for my HW is already being dropped from latest versions :slight_smile:

18.04 LTS would be the safe bet. If it has the features you want.

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Linux Mint 19.3 ‘Tricia’ will be out before Christmas, but if you want to take an early look, the beta will be available from tomorrow, Dec 3rd.

New version of the Cinnamon desktop, and new artwork throughout for a fresher look.
HiDPI support for a sharper screen, and quite a lot more to look forward to.

Does anyone know what size thumb drive I would need to run a linux ISO on a 2 year old chromebook? I don’t have a portable disc drive to hook up to it. I haven’t run Ubuntu in probably 10 years on an old box I no longer have. Looked at the YouTube videos but didn’t hear what size I need.

Live Linux distros are from around 2GB to 2.5GB so a 4GB USB flash drive is more than enough.

Thank you Dee.

Linux Mint 19.3 ‘Tricia’ beta is nice.
Very slick indeed. The new artwork does indeed make things look fresh, and the new boot menu with icons for your dual boot OS looks very nice.
No need to add Ubuntu GPU repositories to get the latest Nvidia RTX GPU’s working properly. Its all built into Mint 19.3

Considering its a beta its very stable.

Link https://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2019/12/linux-mint-19-3-beta

I see kernel v5.3 there. they must have went with v5.3 instead of v5.0? ; or did you manually change to that?

because I heard they are shipping v19.3 with I think it was v5.0, or at least something newer than the previous Mint v19.x which was v4.15.

either way, I might opt for a clean install once v19.3 is released.

Yep the default is kernel 5.0, but its only a matter of choosing to use kernel 5.3.
I’ve been using kernel 5.3 in Mint 19.2 for a while, so I know its stable.

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If the desire is to have persistence (e.g. the user area is saved from one session to another, as many distros allow for these days) it’s probably better to spend the extra few dollars and go for 8GB.

Linux Mint 19.3 got a lot of updates today.
One of them was an update from Cinnamon 4.4.2 to 4.4.3

I also didn’t realise that 19.3 was an LTS release.

All Mint versions are LTS. I think it generally does this…

18.1/18.2/18.3(all are supported til 2021), then 19.1/19.2/19.3(all are supported til 2023), then 20.1/20.2/20.3 (all will be supported til 2025) and so on.

p.s. on a side note… I just setup Firejail (i.e. firejail_0.9.56.2-LTS_1_amd64.deb ) so it puts the Firefox browser in a sandbox. so while Firefox on Linux is already quite secure by default, it’s extra insurance… https://easylinuxtipsproject.blogspot.com/p/sandbox.html ; basically a good boost to security for minimal effort on the user :wink: