back to article Sick of Windows but can't afford a Mac? Consult our cynic's guide to desktop Linux

It is a truth universally acknowledged that all operating systems suck. Some just suck less than others. It is also a comment under pretty much every Reg article on Linux that there are too many to choose from and that it's impossible to know which one to try. So we thought we'd simplify things for you by listing how and in …

  1. Headley_Grange Silver badge

    Sponsored....

    ....by a popcorn vendor, one assumes.

  2. Jay 2

    A nice list of distro to try/avoid/etc. Horses for courses I suppose!

    My day job is a RHEL/etc sys admin and I run a Mac at home. I jumped from Windows a long time ago, and as I have no desire to mess with it the Mac "just works". Nowadays I could just about run some sort of Linux as a main desktop if I wanted, but it would remind me too much of work and there would always be the temptation to fix/tweak something.

    I do run a few VMs though. I usually ran CentOS (command line only) due to familiarity with the day job. But latest Mac is ARM so for the first time in ages I've been messing with Ubuntu for a bit. Seems to be OK, a lot more user-friendly than Fedora which I installed at the same time. Also a lot more documentation/help for Ubuntu, like when I was figuring out how to build Docker containers for different arch. Back in the day my fave VM play distro was Mint, but it doesn't look like they do an ARM-friendly version right now.

    1. two00lbwaster

      "just works"

      Except the steaming pile of excretion just doesn't want to work with DP alt. with PD most of the time (and yet Windows and Ubuntu have worked perfectly and without complaint with the same displays). Also the OS is just plain crap for multiple display usage so it doesn't really just work there either.

      1. NoneSuch Silver badge
        Linux

        Let's not slag off other Distros

        Regardless of your choice (and Linux gives us that choice) of distro, we can all agree Windows is not the OS we want or need.

        Microsoft's goal is for you to to pay them a monthly fee for everything. That's not my goal.

      2. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: "just works"

        Just crap for multi display? Handles my five monitor setup just fine.

        I'd like the display preferences arrangement window to be scalable, because with five monitors it ends up being ridiculously small - but that's really a fairly minor issue.

        What do you find to be poor about multi monitor support?

        (Absolutely with you on DisplayPort extensions... Linux on the same hardware happily supplied daisy chained monitors, but not MacOS).

        1. two00lbwaster

          Re: "just works"

          My main complaint with it is that if I can't remap the shortcut then I have to use the top bar (or similarly, if you want to use the Dock for some reason) which can be a long way away when you have a lot of or high resolution screens with maybe an odd layout. It's not about that you can't have multiple screens or set them up as you like, it's about the usability there after which a daily pain for me (I didn't get to choose the hardware/OS and I have not enjoyed the experience these last few months.) I'm sure you must have experienced this having 5 screens, maybe you put up with ctrl+f2 and navigating with the keyboard though.

          1. John Robson Silver badge

            Re: "just works"

            Out of preference I often use keyboard shortcuts - but I don't recall getting to the menu bar being an issue - at least no more of an issue than it is on any multi monitor setup, if it's at the top of a screen which has another screen above then it requires substantially more accuracy to hit. That's not an OS limitation, but a limitation of not having a screen edge there.

            I have the dock appear at the bottom of any of the bottom three monitors, and the menu bar at the top of each.

            It's slightly irritating that the menu bar is dimmed to the point of being invisible on all but the currently active monitor (be nice to be able to glance at the clock on any screen without thinking - I'm often typing on one screen whilst reading another, so do glance at the wrong one sometimes)

            When I switched to MacOS it was the "menu at the top" that was the bigger change,

        2. boatsman

          Re: "just works"

          monitors work just fine, IF they have an Apple logo on them and the price tag that comes with it.

          otherwise.... read the fora.... disastrous....

          1. WolfFan

            Re: "just works"

            My main monitor has a big LG on it and works just fine… my other monitor has a big HP on it, and works just fine. Both are 1920x1080 24” class units. Neither is new. Mac is a Mac mini 2012, using the HDMI and the DP ports.

        3. The Unexpected Bill
          Linux

          Re: "just works"

          With "conventional" multi-monitor setups, I've never had a problem with any major Linux distribution. (I tend to shy away from the lesser known offerings for reasons similar to those in the article.)

          It's under some of the less common arrangements that I've run into trouble. As an example, I have a touch input capable LCD monitor that I wanted to use with Linux Mint 20's xfce variant on a Dell Latitude D630. The displays themselves all worked fine, but it appeared as though the operating system was treating both displays as though they were touch capable. This threw the calibration completely off. (As I remember it, there was a built in calibration tool and I tried it to no improvement. It would place calibration marks on the laptop's internal display, where they could not be touched.)

          I'll grant that this wasn't a problem with anything being displayed, though it did prevent me from using the secondary display completely as intended.

          It would be nice if low resolution displays were handled better. Over twenty years on, I still run into problems with Linux GUIs where the windows are too large and can't be shrunk down any further to fit the confines of the display resolution, so you can see and use all the elements within. This happens just enough to keep things interesting.

          As someone who has become annoyed with the directions that Windows and Mac OS have gone, I'm glad to see the major strides that major Linux distributions have made in user friendliness and ease of use over the past two decades. (As a frame of reference, my adventures started with an early Red Hat Linux version running on an IBM PS/1 486.) There still remain plenty of rough edges that need sanding down, especially if you tread off the beaten path or have a "corner case" situation.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "just assumes"

        (Pet snark: Those that assume every reader must 'obviously' know what they're abbreviating, DP - Display Port and PD - Projected Display). Assuming that's what you meant, as it isn't immediately obvious.

    2. Christoph

      Distrohopper's Digest

      You could also look at Distrohopper's Digest

      1. Youngone Silver badge

        Re: Distrohopper's Digest

        Thanks. I will.

    3. el_oscuro

      I mostly run Linux at home and Windows at work, but when the pandemic started I put an old Mac into service. It mostly worked fine, but a killer issue I had was keyboard shortcuts, specifically copy and paste. Every other O/S uses control/c while Mac uses alt(cmd)/c. This is a royal pain in the ass because if you use multiple O/S like I do, you are always hitting the wrong key. I was Googling how to remap the Mac keys so that my Linux/Windows shortcuts worked when my old Mac died. I replaced it with a Laptop running MX Linux and haven't looked back.

      1. Handy Plough

        The whole point of the CTRL key is for control characters when using a terminal. The command key on Macs (and the subsequent key pairs) predates CTRL-Z/X/C/V by around 10 years. Using ctrl-c in a *NIX based system seems like a dumb decision to me, since ctrl-c is SIGINT - kind of useful.

      2. YetAnotherXyzzy

        I run Linux at home and Mac at work, and I too was annoyed by Mac's use of the command key instead of the alt key for shortcuts. The lack of a backspace key was another pet peeve. My solution to them both was to use a normal (not-Apple, not made-for-Mac) external keyboard with the Mac. Now I have consistent keys and keyboard shortcuts.

  3. Qarumba

    Control Your Own Upgrades

    Interesting and not too far from what to expect when coming to Linux as a new user. I'm a Fedora user and like most distro users, you need to work out a system that suits your needs. In my case I use the latest release, skipping in-the-middle releases until I see a new feature or perhaps even a new look, that I like; I then upgrade from clean. The install is now so easy that there's no great difficulty in doing this. Once I have my apps installed, off we go again. What makes it easy is that I keep my working files synchronised on a separate disk which are then synchronised back into the new installation.

    Any Linux distro can be used and upgraded at your own leisure rather than at the whim of the vendor, which is why I left the Windows world behind a long time ago.

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Control Your Own Upgrades

      [Author here]

      There you go then.

      If you're happy with that, good for you. I am not trying to tell anyone they're wrong.

      Me, personally, I would not be happy *at all* if I had to reinstall my OS from scratch every year or two; I would regard that as an unacceptable cost of ownership, even of something free.

      I think my oldest working Linux installation dates back 9 years and it's still fine and in frequent use, and the only reason I have nothing older is replacement of hardware and not bothering to transfer. That install is on at least its 3rd or 4th host machine now.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not be happy ... to reinstall my OS from scratch every year or two

        > Me, personally, I would not be happy *at all* if I had to reinstall my OS from scratch every year or two;

        Really?

        Not a criticism; each to their own. But am I the only person who habitually reinstalls their Linux, MacOS, and Windows home laptops pretty much monthly? By choice and preference?

        1. Martin an gof Silver badge

          Re: Not be happy ... to reinstall my OS from scratch every year or two

          Have to agree with Liam here. The very idea of installing from scratch - particularly when not necessary - is ridiculous. I run openSUSE - both Leap and Tumbleweed - and have to say that the rolling release has improved hugely in the five or six years since I first tried it, when every second update would bork something, require a rollback, probably some kind of manual fix, or occasionally a re-install. I haven't actually re-installed Tumbleweed from scratch on either of the two machines which currently run it, since I built them some four years ago, but I tend to put off updating until I can spare half an hour to double-check it isn't going to do something silly, which usually means once a month or so and also means doing it from the command line - not exactly newbie-friendly.

          Leap, slightly different in that a version upgrade (e.g. 15.2 to 15.3) is sometimes easier from the installation media, but I quite like the fact that in between versions it's relatively stable. Haven't had any borkage for... well... ages really. Can't remember the last time.

          And I'm about to start my very first MacOS "reinstallation". A friend has a second-hand device which seems to have a few things on it that it shouldn't, so a factory reset is in order methinks...

          Personally, I ran RiscOS as long as I possibly could (still do for some things) and then went straight to openSUSE somewhere around version 12.n (there was a Mac in the house too, not mine). Windows might have been simpler, but why make things simple when you can be different?

          Did I just contradict myself?

          M.

          1. gerryg

            Re: Not be happy ... to reinstall my OS from scratch every year or two

            I've been with the German one since S.u.S.E 6.1, now Tumbleweed on everything, including the odd computer or four when friends have asked for advice. Once I tossed the nVidia cards having got over the belief that I needed the better graphics everything has been 99.99% fine.

            Always used KDE, lived through 4, toughened me up.

            It's always been more than good enough. Only recently upgraded my 10 yr old desktop because I really needed better for video processing.

            Other "spins" might or might not have advantages, I neither know nor care.

            1. Agamemnon
              Pint

              Re: Not be happy ... to reinstall my OS from scratch every year or two

              "Always used KDE, lived through 4, toughened me up."

              *Roaring Laughter* Yup.

              One on me.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Not be happy ... to reinstall my OS from scratch every year or two

              Good to see a couple of discerning OpenSUSE users here.

              I take issue a bit with the assertion that Leap updates are slow. It's one release per year, which to me seems like a nice balance.

              I also run both Leap and Tumbleweed, both very successfully.

              I use Leap on servers and RPis (works great!) because of the relatively low maintenance effort. The servers are set to self patch once a day, and I do major maintenance (usually a distro upgrade to the next version) once a year. I also have Leap on the backup laptop (always travel with two in case one gives up the ghost).

              Tumbleweed runs on the office desktops, one laptop, and a few VPNs. One of the desktops has been on tumbleweed for almost exactly ten years without a single glitch (well, apart from a noisy fan).

              A couple of great aspects of OpenSUSE, other than KDE, are:

              1. YaST, both the fact that it's your go to for whatever admin work you require and the fact that it looks essentially the same whether you have X11 or a terminal. Very usable over slow connections. You can still of course drop down to configuring raw files, this being Linux, but often it's safer and more convenient to go through a front-end interface.

              2. The OpenSUSE build service, which was a major step forward for packagers (other distros have similar services these days).

              3. Good documentation (admittedly red hat do a good job too) and a great support community, with some very knowledgeable people who have been around since Methuselah was a glint in the eye of the milkman.

          2. Cryptomuseum

            Re: Not be happy ... to reinstall my OS from scratch every year or two

            RISC-OS today is fairly healthy: Together with 3 others our company bought it from the old owners. With lots of help from very good friends & programmers we managed to make it running fine again, but then completely open-source. No money involved, nothing.

            Look here: https://www.riscosdev.com/projects/ And give it a try.

            On supported ARM platforms.... as fast as lightning ! ;-)

            Why we did this RISC-OS buyout? Our company had great succes by using RISC-OS in the first place. We have developed lots of stuff with it and that brought us a good future. So for me I felt it was a matter of payback time. Why we did something like this then? It seems stupid and seems like lost money? I know, but I simply don't care. This step enabled the 4 of us to help to let RISC-OS survive, and to develop important improvements as well. For example, porting a modern browser to it and implementing a modern TCP-IP stack.

            Let us hope that others will repeat our idea and take this step too: Donate to the old platforms. I call out for the ones with the old names, the names that have tonns of money on their bank accounts due to all the succes they have had with software development on older OS-ses like RISC-OS or what have you.

            I call out to do something and stop complaining about Windoze and MAC.

            And if you are such a person, with tonns of money waiting to go over to the next generation due to Darwin only... I feel sorry for your kids. Let them learn to take care for themselves. Let them have the same experience as *you* had by making something a succes from.... almost nothing, the wonderment, you know what I mean. Wasn't this the way for our generation how it all started? Sorry for these crude words, but I believe it is the only way to wake you up...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not be happy ... to reinstall my OS from scratch every year or two

          5 downvotes (at time of writing)? For an uncritical comment asking for opinions? You get better behaviour on hckrnews.

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: Not be happy ... to reinstall my OS from scratch every year or two

            Does it matter?

          2. Updraft102

            Re: Not be happy ... to reinstall my OS from scratch every year or two

            The downvotes are the opinions, clearly.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Not be happy ... to reinstall my OS from scratch every year or two

            Not that it matters, as the fellow pseudonymous coward says, but I don't think your comment came across as uncritical so I'm guessing that's why.

        3. ZenaB

          Re: Not be happy ... to reinstall my OS from scratch every year or two

          Nowadays, probably you are, yep! Back in <Win7 days you'd be in the majority I'd guess.

          1. Boothy

            Re: Not be happy ... to reinstall my OS from scratch every year or two

            I used to rebuild my Win 7 system (and before that XP), so often I created custom install media, that had almost everything preselected (region, keyboard, local user account, drive configuration etc etc), plus service packs, various drivers, and a few must-have applications all pre-installed, i.e. slipstreamed in etc.

            All my data was on a 2nd drive and on a NAS. So wiping C: wasn't an issue.

            I'd just stick the DVD in the drive (later a USB), reboot, and leave it to it. Come back 30 mins later, and a nice clean install on C:

            1. rnturn

              Re: Not be happy ... to reinstall my OS from scratch every year or two

              Back when I still had a tape drive on my main system, I'd boot from the Linux partition and 'dd' the Windows partition to tape after I'd gotten it installed. If Windows happened to scribble on itself (which happened way more often than it should have), I'd simply reboot into Linux again and restore the Windows partition from tape and reboot.

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: Not be happy ... to reinstall my OS from scratch every year or two

                I made my wife's system dual boot XP and Slackware 12.2 back in '08. At first, she used her Linux side only when the Windows side went TITSUP. After about a year, she realized that she hadn't rebooted into the (now fixed) Windows side for several months. There was no point, Slack just worked, and Windows did not ... at least not for very long.

                She's a veteran Slackware user now, with no trace of Redmond on any of her systems.

                1. YetAnotherXyzzy

                  Re: Not be happy ... to reinstall my OS from scratch every year or two

                  You too, eh? A lady I had my eye on was having trouble with her XP box. I made it dual boot Mandriva. She too began only using the latter when the former didn't work, and soon enough was only using Linux. We're married now BTW -- I guess thanks to Microsoft.

                  1. jake Silver badge

                    Re: Not be happy ... to reinstall my OS from scratch every year or two

                    Funny story about the Great Aunt ... I brought her a Slackware box after spending four weekends in a row cleaning up malware on her XP system. She refused to use it, because it was "too hard to make a change at my age". Several weeks later, I realized that I hadn't had any support calls from her. I called to see what was up. It turned out that her sister in Finland had sent her some pictures right about the time that the XP box crapped out again. Out of desperation, she booted up the Slack box ... and hasn't looked back.

                    Several months later, she asked me to "get rid of that old thing", pointing at the now working again XP box. I couldn't convince her that I could install the same version of Slack on it, with it's more modern CPU, more RAM, larger harddrive, etc. To her, the OS+hardware were a lemon that couldn't be fixed. She's a Linux advocate now, in her "over 90" club ... but unfortunately, she calls it "the version of windows that my nephew gave me" ... The above events occurred around 15 years ago. Linux is a lot more mature and user friendly now.

        4. Throgmorton Horatio III
          Meh

          Re: Not be happy ... to reinstall my OS from scratch every year or two

          Not every month, but I used to have to reinstall both Windows and OSX around every 12-18 months to keep them running efficiently. Certainly a PITA, but it was all part of the maintenance routine, particularly with the Macbook I was using at the time.

          1. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: Not be happy ... to reinstall my OS from scratch every year or two

            Which is why those of us who didn't use those are usually unbearably smug.

        5. thames

          Re: Not be happy ... to reinstall my OS from scratch every year or two

          If your hobby is re-installing operating systems, that's fine, I'm sure there are worse hobbies to have.

          If it's what you like to do, then set up a series of VMs on your PC and install into them to your heart's content. You can then install the most obscure hobbyist distros, BSD, and various other operating systems without having to keep separate hardware around for them.

          I keep a variety of VMs and hardware for testing software and so have a fair bit of practice at this, even though it's not my idea of entertainment. Any of the major Linux distros installs with pretty minimal effort if you accept the defaults.

          1. HT7777
            Happy

            Re: Not be happy ... to reinstall my OS from scratch every year or two

            It surprises me how few regtards use VM's on their personal kit.

            I use VMware workstation on top of W10. I regard the base OS as a platform for running VMware. (I've looked at ESXi and enjoyed wrestling with Proxmox but neither suited my use case)

            The sandboxing provided with VM's is great for security, malware protection, ad blocking and obfuscation, and general disposability should there be a problem. Combine these with their own VPN's for added goodness.

            It's brilliant for testing, scoping out and playing with assorted OS's.

            The main downside is the hardware requirement. VM software likes lots of cpu cores, lots of ram and lots of diskspace.The flexibilty and convenience I get from running multiple VM's is worth every penny to me.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Not be happy ... to reinstall my OS from scratch every year or two

              >It surprises me how few regtards use VM's on their personal kit.

              It's less of surprise if you read some of the articles about PC's, such as the one's about Lenovo bloatware et al and realise that a significant number of ElReg readers use consumer, ancient(*) and low-end kit.

              (*) I am typing this on a max'd out 2011 Dell Vostro - it's good enough for email, MS Office and general browsing, hence left running on the home desk. As for VM's - XPMode in W7 was nice to play with, but not really fast enough for real work.

            2. Sudosu Bronze badge

              Re: Not be happy ... to reinstall my OS from scratch every year or two

              "The sandboxing provided with VM's is great for security, malware protection, ad blocking and obfuscation, and general disposability should there be a problem."

              That is why I run Qubes on my "work" laptop. I was going to try a Debian with Proxmox build to do this but Qubes covered most of what I was looking to do well enough that I have stuck with it since early 2019.

              I can set up isolated VM's for each client and use disposable ones for things like online banking etc.

              If your paranoia level is over 9000 you can run Whonix\Tor guests for browsing. If I was a journalist I think it would be my choice of OS for dealing with sources etc. Nothing is perfectly safe, but some risks can be mitigated.

              It took a bit of getting used to at first, but now I miss the features when on my other machines.

              It can run MS (server) guests reasonably well, other than some hardware pass through (sound) that were not really required anyway.

              Still have a seperate Windows machine for gaming though. :)

        6. two00lbwaster

          Re: Not be happy ... to reinstall my OS from scratch every year or two

          Erm my laptop couldn't be recovered from the Windows 10 dev branch and I was upset with having to reinstall after 8 years, I don't have time to reinstall monthly and yearly would be a challenge

          1. Updraft102

            Re: Not be happy ... to reinstall my OS from scratch every year or two

            Agreed. I used to do that in the Win 95 days. Since XP, my policy is one and done on installations.

        7. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Not be happy ... to reinstall my OS from scratch every year or two

          But am I the only person who habitually reinstalls their Linux, MacOS, and Windows home laptops pretty much monthly? By choice and preference?

          I think it's called getting too old for that shit. It's up to them to make sure their OSes work.

          1. georgezilla

            Re: Not be happy ... to reinstall my OS from scratch every year or two

            " ... it's called getting too old for that shit. ... "

            And just how old would that be?

            Wait ...................

            Back.

            Sorry. I needed to go finish a "bare metal" on my laptop.

            As I was saying ...................

            Just how old would that be?

            ( Note: I'm 69. )

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Not be happy ... to reinstall my OS from scratch every year or two

              > ( Note: I'm 69. )

              Is that your age or current activity? I'm impressed you can type at the same time.

              1. Jaybus

                Re: Not be happy ... to reinstall my OS from scratch every year or two

                Did you not consider that it could be both?

        8. Agamemnon

          Re: Not be happy ... to reinstall my OS from scratch every year or two

          Heh. I reinstall my Kubuntu from scratch every LTS (I'm busy right now so don't have time to do the 22.04 upgrade on my laptop, next week, probably, perhaps). I work on RedHat/CentOS servers but need WiFi drivers, the printer. Rebuild takes me a few hours and /home is a separate partition (don't forget to export your home directoriy's encryption key) and simply remount it. Good to go.

          My housemate is a Rock Star game dev (formerly of 343/Halo, all of them) and his machine is Win 11 (some strange beta I'm not even sure is In Chain at Microsoft) and he rebuilds twice weekly.

          Frankly, I'm in awe and as a SysAsmin... if I had to do Windows again professionally, I'd be begging him (a Dev) for hints on rebuilding WinX at scale because he's got it nailed down.

          1. Eeep !

            Re: Not be happy ... to reinstall my OS from scratch every year or two

            Your housemate needs a change of career/lifestyle - or possibly to have mutliple machines - or possibly to see what VMs can provide.

        9. Martin
          Happy

          Re: Not be happy ... to reinstall my OS from scratch every year or two

          But am I the only person who habitually reinstalls their Linux, MacOS, and Windows home laptops pretty much monthly? By choice and preference?

          Looks pretty clearly like the answer to that question is yes.

        10. ecofeco Silver badge

          Re: Not be happy ... to reinstall my OS from scratch every year or two

          Yes you are.

          That's a bit of overkill. But whatever floats your boat. Far too many people do not have the time to reload and re-customize their PCs, even from a full back-up and it's really quite unnecessary these days.

          I do a full back up once a week but I would rather not ever have to use it.

        11. boatsman

          Re: Not be happy ... to reinstall my OS from scratch every year or two

          just curious... *why* do you do that ? ( to answer your question: I never heard of anyone doing that.. )

        12. Davegoody
          FAIL

          Re: Not be happy ... to reinstall my OS from scratch every year or two

          You could be in the next “shades of Grey” movie as a different type of Sado-Masochist if you insist on reinstalling MacOS, Windows etc on your home PCs on a monthly basis. Surely by the time you have done all that, installed all patches and apps, copied your data back etc, it’s time to do the whole things again? Bit like painting the Forth Bridge. I occasionally, such as when I buy a new machine, install the OS myself, but that’s just for price of mind and to overwrite the crapware that’s often installed, but doing this monthly has to be the biggest waste of time imaginable.

          1. georgezilla

            Re: Not be happy ... to reinstall my OS from scratch every year or two

            " ... has to be the biggest waste of time imaginable ... "

            Not at all if you actually have the time. Retired. I have all kinds of it. And to me it's unimaginable to NOT have it.

            Time for any and everything. Including "wasting" it. It's lots of fun. And life is to short to not have fun.

            1. 43300 Silver badge

              Re: Not be happy ... to reinstall my OS from scratch every year or two

              Well, each to their own, but reinstalling OSs is not something I would regard as 'fun'!

              We use Intune at work, but even so will normally clean install any new / redeployed machines then provision them with Intune - tedious, but makes sure they are clean and on the latest Windows feature release (the image on new machines is often one or two behind, and a clean install is quicker than updating).

              Not something I would do at home, out of choice, though..

        13. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not be happy ... to reinstall my OS from scratch every year or two

          Good heavens! Why on Earth do you reinstall Linux every month?! Unless you've some particularly niche reason, that's a horrendous waste of time IMHO!

          With my Linux installs,, individual software updates get installed at some point after the system gently reminds me that something is updateable, and if I go to check on the updates it tells me what sort of update it is (security fix, bugfix, feature additions...). But actual complete reinstalls? I think the shortest time between complete reinstalls for me has been about 2 years,! In general, I only reinstall the OS if ether something or other has clearly gone astray (something's eating large swathe of diskspace, or has slowed the PC down to an intolerable extent, for instance) or if the distros tells me that for technical reasons it's going to be the most trouble-free way to update from one version of the distro I use, due to arcane reasons that maybe I could read up on if I could be bothered, but hey, I just want to use my PC, not understand every inner workings thereof (has happened a couple of times)!

          Evn the coule f years I was using Windows before heading off for Penguin Territory, I didn't reinstall WIndows more than once or twice a year because I didn't need to - and that was back when Win98 ruled the roost!

        14. georgezilla

          Re: Not be happy ... to reinstall my OS from scratch every year or two

          " ... pretty much monthly? ... "

          Welllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll .....................

          Maybe not THAT often, but yea.

          Usually because I'm trying something that I have no clue about. And I break shit. It's how you learn.

          It's all part of the fun. And shouldn't using computers be fun?

          But then my laptop isn't my "production" computer. It's my " That looks cool! Let's see what I can break this time " computer. And like I said .............

          ........ Sometimes clueless and break shit.

        15. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not be happy ... to reinstall my OS from scratch every year or two ??

          Unless you are writing device drivers, low level system software or patching out parts of the OS if you have to reinstall the OS on a regular basic you are doing something very very wrong. Except on Windows.

          This is my experience of five decades of professional software dev experience.

          CP/M and MS/DOS. Only reinstalled due to bad hardware or very buggy drivers / bios.

          MacOS Classic. Only reinstalled on regular basis when doing low level OS patching / OS trap replacement. Every 3 months or so a clean dev machine. Otherwise almost never. In fact often moved Mac OS dev SCSI harddrives between machines. One harddrive was put in 4 different Macs over two years without issue. This was on both release hardware and prototype hardware.

          MacOS X. XCode had issues for years where only a clean install of OS and XCode would get it stable again. So every few months. Problem mostly went away after XCode 5. Updates always turned off. Only major dot releases installed.

          Win16/Win32 - When doing any kind of development pre Win2K if doing non DDK development it was wipe and reinstall every two or three months. With DDK development often every few weeks. Win16/32 suffered from a very high rate of OS Rot. Fell apart very quickly. Win2K and Win7 much better. Wipe and reinstall every six months or so. But only install major dot release and never ever have updates enabled or run any patch unless to fix serious OS bug. Always have a separate Win16/32 dev machine apart from personal machine as the dev machine will get wiped on a regular basis. And always install exactly the same software config every time.

          Non dev Win32 machines. Unless installing lots of third party "mystery-ware" usually good for a few years. But thats an install everything upfront, no updates, no major changes, config. Make changes on a regular basis, all bets off.

          Linux. These were always disposable dev installs so always assumed they would get blow away on a regular basis. Which they were. In the first decade Linux had a lot of the same issues as WIn16/Win32 regarding stable installs. Too much bit fiddling involved to get stable. Mostly gone away in the last decade or so. But if doing any dev you are soon back to bit fiddling to get things to work. Non dev seems mostly painless now.

        16. 43300 Silver badge

          Re: Not be happy ... to reinstall my OS from scratch every year or two

          Reinstalling OSs is tedious - why would you want to do it every month? I don't do it unless I really have to (normally an install lasts years).

        17. Binraider Silver badge

          Re: Not be happy ... to reinstall my OS from scratch every year or two

          Re-installing OS over and over was a necessary evil of 98, NT and XP. I don't miss having that faff.

          I don't know what you are doing to your poor systems to trash them so comprehensively in the space of a month; but I assume whatever you re-install after flattening it must be the cause.

          More likely, I think you have some sort of OCD trigger (which I certainly did) over "Progra~1" being the new default rather than C:\games or c:\apps of DOS era and you, the user, being in control of how stuff would be laid out.

          Today, I more or less just use steam as a console and ignore the "mess" that I know lies underneath. Knowing windows is MORE of mess is somewhat comforting for the OCD trigger.

        18. gsej0

          Re: Not be happy ... to reinstall my OS from scratch every year or two

          I don't do it that often, but I reinstall periodically. For me it provides the reassurance that if my laptop is stolen or dies, I can get back to normal ASAP.

      2. Qarumba

        Re: Control Your Own Upgrades

        I wouldn't be happy if I *had to* upgrade but I choose to upgrade when it suits me...and OK that's usually every 18-30 months for me; it's a Fedora thing :-)

        1. Altrux

          Re: Control Your Own Upgrades

          Installing is quicker than upgrading these days (assuming you keep your separate /home partition intact, and have a nice little Ansible playbook to do the post-install extras). I've just done a stack of Ubuntu 22.04 systems: a fresh install takes ~15 mins, an inline upgrade maybe 30. OK, the latter theoretically leaves you less to do afterwards, but I love the freshness and speed of the former!

      3. Mark #255

        Re: Control Your Own Upgrades

        Me, personally, I would not be happy *at all* if I had to reinstall my OS from scratch every year or two; I would regard that as an unacceptable cost of ownership, even of something free.

        Absolutely. My two* Ubuntu installs are on 18.04; when 22.04.1 comes out in autumn, and that LTS is considered stable enough to offer it up to people wanting to upgrade from 20.04, that is when I'll be gritting my teeth and upgrading.

        * One of them started out running on an AMD Athlon II X2-270, and had a tablecloth-pulling upgrade to Ryzen; the desktop background for the other has a stylised Pangolin.

        And why no get_off_my_lawn.png icon?

        1. Updraft102

          Re: Control Your Own Upgrades

          22.04 has been flawless. 20.04 and 18.04 had their issues, but 22.04 is just fantastic IMO.

          1. logicalextreme

            Re: Control Your Own Upgrades

            Glad to hear it; after a disastrous time with 14.04 and a catastrophic loss of my 16.04 system, I've been on 18.04 since shortly after it arrived without too many problems but I'd like to move to a clean install soon for various reasons and also have an extracurricular project that's arrived just in time to try out 22.04 separately. It'll be nice to finally have python3 as the default without having to do anything ungodly, too.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Control Your Own Upgrades

            Flawlesss?

            Guessing, there aren't any older Nvidia proprietary graphic cards in any of the machines running Ubuntu 22.04 then. (I'm not blaming Ubuntu here).

            Nvidia's approach to Linux, almost feels like it has the backing of Microsoft, to make Linux seem as unstable as possible to the end-user/consumer, when it would otherwise be rock solid without their crap unsupported drivers installed.

            There are so many decent second hand laptops and desktops (macbooks and iMacs from the 2010 -2015 era), with a (still) capable Nvidia graphics card, but no stable proprietary linux drivers, machines that would otherise make the perfect linux desktop setup. Not forgetting, this is landfill crud to Apple, so should be the prime target of Linux distros, to increase the install base.

            Linux should really go after Apple's older now condemned Intel userbase, that should be one of it's target audience, as these machines drop off Apple's support timeline.

            1. NATTtrash

              Re: Control Your Own Upgrades

              Normally, I too wait a bit before stepping up my Xubuntu LTS install, but this time my production box' system SSD died on me. In a "clear" moment I decided that, if I had to install any way, it might be less of a hassle to go from 20.04 to 22.04 immediately, and weather the early hiccups.

              After a month I must say that 22.04 is pretty OK. Yes, there are small annoyances, but I have been able to work undisturbed on a daily basis. Sure, it has these small issues, scanners requiring root (no, permissions are all OK, it's something with sane most likely) or the apparmor profile of evince locking it down so much that it doesn't regard/ save user settings. Annoying but workable. Biggest pain I suppose is that on the software side not everybody is always ready when the version release happens. Like for example that wine stable isn't there (yet) for 22.04, although their instructions say it is.

              1. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

                Re: Control Your Own Upgrades

                "the apparmor profile of evince locking it down so much that it doesn't regard/ save user settings"

                To be fair this isn't a Linux-only thing. On Windows trying to combine virtual apps with remote profiles leaves me with a short list of settings I have to re-apply at every reboot. Actually it's a long list but most of them are wrapped up in a script.

        2. Ian Johnston Silver badge

          Re: Control Your Own Upgrades

          My two* Ubuntu installs are on 18.04; when 22.04.1 comes out in autumn, and that LTS is considered stable enough to offer it up to people wanting to upgrade from 20.04, that is when I'll be gritting my teeth and upgrading.

          I'm finishing with Xubuntu at 18.04, because after that they started using snaps and I will not have that insecure abomination on my system. Linux Mint + XFCE is looking good

          1. Jonathan Richards 1
            Thumb Up

            Re: Control Your Own Upgrades

            Mint + XFCE is pretty good, and pretty lightweight: I have it running adequately on a Samsung N210 netbook (remember netbooks?) that has been goosed up with an SSD.

      4. Ian Johnston Silver badge

        Re: Control Your Own Upgrades

        Me, personally, I would not be happy *at all* if I had to reinstall my OS from scratch every year or two; I would regard that as an unacceptable cost of ownership, even of something free.

        I don't mind reinstalling the OS from scratch. In general I find that one Xubuntu LTS -> LTS upgrade works fine, but the next one is dodgy. What pisses me off is having to reinstall all my applications from scratch, because that's what takes time. My documents survive upgrade in a separate /home; I wish there was some equivalent for applications.

      5. Soruk

        Re: Control Your Own Upgrades

        Fedora has supported in-place upgrades for some time now, no need to nuke and reinstall from scratch.

        It can get a little hairy if you have 3rd party repos installed, but last time I tried it, RPMFusion was nicely upgraded as well.

      6. Beeblebrox

        Re: Control Your Own Upgrades

        My Fedora installations upgrade smoothly these days with 'dnf upgrade' without hassle.

        Even taking the boot device from an old motherboard to a new one seems to work fine.

      7. Cliffwilliams44 Silver badge

        Re: Control Your Own Upgrades

        That is NOT a requirement with Fedora! I have successfully upgraded from versions of of Fedora in place and It's not that hard and Never had it crash!

        That is a "preference" I have seen people so, if it makes them feel better about their upgrade them that's fine for them but it is certainly NOT a requirement!

      8. el_oscuro

        Re: Control Your Own Upgrades

        I do Linux the Windows way - by buying most of my PCs with Linux pre-installed. I run Ubuntu LTS, which comes with 5 years support, and upgrades come out every 2 years. I'm about due to upgrade from 20.04 to 22.04 which is simply running "apt dist-upgrade" or select yes in the GUI when the option becomes available.

        Right now on my old computers, I have support until 2025. After the upgrade, I'll have support until 2027.

    2. ThatOne Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: Control Your Own Upgrades

      > you need to work out a system that suits your needs

      That's true, but while everybody knows to some extent what his needs might be, the big problem with Linux distros is that as an outsider you have absolutely no clue what your options are!

      200+ distros, one would assume they all have some unique characteristics, but unless you spend months reading through scattered, unverified and mostly outdated internet resources, how on earth am you supposed to know what those are and what they mean for you and your everyday work flow?

      That's why the usual client, the Windows defector, usually just asks for "something that is as close to Windows as possible". Because what he/she/it needs is a simply a reliable OS to run programs on, not a platform to tweak and to play with. This usually goes way over the heads of the Linux gurus, who's idea of fun is to recompile a kernel, or to test a keyboard and mouse-less OS controlled by throwing M&Ms against a charged metal plate...

      Horses for courses, Mr Average needs an OS which just works, doesn't get in the way, and is easy (for a normal person) to find support for. Ideally with LTS releases, since normal people do not consider reinstalling everything as "fun". As for the technical considerations, on the ideal distro they are totally transparent, as in "it just works".

      Just my 2 cents worth...

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Control Your Own Upgrades

        "who's idea of fun is [...] to test a keyboard and mouse-less OS controlled by throwing M&Ms against a charged metal plate..."

        But that *was* fun, right up until some bastard upstream recompiled libmetalplate.so to use a conflicting version of libplate.so and I had to mount the root filesystem in a different system in order to pin the package versions.

        "Mr Average needs an OS which just works, doesn't get in the way, and is easy (for a normal person) to find support for."

        This. Specifically the third requirement, despite the fact that Windows increasingly doesn't actually deliver on that front. No-one is going to make the jump unless they have a promise from an experienced friend that they will hand-hold and fix problems. With a decent distro, that support will not be a burden long-term, but I find it hard to believe that anyone can learn Linux from the interwebs painlessly.

        Possibly a fourth requirement is to have a second computer (permanently on hand) that you can use to fix the first one. Most geeks take that for granted and most normal people don't have it.

        1. Updraft102

          Re: Control Your Own Upgrades

          A second computer on hand?

          There are nine in the room I am in right now! (No, fondleslabs do not count)

          1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

            Re: Control Your Own Upgrades

            Are you just counting the ones that are on?

            In this room, I have 4 on right now, another 2 in standby, a stack of 4 laptops that are usable but turned off at the moment, my PiDP11 and a BBC Micro ready to be turned on, and a new firewall with PfSense made more usable by installing many of the missing bits of FreeBSD waiting to be deployed. And I think there's a working Archimedes A3020 somewhere in here!

            1. Updraft102

              Re: Control Your Own Upgrades

              Is this your home?

          2. Stoneshop

            Re: Control Your Own Upgrades

            Just nine?

            Recently I had reason to count the ThinkPads around here: 23 which are technically working though with about half of them unable to run a 64 bit OS their future is limited, and there are at least six in need of a (re)install. Then there are six desktops, of which three see regular use, four more non-ThinkPad lappies, and a bunch of Pis of which three have screens and trackpoint-equipped keyboards, hence usable for autonomous interactive use. Also three Mini-ITX celerys with a fair amount of disk, but those are normally running headless.

            Oh, and a Gemini, a Communicator, a N900, two N810's and two Psion Netbooks.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Control Your Own Upgrades

          "This. Specifically the third requirement, despite the fact that Windows increasingly doesn't actually deliver on that front. No-one is going to make the jump unless they have a promise from an experienced friend that they will hand-hold and fix problems. With a decent distro, that support will not be a burden long-term, but I find it hard to believe that anyone can learn Linux from the interwebs painlessly."

          - that's pretty much what some friends of mine did, and they're even more geriatric than me!

        3. Jonathan Richards 1
          Joke

          Re: Control Your Own Upgrades

          > right up until some bastard upstream recompiled libmetalplate.so to use a conflicting version of libplate.so

          And they still don't support the cinnamon M&Ms without compiling a special module...

      2. AMBxx Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Control Your Own Upgrades

        Do what everyone else seems to do - Install Mint, then write a blog about your experience.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @ThatOne - Re: Control Your Own Upgrades

        Small correction here. What the usual client, the Windows would-be defector wants is free as in beer Windows.

        He/she needs to continue using Windows without paying a dime. This is why everybody is silently putting up with forced activation, telemetry, cloud login, advertising plastered all over the place etc, because they just want to continue using the MS OS.

        1. ThatOne Silver badge
          WTF?

          Re: @ThatOne - Control Your Own Upgrades

          > What the usual client, the Windows would-be defector wants is free as in beer Windows.

          That's the kiddies. Adults usually pay for their computers, so don't really mind spending an additional $100 for a good reliable OS.

          I also fail to see how this could be a justification for snooping on people?

          (Didn't downvote you though.)

      4. thames

        Re: Control Your Own Upgrades

        @ThatOne said: "200+ distros, one would assume they all have some unique characteristics, but unless you spend months reading through scattered, unverified and mostly outdated internet resources, how on earth am you supposed to know what those are ... "

        Perhaps someone ought to write an El Reg article on which Linux distro to pick ...

        1. Updraft102

          Re: Control Your Own Upgrades

          It doesn't really matter. Just grab one of the ones that frequently gets cited as good for beginners and get started. You can't begin to learn what your own preferences are in terms of a distro until you at least have a basis for comparison. You need a fixed reference point before you can start asking for changes that are relative. If you let yourself be paralyzed by indecision, you'll never get anywhere!

          1. logicalextreme

            Re: Control Your Own Upgrades

            I agree — I'd also start keeping a list of things you've installed and configuration commands you've had to run as you go, so you know approximately what you need to do to get a different distro up and running too.

            1. Jonathan Richards 1

              Re: Control Your Own Upgrades

              If you think you're going to be chopping and changing between distros, it would be a good idea to have /home on a separate partition. Then at least when you clobber a distro you can save yourself the bother of backing up and restoring /home. In the new distro, simply re-create the previous user (in which case /home/the_user will be adopted by the new distro) or make a new user and cp or mv data in to home/new_user as required.

              This does require care when selecting partitions for the newer installation, though, so there are perils if the installation process is opaque or non-intuitive as is the case for some.

              1. logicalextreme

                Re: Control Your Own Upgrades

                Yeah, it's something I've tended to not do in the past; I've usually built up enough cruft in the home directories that I figure a clean go at it is nicer and I'm unlikely to truly need anything I haven't archived away already (plus I've got nightly backups just in case). You can get a fair bit of config clutter in home directories too, some of which may be outdated when all the new versions of packages turn up in the new distro.

        2. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

          Re: Control Your Own Upgrades

          > Perhaps someone ought to write an El Reg article on which Linux distro to pick ...

          That is what this one was. I just put a different spin on it from the normal one.

          Everyone and their dog has opinions on which are the best distros. Every distro has someone somewhere who thinks it is the best. Every distro has what someone somewhere feels are advantages, even if very few others see them as advantages.

          So I see no point in listing those advantages, because they do not apply to everyone.

          For example, some distros cost nothing. Some have a basic version for free, but the full thing costs money.

          Some people see that as really important; others don't mind.

          Some distros are related to important commercial ones, so by using the freebie, you gain relevant experience that will help with the commercial one. In other words, it helps with your job, or helps you to get a job.

          That's really important for some people, and totally irrelevant to others.

          So it's really hard -- in fact, I'd say impossible -- to come up with a list of pro points everyone would agree on.

          But no distro is perfect. No OS is perfect. And often, while you can't get people to agree on what are the

          good aspects, you can often find people very happy to opine on what are the _bad_ aspects.

          So that's what I did: I wrote a list of what, IMHO, is wrong with a somewhat ad-hoc top 10.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @ThatOne - Re: Control Your Own Upgrades

        So I guess that leaves us with only OS the suits the needs of Mr./Mrs./Miss Average : Microsoft Windows.

        1. Tim99 Silver badge

          Re: @ThatOne - Control Your Own Upgrades

          I think that you are forgetting that mostly "Average" Window person has IT support - Even if it's daughter/brother/friend/man who comes to house at £100...

        2. ThatOne Silver badge

          Re: @ThatOne - Control Your Own Upgrades

          > So I guess that leaves us with only OS the suits the needs of Mr./Mrs./Miss Average : Microsoft Windows.

          You somewhat missed my point, didn't you. My point was about an ex-Windows user choosing a Linux distro, not about which OS is best.

          Indeed Windows is what used to suit best Mr Average for home use, not only because (s)he has been using it at work and was thus familiar with it, but also because there is always bound to be somebody in his/her entourage who can help when things go south. Last but not least, Windows was built for normal users, not computer whizz guys. Technical specs have absolutely nothing to do with it.

          Now obviously things have changed, and Windows is going to hell in a hand basket. Many people (like me) had to change what they used at home (I've been using Windows and various flavors of U*nix at work for ages), and thus went on a search for something to replace their Windows boxes with.

          Funny enough, their needs didn't change: Internet, some games, some low-intensity office work with the capacity to view/edit work files. This rules out any really outlandish exotic OSes (I have an old Sun and an old SGI workstation at home, definitely superior kit, but I wouldn't be able to do much with them, I just keep them because of pure nostalgia).

          (Didn't downvote you though.)

      6. Kobus Botes

        Re: Control Your Own Upgrades

        @ThatOne

        ..."what he/she/it needs is a simply a reliable OS to run programs on..."

        I have been very happy with Mageia since, well, almost forever, as I started with Mandrake 9 (I think) in 2004/5.

        The biggest problem I had with it was with updates - sometimes it will give you a warning that it needs to be rebooted for a kernel update, BUT THERE WOULD BE FURTHER UPDATES WAITING IN THE WINGS; should you reboot without waiting for URPMI to fetch the later updates, you can end up with an OS that does not boot into the desktop. Luckily it is easy enough to just hit Alt-F2 for a console, log on as root (or su to root) and complete the update.

        Other than that it is a joy to use (for me, at least).

    3. Martipar

      Re: Control Your Own Upgrades

      I had a minor epiphany recently, Linux is not a replacement for Windows but vendors definitely market it that way waht with a heavy focus on Wine and Libreoffice and MS Office compatibility. However what Linux really is is a MacOS replacement, if you have an old Mac and want a replacement but can't afford a new Mac but can afford a new Windows PC then Linux is ideal.

      The games compatibility is largely the same because both MacOS and Linux are "serious" operating systems - all work and no play. You can create art, music, documents and spreadsheets on a Mac and Linux but if you play games and have fun with your computer then Windows is what you need.

      Linux will keep your server up and running for days without incident but if you have Linux on your desktop too then there's not much you can do to take advantage of all that extra free time, Windows on a server will keep you entertained by having a problem that needs solving every so often and if you also have Windows on your desktop you can play a game while waiting for a fix to install.

      The best of both worlds is to run Linux on the server and Windows on the desktop unless you're a lapsed Mac user then the experience will be much the same if you run it on the desktop as fun is not on the agenda.

      1. FeepingCreature

        Re: Control Your Own Upgrades

        If you mostly play indie games, Linux is also fine. I play Factorio (native), Kerbal Space Program (native), Rimworld (native), Dyson Sphere Program, 7 Days to die, Satisfactory, Deep Rock Galactic and even with limited tweaking DCS World on Linux. The time where a new game was 50/50 is long past; nowadays it's something like 90/10 for smaller games, 50/50 for triple-A games, and even that almost entirely due to invasive copy protection - even triple-A singleplayer games are closer to 90%. Elden Ring ran on day one.

        Valve have really done an enormous amount to get Linux gaming through the final 10% of ease and compatibility. I mean, full credit to the wine team for the vast effort they have put in, but there's a difference when there's a vendor who has a direct commercial interest in Windows emulation functioning.

      2. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

        Re: Control Your Own Upgrades

        That was why the subtitle.

        Or, to spell it out:

        Some people don't need a computer in general, they need Windows. If someone needs Windows then no replacement will suit them.

        A good test for whether someone needs Windows or not is whether a Mac would suffice for them. If they could get by with a Mac, then there's a reasonable chance that they do not 100% *need* Windows.

        And if they are in a position to try a different OS, well, Linux is:

        • cheaper than a Mac;

        • runs on existing kit (including an old PC or a cheapo 2nd hand one from Morgan's or Tier1 or Bargain Hardware or some local equivalent);

        • can look more like Windows than a Mac;

        • can easily read Windows disks, files etc. (arguably easier than a Mac).

        The rivals to Linux (FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, etc.) all are much *much* harder work than Linux. Running macOS on a PC is harder than installing Linux, and it violates the licence agreement.

        Thus the title.

  4. DennisMFaucher

    Humorously Scare People Away

    The excellent Register humor will definitely scare people away from Linux here. That's probably a good thing. Linux is awesome, but no matter what distribution you use, the average user will more easily find support for Windows or MacOS. Linux is for people who like to break things. ChromeOS excluded. All our older family members should run ChromeOS on ChromeBooks so that nothing ever breaks.

    1. Andy Non Silver badge

      Re: Humorously Scare People Away

      I've used Mint for a number of years. I just want a stable OS that allows me to do the things I want to do. I've had very few breakages using it; I'd say less problems than I used to have using Windows. It just works, as they say.

      1. ThatOne Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Humorously Scare People Away

        I'm with Andy Non here. Mint manages to be as user-friendly as old times Windows (XP, 7). It doesn't require any special computer knowledge to install and run, and ex-Windows users should normally immediately feel comfortable with it.

        It's definitely the distro I suggest to non-IT people who want to break free from Microsoft's death spiral.

      2. Barry Rueger

        Re: Humorously Scare People Away

        Ditto. Fifteen minutes tops to install, disable Caps-Lock, I'm good to go. Everything - including printers - Just Works. Upgrades don't break things.

        My work isn't tied to Windows or Mac specific software, and LibreOffice and GIMP handle what I need.

        I think my latest refurbed Dell laptop is four or five years old and still running the original install.

        And of course the UI is basically classic Windows so everything is where I expect it to be.

        After years of battling Windows and Mac OSs there's something really nice about ignoring your computer and just getting stuff done.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Humorously Scare People Away

      "Linux is for people who like to break things."

      As opposed to people who want things broken for them and therefore choose Windows?

      No thanks. I want an OS that enables me to do things without breakage and that's Linux.

      "ChromeOS excluded. All our older family members should run ChromeOS on ChromeBooks so that nothing ever breaks."

      If all you want to do is use somebody else's computer via a browser, that's fine to do a limited number of things. However as one of the older family members that wouldn't suit me (neither does your blatent ageism). Self & wife run Devuan (an old MSI is on Mint + KDE). A couple of cousins-in-law are on Zorin.

    3. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      Re: Humorously Scare People Away

      My wife has two systems with Ubuntu (currently 18.04) installed on them (a laptop that she uses for casual use, and a desktop with two screens for genealogy work). They both are configured for her to use Cinnamon, with a Windows XP skin on it (this goes back to when I first moved her off of her Windows XP system). The only time I get bothered by her not being able to use them is when they drop off the Mesh WiFi (which happens more often than I can explain!)

      She doesn't really care what they are running as long as she can get to the Internet, read her mail, and sometimes print the odd house brochure (she thinks we're going to move sometime, I've not yet disillusioned her about why we can't afford the houses she's looking at).

    4. thames

      Re: Humorously Scare People Away

      I've been using Ubuntu on my desktop ever since Mandriva started going down the drain (new management at the company). I can't recall it ever "breaking".

      As for ChormeOS, that's more or less Linux but with Google being root instead of you. You can do the same thing by installing Debian and not giving the user the root password.

    5. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Humorously Scare People Away

      If you think ChromeOS doesn't break then you've not had the pleasure of using it.

      1. Martin
        WTF?

        Re: Humorously Scare People Away

        Well, my wife, my daughter and I have been using Chromebooks (and hence, ChromeOS) for about ten years as our main systems. I'm typing this on a £200 Chromebook. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times any of them have broken.

        The worst that happens is they occasionally slow right down if you've got too many tabs open, and then you have to restart them. That takes all of thirty seconds. I'd hardly call that broken.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Humorously Scare People Away

          Ours intermittently wouldn't wake from sleep unless it was plugged in when opening the lid, even though the battery was charged. It was intermittent, but once it had decided not to work it wouldn't come back to life without the charger. Bit of a problem because it was charged at night and taken to school the next day without the charger, as it supposedly has a battery life of 8 hours.

          In the end it required a full system restore (download image to USB stick and boot from that), not even what they call a power wash would sort it out. So it was a software problem.

          Age of Chromebook: 7 months.

          1. Martin
            FAIL

            Re: Humorously Scare People Away

            Well, my wife, my daughter and I have used ChromeOS for ten years on something like fifteen different machines and never seen a problem.

            You've had one problem on one machine - granted, a particularly annoying problem - and as far as you are concerned, ChromeOS is broken. Hmmm....

            1. Dan 55 Silver badge

              Re: Humorously Scare People Away

              I said "if you think ChromeOS doesn't break" not "ChromeOS is broken".

              The crowd-sourced support forums are, of course, unhelpful. People posting the same problem over and over, people replying with "I've also got that problem", and sooner or later threads are locked with no clear solution. But at least it confirms that ChromeOS does break.

    6. Jonathan Richards 1
      Unhappy

      Re: Humorously Scare People Away

      > the average user will more easily find support for Windows [ or MacOS ]

      I don't know about MacOS, but I actually find it harder to find reliable straightforward support for Windows issues. This is because the Web is full of pages that are generated with a template: "Find support for $ISSUE here! Simple fix for $ISSUE errors!!"

      The forums are full of people with "expert user" status, who simply recommend re-installing all the time, and of course Windows doesn't write anything as support-friendly as /var/log/syslog.

  5. alain williams Silver badge

    "overly cautious approaches to updates and upgrades"

    This is something that I like. I want my computers to be boring - ie just work and not have things fail because of some improvement (ie update) that breaks the way that I do things. This is why my servers run RedHat (or Rocky) or Debian - long lifetimes. I can keep the base OS but run the current version of PHP or similar -- so get the best of both worlds.

    Linux Mint for my laptop and what I recommend to friends.

    OK: I will also run bleeding edge (Arch) in a VM as I am a techie and want to see what is coming down the line. If I was not I would not.

    The one thing that I would like stable OSs to update is the latest Unicode glyphs - so that I can understand what friends are saying when they send an email containing a new emoji.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: "overly cautious approaches to updates and upgrades"

      "so that I can understand what friends are saying when they send an email containing a new emoji."

      I would take the view that if they need Unicode emojis they're probably not saying anything worth understanding.

      1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

        Re: "overly cautious approaches to updates and upgrades"

        > if they need Unicode [...] they're probably not saying anything worth understanding.

        Or they speak Bulgarian, or Serbian, or Ukrainian, or Russian. Or they speak Greek. Or Georgian. Or Thai. Or Arabic, Farsi or Urdu. Or Chinese. Or Gujerati. Or Hindi. Or Tamil.

        Just about 3 billion people, give or take.

  6. FirstTangoInParis Bronze badge
    Linux

    Home workhorse

    So we're a Mac house, after the Great Windows Update From Hell and subsequent inability to run Windows in 4 GB RAM (I've lost count of the number of slow-running friends laptops I have been asked to look at), but how to back up, and store files not generally needed but still wanted? Apple has stopped selling kit for that, so after buying and hating a Seagate file server that allegedly ran Time Machine, I built my own four-disk RAID 1 server on Ubuntu Server. After a couple of hiccups I now have a smooth running small server offering Time Machine, Samba file shares and miniDLNA for watching videos on TV. Yes, it isn't out-of-the-box working, but a bit of patience and Googling helps me stand on the shoulders of giants who've had my problems and fixed them.

    1. phuzz Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: Home workhorse

      I wouldn't spec a laptop/desktop with less than 8GB of RAM these days with any OS.

      Not because of OS bloat, but because 4GB isn't enough RAM to fit an OS and a modern web browser (connecting to modern websites).

      I'm right in the middle of a project upgrading a whole bunch of desktops that were quite happily running Linux Mint on 4GB of RAM to 8GB purely because the users are having to access more 'responsive' websites (which are anything but).

      Or I suppose I could run a different web browser which isn't compatible with those sites, that's not really a solution in a business though.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I now have a smooth running small server

      I needed the same but instead of Linux I simply went with TrueNAS Core. Gives me file sharing, Time Machine, Plex and more, performs automatic cloud backups (encrypted), and it's rock solid (FreeBSD and ZFS) and comes with a nice web interface.

      Setting it up on an old HP Microserver took less than an hour. With Linux from scratch, this would have been days.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: I now have a smooth running small server

        Great straw man.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows didn't suck...

    For a short time, windows actually didn't suck. But it would seem that Microsoft were unhappy about that situation and so forced some updates our way...

    1. ThatOne Silver badge
      Pirate

      Re: Windows didn't suck...

      In the beginnings and for a short time Microsoft followed the old system of giving customers value for their money.

      But they soon switched to the modern system of taking as much money as possible while giving as little value as possible. Figures: More profit.

      Well, kind of modern, it was already fashionable in the 1700s among a specific profession: "Take everything, give nothing back! Arrr!"

      1. Arthur the cat Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Windows didn't suck...

        Well, kind of modern, it was already fashionable in the 1700s among a specific profession: "Take everything, give nothing back! Arrr!"

        I thought lawyers predated the 1700s?

        1. eldel

          Re: Windows didn't suck...

          Hmm, dunno, 1700 BCE sounds about right. End of the neolithic, start of the Mycenaean project. Yeah, I'd say lawyers probably came crawling out from under their rocks about then.

    2. VoiceOfTruth

      Re: Windows didn't suck...

      Windows didn't suck with Win2k. Windows XP was OK but was also not secure enough for general usage.

      1. druck Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: Windows didn't suck...

        Is that all you've got?

        Liam has gone to the trouble of writing an article specifically for you to vent your spleen about too many Linux distro's and you've only got one comment about Windows? Where are the other 30 posts of frothing from the mouth diatribe against choice and duplication of effort? Are you ill? Have the Rubles run out?

    3. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Windows didn't suck...

      LOL Windows has always sucked. I've been using it since 2.x.

      Only because version 1 wasn't even worth bothering with.

    4. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: Windows didn't suck...

      Wash talking with my wife about this (relative suckage, Win vs Linux), and I think the answer is that Windows suckage relates to having to pay for a lot of things that should be free, and forced feature changes (I hesitate to call them "upgrades") that may cause things you count on to cease working (until you pay more money).

      Linux suckage is usually related to stuff you could do on Windows but can't figure out how to do on Linux (e.g.: Word vs Libre Office) or having to go down the rabbit hole of Googling error messages to find and fix whatever doesn't work.

      In short: Windows sucks because you keep getting nickled and dimed; and Linux sucks because you have to do more figuring out to get stuff to work.

      I'm pretty happy with Linux (Mint 20.3 now, but I have been using it since Open Office made it usable as a replacement for Windows) and don't mind the occasional "learning experience". The rest of the family uses Apple products. To me, it's about control: Linux is my OS on my hardware. Windows? Not so much.

      "Linux: it doesn't suck any worse than Windows"

  8. Zolko Silver badge

    choose how the OS will annoy you

    It is a truth universally acknowledged that all operating systems suck. Some just suck less than others.

    it's not so much a quantitative question – sucking MORE or LESS – but a qualitative one: you choose in what way the OS will annoy you. With Windows, it's all the vulnerabilities and crappy updates, with Mac it's the walled garden and the childish treatment, with Linux it's the initial installation and driver set-up.

    And you forgot MX-Linux, which is to Debian what Mint is to Ubuntu : easy to install, with all the drivers and codecs, and Debian-based. Optionally systemD-free

    1. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: choose how the OS will annoy you

      I think many of us will consider MX-Linux covered by option 0.

      1. Zolko Silver badge

        Re: choose how the OS will annoy you

        I think many of us will consider MX-Linux covered by option 0

        then many of you are wrong: according to distrowatch, MX-Linux is N°1

        1. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

          Re: choose how the OS will annoy you

          OK, I hadn't heard of it before.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: choose how the OS will annoy you

            Once again the real value of The Reg is in the comments.

        2. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: choose how the OS will annoy you

          The problem with the Distrowatch counter is that it only measures page views for the distro's page on Distrowatch. If there's been buzz around that distro, then you might see a jump in popularity, but Distrowatch does not track more relevant metrics such as number of downloads or active installations for a given distro.

        3. georgezilla

          Re: choose how the OS will annoy you

          Except that many of us actually understand that Distrowatch shows nothing more then what people are LOOKING at. And in NO WAY reflects what is actually being installed.

    2. To Mars in Man Bras!
      Headmaster

      Re: choose how the OS will annoy you

      >>with Linux it's the initial installation and driver set-up.

      No. It's the lack of quality apps.

      1. phuzz Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: choose how the OS will annoy you

        Not sure you deserve those downvotes, unless people are taking exception to the word "quality".

        For most people, the question they ask about a new OS is "can I run xyz?", and with Linux the answer is usually "well, x runs fine, there's v instead of y but it works identically, however instead of z you'll have to use s which does similar stuff but in a completely different way".

        Personally I enjoy learning new software, but most people do not.

        1. the Jim bloke
          Windows

          Re: choose how the OS will annoy you

          Not sure you deserve those downvotes, unless people are taking exception to the word "quality"

          Whilst agreeing with the sentiment - and upvoting the original post- the part I did find irritating was describing software as "äpps"

          I know this puts me out of step with the youngsters - but I dont feel any need to pander to their sensitivities (in the absence of sensibilities), so fuck em.

          1. that one in the corner Silver badge

            Re: choose how the OS will annoy you

            Youngsters? We were describing programs as "apps" forty-plus years ago (older and whiter beards may go back further than that).

            Admittedly, we did also call some "utils" if they weren't deemed interesting enough to be "apps" and we used "tools" to create both the apps and the utils. And that just covers the software fit to go into one of the bins, of course. So I'll agree that the youngsters are failing to spot the subtle distinctions.

          2. georgezilla

            Re: choose how the OS will annoy you

            Aren't "apps" what you fill out when looking for a new/different job?

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: choose how the OS will annoy you

          And yet if their vendor changes the way those apps work they'll just get on with re-learning them.

      3. Ozzard

        Re: choose how the OS will annoy you

        No. It's the lack of Microsoft Office.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: choose how the OS will annoy you

          Commodity support, more complete eco system; less expensive resources to integrate into existing environments. Not to mention that Microsoft generally used (and familiar by my user base).

          Sorry, and totally expect downvotes, but the TOC for Microsoft platforms is predicable, despite the vulns (which frankly day to day are dealt with in reasonable timeframes); but the right tool for the right job, and there is a reason why most organisations go with Microsoft.

          Its about where you choose to put your money, your software OEM or the support personnel and training of the user community. I like most others will go for MS.

          I totally appreciate that Linux platform has benefits, its not in the typical user space.

          Ok. Let loose.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: choose how the OS will annoy you

            "Not to mention that Microsoft generally used (and familiar by my user base)."

            This is, in fact, a circular argument and even then not entirely a correct one. Microsoft products become unfamiliar to your user base at frequent intervals.

        2. Tom 38

          Re: choose how the OS will annoy you

          You can't have Microsoft Office on Linux, but you can have Office 365. There's not a lot you can't do in the web app versions of Office anymore.

          OK, there's lots you can't do with the web versions, but there's a lot you can do.

      4. Binraider Silver badge

        Re: choose how the OS will annoy you

        This is a very true statement IMO. For better or worse, Sony Vegas; and Adobe are big reasons to have win or Mac. If you’re into music, logic, ableton, reason, cakewalk etc lack support. Ardour works but it’s not a substitute.

        The most prominently missing is of course autodesk. CAD and spin-offs in BIM world are big business requirements. Most Linux CAD apps are pretty poor.

        Office - fine, go LibreOffice. MS has some advantages but the lead is diminishing; as the cost of living with it rises.

        I was very happy to find COMSOL had a Linux release.

        And don’t mention games (but support is generally improving with Vulcan and proton).

        I use Linux maybe 95 percent of the time outside of work. When I have to fall back; Server 2019 as a desktop is a lot nicer to live with than 8/10/11. Video drivers can be a faff but otherwise it’s largely like a cleaner copy of 10.

        1. Zolko Silver badge

          Re: choose how the OS will annoy you

          Most Linux CAD apps are pretty poor

          There is FreeCAD, which is quite decent

          1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge

            Re: choose how the OS will annoy you

            I've been playing with KiCAD for schematics and layout.

    3. DoctorNine

      Re: choose how the OS will annoy you

      Well said. This is perhaps the crux of the issue. Choose how you want to be annoyed. Using Windows, Mac and various species of Linux, It's always been my feeling that you look at what you need to do with the machine, and choose your poison. As others have mentioned, Linux has some nice choices for low overhead work-oriented boxes (I used to be an OpenSUSE partisan, but have grown past that) and game with WinWorld, but like OS X for setting and forgetting with family home computers. And they really aren't that expensive anymore. £699 for a Mac mini isn't that big an ask. Besides, most of them just use their desktops to port stuff to their iPad...

      1. georgezilla

        Re: choose how the OS will annoy you

        " ... Choose how you want to be annoyed. ... "

        2+ decades of daily driving Linux.

        And it's been a very long time sense that it has "annoyed" me at all.

        OH SHIT!

        Slackware on what was it? 27 floppies?

        That's the definition of annoying.

        And yes. I am that fucking old. In the early to mid 90's I was ....

        Oh shit!

        I was 40!!!

        1. ThatOne Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: choose how the OS will annoy you

          I still have boxes of Windows and MS Office (Pro!) floppies! I remember it was great fun installing everything in one go. You had to bring a newspaper/magazine and just listen to the noise of the drive - when it stopped chewing a floppy it was time to insert the next one...

        2. alisonken1

          Re: choose how the OS will annoy you

          I remember those. I played with Slackware since the days of SLS.

          I figured out how to take the floppies, copy the sets to a CD and figured out how to run the installer so I didn't have to swap floppies all the time - one CD to rule the install. The hardest part was recreating the X config file for the monitor(s) I had available.

          Those were the days - quick edit of a plain text file and have whizz-bang installer updates.

        3. GuldenNL

          Re: choose how the OS will annoy you

          I started in late 1992 when n Linus was on various Usenet boards and available via IRC. The first packaged version I used was Red Hat circa 1997. I went through many distros until about 2009 when I settled on Mint for everything in our home.

          I got my then 70 year old father into Red Hat in 2000 and he became his neighborhood’s computing guru. IIRC, he moved to Fedora in 2004 but in 2005 he and I both began using Ubuntu for our desktops. I had almost all of my servers on RHEL, but had three Sun servers in my computer closet because they were a customer and they gave me the servers out of one of their labs in the Denver area.

          By 2010 my father had converted 15+ of his neighbors to Mint Linux, and they were telling their kids and grandkids about why Linux was a good move. He’s 92 now and still a fan of Mint. I’m visiting him in a couple of weeks, and will be moving him off of LineageOS on a Samsung to an iPhone 13 Max Pro phone. We love LineageOS, but having to update often can be tedious and IMHO, Android along with its HW partners seems to be getting worse rather than better. I had hopes for a strong pure Linux phone for years, but alas it seems to be a pipe dream.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: choose how the OS will annoy you

            WTF is a "Usenet board"?

    4. adam 40 Silver badge
      WTF?

      systemd

      systemd can fuck right off.

      1. GuldenNL

        Re: systemd

        I’ve wondered if Kay Sievers was a Stasi informer pre-unification. His attitude seems like a perfect fit.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: systemd

          Nah. He's just a bully who needs a good slap from his mum. Or a knee to the groin from one of his peers. Most of us were hoping Linus removing him from kernel development (for not playing well with others) would be that virtual knee, but it doesn't seem to have taken.

    5. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: choose how the OS will annoy you

      > And you forgot MX-Linux, which is to Debian what Mint is to Ubuntu : easy to install, with all the drivers and

      > codecs, and Debian-based. Optionally systemD-free

      I did not forget it, and as others have pointed out, it's covered by point 0.

      I have tried it. I may give it a full review at some point.

      It is OK but I don't see anything in it that is not adequately covered by Debian itself (if you want a stable distro with Xfce), or Devuan (if you want a stable distro with Xfce and no systemd).

      There is nothing particularly wrong with MX or antiX, but for my money, Debian (or Xubuntu or Linux Mint Xfce) are cleaner and easier and do the same job just as well, or better.

      Frankly, I hoped for something more innovative. For instance, antiX offers the ROX Desktop, but not properly-integrated. A clean lightweight distro that booted directly into the ROX Desktop and used AppImage by default, that would be something interesting and worth having... but antiX is cluttered and over-complex.

      Or one that booted into GNUstep and gave a modernised NeXTstep style desktop, like NextSpace but based on Debian or Devuan.

      https://github.com/trunkmaster/nextspace

      That would be of interest to me.

      But neither MX nor antiX deliver that level of innovation, IMHO.

      And even if they did, they'd be niche and therefore ruled out under Point 0.

  9. Dave559
    Pint

    Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad

    I think you definitely deserve a beer for the Cronus and hydra references!

    (And in the underworld there are also many more daemonic creatures to be bargained with and tamed, for those who wish their systems to do more than just run of the mill desktop things…)

  10. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Rather than an "interesting" system, Popl_OS I'd have included Zorin.

    One thing about Mint and Zorin (maybe also Ubuntu but it's a long time since I looked at that) is that both really need a reinstall to update from one major version number to another so it's best to install with a separate /home partition. I wish this was the default install option.

    By contrast IME Debian and Devuan have succeeded in making major version upgrade in place work for some time now. It does require manual juggling of repositories however.

    1. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

      At least since Debian 2.0, in 1997 if I recall. I only do a full install if it's a new drive. WTAF did Ubuntu do that broke that feature anyway?

      Or was it just bad advice from some journalists?

    2. Andy E

      My 1st attempt

      An old PC I had failed (motherboard failure). I tried to move the hard drive to another box I had but Windows wouldn't entertain that. That gave me the opportunity to stuff in some spare hard drives and an SSD and install Linux Mint. Perhaps I should mention that at that time I had no prior experience of installing any type of Linux,

      My mistake was wanting to use the hard drives in a particular way (SSD for system, medium sized HD for Home and the big HD for general stuff). It took an awful lot of googling and multiple installs to get it how I wanted. Quite a steep learning curve if you want something different to a default install.

      While I cursed a lot during the build I've grown to like Linux Mint with the Cinnamon desktop. It's similar enough to Windows so I can just get on and do the stuff I want to do. I will be moving more systems over to Linux as they don't have the hardware spec for Windows 11 put are perfectly good PC's.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: My 1st attempt

        "medium sized HD for Home and the big HD for general stuff"

        Just curious - what sort of stuff goes under the category of "general stuff" as opposed to /home?

        1. Martin an gof Silver badge

          Re: My 1st attempt

          Just curious - what sort of stuff goes under the category of "general stuff" as opposed to /home?

          From my own point of view, at work the machine runs both Linux and Windows and I deal with some largeish media files in both. The partitioned boot device is SSD, one for booting, one for /home. There's a mirrored pair of smallish SSDs for video scratch files (only under Linux) and everything else sits on a "big" drive or two formatted NTFS so that both OSes can read them.

          At home with multiple logins, the boot disc again a partitioned SSD, people store personal stuff in /home/<username> on the other partition, but space is limited so other files and shared files might be on a separate local disc where anyone can access them, or more commonly on a network share so that they can be accessed from any of the computers.

          Advantages - easier to share files, easier to wipe root if a reinstallation is necessary without even thinking about data. OpenSuse no longer recommends separate partitions for root and home, but (again personally), I've found XFS to be a little faster when video editing than BTRFS so I still use separate partitions.

          Or, in other words, "it sort of just happened that way. Seemed like a good idea at the time."

          M.

          1. georgezilla

            Re: My 1st attempt

            " ... OpenSuse no longer recommends separate partitions for root and home ... "

            I use openSuSE, still have both. AND ....................

            A swap partition. Why? Because I've been using Linux for 2+ decades and old habits die hard.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: My 1st attempt

              I run swap because some of the tools I use require it (some because they are legacy, some because of other reasons). My wife's otherwise identical machine does not have a swap partition. Several years into the installation, and she reports zero problems.

        2. georgezilla

          Re: My 1st attempt

          " ... what sort of stuff goes under the category of "general stuff" as opposed to /home? ... "

          Well .....................

          Stuff that isn't part of the OS. And doesn't HAVE to go on / and /home.

          On my box, / and /home still have lots of room left on them. Where as /something ( the installer didn't like "/every fucking thing else". ) doesn't have a lot left.

          That answer your question?

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: My 1st attempt

            Pr0n, then. Same story the world over.

            Why people archive that stuff is beyond me ... have they not noticed that there are unlimited quantities available online for free?

            1. stiine Silver badge

              Re: My 1st attempt

              Possibly true, but I have a desire to watch a specific episode of a specific series starring a specific young lady because i think she's the most beautiful woman who has ever lived. Better looking than my wife at her best, better looking than my girlfriend at her best, and even better looking than Ms. Brasil from 3rd grade. So, as far as I'm concerned, there's her video, and there's everything else, none of which will ever compare.

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: My 1st attempt

                So you set aside your largest spare hard drive as a single partition, just for that one video?

                Shirley it would make more sense to put it anywhere in a standard file system, make sure you have verified off-site backups, and of course keep a copy on a thumb drive in your pocket?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Andy E - Re: My 1st attempt

        It was not a mistake, that's what you needed/wanted. It is true that such scenario requires a good understanding of the boot process and initial installation steps. In these cases, make sure you do not let Linux installation lead you.

    3. thames

      With Ubuntu version upgrades come through in a manner not much different from a regular update. Just click on the "OK" button (and give it the password) and when it's done it will ask you to reboot and a minute later you're on the next version.

      One thing that Debian does well is in place upgrades, something they've had for I think decades now. Most Debian derivatives (such as Ubuntu) carry that through and may add more user-friendly options (e.g. update the repository version file for you automatically). If Mint has stuffed this up (I don't use it so I'm just going by your statement) than they've done something seriously wrong.

      Red Hat and derivatives recommend reinstalling for upgrades because Red Hat only really cares about enterprise server customers and those customers do complete re-installs for upgrades anyway because that suits their work flow processes. Therefore reliable in-place upgrades have never really been a priority for Red Hat.

      Some time this summer Ubuntu will push out 22.04 to existing LTS users and when it comes I will click on the "OK" button and be pretty sure that it won't be much more than a somewhat longer regular update. I should be able to read this web site while the upgrade is taking place and only be interrupted when it's time to reboot.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "If Mint has stuffed this up (I don't use it so I'm just going by your statement) than they've done something seriously wrong."

        Allegedly it works, Maybe it didn't like being a KDE box! For Zorin reinstall seems to be standard.

    4. 4d3fect

      My last three Ubuntu upgrades (16>18>20) have been painless, and in fact, kind of boring in a good way.

      Maybe I'm a non-power-user/undemanding type?

      Getting from 6 up through 15 was an adventure though, I'll give you that.

    5. GuldenNL

      Not the case any longer with Mint.

      However, I agree that Zorn is a good one to include as a Windows conversion distro.

  11. LorenDB
    Linux

    I've been an openSUSE Tumbleweed user for over a year now, and I must say that I only had one instance of application breakage due to the rolling model (Opera broke on a new ffmpeg release. Stupid H.264 patents!). Tumbleweed has otherwise been rock-solid. Don't make a big deal out of things that aren't a big deal (BTRFS bugs, I'm looking at you, because you have never been a problem here.)

  12. To Mars in Man Bras!
    Trollface

    Now Do an Article About the Top Ten Linux Apps

    ..if you can find ten worth writing about

    1. Plest Silver badge

      Re: Now Do an Article About the Top Ten Linux Apps

      Why don't you start by offering us a taste of your profundity as why you can't find ten Linux apps that are usable?

      1. To Mars in Man Bras!
        Headmaster

        Re: Now Do an Article About the Top Ten Linux Apps

        Because I do graphic design.

        1. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

          Re: Now Do an Article About the Top Ten Linux Apps

          Then I'm sure you already know about Inkscape, GIMP and Krita. Care to enlighten us on why they don't suit you?

          (Any answer that simplifies to "it's not Adobe" will be ignored.)

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Now Do an Article About the Top Ten Linux Apps

            But...but...but you can't buy a subscription to those.

            1. Benegesserict Cumbersomberbatch Silver badge

              Re: Now Do an Article About the Top Ten Linux Apps

              You get one when you send a virtual beer to the developer(s).

          2. WolfFan

            Re: Now Do an Article About the Top Ten Linux Apps

            The GIMP has severe user interface problems. It is markedly inferior to, for example, Graphic Converter, in many ways; GC is Mac shareware which has been around since 1992. It started out as simply converting one graphic format to another, but now it does MUCH more. (User since 1994. Paid-up user since 1995. Still using it for my bit-map image needs.) Frankly, the GIMP is a bad joke compared to GC, if only because the GIMP takes a Very Long Time to load where GC is immediate, and the GIMP’s UI looks as though it was thrown together at the last minute while GC’s interface shows some thought… and no, it’s not just Photoshop warmed over. I used to use Photoshop for heavy duty image playing, but now go with Affinity Photo because I will not pay the Adobe sharecropper tax. For light stuff I use GC.

            There is, so far as I can see, no direct equivalent to GC on Windows or Linux. The nearest would probably be InfranView, on Windows, and that’s not quite the same. Note that both GC and IV are developed by German devs. Must be something in the water.

            1. To Mars in Man Bras!
              Unhappy

              Re: Now Do an Article About the Top Ten Linux Apps

              >GraphicConverter is handy for quick conversions / crops / whatever. But I find its interface a bit too Fischer Price to take it seriously.

              >but now go with Affinity Photo...

              I actually tried Affinity Photo as I'd love to find an alternative to Photoshop [I'm still using CC 2017]. I can't remember the exact details so shoot me if this is wrong. But [for example say] I was trying to do something really basic like make a crop selection and constrain it to the dimensions of the original image. I couldn't find any way to do it [no way to set 'original ratio' for the tool like in Photoshop]. So I went on Affinity's support forums and saw posts dating back years where people were basically going "WTF? Why is there no way to do this?" with no response from the devs.

              I gave up on Affinity Photo at that point. If you're trying to dethrone the King Kong of bitmap graphic apps and you omit basic functionality and then ignore repeated requests over years to fix the glaring oversight then I have no confidence in you or your product.

              1. hammarbtyp

                Re: Now Do an Article About the Top Ten Linux Apps

                Affinity is not designed as a clone of Photoshop. The mistake you make is that somehow photoshop is the best way to edit images, when it is just what you are used to (Similar criticism to those who want all UI to look like windows)

                Yes Affinity has its weaknesses, but it also does some things far better than PS(like blend ranges), because it was not constrained by history. Yes there some conversion pains, but the cost is about 3 months of a PS subscription so what's not to like

                1. To Mars in Man Bras!
                  FAIL

                  Re: Now Do an Article About the Top Ten Linux Apps

                  >The mistake you make is that somehow photoshop is the best way to edit images, when it is just what you are used to...

                  No. read what I wrote. Affinity has/had no way to crop an image and retain the same aspect ratio. This is not an esoteric Photoshop-only thing. This is a really basic fundamental requirement in a vast majority of photo editing work; you want to crop a photo but still keep it in the same aspect ratio.

                  And, not only was it not present. But people had been asking for it for years and being completely ignored by the devs. That's why I gave up on Affinity. Not because I was frightened of having to learn a new keyboard shortcut, or tool to use.

          3. Androgynous Cow Herd

            Re: Now Do an Article About the Top Ten Linux Apps

            Reality check - professional graphic design is an ecosystem, not an island.

            It's not just if YOU can use some Open Sores thing to do your whatever - it is whether your output is easily usable by the rest of your production team and pipeline. If you work for a shop that standardizes on Open Sores software in their pipeline, that's awesome - except that the reason they are doing that is more than likely that they perceive the license avoidance of commercial software to be a cost saving thing, and that approach is likely to also be reflected in salary as well.

          4. To Mars in Man Bras!
            Facepalm

            Re: Now Do an Article About the Top Ten Linux Apps

            >Care to enlighten us on why they don't suit you?

            It's something to do with the fact that [with the partial exception of Krita] they are piss-poor. And, in the form of GIMP, unutterably shite.

            The only people who trot out GIMP as an answer to 'Why are there no decent graphic design apps for Linux?' are almost exclusively people who have no graphic design experience at all themselves, or who have knocked out a stick-man or two in Microsoft Paint. Anyone who is using graphic design apps day in day out to produce professional quality artwork will laugh in your face, if you suggest that GIMP is any kind of replacement for Photoshop.

            >But...but...but you can't buy a subscription to those.

            You'd have to pay me to use GIMP

            So, yes, I love Linux and all that. But I need my computer to produce work on. So the [non]-existence of professional quality apps in my field ranks ever so slightly higher than the fact I can choose 120 different variations of the fucking file manager.

            1. Citizen99

              Re: Now Do an Article About the Top Ten Linux Apps

              For my (amateur) film photo editing, Photoshop Elements 2 (came bundled with a scanner years ago) running on Wine does all that I need and is easier to use than Gimp. Also easier than later Photoshops that added a lot of stuff that I don't need.

        2. Martin an gof Silver badge

          Re: Now Do an Article About the Top Ten Linux Apps

          Because I do graphic design

          Well, some people seem to manage.

          It's not exactly click-and-go but David Revoy, whose portfolio I linked above, also has a comprehensive discussion of choosing Linux for his work platform.

          M.

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: Now Do an Article About the Top Ten Linux Apps

            There's always one horsehair shirt wearer.

          2. To Mars in Man Bras!
            Unhappy

            Re: Now Do an Article About the Top Ten Linux Apps

            To be fair, I did say 'with the partial exception of Krita' when panning Linux graphic design apps. Krita is a decent enough app. Probably one of the best on Linux. But it is primarily a painting app, not a design app.

            For commercial graphic design work, you need to be able to combine bitmaps, vectors and typography --with the ability to shove and tweak these around as freely as possible. I'm afraid that, for me, nothing comes within a country mile of Adobe Illustrator. I'd love there to be a decent alternative on Linux. I run two webservers and two of my home computers on Linux. So I'm not a 'hater'. But I still have to turn to one of my OSX boxes, if I want to get graphic design work done.

            1. Ozzard

              Frame Maker for me, given the choice. But that's due to ancient history.

            2. Martin an gof Silver badge

              Re: Now Do an Article About the Top Ten Linux Apps

              Ok, point taken. The one app I miss most on Linux is Xara Designer, I grew up with Draw on RiscOS, and Xara has evolved from Artworks on the same platform and has elements of Impression, which I used extensively for many years. Of course they really don't want to sell you a stand-alone app these days, but I can't get this online editing stuff, and I really resent having to boot into Windows just to run my favourite editor. I've never managed to get it working under Wine, and even in a VM it's ropey - laggy and with the "point of action" often not quite coinciding with the pointer!

              I'm trying to get to grips with Inkscape, which seems to be theoretically almost as capable (for the things I need to do) but I'm not there yet.

              M.

        3. the Jim bloke
          IT Angle

          Re: Now Do an Article About the Top Ten Linux Apps

          Because I do graphic design

          Who let the coloured pencil brigade in here?

          1. To Mars in Man Bras!
            Joke

            Re: Now Do an Article About the Top Ten Linux Apps

            You need someone to clear away the empty pizza boxes and cola cans.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Ozzard

        I've spent quite a long time trying to port a moderately complex WinForms app so that it will run under WINE. I have access to the source, and it's .Net (presently Core 3.1) and, as far as we can, adheres religiously to the published APIs with no weirdness.

        It doesn't port cleanly, because one third-party library (DevExpress XtraRichEdit - I ain't writing my own word processor!) does something deep in its innards that causes WINE to display cross-hatched scrollbars.

        WINE might change that, but it's going to have to do so app by app, and it'll be hard to shift the line-of-business apps because at the moment the DevExpress and Infragistics of this world couldn't care less.

    3. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Now Do an Article About the Top Ten Linux Apps

      Linux graphic programs are being updated all the time, just not everyday.

      There is nothing easy about using Adobe products, you've just forgotten all the learning you had to do. It's the same with any advanced graphics/multi-media programs.

      1. To Mars in Man Bras!
        Headmaster

        Re: Now Do an Article About the Top Ten Linux Apps

        >you've just forgotten all the learning you had to do...

        Theoretically you could have a point there. But the thing is, the first versions of Photoshop and Illustrator I used came on a fistful of floppy discs and I ran them on an old Macintosh Colo[u]r Classic. So, for me, the complexity of the apps has been a gradual development, over the years I've been using them.

        Even then, there are vast swathes of functionality [in Photoshop especially. Less so in Illustrator] that I have never even looked at, never mind used, because they aren't relevant to kind of work I do.

  13. therobyouknow

    Touchscreens, Windows drivers (via headless ReactOS?), raising bugs and improvements.

    For Touchscreen PC tablet support, I'd be interested to know which Linux distros support this the most.

    My machine with touchscreen is a Panasonic Toughbook tablet PC, FZ-G1 mkIII

    Ubuntu supports some things, but not others. I had found that there was no pop up keyboard at login for password. Meanwhile, other support missing. However, on the plus side, support for built-in mobile SIM cards started working after some more recent updates. Docking stations sockets not so lucky though.

    One key thing would be Windows driver support. I'd suggest one way to do this would be using ReactOS open source Windows clone OS, but running it headless somehow, without the UI, to not have to deal with 2 different OS UIs and stick with the Linux desktop experience. Investment of resources would be needed into ReactOS and also developing a virtualisation program that utilises PCI passthrough Vt-d IOMMU - if available on the hardware.

    Also, I find it hard to raise bugs, feature requests on Ubuntu, hard to find where to enter them. LaunchPad takes one through lots of documentation links and one seems to have to know about the linux subsystem in question to raise the issue, not always possible by an end user.

    I think the above are more important things to think about rather than superficially comparing the look of Linux Desktops and whether it uses Gnome or K-this or G-that, which seems to attract a lot of discussion.

    1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      Re: Touchscreens, Windows drivers (via headless ReactOS?), raising bugs and improvements.

      Ubuntu has Orca as an onscreen keyboard out-of-the-box, but it may be that you have to turn it on to come up whenever there is an application that requires input (I'm looking at it running on a 20.04 system at the login screen on another computer as I type on this one)

      I'm pretty sure that I used it on some strange HP tablet system that used a Transmeta Crusoe about 8 years ago, and it worked quite acceptably (although the rest of the system was too slow to be useful). It was at the time using Gnome 2 as the UI.

      Once logged in, the touchscreen worked like any pointing device, although on that system, I did have some problems calibrating it.

      I'm a bit uncertain about docking stations. Mine always worked when I used them, but I was not in the habit of removing and replacing the system on the docking station while it was powered on. I nearly always turned it off. Modern USB-C port replicators would not pose much of a problem, I wouldn't have thoight.

      LaunchPad is a quite mature bug reporting system, although it is really intended for reporting real bugs (rather than the usage problems that many new users think are bugs), and is not really aimed at new user support at all. Unfortunately, many reports are closed without being solved, because they are neither replicated nor reported by other users. But if it is not affecting many users, it's probably not worth significant effort trying to replicate it, and there are normally comments about how others see the problem against the problem report.

      BTW. have you, as an end user, tried reporting a Windows bug to Microsoft? Do you have any means of doing that?

      The driver issue is probably one that affects almost all Linux distro's, but there's probably not a lot of hardware that does not work at all using the drivers in the repositories. I don't think I've really found that much that hasn't worked for me (OK, there was one Pinnacle video capture system that I came across, but the vendor didn't provide Windows 7 drivers for that either!) What are you wanting? To use the drivers shipped with Windows? Have you tried NDISwrapper? It's sort of patchy, but can work on Intel based systems. But using native drivers is bestm and OK for a vast majority of ordinary users.

      I think that your usage case might be a little different than most normal users. Linux really can work as a daily driver as more and more people are finding out.

      1. therobyouknow

        Re: Touchscreens, Windows drivers (via headless ReactOS?), raising bugs and improvements.

        @Peter Gathercole

        "I think that your usage case might be a little different than most normal users."

        That's one usage case I have.

        "Linux really can work as a daily driver as more and more people are finding out."

        I have 2 other use cases: I also run Ubuntu on a Desktop and a notebook computer/laptop. I use these for programming quite a bit. So it would be a daily driver for me, too. Along with macOS and Windows.

        1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

          Re: Touchscreens, Windows drivers (via headless ReactOS?), raising bugs and improvements.

          Ah. Sorry. Rereading your first post, I see I mis-interpreted what you were asking,

          We get an appreciable number of posters here who take the attitude "Linux doesn't do exactly what I want it to, so I'm saying it's no good for anyone", and I tend to write replies like the one above to them.

          As I said, I believe that Ubuntu, at least, should contain what you need for touchscreen systems, as long as the basic touchscreen driver is available, and I can't say I know for Toughbooks in particular. But if you read my other posts, it's my position that device vendors should provide driver support, or at least documentation. You can't expect the Linux community to provide drivers for every piece of hardware, because there's more obscure pieces of hardware out there than Open Source developers to reverse engineer and write the drivers.

          As for using Windows drivers, the problem is that the OS API is significantly different between Windows and Linux. Although it is possible to encapsulate Windows drivers in an emulation layer to translate between the different APIs, there will be a degree of inefficiency when you do that. Whether it's possible to extend the Linux device API to make it more Windows like, I don't know, but I suspect that it would be difficult to implement the Windows driver model natively in the Linux kernel, bearing in mind that it's history is very different from Linux.

          1. Martin an gof Silver badge
            Meh

            Re: Touchscreens, Windows drivers (via headless ReactOS?), raising bugs and improvements.

            I believe that Ubuntu, at least, should contain what you need for touchscreen systems, as long as the basic touchscreen driver is available

            I recently had cause to connect an Elotouch monitor to an openSUSE system (KDE) and while the thing nearly works - the monitor presents itself pretty much as a HID pointing device without any specific driver - I cannot for the life of me find the config file (which I know must be there) where I can flip the Y-axis. X-axis is fine, but touch the screen at the bottom and the pointer goes to the top, and vice-versa. Tried a couple of internet-searched "use this utility" suggestions and most of them just made things worse.

            M.

          2. therobyouknow

            Re: Touchscreens, Windows drivers (via headless ReactOS?), raising bugs and improvements.

            No worries @Peter Gathercole thank you for the input. And to others on here with their experiences of touchscreens on Linux.

    2. Neil Brown

      Re: Touchscreens, Windows drivers (via headless ReactOS?), raising bugs and improvements.

      > For Touchscreen PC tablet support, I'd be interested to know which Linux distros support this the most.

      The touchscreen on my Microsoft Surface devices works perfectly on Debian, using the linux-surface project. I write on the screen using Xournal++ most days.

    3. Tom 38

      Re: Touchscreens, Windows drivers (via headless ReactOS?), raising bugs and improvements.

      The touchscreen on my Ubuntu 18.04 works perfectly, except it doesn't know where it is in relation to the other screens, so the touches and the taps appear on the wrong screen! It would work correctly if it was just a single monitor, or if the laptop screen was the top left monitor, but its the bottom left monitor... so all the touches act as if they are on the top left monitor.

      It's probably fixable (might even just be fixed in a more recent release, 18.04 is pretty old now), but its not a feature I use, and we're forbidden from updating from 18.04 so...

  14. Updraft102

    The Ubuntu flavors that have better desktops than the original (that is, all of them) aren't niche distros. They're still Ubuntu, and most of the help stuff still applies, just as it does in Mint. Kubuntu's the best one.

    GTK? Get outta here with that... until it has a file load dlalog that a newbie can figure out how to paste into. They're not going to know about CTRL-L. They're not meant to by the devs, and that's the issue. If they think that something as basic as that is disposable (they call the CTRL-L thing an Easter egg, not a feature, if you can believe that), it's not fit for purpose.

  15. Throgmorton Horatio III

    Well I for one enjoyed the article

    ""Ubuntu is an ancient African word that means I can't configure Debian.*""

    That made me laugh out loud.

    I've been using Linux a long time, mostly for fun, because it helped keep computing feel like a hobby instead of just work. We all have our favourites, and it's good to see our sacred cows slaughtered before our eyes occasionally. .

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Ubuntu is an ancient African word that means I can't configure Debian.*"

    Why have I not seen this before? Hilarious.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: "Ubuntu is an ancient African word that means I can't configure Debian.*"

      I don't know. Why haven't you seen this before?

    2. Alumoi Silver badge

      Re: "Ubuntu is an ancient African word that means I can't configure Debian.*"

      Oh, come on, it's almost as old as Ubuntu.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Ubuntu is an ancient African word that means I can't configure Debian.*"

        Clearly it has to be. I like your logic though.

    3. jake Silver badge

      Re: "Ubuntu is an ancient African word that means I can't configure Debian.*"

      Probably because the original was in a .sig on Usenet, and read:

      Ubuntu: An ancient African word meaning "Slackware is hard!".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Ubuntu is an ancient African word that means I can't configure Debian.*"

        Ahh I used usenet and BBS but not slackware. I wasn't that techie in my youth.

  17. plrndl

    TLDR Version

    A sensible Linux wannabe will have a quick Google, and discover that most people recommend Mint for newbies.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: TLDR Version

      Nope, still Ubuntu. Just googled it.

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: TLDR Version

        O.K., Mint is second.

  18. frabbledeklatter

    Windows-like Ubuntu

    Under Ubuntu, the article could have mentioned Zorin, a Windows-like Gnome tweak riding on Ubuntu. It does a decent job of emulating the Windows user interface from selectable Windows versions. My only gripe is that the Zorin installer crashes on machines where straight Ubuntu installs perfectly.

    My non/anti-tech wife is OK with Ubuntu after trasitioning from Windows 7. However, we have always used Firefox, Thunderbird, and Libre Office, so the move was just about seamless. Outlook users will feel pain, but Thunderbird seems worth it.

    1. nobody who matters

      Re: Windows-like Ubuntu

      If my experience of Outlook is anything to go by, Outlook users will already be used to feeling pain ;)

      1. ThatOne Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: Windows-like Ubuntu

        Well, while a crappy email client, Outlook is/was (?) a perfectly good personal information manager: If you needed a program to store your contacts' information and a calendar allowing you to plan stuff for several different work groups but also private things, and synchronize everything to your phone (all this without donating it to Google to monetize), Outlook is/was (?) excellent.

        Before switching to Linux I used a real email client for emails, and Outlook 2003 just as a contacts and calendar "server" I synchronized daily with my phone.

        Unfortunately Linux doesn't have a good PIM program (Evolution seems the closest candidate, but can't synchronize with my phone).

        1. GuldenNL

          Re: Windows-like Ubuntu

          Outlook turned into a Sadomasochistic rubber suit clad female dog somewhere around 2016.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Windows-like Ubuntu

            Since its inception, Outlook has been the computing equivalent of the contents of the basement of a National Park outhouse.

    2. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Windows-like Ubuntu

      Frankly, I think Mint is more mainstream, and it's free. Also, they have upstreamed their work as a separate desktop, available on other distros, and maintain the Xapps and so on.

      Standard Zorin costs money and its desktop is not available on anything else.

      Therefore, IMHO, Mint wins. AIUI it's also a lot more popular, probably because it's free, and so has more users.

  19. Bill 21

    Nah. Pick the desktop first - Plasma/KDE for the transparent wall-panel users or Gnome for fruity peeps, and then pick a 'currently popular' no-brainer distro in that area. Please, not the niche L-thing you actually use and definitely not something that 'looks the same' (because it won;t work the same in various important ways).

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      You're right but most of the 'currently popular' no-brainer distros favour the Gnome camp - in practice Xfce, Cinnamon or Mate. However you can just install KDE afterwards.

  20. Skiver

    I'm pretty savvy and I still don't know which distro is best for a daily driver system.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      OK, here's a suggestion.

      Take this list: Mint, Zorin, Kubuntu. Try running each as a "live disk", i.e. running from a DVD, thumb drive or SD card. If you don't like any of these options try some of the other Ubuntu variants or MX, Mandriva or whatever. Try all 3 Mint edistions, Cinnamon, Mate and Xfce.

      You can download isos of each of them. I know from recent personal experience the first two offer live disk functionality and have no reason to doubt Kubuntu does. Unless you're looking to install onto something ancient you should take the 64 bit option.

      Burn each one in turn to whatever drive suits you and your device. There will be enough instructions on the net as o how to do this under the OS you're currently using.

      Boot from the drive and select live if it offers live and install options (Zorin offers a choice, Mint boots to a live session with install as an option from that). Running like this will be slower than running from a real install; for one thing you'll probably be running from a compressed image of the real OS and/or an in-memory image which will cut down on the available memory.

      Get to know the S/W. Find out how to connect to your network. There'll be introductory videos online to suggest things you might try. Find out if you can tweak any settings to your liking.

      Decide which one you get on with best. Only you can decide that for yourself, I can't do it for you, nobody here can. Install that.

  21. vincent himpe

    I like option 0

    1) Avoid all the niche efforts.

    2) Firstly, they're small.

    3) Not many people use them

    4) You'll have difficulty finding people to ask for help

    5) third-party hardware and software probably won't work out of the box

    6) and if you ask the vendor for help

    7) game or a graphics card or a printer

    8) Stick to the mainstream."

    Windows and MacOS it is then.

    1) not niche

    2) not small (trillion dollar companies)

    3) many people use it

    4) easy to find someone who knows

    5) third party hard and software do work out of the box.

    6) There is an actual vendor as opposed to pet projects made in somebodies spare time

    7) ooh . que the binary blob crusaders.

    8) windows and MacOS it is then.

    Then gain, already knew that. Linux on the desktop . Lol.

    1. Benegesserict Cumbersomberbatch Silver badge

      Re: I like option 0

      So glad you read the first three words of the title of the article... oh.

    2. GuldenNL

      Re: I like option 0

      #4, I find that I’m the superuser for Windoze and have yet to “find somebody” who can help me with an issue

      #6 For Windoze, not the case for the past decade. MSFT decided to cheap out by offshoring support, and they use Google (nah, they’re 90% of Bing users) so forgetaboutit.

      I work with MSFT people every day, the vast majority of them are running Linux. Those who aren’t, are young enough to not know much about Windoze as an OS, they too are just getting work done & don’t have time or interest to screw with their OS.

  22. Altrux

    Linux since 2002!

    Been on various Linux desktops since 2002 - a whole twenty years now. Initially Red Hat and its puppies, mostly now Ubuntu/Mint for the last 10 years. Yes, occasionally it breaks, but very rarely. Whole system meltdowns are rare on the desktop, unheard of on servers. Now I'm on Kubuntu (i.e. KDE desktop) 22.04, which is looking nice these days. A few visual customisations and it looks really stunning.

    At work, we have 3/4 of people on Ubuntu Linux desktops (a few need Windows-specific software). Support requests are minimal, once we've setup silly things like the cranky old scanner and properly configured their e-mail client. Everything just runs, month after month, with zero hassles for us - important as a team of only 1.5 people.

    Some of your characterisations are a little unfair, Liam. Mint is probably the go-to for most people (with Cinnamon) coming from 'doze, and as for Debian, it deserves credit for its legendary reliability. A bit too conservative for a desktop, but if you want ultimate solidity, you can't go wrong with it.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Linux since 2002!

      "A bit too conservative for a desktop, but if you want ultimate solidity, you can't go wrong with it."

      Kernels:

      Debian (well, Devuan) : 5.10.

      Mint : 5.4

      That's a newly installed Mint. Yes, it surprised me.

    2. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Linux since 2002!

      > Some of your characterisations are a little unfair, Liam.

      It was intended to be snarky, rather than a scientific study, you realise.

      > Mint is probably the go-to for most people (with Cinnamon) coming from 'doze

      I would probably agree, overall. But, as I said, it has issues of its own.

      E.g. I don't think Flatpak is much better than Snap.

      Mint's update process is unnecessarily picky. It is too cautious, IMHO, and its insistence on old kernels (as Dr Syntax quite rightly points out) is a nuisance. Also, version-to-version upgrades are discouraged, although they work fine these days.

      > as for Debian, it deserves credit for its legendary reliability. A bit too conservative for a desktop, but if you

      > want ultimate solidity, you can't go wrong with it.

      That is what, broadly paraphrased, I said.

  23. packrat

    reboot

    reboot, re install and reuse. linix since95 or so.(word on emulation)

    monthly refresyes and now the the practice of getting things re config'ed to a science. also have 'video on redhat' bookmarked.(and never use it)

    corel linux; redhat for years. i used suse till the one-byte prob broke the partion tables. mint for the next few years, till VLC stopped.

    looking for a fully functional to run and yes, i re install every few weeks. things are cleaner that way.

    tried win11; it's a horror. ads, AIs and security makes it unworkable.

    1. GuldenNL

      Re: reboot

      “ mint for the next few years, till VLC stopped.”

      Huh? I have 11-12 machines running Mint and VLC.

  24. thames

    Installation Time

    Just as a data point, I decided to just now time how long it takes to install Linux in a VirtualBox VM. I picked Ubuntu 20.04 as that was what I had on hand. I turned off the VM's network connection so that the test didn't include time to download updates (which would depend on connection speed). I used the default installation options. The VM was running on a PC with an SSD.

    Installation mainly consisted of giving it a user name and password, selecting time zone from a map, and clicking on "continue" to accept the defaults for everything else.

    From the time I clicked on "start" to boot the VM until it was fully installed, including the default set of applications, and rebooted (one reboot), was 10 minutes and 8 seconds.

  25. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Arch

      Try not using it for a few months, then booting it, doing a full update, and see what happens.

      Also applies to Tumbleweed.

      This can happen to anyone. I have had to spend several months off sick or in hospital more than once, for instance.

  26. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Reading through this I was thinking "What would be the ideal installer?" It should really be able to install separate a /home without getting into the whole manual creating partitions bit. Ideally it would also install under LVM - it really does make things easier.

    Checking through Debian install options* I see that there is, in fact, an option to use the entire disk, entire disk with /home or entire disk with /home and LVM. On closer examination the separate /home option extends to separate /var and /tmp as well, all with automatic partitioning. The live disk offers the choice of installing alongside an existing OS and shrinking a partition to make space if need be. Maybe the hardest bit of installing Debian is navigating the choice of images to download. That and the additional labour of choosing and entering a root password as well as the initial user's.

    * It's a while since I looked at anything but full manual partitioning.

  27. keith_w

    Happy with Windows

    Reading this article, and many of the others about the joys of Linux enhances my understanding of why so many people stick with Windows. I hope the downvote counter is large enough for the number that I will be getting.

    1. Updraft102

      Re: Happy with Windows

      Reading any given Windows forum reminds me of why I switched to Linux years ago, and why I haven't for a moment ever considered that it was the wrong decision.

  28. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Linux

    Rising above the

    bunfight of 'my distro is better than yours"

    I lay my cards on the table and I've been using linux since Fedora 6

    1 Winblows 10 machine (basically its a games/surfer PC)

    1 dual boot win10/Linux mint

    And an old laptop with mint.

    And the winner is... windows... why? because it has a 95% market share on the desktop(and the winner everywhere else is Linux)

    The reason for the m$ win is simple.... its whats bundled with the machine coupled with the old myth "linux is hard" spurred on by oft repeated tales of asking for help in a linux forum and confronted with "read the man pages n00b" or "run ../-yu-jdd+y%fdhd.it *.* rf- y-r+RT in the terminal"(mind you windows is getting like the last one), admittedly when I started on fedora 6 the forums were exactly like that.... cant remember how many times I typed "Now in english please" as an answer.

    Now linux is like.... insert USB stick and press reboot.

    And why do I persist in running linux if windows is as good... well it is'nt

    Consider updates on my dual boot.

    I save updates usually for a sunday afternoon..... turn on the machine(it defaults to mint) press the update icon and off it goes.... very rarely does it take more than 20 minutes and thats usually when the kernel updates.

    Same machine windows 10... it will thrash the HDD for a good hour doing updates... demand a reboot... and spend another 30 mins in the "do not turn off this machine" screen(I'm debating buying 2 or 3 SSDs and making them into a RAID 0 array just for winblows to live on.... it maybe faster....<laughs>)

    As for a distro..... Linux mint for all of us who like something stable to work on... and fedora for your bleeding edge stuff

    Oh and we think we know why m$ changes the UI for windows so often now.... its so that its different from all the linux desktop UIs.....

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I run a linux (ubuntu / kubuntu / xubuntu) desktop for years now, only dual boot to Windows to watch prime video because on Linux it doesn't do 1080p and lowers the bitrate to next to nothing.

    Running Manjaro now because last year Ubuntu messed up network printing. It's boot faster to.

    Pop OS! on a laptop.

  30. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

    My top 3

    1. MX Linux

    2. Devuan

    3. PCLinuxOS

    Notice what they have in common? I could recommend any one of these to a recent convert from Windows. I've looked at Slackware for myself but I'm too lazy to take the plunge. The article criticizes Mint for "overly cautious approaches to updates and upgrades". But that's the flip side of stability. The vast majority of computer users, at least the ones known to me, value stability over features. Most have little idea how many features their current OS provides. For them it's just a way of opening applications.

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: My top 3

      > The article criticizes Mint for "overly cautious approaches to updates and upgrades".

      If this line:

      > But that's the flip side of stability.

      ... were true, I would not have made the criticism.

      Mint is downstream of Ubuntu.

      Ubuntu does not categorise updates as critical or safety or normal. There are just updates. You install them all, you reboot, life goes on. In 18 years of Ubuntu I have never ever seen a standard update break anything. (I am not saying it can't happen but I've never seen or heard of it.)

      Not version upgrades, note: normal routine within-the-same-version updates.

      If they are good enough for Ubuntu then Mint should not cautiously prevaricate over whether you need them or not.

      Ubuntu does version-to-version upgrades no problem, as routine. Mint does not.

      Ubuntu does LTS-to-LTS updates, as routine. Mint does not.

      Ubuntu offers HWE stack updates to users. Mint does not.

      *That* is what I was talking about.

  31. MattPDev

    Tried it, chose Windows

    I've tried Linux options so many times over the years but without really any thought as to why. I'm a softie, I like the concept of FOSS, but it always finds a way to not be able to do something. I also don't want a lesser but free spin off of an application (that are also available on Windows).

    I built a new PC end of last year after a few years on a laptop. Once again I was adamant I would avoid MS, get setup on Linux for everything I need. Unfortunately I need a piece of software that is only available on Windows. I tried Wine and and Windows VM but neither were satisfactory.

    I settled on Windows 10/11. It works. It's never crashed. I then bought MS Office with OneDrive, the whole thing works!

    I may run Linux in a VM, but why?

  32. FrankAlphaXII

    Fair and Balanced

    I must say all of the criticism in this article is all very fair and they're all things I've either seen myself or didn't see directly but helped out with remotely.

    The only issue is that I have to disagree with saying Pop!_OS a niche, barely used distro with noone working on it because of System76 having paid employees working on it and the fact it comes pre-installed on their notebooks and workstations. HP's even about to start selling a workstation (it's basically a ZBook Studio 15 without the 300 dollar Windows 10 for Workstations tax) in the US called the Dev One that has it pre-installed as well.

    I especially liked the bit about trusting Oracle more than IBMhat because at the moment I do. And if you look at my comment history I trust Oracle about as much as a Politician so there's not much faith there. IBM gets even less. Wonder how long it'll take them to sell Red Hat to Lenovo.

    1. sad_loser

      Re: Fair and Balanced

      Agree

      Have used all of these distros over the years for server / hobbyist use, and 4 years ago migrated from Mac to POP-OS for my work computers and would not go back.

      OSX lost its way and got bloaty and confused but at least didn’t suffer the data rape of windows 10 pro which came with one laptop I bought.

      Ended up buying desktop and laptop from system 76 and use some paid apps (pdf master, softmaker office, Dropbox) and it just works, with no cruft.

      I like the values and design philosophy of system 76 and wanted to support them buy buying their products.

  33. Scene it all

    After using Ubuntu for over a decade I just recently switched to Debian-Stable out of frustration. Debian with XFCE desktop boots a lot faster, configuration is straightforward, all my devices work (if you use the installer that includes non-open device driver blobs). And my printer can print on both sides again now, which it had stopped doing for some unknown reason under ubuntu. Yes, you do have to know how to manage a Linux system.

  34. AdamWill

    Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells

    Your explanation of why all the distros I don't like suck is great, but your explanation of why the distro I do like sucks is terrible and wrong and unfair. I protest!

  35. vapoureal

    Unix V 1984->Windows->Linux Mint 2021

    Been around the block a few times as software dev mgr. As I now write books and work with graphics & videos I'd put off moving to Linux because of the tools change/loss fear. Finally bit the bullet last year, moved to Mint on my 3 laptops of varying pedigrees. The tools fear was a blind alley, and I can do all my work on Mint. Bloody glad I made the move though to have done it earlier would probably have been problematic.

  36. binary
    Alert

    MxLinux...?

    This distro is really, really good. Worth mentioning?

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: MxLinux...?

      [Author here]

      Answered already earlier in the comments:

      https://forums.theregister.com/forum/all/2022/05/31/the_cynics_guide_to_linux/#c_4471789

  37. Bob Dobalina

    Desktop Linux in Workplaces

    I'm genuinely curious to know what kind of work people do where desktop Linux is being used.

    I've worked in IT for 20 years in support and admin in Melbourne Australia, supporting 100-1000's of desktops and laptops for clients in multiple industries. I cannot recall anything other than Windows being used except for a small design client using Macs.

    If you use Linux, what kind of work do you do? Was the Linux desktop/laptop provided by an employer?

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      "If you use Linux, what kind of work do you do?"

      I, at least, use Linux on a daily desktop basis for Register work. That's mostly in Chrome, Gimp for any simple picture editing, and some extra tools for testing / checking things.

      Hopper disassembler is good for going through executables to check cybersecurity research (if possible). When I used to use a Mac for work, I'd use Hopper to RE macOS components to find out a bit more where the latest text-based crash was in Apple products.

      There's also Docker and the terminal for checking stuff for Linux and related stories, like packages and building source and running it. I get that this can be done on Windows and Mac; I just like the way it all works on Linux (Debian).

      C.

    2. mjflory

      Re: Desktop Linux in Workplaces

      I do statistical analyses. My main stat workhorse, Stata, now ships with Windows, Mac, and Linux installers. I've used the R stat language occasionally, and I have to prepare text (LibreOffice Writer, SoftMaker TextMaker graphics (GIMP) and presentations (LibreOffice Impress, SoftMaker Presentations) that colleagues can bring up in Microsoft Office. My main three email accounts (it's a long story) are handled by Thunderbird, with Outlook accessed through a browser (Chrome/Chromium/Firefox). Zoom and VMWare Horizon's Linux clients work well. Occasionally I'll fire up an old Windows XP installation in a VirtualBox session for an odd program or two.

      I use almost identical setups at the office and at home: Dell and HP workstations with 24 to 32 GB RAM, SSD for the system, RAID HDDs for /home. Dual monitors at work, just one at home, NVidia cards everywhere (and CUDA installed for machine learning experiments). I'm still on Linux Mint 18 but I'm setting up version 20 on another machine and playing with MX Linux. I've been using Linux since kernel 0.99 (the SLS distro on a huge pile of floppies) but I switched most of my work to Linux about 2010. Aside from occasional Caja annoyances on the Mate WM my principal problems are compatibility failures between LibreOffice/SoftMaker Office and the various Microsoft Office versions colleagues use. (I bought SoftMaker to try to remedy this but there are still occasional glitches; in desperation I can bring up MS Office 2007 under Wine -- it's fairly stable.)

    3. Short Fat Bald Hairy Man

      Re: Desktop Linux in Workplaces

      I use my desktop for Home and Office - company is very comfortable about me using my personal desktop for office use.

      Write product specifications for the company product.

      Develop (try to, anyway) trading strategies for financial markets using pandas and co,

      Last time I used Windows was in 2003 (Win95 + Excel in a 2GB qemu).

      And, the company I am with issues only Linux (Ubuntu) laptops. We noted roughly a 100 USD difference (a while ago) between equivalent hardware laptops with / without Windows, which for us is quite a bit.

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Desktop Linux in Workplaces

      I'm retired so the laptop, currently a 17.5" job from PC Specialist is provided by me. NVME for system, 2Tb drive for data. OS is Devuan/KDE and the amount of stuff on the desktop is reminiscent of physical desktops in the old days (I strongly believe that an empty desk is the sign of an empty mind).

      Apart from spending far too much time here I spend a lot of time on local history research. One of the requirements was for a screen that could legibly (and eyes aren't getting younger) have a PDF of some source document (there's a big collection of stuff downloaded from archive.org) on one side and a WP or spreadsheet on the other. When things get hairy there may be several workspaces in use. Several articles for the local history group website, prepared in LibreOffice. Maintain the website and deal with messages from the contacts form.

      I've prepared several of our local history group's out of print books for posting online as PDFs. It gives an insight into those people who complain about lack of MS Office which is where those texts came from. The first cuts were far too large to put online. A bit of poking about in LibreOffice revealed that the "cropped" images were actually just full size images masked; one was embedded twice just to present two postage-stamp sized excerpts. Gwenview cropped them. Buildings photographed on the tilt were straightened up with Gimp. Comic Sans replaced...

      Mash-ups of old maps, mostly with Gimp. Old maps tend to be confined to local borders so putting together bits of adjacent counties or townships requires some scaling, rotation and even distortion to match up. I generally use Pinta if I have to draw on maps - I'm not a good draughtsman and I find that easiest - together with a graphics tablet.

      My wife runs a patchwork class. She prepares weekly hand written notes which are scanned to PDF. I photograph the work she'd prepared which usually gets a bit of tweaking with Gimp's rotate tool (patchwork squares are rarely square) and cropped in Gimp or Gwenview, put onto the cover sheet (LibreOffice) experted as PDF and the final PDF assembled with pdfunite. All the patchwork stuff is in a directory which NextCloud saves in an area which we share so she can pick it up on her laptop (also PC Specialist running Devuan/KDE) to email to the class.

      And lots more including some odds & ends in Lazarus/Pascal.

      There's also a tiny MSI nettop, usually on Mint, for taking into archives, etc.

    5. Tom 38

      Re: Desktop Linux in Workplaces

      I'm a software engineer, I've been running FreeBSD on the desktop since 2006, and Linux since 2012 - we used to develop and deploy on FreeBSD and in 2012 switched to Linux. Back then we had the equivalent of "Don't ask, don't tell" for what we ran on our work machines, and I wanted to do dev work on my long commute. Most developers back then kept using Windows and would ssh in to a dev server to work from. I reckon no more than a quarter used Linux by choice.

      Since 2019, we give all developers and devops at the company Linux laptops, workstations from Dell that are certified for the version of Ubuntu that gets installed. This is different from before, there is company mandated software + setup (AV, tracking agents, 2FA backed encrypted root partitions). Only developers who work on our legacy windows UI apps still have windows machines - and the windows UI apps are rapidly being replaced by web based data entry.

      Our day to day is software development, either in Node, React or Python, building containers to deploy that code, building k8s manifests to deploy those containers. All those tools are more readily available on linux, so that is all we support for that now - the pendulum has swung from "You're using Linux, you have to work out why it isn't working yourself, or go back to Windows" to "You're running Windows, you have to work out why it isn't working yourself, or go back to Linux".

    6. Cliffwilliams44 Silver badge

      Re: Desktop Linux in Workplaces

      I use Linux as my primary workstation, I can manage most of our estate as it is predominantly in AWS and we use Meraki Networking as a Service. I use Powershell installed on my Linux workstation for a lot of things.

      The things I cannot do are Active Directory, Exchange Online in Powershell as they do not support Powershell Core. That is not a Linux restriction it is a MS restriction, As the company DBA there are some things you just need SQL Server Management Studio for, and that only runs on Windows. So I use AWS Workspace running Windows to do my required Windows stuff.

      As far as day-to-day apps. Teams runs on Linux, I use the Outlook WPA version (works fine), and Libre Office is sufficient. Are there some Excel things I can't do in Libre Calc? yes, then I use Excel in my Workspaces.

      Why Linux if there are these caveats? Because if I need to get into my systems to fix something during off hours I can power up my laptop and be ready to work in under 30 seconds, not the minutes (the many, many minutes) that it takes to start up a Windows desktop. Then fire up the Remmina client and I'm in my servers and fixing stuff!

      1. GuldenNL

        Re: Desktop Linux in Workplaces

        Excellent point about boot up. My 12 year old top-of-the-line Asus with a massive amount of ram and a very fast i7 CPU takes 2 seconds to boot up into Linux & that includes WiFi connection. Windoze 10 takes 14 seconds & another 30 for it too connect into my WiFi router.

    7. GuldenNL

      Re: Desktop Linux in Workplaces

      I wear several hats.

      1) Contact center architect who frequently is asked to assist/teach developers and engineers

      2) Cloud Architect who is running Azure, AWS & GC instances simultaneously 24x7x365

      In above roles, I ran Windoze in a VM for Visio. But for the past 5 years, Visio is dead and cloud SaaS deesign tools have replaced it. I haven’t opened Windoze to use since 2017. I have it dual booted on a super laptop so I’ll open it once a month, quickly check if any dangerous updates, exclude then, and update, then shut down.

      3) Executive with a global consulting firm, so typical exec mind-freezing activities. I use Only Office and Office 365 on the web via Edge browser.

      For your everyday office worker, 99% have zero need for Windoze. For graphics folks, MacOSX is the best OS.

  38. sreynolds

    What sickens me the most...

    What I hate is having to PAY for a freaking Windows OEM license when I purchase a laptop. There should be an option to remove Windows in its entirety at the point of sale.The DoJ and EU didn't go far enough in pursuing Microsoft for its business practices in the Browser debacle.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: What sickens me the most...

      Buy from PC Specialist (in the UK) or similar. You can order it without Windows. Oddly enough, although you're not billed for Windows it's on the disk but not activated; just blow it away.

      1. Lorribot

        Re: What sickens me the most...

        The OEM version of Windows being on the device is down to the supplier and they may just do it as the default or its down to whatever deal they have to save costs on the licenses, probably adds about €/£/$5 per device. Lenovo have two laptops with no OS and Dell have two with Ubuntu so just pick a supplier that does not install it by default.

        Just bear in mind you may void a warranty if you install an OS that does not come preinstalled, including the Linux Distro, that is the fault of your local government implemented Laws and nothing to do with MS or your hardware supplier.

        1. sreynolds

          Re: What sickens me the most...

          "Every little helps"

  39. Kev99 Silver badge

    I just was a small fast distro that will run under 2MB RAM.

    1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
      Boffin

      FreeDOS.

    2. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      2 *MB* of RAM?

      Yeah, FreeDOS.

      2 *GB* of RAM? Raspberry Pi OS, x86 version.

  40. bigtreeman

    Ubuntu means

    as used in this sentence

    " Don't tread in the Ubuntu ! "

    here Ubuntu means elephant shit

  41. dbsnider

    Or try Windows 11 + WSL2

    I just came back to Windows after a several year hiatus to Mac OS X.

    For the record, I've been a Linux user for 29 years (since 1993), and a Windows user from 1992 until 2015.

    I went to Mac OS-X because it's UNIX based.

    I came back to Windows 11 because of WSL2. As a Linux developer, the Linux support is more enticing than Darwin BSD, even if it's still Windows as the base.

    1. sreynolds

      Re: Or try Windows 11 + WSL2

      Or better still don't. I would treat windows 11 like and infectious disease. WSL2 only exists because you are working in some hard arsed corporate environment where linux isn't allowed.

  42. galbak

    If you don't want windows, and can't afford a mac, then get BSD

    1. sreynolds

      But what is I want to use actual hardware - where do I go for the drivers?

  43. Danny 2

    Free Software support

    I downloaded Debian over 8 CDs. It worked great for me so I made five copies and passed them out explaining the politics and the implications. That was a huge error. For the next couple of years I was bombarded with tech support phone calls and emails every hour of the day. They conflated free software with free software support - "You broke my computer!"

    It's just not worth it if you aren't being paid, sad but true.

    It's not just computing. I planted ten fruit trees in various places in my home town to see what would survive where. One survived, last time I checked at least, in a private garden. I underestimated how much Scots hate free fruit.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Free Software support

      If family want IT support from me they need to be running Linux. It's easier.

  44. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: OS/2 and Sun Solaris

      So run an Illumos distro, then.

      https://illumos.org/docs/about/distro/

      Examples with desktop support:

      https://www.openindiana.org/

      http://www.dilos.org/

  45. Khenty
    Thumb Up

    And I thought I was cynical.

    You're probably spot on for all these distros, but where's the fun in being right? In any case, what you didn't say is that you don't have to pay for most of these distros to be miserable, you can get there for free. This sets them apart from Winblows and the MeMeMeMeMe OS.

  46. drankinatty

    openSUSE and KDE (more than one version available), Archlinux - for serous server work too.

    Two slight issues to cure. openSUSE does have the best KDE on the planet, and it makes more than one version available. https://download.opensuse.org/repositories/KDE:/KDE3/15.4/ Did I mention it receives updates as well, native .xz file handling in konqueror and updated .svg handling to start with. Best thing about a near static desktop is you can simply "get work done" without having to author a bug a day. In the lead up to 15.4 release two bugs were authored and almost immediately fixed leaving the desktop in fantastic shape. Have an old Core2 Duo that doesn't have much pep, KDE3 will run blistering fast on it. (enough said, old desktop, niche use, light on resources, and a testament to all the KDE team got right with the original)

    After tweaking a sysconfig network timeout delay, openSUSE 15.4 will boot from powered off to full-desktop in less that 14 seconds (from SSD). However, while KDE3 is supported, it isn't provided as an install option through the YAST installer -- you have to know where to look.Speaking of the YAST installer, if you can install windows, you can install openSUSE. Just download the .iso (or NET-iso) and burn to media of your choice and just make your selections as the graphical installer guides you though the process.

    Archlinux. The article suggests it is for gamers and hobbyists, but not for those who need to get things done. I take issue with that. I have used Arch for servers exclusively since 2009 and in that 13 year period, there have only been two or three occasions where a remote adminned server had to be physically visited to handle an update. The benefit is Arch stays current with upstream. Say bash or openssh issues a new release, the new release is packaged and available for update usually within 24 hours. Meaning that all security related updates arrive almost as soon as they are available.

    The only caveat being that if you rely on some custom package that may need to be updated when a new upstream package arrives -- you may have your work cut out for you. Arch is always ready to be current with upstream -- but that doesn't mean you are. If your custom package provider is slow to update it to work with the latest releases, that can be a bit of a problem. When major releases hit (kernel, gcc, php, etc..) you need to be ready (or know that the current version of what you rely on is available from the AUR (Arch User-Repository)).

    I use Arch as a daily driver as well and there are no more issues involved using Arch for a desktop box than there are with any other distribution. In many ways their use of upstream sources without heavy patching or customizing makes resolving any issues easier in some regards. (and living on the bleeding-edge means you are likely to be one of the first to find them) Arch does have a minimal installer now (it did until 2014 or so, then went complete manual install, and now has a new live-environment installer to use). However, the live environment doesn't do the hand-holding that a YAST or other installer does. But, on the plus side, it does have the best wiki on the planet that provides you all the information needed to handle the install like a pro (or just about anything else).

    Comment ended up much longer than originally planned, but both distros are that good, as are Ubuntu and Debian (which I also use). Bottom line, it's all Linux under the hood. Only difference between distros is their philosophy of how current the pieces need to be, how they put the pieces together and whether they patch, backport or use current upstream for security updates. You can't go wrong with any of the major distros cited in the article. All will give you the same Linux and from a daily management standpoint, the only difference is which package manager you use to update, install or remove packages. All provide roughly the same offering of packages which cover everything from 'A' to 'Z' in the computing spectrum, not a limiting factor with any of the distros. After using a Linux desktop for 20 years, I wouldn't use anything else.

  47. llaryllama

    I had been trying to move my main desktop to Linux on and off for the last 30 years. Each time I would stick with it for a while then find some critical piece of hardware that just wouldn't work right or some other quirk that forced me to dual boot with Windows. When I was younger I always had the weirdest/smallest distro I could find just to be different but now I just want an easy life (Slackware was actually pretty great as a daily driver).

    I have Ubuntu installed on most of the PCs at work and even the non technical types don't seem to have any trouble with it, so the last time I replaced my laptop a few years ago I went 100% Ubuntu and haven't missed Windows at all.

    Linux desktop is absolutely ready for prime time, in fact it's a much more pleasant user experience overall than Windows or Mac. No forced updates, minimal spyware, absolute control if you want it.

  48. boatsman

    amusing and

    completely useless for anyone looking for hints of information.

    lots of jokes around the tribal wars

    by the way, opensuse / suse package manager uses snapshots before every update.

    since a very long time.

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: amusing and

      [Author here]

      I know it does. That's why I pointed out that snapshots readily fill up your hard disk and cause Btrfs to collapse.

      Hint: look at my LinkedIn and see where I worked for longer than anywhere else in my career.

  49. TCook1943

    Re: choose how the OS will annoy you

    I've been using computers since CPM was the new kid on the block and Windows since 3.1 which incidentally was probably the best version M.S. ever produced. With an interval running Amiga Os which in my view was THE best system ever.

    I've been running PCLinuxOs for ages but am switching to Deepin right now. I've tried it a few times before but now that it has reached version 20.5 it seems to me to have matured into a very usable operating system more than capable of finally replacing M.S. products while possessing the ability to run programs developed for that company's product.

    It's Chinese origin was initially a downer due to it's default language but is not a serious problem with 20.5. Plus points as far as I am concerned is that it supports the use of Synaptic as its software installation tool as I have a rooted objection to such alternatives as Yast or Flatpack which I find clumsy and awkward.

  50. RyokuMas
    Coat

    If only it were that easy...

    Right. Time to rack up some more downvotes!

    I've tried to go to Linux several times over the last fifteen-or-so years on various machines I've had during this timespan. Every time, regardless of the variant I've been looking at, something has gone wrong during the installation process which has required information I don't have in order to correct - or worse, resulted in an error message so ambiguous that diagnosis has been impossible.

    Maybe I've been unlucky, but on the occasions I have then asked for assistance on forums, I have been confronted by responses along the lines of "well, it's worked for me, so it must be something you've done", "did you make sure the machine was working before you tried the installation?" etc.

    Ultimately, every attempt has ended in one of two ways - reinstalling Windows, or chucking the machine out because it was too old to support a minimum installation of Windows.

    Now if there were a Linux distro that you could just install and it would get to the point of "functional desktop", regardless of any problems, followed by additional, specific information on the issues that have come up during the installation - that would get my vote! I don't know - maybe there is one now... but thanks to these historic issues, I'm reluctant to invest the time even looking for such a distro, let alone trying it out.

    For all it's issues with telemetry, updates et. al., the extra cost of Windows is worth it knowing that your machine is going to "just work".

    ... mine's the flame-retardant jacket...

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: If only it were that easy...

      Mint other then LDME. Zorin. Kubuntu.

      Avoid the very latest H/W because there may be drivers that haven't made their way into the distro yet - usually WiFi IME - but those options will get the drivers before, say, Debian.

      Other than that, if you can't get it to work, either you have very strange H/W or it really is you.

      One hint - if you have the option in the install choices, go for automatic partitioning that gives you a separate /home partition.

      1. Zolko Silver badge

        Re: If only it were that easy...

        what exactly went wrong ? Did you ever try a live USB : you download the OS image, copy/burn it onto a USB stick, boot from that USB stick, and you have a running Linux system. Only if everything works should you try to install the system.

        It's actually much easier to install Linux than Windows or MacOS on a new empty drive.

        1. To Mars in Man Bras!
          Thumb Down

          Re: If only it were that easy...

          One of my favourite "What were they smoking?" aspects of installing Linux [specifically Ubuntu] from aLive CD/DVD/USB is that:

          if you untick various options to get a minima-ish install [in my case I deselect LibreOffice --I don't need office software] the installer actually installs all the bloatware anyway and then removes it again afterwards, as part of the installing process. You can see this if you turn down the disclosure arrow on the installer window to show the details [ie. terminal output] during installation. What a completely idiotic waste of time!

          I've also had Ubuntu installations break completely when I've forgotten to untick LibreOffice during installation and then had to remove it manually afterwards.

          So much for efficiency and lack of bloatware!

      2. Cliffwilliams44 Silver badge

        Re: If only it were that easy...

        Fedora will support the latest hardware unless it is critically bleeding edge and that will probably be in the next release. Fedora is NOT unstable no matter what people say!

        Would I run Fedora as a Server OS? No, that IMO is not what it is for. That's what Rocky Linux (formerly CentOS 8) is for!

    2. GuldenNL

      Re: If only it were that easy...

      "Too old to support Windoze"

      That is your problem. If it's that old, you likely have something that's been deprecated in the Linux kernel.

      I have a 2006 Dell that this is the case for me. No clean Linux install woukd work, I need to drop the kernel version back.

      "the extra cost of Windows is worth it knowing that your machine is going to "just work"." which you previously said doesn't work. So which is it?

      Finally, support forums of all kinds have the idiot posters where "It works for me, I dunno what's wrong with yours." Down vote them straight to Hell.

  51. Lorribot

    What's missing

    An interesting and amusing view of Linux Distros.

    Couple missing are Elementary OS, though that is more of a MacOS look alike, and SteamOS which is Valve's Game focused OS and more of an appliance implementation of Linux.

    What I have found amusing in the comments is the general hate for MS and Windows, due to subscriptions and spying and yet people love Chrome, ChromeOS and Android and more than happy to allow Google to spy on their every move and even listen to their every spoken word with out any concern, maybe they are are just not aware of it as Google does not tell them it is stealing their lives and selling to any bidder in order to fund the support and development of the OSes.

    OSes are expensive things to maintain, MS is just trying to find a sustainable charging model to support the cost of developing and managing an OS, all these Linux distros either make no money and developers give their time for free, rely on donations from users or corporations or use the subscription support model for enterprise versions to fund the end user version. Is it really an worse than the subs you pay for Netflix, cable, Broadband, Mobile or any other service that is provided to you?

    Mainstream Linux distros often rise up on a wave of altruism as the one true Linux to bind them all, then hit the economic reality of running a business and paying salaried staff to support it and start casting around for funding, often ending up at the Enterprise doorstep cap in hand for donations or support contracts or just wilt away in to nothingness and update wasteland, maintained by a few dedicated developers that just can't let go.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: What's missing

      " Is it really an worse than the subs you pay for Netflix, cable, Broadband, Mobile or any other service that is provided to you?"

      Well, I don't subscribe to Neflix and cable (nor to Prime, Disney or any of the others) so that might answer that question as far as I'm concerned.

      As to your last paragraph, some distros started commercial, some not and mostly they have stuck that way. To take examples RedHat is still commercial, Debian and more recently Devuan are still free but then the latter two aren't running businesses anyway.

  52. The Central Scrutinizer

    I use Mint. It works and gets the fuck out of your way.

  53. RolandM

    Article's Fedora coverage is simply unfair

    The section about Fedora is just not matching today's reality. May be that's important to add: I am living in year 2022.

    First of all, using Fedora you make a deal that you are getting a distro making a mostly working compromise between providing bleeding edge content and stability. The Fedora releases in recent years I experienced as stable and just working. My choice is XFCE desktop due to a heavy allergy against Gnome/Unify etc.

    Furthermore, Fedora releases come out twice a year, and each release is supported about a year. Thus, release update is mandatory once a year rather than twice.

    Updating a release to a new level worked for me very well since about a decade. I did not scratch install my PC just for upgrading Fedora since years.

    What is really annoying is the lack of integration in Linux desktop which shows up in such things as drag&drop or clipboard not working in many cases between different programs. Saying that that's a Linux issue and not specific to Fedora. It's simply the disadvantage against Windows and MacOS where you have "One Desktop, One User Community and One Market Fuehrer" (german: Fuehrer = english: leader).

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Article's Fedora coverage is simply unfair

      [Author here]

      It may interest you to know that I formerly worked for Red Hat.

      I think that is enough said, really.

  54. Soruk
    Joke

    Oracle?

    Oracle more trustworthy than $OTHER_VENDOR?

    Joke icon because you must be.

  55. Simon R. Bone
    Flame

    Year of Desktop Linux = Year(now()) + 1

    I'm just here for the comments :)

  56. Cliffwilliams44 Silver badge

    Fedora: Not as bad as people think!

    Frankly, Fedora is an excellent Distro even for the novice. Yes, it updates ALOT! And yes, some applications will lag behind the next rolling release. But Fedora is FAR from unstable! I've been using Fedora as a desktop since 25 and I've never had any major issues.

    Like I said, some software will lag behind, in my situation it was always VirtualBox. I used to use VirtualBox a lot (I don't any longer). So at one point I got tired of not being able to update, I also was disappointed that AWS doesn't distribute a Linux version of their WorkSpaces client for anything but Ubuntu (I have since found a way to convert and install it on Fedora), So I switched to Ubuntu, it was an unmitigated disaster!

    If you have very recent hardware you will find the LTS release of Ubuntu difficult! My very new work HP laptop with its Thunderbolt dock was extremely problematic! My brand new Bluetooth headset just did not work (note: I don't blame Ubuntu for that, pulseaudio is a steaming pile of dung!).

    So I switched back top Fedora which uses PipeWire for audio and has support for pretty much all new hardware. Is it perfect? No, there is no perfect Linux distro and there won't ever be until someone decides to make one that you have to pay for and that's not going to happen because you can't charge people for Linux!

    Oh BTW, it's Fedora with the Cinnamon Desktop! Why? Because I want a Bleepity bleepin' Start menu on my Bleepin' desktop computer! It's not a bleepin' tablet!

    1. GuldenNL
      WTF?

      Re: Fedora: Not as bad as people think!

      Pipewire is default in Ubuntu 22.10 & it was braindead simple to install prior to that.

      So, you only use defaults?

  57. Binraider Silver badge

    Insert obligatory "but why didn't you list $OBCURE_DISTRO" of choice!

    I'd used linux on the desktop intermittently right through the early 2000's, but it took the launch of Win8 to make me seriously look for a daily driver. Mint worked well for me as a transition from 7. As my needs expanded jumping into Manjaro and the AUR repo did almost everything without "much" user knowledge.

    There are odds and sods that are awkward like getting my tape drives working under linux. Perfect on RedHat / CentOS 7 with pre-compiled binaries. But never got it installed successfully on any other distro. I guess there aren't many of us idiots that try and use such things away from server-appliance land.

  58. osxtra
    Linux

    It's Not The Money

    Nice list. I still like Debian just because, as mentioned, it's the Daddy, and most of the boxes I spin up are servers of some sort so I'm not worrying about the GUI. It supports what hardware I'm throwing at it.

    Am fairly agnostic when it comes to hardware. Commodore back in the day. Running mainframes for USAF. Building V20 boxes in the 80's. Working with this new-fangled 386 chip.

    Software is another matter. Not thinking I'd actually need the other 3 megs of installed memory; DOS only really needs 640K after all. Learning to hate WinDoze when v3 came out, then learning to *really* hate WinDoze when ME came out. Vista? Ugh. Must admit 7 was a vast improvement over '95 (being NT under the hood rather than pretty wallpaper on top of DOS), and 10 continues that tradition, but don't care for anyone wanting to control what browser - or any other app - I open by default.

    So far as not being able to afford a Mac ... it's not that. I have a perfectly good '09 MBP. Sure, it's stuck on El Capitan, but iTerm, SSH, FireFox, ThunderBird, TunnelBlick, VNC, VIM, VS Code, Bash, etc. all still work just fine. Most of the new versions of code (openssl, curl, apache, etc.) even still compile on it.

    The problem with Mac is not the price. It's not being able to swap out or upgrade the underlying hardware. That's where OpenCore comes in. For desktop, am still on a Coffee Lake CPU, with 128G ram and a Titan Black GPU. PhotoShop is *very* responsive. Haven't quite bitten the bullet yet to get off of Catalina. Don't care for the file system being untouchable. Did I, or did I not just type sudo? Thought *I* was in charge of these bits. I shouldn't be required to make a snapshot just to update the compiled version of bash to /bin ('cause who wants to update the hash-bang on all the user scripts).

    Will be interesting to see how OpenCore adapts to the Fruity Company's switch to Arm. Eventually I will have to purchase new hardware, but have no intention of splurging on Apple until I can fix and upgrade it myself, as I still can with the '09 MBP.

    Having switched from 'doze to Mac a dozen or so years ago as my daily driver, I'm now used to it. CMD vs CTRL, mostly it's the same. Bringing WSL into WinDoze has helped me like that platform again, but when using the GUI I still like Mac. Having BSD under the hood makes things more comfortable.

    If *nix really wants to go mainstream, Adobe needs to port Creative Cloud over to it. Sure, Gimp, InkSkape and Scribus are great, but I'm not the only one used to PhotoShop, Illustrator and InDesign, and truth to tell, Adobe has invested quite a bit over the years to improve their product offerings. Wasn't happy with the switch to a subscriber model, but do like having the latest and greatest, and the constant improvements they make. I'd jump ship from Mac in a second if I could run Adobe's apps natively, not fiddling with containers.

    Would probably be running some flavor of Ubuntu though, that driver thing again...

  59. This post has been deleted by its author

  60. CAPS LOCK

    Look, it's simple, if you have to ask, then the answer is...

    ... Mint.

    Find an old system. no bridges are to be burned, and install Mint Xfce. Then join the forum at https://forums.linuxmint.com/index.php. It's an invaluable resource.

  61. stimhay

    Windows "just works" for me. Mostly Although, to be fair, that's because I have 30 years' experience in being able to make it do so. With so much going cloud-based now, I'm surprised that Microsoft doesn't offer a vastly cut-down OS that's basically a bootable version of Edge. They could call it U/2.

  62. BPontius

    Yeah, switch to Linux because it looks just like Windows or Mac, it is such an easy switch. No mention of the vastly different directory structure and usage, editing text and bash script configuration files, unfriendly cryptic hardware, drive and partition labeling, different commands used in command prompt which you will still spend quite a bit of time in, text based editors. Despite the GUI based configuration now available there is still a large learning curve to jumping into Linux. Never encountered a Linux article inviting a switch from Windows explain or even hint at the differences that will be encountered. Deceptive!

  63. JohnHMorris

    Glad to see a nice review of OpenSUSE in the context of the other distros. Have been successfully using in a mixed Linux / Windows environment for almost 10 years. Because I have a couple of instances in the cloud, the low memory XFCE desktop is helpful and works great. The whole thing just works and is nice.

    BTRFS is a worry - and not for lack of trying to understand space issues. The answer seems to be make sure that you always have lots and lots of space on root and you'll be fine.

    In the meantime snaps and YAST make managing the things so much easier. And the fact that OpenSUSE is deployed in the context of a seemingly successful commercial distro gives one confidence.

    * This post is offered in the memory of my friend Anton Aylward, long time stalwart of the OpenSUSE support forum, who passed away suddenly last fall. Anton introduced me to OpenSUSE. No doubt in heaven he would have a critique of what I have written above. Godspeed Anton.

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