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 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 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.