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 Post subject: Favorite Linux Distros
PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:55 pm 
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So I, being the genius that I am, decided that a 20 GB partition from my 1 TB hard drive would be enough space to handle Ubuntu.

Well, I'm basically out of space on the OS and plan on starting fresh with a bigger partition, but I'm beginning to wonder if maybe Ubuntu isn't the best way to go.

So what do you people think of the different Linux distros out there? Do any stand out to you guys?

Please don't recommend Windows, because this might just be me, but programs run so slowly on it for me compared to Ubuntu that it's painful. I should benchmark build time of cc65 as an example, because Windows has taken 10+ minutes before.

Also it's hard to build any programs on Windows, so...yeah. No thanks.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 11:12 pm 
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When I'm forced into linux, I use Lubuntu its small and fast and if you squint you can almost believe you are just using Windows XP. Until you actually try to do something and then the buggy crap that is Ubuntu/Debian core shows it head and urghhh.

Mint is the No1 still I think.

Is your hardware old?


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 11:33 pm 
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I use Debian sid and choose to do almost everything the "hard" way (i.e. no desktop environment, and especially trying to avoid any GNOME components whenever possible).

AFAICT, the biggest experience difference will be from your choice of desktop manager (KDE / GNOME / XFCE / LXDE / &c)


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 12:12 am 
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For now i am using mint, a really good distro, it's based on ubuntu .
https://linuxmint.com/


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 12:39 am 
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I use Ubuntu (it came with the computer), although I reconfigured it and use it with no desktop environment (it does have a window manager though; I use i3wm, with a custom status bar I wrote by myself). It is much better than the Windows I used to have.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 1:19 am 
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This thread is a guaranteed slow-motion train wreck. Nobody can definitively tell you what's best, because that's so incredibly subjective that it's almost pointless to ask. Here's some proof! :-)

I'e used several versions of Linux, usually in a professional environment (read: as a server, not as a desktop or client). I've had favourites over the years, but **current** distros are almost all universally junk with the scarily-rapid adoption of systemd. It's becoming harder and harder to find a well-supported Linux distro that isn't running systemd. If it doesn't matter to you, then great, but if you ever have to deal with it on even a general level (like dealing with the journal getting corrupted -- I sure do love Lennart Poeterring's reply!), you'll wish for sysvinit or OpenRC or something else.

In general I found Ubuntu 14.04 LTS pretty decent and tolerable. I had to migrate servers to 16.04 (systemd-based) and would love to send Poeterring a bill for all the man hours I put in to dealing with systemd + trying to avoid it. I didn't mind older Linux Mint (17.3 Rosa), but I found it to be very desktop-centric rather what I prefer (bare-bones and server-focused); it did work, but getting rid of all the "desktop junk" bordered on risky.

I've stayed away from Debian for a while now. I took a look at Devuan, the non-systemd Debian fork, except I found its general support to be pretty abysmal; for example, ZFS support is highly neglected, being apparently maintained by some guy with a name that looks like something a 13-year-old script kiddie would use and who has ignored major/critical issues reported to him over a year ago.

In short: the distros that tend to have the best overall support (from vendors) tend to be Ubuntu, RedHat, and CentOS. I still can't take Gentoo seriously (the arguments for it are always "but Portage is awesome", to which I reply: I've used FreeBSD since 1997, where do you think they got the idea from? Ports/Portage ain't enough to justify use of an OS, sorry). I generally find them all pretty "bleh" at this point in time, but use Ubuntu 14.04 and 16.04 (as servers) exclusively at work, and that's mainly because AWS has good support for them.

Run whatever distro works best for you. If you don't know what that is? Spend several weeks installing them all one by one and trying them. Or try them on a VM (won't be quite the same as bare metal, but it'll at least get you familiar).


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 1:42 am 
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You can resize partitions non-destructively. Do take backups beforehand though.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:17 am 
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Like others mentioned, I also use Mint.

Like koitsu mentioned, it's very desktop-focused (I don't use it for headless servers, just for my actual desktop), and the new versions use systemd (which is annoying, but I don't find to be as impactful on a desktop machine as on a server)

Mostly it takes the things that Ubuntu did right as far as making an easy, usable Linux distribution, but throws out some of Ubuntu's stupid recent ui choices.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 7:06 am 
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koitsu wrote:
This thread is a guaranteed slow-motion train wreck. Nobody can definitively tell you what's best, because that's so incredibly subjective that it's almost pointless to ask.

Hence why this was asked on a forum, not a Q&A site. I read it as "Of the distributions you have tried, what about it worked for you and what did not?" But my Q&A site habits are still leaking out my fingertips, so let me get this one out of the way first:

"My partition for desktop GNU/Linux is too small. How can I choose a distribution to make it bigger?"
You may have hit an XY problem. This means you ask for help with details of a particular solution when a completely different class of solution that you had not anticipated may suit your underlying problem better.

If you're running out of space in general, my first recommendation is to run du on your home directory to figure out where most of your stuff is stored. If system directories outweigh your home directory, that means your partition might be too small. But otherwise, you can move large files to another partition or to external mass storage. Or you can clear various caches, such as that of your web browser or running make clean on your programming projects.

But with that said, if you're stuck on a relatively small partition, such as if you're trying to make a desktop GNU/Linux distribution share a laptop's small SSD with the Windows 10 that came with the laptop, I recommend Xubuntu. Its Xfce desktop avoids the excess bloat of things like Unity (default in 11.10 through 16.04) and GNOME 3 (beginning in 18.04), and it may fit into a smaller partition. But I have no first-hand experience using recent desktop Debian or Ubuntu in a partition smaller than about 50 GB, though I've used Ubuntu 8.04 (with GNOME 2) on a netbook's 4 GB SSD before.

As for just using Windows 10 on the desktop and GNU/Linux on the server, one of the advantages of GNU/Linux on a software development workstation is that you don't need to connect to the Internet or carry a Raspberry Pi around with you to test server code that you write that exceeds the capability of WSL. Nor do you waste as much time on the staging server working around differences between the Windows and UNIX versions of your favorite server programming language's standard library, which would be the case if you test on Perl, Python, PHP, or Node for Windows and deploy on Perl, Python, PHP, or Node for GNU/Linux. Nor does testing graphical applications require downloading a ten-year-old unmaintained copy of Xming, which you would have to do on Windows because WSL lacks an X server.

In addition, Windows 10 tends to be a bandwidth hog around update time. It gives the end user little or no notice that it is about to download a semiannual upgrade and thereby cause the ISP to bill the subscriber for monthly data transfer quota overages, not to mention the loss of unsaved state that an unattended restart represents. (If there were more notice, the user could drive the computer into town and perform the upgrade on the county library's unmetered Internet.) Unlike Windows 10, Ubuntu gives about 3 months of notice for the semiannual upgrade track, and the 2-year upgrade track of Debian and Ubuntu does not carry a surcharge.

As for just using Windows 7 on the desktop, the security updates for Windows 7 are due to end in two years, and a newly purchased laptop will have neither the drivers nor the downgrade rights to run old Windows.

koitsu wrote:
If [avoiding Poetterix] doesn't matter to you, then great, but if you ever have to deal with it on even a general level (like dealing with the journal getting corrupted -- I sure do love Lennart Poeterring's reply!)

I love it too because I see his point. I don't see the problem with using EOF as a marker to contain the corruption at write time. This way, later versions of the reading program can include improved error correction without having to correct for both the original error and the old version of the reading program's attempt to fix it.

koitsu wrote:
I still can't take Gentoo seriously (the arguments for it are always "but Portage is awesome", to which I reply: I've used FreeBSD since 1997, where do you think they got the idea from? Ports/Portage ain't enough to justify use of an OS, sorry).

I guess the rationale is the ports tree of FreeBSD combined with the hardware driver support of Linux.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 8:52 am 
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I was fairly happy with Kubuntu, despite it having its fair share of problems. The UI is just wayyyy more immature (= more glitches, bugs) than Windows/macOS.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 10:23 am 
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Linux isn't my daily driver, but for the last several years I've had the impression that Ubuntu is the way to go for my purposes (when I do use it). This is in no small part influenced by Steam making it their official target Linux distro.

I would second what koitsu said about trying a bunch out in a VM, or possibly as live boot from a USB key. In my experience with VMs, Linux has always been a lot easier to install on one than Windows or Mac OS.

Some helpful overviews here: https://distrowatch.com/dwres.php?resource=major


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 10:43 am 
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I run NixOS in a VM as my main development environment. The host (either Windows or macOS depending on which computer) is my real "desktop"; the VM just runs a very lightweight setup with xterm, xmonad, and non-X emacs. Nix is a dream to maintain but I can't speak as to how well full desktop environments or native hardware are supported on it. Still, I'd recommend giving it a shot.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 11:38 am 
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I threw Linux Mint on a flash drive, and I'm using that for an old i3 laptop. Just need to run VLC and Twitch Livestreamer, and Linux Mint is fine for that. Also nice to run Wine to test windows programs.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 2:45 pm 
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I've been using mint pretty exclusively for the last few years (when using Linux). It has all the benefits of Ubuntu (great hardware support) but its a bit cleaner (also Ubuntu made some odd decisions regarding feeding any local search results to amazon a few years ago). I'd definitely recommend it. Works great with ca65 and mesen.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 3:08 pm 
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team_disposable wrote:
Ubuntu made some odd decisions regarding feeding any local search results to amazon a few years ago.

I don't follow internal Linux politics, but I remember this having such terrible immediate backlash, and obviously this decision was undone. Is it something you actually think they'd ever try again?

(And FWIW, don't Windows 8 and Mac OSX finder already do something equivalent anyway?)


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