back to article When it comes to Linux distros, one person's molehill is another's mountain

There are lots of distros out there. Some people hop from one to another, some stay on the same one for decades. What constitutes a good enough reason? For as long as there have been Linux distributions, there has been Linux distro advocacy – which in FOSS circles tends to mean people shouting at each other that they're wrong …

  1. b0llchit Silver badge

    Two sided

    The "distro-wars"(*) are both a blessing and a serious problem.

    It is a blessing because new things are tried and developed. It promotes progressive and experimental designs and infrastructures. New ideas are adopted more easily. It is a serious problem because of the verbal "wars" and the real problem of streamlining for a broader audience. Problems can also include featurism and stability problems.

    The truth is somewhere in between. Yes, we need streamlining. Yes, we need communication. No, we do not need one-fits-all distros. Diversity is a strength when we allow ourselves to listen to other parties and take the best of all worlds to improve. And also, users help users. That is always a good thing.

    (*) Yes, yes, they are not wars. Just "strong minded people" defending their opinion...

    1. Ball boy Silver badge

      Re: Two sided

      It's definitely a double-edged sword. On the one hand, *Nix users who don't like this bit can swap to that bit but, generally speaking, they're a technically-minded bunch who can make the swap without getting into a terrible mess. For the novice, the mixture of distributions, desktops and so on must be a frightening prospect. Seeking advice quickly leads them into what seems like very polar discussions about the merits (or not) of GNOME, etc.

      I fully appreciate there's a need for different favours among the discerning 'power user' but we (as a community) also need some kind of standard version that newer users can learn on. Something that the community can help with in terms of getting that user familiar with the basics and so on without it all breaking out into fisticuffs about how Snap/Flatpack/systemd/inetd/GNOME is the work of the devil incarnate.

      We don't confuse young drivers by insisting they swap out their carbs for fuel injectors or remap the engine for more torque just to be able to learn to drive. Let's appreciate there's a need for a (forgive the term) 'one-size-fits-most' and we'll end up with more people learning - and using - open source OS's in all their flavours.

      1. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

        Two-Sided, and Using the Source

        It's like "baby's first (something)". A person starts with whatever distro, learns to use it, perhaps chafes at some of its limitations, and looks for fixes. If the user can't find a reasonably-convenient way to work-around or fix the issue in that, they move on to a different distro.

        Some problems aren't easily-fixable, even if you do have the source. I have some apps which I've compiled. Some have really-old source; some have modern source. I also have some apps I simply cannot compile on my distro, because they have no-longer-supported dependencies, or use some "modern" build system de jour which itself has dependencies which aren't yet supported on the distro I'm running. (E.g., build system MacroBar depends on packages JoeFoo, JaneBlat, and library LibStuff.)

        1. Snake Silver badge

          Re: work around or move on

          That's not a feature, the idea that problems exist and either the user works [hard] to either fix or work around the problems themselves, or switch distros.

          You'll downvote, but that's a FLAW. It shouldn't be up to the [new] user to solve the inherent problems built into the system...or try to find, out of dozens, a system that has flaws that don't get in the way of their work.

          I'm going to get hate but STOP FORKING distros as a "solution". Fix the problem in the distros ss they exist - FOSS will never seem to understand that the outrageous amount of distro fracturing is a NEGATIVE to widespread FOSS adoption, *not*, repeat not, a plus. When distros have problems with compatibility - that's a problem. When distros all do things differently and somehow (new) users are supposed to sort through that - that's a problem. When distros have driver issues and the 'solution' is to wipe and replace to a new distro - that's a problem.

          The problem with widespread FOSS adoption seems to the the fundamental problem in the mindset of the FOSS-supporting community: they see complexity as a "bonus". FOSS OS will always be stuck in the minority until they realize the rest of the world *doesn't think that way*.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: work around or move on

            FOSS will never seem to understand that the outrageous amount of distro fracturing is a NEGATIVE to widespread FOSS adoption, *not*, repeat not, a plus.


            It is a permanent state of mind causing a likewise permanent waste of time and effort.

            Like another commentard already posted back in 2020:

            Most people want to be rockstars, not maintainers!

            To which yet another commentard replied:

            "The Linux ecosystem is home to literally tens of thousands of highly qualified coders/programmers, a rich pool of talent which could be harnessed towards the same goal and put Linux firmly on the desktop.

            But ...

            If they all want to be able to shout "Look Ma!!! I rolled my own [fill in here]! and be a primadonna for all of 15', that is certainly not going to happen.


            I think that sums it all up quite nicely.


            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: work around or move on

              It's always easy to spot somebody who's only read about Linux written by people who haven't used it and hasn't used it themselves.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: work around or move on

                With respect, this is one of the rare times I have to disagree with you.

                I would say it's always easy to spot Linux users who have absolutely no idea what it takes to run a decent size business. I have a number of friends who are FOSS enthusiasts and I quickly learned to never, ever allow them anywhere near business meetings that involve user focused facilities or services because:

                a - they can't stop preaching their FOSS gospel, even if it isn't neccesary or actually totally inappropriate. Worse, they often see different opinions as the enemy that must be beaten instead of accepting that they just may be more reasons out there NOT to use FOSS for everything - I call it context blindness, and the resulting apperance of fanatism is an absolute turnoff for anyone who has not edge to edge technical DNA;

                b - they're very black and white, and unfortunately you can't always run everything on Linux. Let's not even start about the Linux desktop idea;

                c - they do not seem to care one whit about the deficient usability that they would like to inflict on users. Yes, there are FOSS desktop apps out there that sort of do the same as commercial apps, but the UIs tend to be terrible - LibreOffice is one of the exceptions. And that's after you have figured out which desktop they run on and got that somehow to work. It's a simple calculation: cost of wasted time versus cost of an application with an actually usable UI, and in most cases the proprietary UI wins that hands down (although I get the impression that especially Microsoft is hard at work to neutralise that difference, which is why we stopped using their products);

                d - yes, you can change things yourself. And that scares the absolute bejeezes out of management and the legal types because they don't WANT you to change anything - they leave that to the suppliers, and they don't want internal staff spending time tinkering. They will also worry less then about copyright issues.

                This list is far from complete, but I have a few decades between the two circles, and I'm someone who started with Slackware. Trust me, the join between the two is very, very small and has not grown much over time.

                Now, give me a minute while I don my flameproof outfit :).

                1. keithpeter Silver badge

                  Re: work around or move on


                  No flames from round here.

                  I had a lot more interest in the further education colleges I worked in about application software for the Windows student image (Inkscape, GIMP, LibreOffice, Audacity) and about server applications that could save money to put it bluntly (Moodle VLE as opposed to £5k/yr plus loading by numbers for the commercial alternative du jour).

                  Employer provides me with the tools to do my job. If the tools are blunt then I'm just working less efficiently. Basically not my problem.

                2. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

                  Running a Decent-Sized Business

                  Your points have applicability, depending on the philosophy of the people in charge of running the business. If they are trying to save money by hiring cheap button-pushing drones, then yes, you're right. If they are trying to leverage the intelligence and abilities of their employees, then you are less-right.

                  a - re the FOSS gospel: you are ignoring the monetary advantage of not having their data held in proprietary formats. With data held in open formats, one is not subject to being jacked up -- forced migration to a newer product (pay the $$), to "cloud subscriptions", etc.

                  b - "unfortunately you can't always run everything on Linux." This is true, if you mean "not all the apps I want/need run on Linux". While I do use WINE on my personal system for assorted small niche Windows apps, I wouldn't want to bet my business on it. But to too many people, "running everything on Linux" means, "everything I want to do should have an app on Linux" (vs the worker creating a pipeline of pre-existing commands to process the data to get the results they need; for that to work, the business has to invest in teaching their workers.)

                  b.1 - If you do "run everything on Linux" and you do have workers creating their own data-processing pipelines, you'd better have a large-enough staff to cover for people being sick, on vacation, etc., since the average office temp worker won't be plug-and-playable into your environment.

                  c - "deficient [software UI] usability". As far as I've seen, this problem is equally-extensive both in commercial and in FOSS software.

                  d- "scares the bejesus out of management and the legal types because they don't WANT you to change anything." If this is your situation, then your managers and lawyers are drones, and you have the business liabilities which go with that. At some point there has to be a sanity-check on software changes, and potential software (UI particularly) changes can become company-politics hot-potatoes.

                  E - Leaving software/UI design to commercial software companies implies you believe they will get things right. Based on various forum postings, those companies frequently get things wrong.

                  F - Not all businesses are good candidates for conversion to Linux. Attorneys' offices with a mountain of pre-existing MS Word documents probably are not good candidates; the same holds for businesses which need to run Autocad or Catia, which both are Windows-only.

                3. I could be a dog really

                  Re: work around or move on

                  I would suggest that you are part of the problem. A small part, but part of it.

                  The reason we are in this situation is that businesses take the "safe" option - it's often not the cheapest, nor the best, just the safest. Back in the 80s there used to be a saying that no-one got fired for buying IBM, and to a significant extent, IBM in the 80s was like MS now - ubiquitous in businesses (at least those who used computers at all), and abusing the power that gave them.

                  To give them their due, MS have done a very good job over the years - not in writing good software*, but in glueing stuff together in such a way that it (mostly) works (most of) the time for (most) people, and well enough that it's too painful for them to try and break out of that. It's well documented that much of this activity was illegal, but the reparations were too late and too little - look at file servers for example.

                  At one time, you had a choice - at least three (Netware, Microsoft, and several others). Microsoft deliberately set out on an (illegal, but not stamped upon until any reparations were irrelevant) process to make Windows on the desktop "not work properly" with anything but a Microsoft server. Theirs wasn't necessarily the best, but for most users it worked well enough for them not to try the alternatives. Hence all the alternatives fizzled out. There was the legal case where the SAMBA team won the ruling that MS's actions were illegal, and that MS had to provide documentation on protocols sufficient to enable interoperability - but that came long after it was too late and businesses were effectively corralled into "MS Desktops plus MS Servers". Too few business saw the danger and attitude like "it's too hard" and there aren't the alternatives" simply reflect that too few looked ahead and considered the danger of sleepwalking into the trap.

                  And since then MS has carried on down that route. Every tighter integration between components, using proprietary protocols designed to lock out competition, and now forced migration to subscriptions where they dictate when you upgrade - meaning that the moment there's a sign of competition, they can revise the protocols, force everyone to upgrade, and put the competition back to square one.

                  Same for file formats - whenever the likes of Libreoffice get too good at handling MS files, all MS has to do is revise the format and force updates on everyone.

                  That's not a closed vs open software argument. It's a closed vs open protocol/format argument. Unfortunately, it will take government sized intervention to break that, and as we've already seen, MS are big enough to outplay governments (c.f. the debacle where governments insisted on "open file formats", there's a good open file format, MS create their own "sort of but not really" slightly ajar format and spend money to get it passed into an ISO standard).

                  * Oh yes, and they didn't even write some of the software I'm inflicted with at work. It "really irritates" me that nothing in Outlook works like any other program in the O365 suite. But that's because they didn't write it, they bought the company, put their own shade of lipstick on it, and bundled it.

            2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

              Re: distro fracturing is a NEGATIVE to widespread FOSS adoption,

              For me it is the opposite.

              We are all different people. We all have different likes and dislikes. Many of us are willing refugees from the one size fits all disaster that is Window 10/11.

              Having a choice allows us to choose the best fit for our needs.

              I, like many followed the crowd onto Ubuntu circa 2000 and something. I gave it a good shot but deep down, I knew that it was not for me.

              This is probably due to my first encounter with Unix was Dec/Ultrix. Then OSF/1 and Digital Unix where I built large systems for credit card processing.

              I started out with Slackware 1.1 simply because it came with a PC Magazine. That got me hooked but soon RedHat called and it fitted my experience and requirements perfectly.

              Now I use Alma Linux everywhere.

              Is it perfect? No way but it works for me and that is all that counts in the long run isn't it?

            3. ThePendragon

              Re: work around or move on

              Targeting the desktop is a bit obsolete now isn't it ? I think smart phones, tablets, IOT, and servers are more Plentiful. I also think it works fine on the desktop for techies since I run gnome-flashback on Debian and it works fine for me (using a laptop).

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: work around or move on

            You're right up to a point - a distro for beginners shouldn't have these problems and that shouldn't be tolerated. The sort of distro that's been forked for some reason by someone who's prepared to work round its problems isn't a mainline distro and shouldn't be a first-time distro - in fact it shouldn't be a regular distro for experienced users either.

            It might be difficult for Windows users to grasp but the diversity of Linux distros is a Good Thing. There are really three classes of them:

            One is where the experimentation that breaks stuff gets tried out. They're where ideas originate, ideas that may eventually be incorporated into the mainline distros. Even the mainline distros have variants which might be one or even two generations ahead of the current production release to try stuff out.

            The next group are the current or production versions of a number of mainline distros. The fact that there are several means that a user can choose the one they prefer. As a Unix old-timer, for instance, I prefer the systemd-free option of Devuan to Debian which I used to use. There are also a variety of UIs to suit different ways of working. Liam, for instance prefers Ubuntu's Unity interface. That would be unworkable for me, in fact it's what drove me from Ubuntu to Debian. The Linux user certainly doesn't have to put up with whatever changes of UI Microsoft chooses to impose.

            Finally there are distros such as Zorin, based on the mainline production distros but with the UI tweaked so as not to frighten refugees from Windows.

            But this continual refinement has lead to very reliable distros. My occasional clashes with Windows remind me of the value of that. With Windows there's no option to move on to something else and of course there's no option to fix it. I just use Devuan as a daily driver and am grateful I don't have to depend on Windows for anything.

            1. georgezilla Silver badge

              Re: work around or move on

              " ... a distro for beginners shouldn't have these problems and that shouldn't be tolerated ... "

              I disagree.

              Would you allow people who won't/can't be bothered to learn to drive?

              How about fly a plane?

              Repair your car?

              Go to a doctor that hasn't been to medical school?

              Would you "tolerate" things like that? No? Why not?

              What I can't "tolerate" is people not wanting/bothering to learn how to use/do something and then whine, piss and moan about it because they won't.

              Linux is hard. Get over it. Learn to use it. Or don't. Just stop pissing and moaning about it.

              1. Terry 6 Silver badge

                Re: work around or move on

                It's not a plane or even a car. It's a way to make computers run programmes that people need to do their jobs, run their lives or play a few games.

                And it isn't hard. Not if people don't make it hard for everyone else.

                A better way round is like with cameras- point and shoot being good enough for most people. though there are lots of makes, they all pretty much work the same way. And if you want something more sophisticated you can make the extra effort to get that and learn how to use it in a more sophisticated way, and so on up to DSLR

                And that's before you throw in the hundreds of jargon terms and fork names and so on. Many of then scattered through this thread. Which is fine and relevant here,maybe.

                And then there's saying to/about ordinary users;

                Do they want to "learn"? Or do they just want it to work, without all that messy, annoying, hard "learning"?

                I mean, who wants to learn to use Google and how to cut and paste."

                Well actually, yes, almost everybody on the planet wants an OS that just works. And all they do want to learn is stuff like how to cut and paste,which is rightly pretty standard. And they only want to learn how to do it once. Because they just want to do stuff that helps them to feed the family.

                My view fwiw is that you don't need a learner gateway distro and then the rest of the big stuff. We need a standard forever distro that just sits in the background an makes software run and then there's the sophisticated landscape of distros, forks, systemds, command lines,and so forth for IT pros, coders and hobbyists.

                NB. The profoundest FOSS/'nux advocates are often also the ones who most want to see Microsoft die.But seem to be doing all they can to keep people using WINDOWS.

                1. georgezilla Silver badge

                  Re: work around or move on

                  " ... almost everybody on the planet wants an OS that just works. ... "

                  And yet they use Windows. Which " just works"? Well okay, it " just works " almost as well as Linux does.

                  When was the last time that you install on bare metal on some random hardware that you threw together. It just works? You don't have to down drivers? 100's of GB worth? Updates break shit? And the fixes that fix what the update broke, doesn't break things?

                  You want a computer that runs Windows that just works? Then you buy one with it preinstalled.

                  Oh wait ..... You can do that with Linux. And it just works too. The "I just want an OS that just works" is just another bullshit excuse to whine about Linux because you can't make it work. Or it's to hard. Or some other bullshit.

                  You want an OS that " just works "? Then stick with Windows.

                  And good luck with it. Because it breaks. And when it doesn't, they've changed shit so that it doesn't work like it did before the update.

                  Do I hate Windows? Nope. I don't have and fucks left to give about it.

                  Linux sucks? Then don't use it. Go back to, or stick with Windows. Just stop whining about Linux.


                  People whining about Linux sound like a three year old when their mother won't give them a fucking cookie.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: work around or move on

                    Well, most people do indeed not build their own machine, and thus often buy a system where Windows comes pre-installed so no hard work to get things going (and, to be honest, you try Linux going on a machine where there are no drivers - ditto problems, and FAR less help from the manufacturer to get some sort of support).

                    The rest is then the usual lock in, to the point that they're blind to the fact that there are alternatives - and if they see alternatives, the one such users will jump to is MacOS, not Linux because their perception of a computer is the UI and you buy lots of software for that too (including, alas, MS Office, because MS isn't stupid - this way it keeps at least some of the lock in and thus associated income).

                    Those people don't whine about Linux, as a matter of fact, they couldn't care less, especially if you see how non-technical newbies are treated in forums which, BTW, you just amply demonstrated yourself..

                    1. georgezilla Silver badge

                      Re: work around or move on

                      " ... and, to be honest, you try Linux going on a machine where there are no drivers ... "

                      < heavy sigh >

                      So you don't know or understand that Microsoft doesn't make drivers for Windows? The manufacture of the hardware does. So it's not a Linux problem.

                      " ... often buy a system where Windows comes pre-installed so no hard work to get things going ... "

                      Ahhhh, okay. Then just "buy a system where" ... Linux com preinstalled. "so no hard work getting things going". Because there are more then a few companies that do, if you bother to look. And if they don't have the Linux based OS that you want, getting the one you do want is actually easy. Because they choose hardware that just works with Linux based OS's in general.

                      Using your logic and often your words in reply to you, most of your comment is nonsense.

                      " ... Those people don't whine about Linux, as a matter of fact, they couldn't care less ... "

                      And yet here they are, on almost every Linux article doing just that.

                      " ... especially if you see how non-technical newbies are treated in forums ... "

                      2+ decades of daily driving Linux, I have seen how they are treated. And yes sometimes they aren't treated well. I was treated like that when I first started out, and I was, and am a "technical" person. I'm old, I know what transistors, diodes and basic electronic components were and how they worked. I know what logic circuits were and how they work. I could and did build from scratch/repair them. I could do truth tables and do math in different number systems. I even learned how to program in Cobol, Forttran, Pascal and Basic. But then I understood that if I asked and answered questions in an intelligent and relevant way I was treated better and got the help I was after. I realized that if wasn't them, that it was ME, And I learned.

                      Linux based OS's ARE technical. An OS that lets you see the actual damn code IS technical. Code that you can change in anyway you like IS technical. And the fact that they aren't technical, isn't the fault of Linux based OS's.

                      No one is suggesting that new, non-technical people should learn to use the CLI and write shell code ( For the most part you don't have to. And when you do, it's can be as easy as cut and paste. ) . Just that you learn how to do the simplest of things. Read/fallow the instructions on how to install the OS. How to install software on the OS of your choice ( in most modern Linux based OS's, it's as easy as one click. ). How and where to find software for the OS of your choice. Even software on Gethub has readme's that tell you what to do. Linux based OS's really aren't hard. Just takes a little work, reading. And because it actually IS techjnical, and you break things, that's just life. Nothing to get upset about.

                      " ... Those people don't whine about Linux ... "

                      You just amply demonstrated that yourself in your comment that they do.

                  2. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: work around or move on

                    You can do that with Linux. And it just works too

                    I've wanted and tried to move to Linux, but in my experience there are too many things that just don't work, or are far more complicated to get working that I would like.

                    I'm not looking for an OS that I can hack with. I'm a software dev professional of many decades experience so consider myself technically competent, but believe an OS should be fairly transparent - I just want something that allows me to run software to accomplish tasks

                    For example, I had a Windows PC which I'd hooked up to the TV so I could use things like Media Player (for MP3s and DVDs), YouTube and whatnot through a browser...nothing fancy or outlandish. That Windows machine borked and I replaced it with some similar hardware running a common Linux distro.

                    No windows Media Player, but VLC should do nicely. That was easy enough to install. Fire it up....and discover that I can't play a DVD, so Google the problem and find a bunch of stuff that I have to type in through a terminal window to allow that to work. Never had to do that on a Windows box, but at least I found a solution for Linux

                    Realise that there's a piece of software I used on Windows but manufacturer's website doesn't offer a Linux equivalent. Back to Google, find alternatives. Try installing them only to be met with a bunch of errors complaining of missing dependencies. Google how to install these. More similar errors. Think "I'll just download the Windows do dah" under Wine. Try and fail to download/install Wine.

                    Give up and install a different distro, accepting that it has a different UI so I'll need to re-orientate myself. Go through process of trying to install software and run into dependency problems (some familiar, some new). Try installing Wine, with similar problems.

                    And so on.

                    Honestly, it's more bother than it's worth just to perform a few mundane tasks.

                    1. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

                      Re: work around or move on


                      How many people here have old Windows games they want to play, but which are not supported on Win 10/11? I have a pile of 'em. Whether Windows, MacOS, or Linux works "easily" as your operating system depends largely on your particular apps.

                    2. georgezilla Silver badge

                      Re: work around or move on

                      " ... but believe an OS should be fairly transparent ... "

                      Okay, let's start with that.

                      Just how transparent do you want? With Linux you can actually see the source code.

                      " ... I'm not looking for an OS that I can hack with ... "

                      Then don't. No reason to.

                      " ... I'm a software dev professional of many decades experience so consider myself technically competent .. "

                      Okay, I agree, you are in fact more then just technically competent. But let me ask you a question ......................

                      Did you just start being a dev? Or did you have to "learn" to do it? Read books? Take classes? So how is learning a technical OS any different?

                      " ... No windows Media Player ... "

                      Okay. So software written for Windows didn't work on Linux surprised you?

                      " ... and discover that I can't play a DVD ... "

                      Okay. Don't remember ever having it not. But okay.

                      " ... Reseal that there's a piece of software I used on Windows but manufacturer's website doesn't offer a Linux equivalent. ... "

                      Yep. Linux doesn't run Windows software natively. Just one question. How long ago did all this happen?

                      " ... Honestly, it's more bother than it's worth just to perform a few mundane tasks. ... "

                      I agree. " just to perform a few mundane tasks" with Windows software on Linux isn't worth it. But Linux isn't Windows.

                      I'm sorry that Linux didn't/doesn't work for you. And that's okay. I wish that it did. So just use the tool that does work for you. For many people like me, a Linux based OS actually does work. And not just mundane tasks. Audio, listening, editing and recording. Video recording, editing and streaming. Photo editing, from both my Cannon and Sony DSLR's. My microphone and audio interface. And other things. All just works on my Linux based OS of choice. No driver downloads needed.

                      And I do admit, acknowledge that YMMV. But for me it just works. Was there a learning curve? Yes. I too am technically competent, an electronic technician. I'm not a dev, well not any more.. But I learned and use to code in Cobol. Fortran, Basic and Pascal. So I understand learning curves.

                      I build my own computers ( started with Intel 286's and 64K of memory and when Linux was actually hard.). And my experience ( 2+ decades ) is now that it just works.

                2. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

                  (Doesn't) Work Like a Toaster

                  For people who want a toaster-like experience, there are Chromebooks. The moment those users want to do something not supported by the Chromebook environment, then, just like a real-world toaster-user who wants to cook pancakes, they have to move on to something else.

                  Stock Windows used to lack certain features. Those gaps were filled-in by system-maker software pre-loads. Dell, HP, Sony, Sanyo, Leading Edge, Packard-Bell, Hyundai, etc. have their own pre-loads.

                  Various newbie-friendly distros (Ubuntu, Mint) have their own pre-loads.

                  But NO OS will be a "forever" distro. Windows' OS calls and DLL interfaces and functionality change too much for some Windows 2000-compatible software to run on Win 10/11. You can make a Linux distro, and declare it a "forever" version, but eventually the libraries on which the applications depend will no longer be supported, putting the user in a position of choosing to run old, still-working software with attendant security risks, or changing to a newer, security-patched OS version, possibly-upgrading some software, possibly-replacing some software, and possibly-finding some software you just cannot run on the newer OS.

                  Windows users are not immune from this problem. How many NT6, WinXP, and Win7 boxes are still running out there?

                3. georgezilla Silver badge

                  Re: work around or move on

                  " ... My view fwiw is that you don't need a learner gateway distro ... "

                  Then don't. But at least learn the basics. You know, like how to install the OS of your choice. How to install software, most of which can be done with one click. And don't blame the OS when you can't. Because you can't be bothered.

                  " ... We need a standard forever distro ... "

                  Why? If you want a "standard" OS , there's Windows and Mac/iOS. Linux isn't standard. Never was, never was meant to be. What is it about that fact that is just so damn hard to understand? And why is it.

                  " ... A better way round is like with cameras- point and shoot being good enough for most people. ... "

                  Then people shouldn't buy a $3K camera body and $2500 lens. And if they do, then they damn well should learn to use is. And a Linux based OS is a $3k camera and a $2500 dollar lens. Windows is a "point and shoot" camera.

                  Actually no. Most of " The profoundest FOSS/'nux advocates " have no fucks to give about if it dies or not. They have an OS that works for them, meets their needs just fine. And lets them get their work done and feed the family. Works for me. Has for over 2 decades. And I rarely even think about Windows.

                  30 years ago, a CS collage student decided to try his had at writing a kernel. He put it out on what there was of the internet. Other people thought it was cool and started to tinker with it. Then the added things to it to make it the basics of a working OS, by slapping user land tools on it. From the GNU project. Tinkerers. For shits and giggles. And from there they got a working (?) OS. Many, many of them in fact. It was never meant to be anything else. And it still is just that. NOT a "standard" OS. But still one that is more then usable. But to use it you must want to. Need to learn how to. And when you do, it "just works". If you don't? Well then it's not for you.

                  If you want a "standard" OS, then use one. But if you want more. If you want to learn. If you don't mind breaking shit, and you will, because unlike "standard" OS's, you can ( 2+ decades of it being my daily driver I still break shit and enjoy doing it ). If you want more from your OS then there's Linux based OS's that help you do just that.

                  If you want a "standard" OS, then Linux isn't it. And I, like many, many others don't care if it ever is. It is what it is. It is just fine as it is and will continue to be.

                  If you have a problem with Windows, I'm sorry. But Linux based OS's isn't the answer. Never was. Never was meant to be. And if you aren't willing to learn how to use it, for you it never will be.

                  If a "non-standard" OS isn't for you, and Linux based OS's aren't, then don't use it. But please just go away and stop whining because it isn't.

              2. sabroni Silver badge
                Thumb Up

                Re: Linux is hard. Get over it. Learn to use it. Or don't.

                Good call, it's a confusing pile of shite at the best of times. I'll take your advice and stick to commercial OSs where devs get paid.


                1. georgezilla Silver badge

                  Re: Linux is hard. Get over it. Learn to use it. Or don't.

                  " ... where devs get paid. ... "

                  <shakes head>

                  You don't think that Linux devs don't get paid? Just what planet do you live on?

                  JHFC! So much ignorance.

                  Redhat pays their devs.

                  Amazon pays their Linux devs.

                  As does Google.

                  Google pays their Android devs.

                  Hell, even Microsoft pays their Linux devs.

                  " ... it's a confusing pile of shite ... "

                  So you get confused often and eaisly? How, why is that the fault of Linux?

                2. georgezilla Silver badge

                  Re: Linux is hard. Get over it. Learn to use it. Or don't.

                  " ... it's a confusing pile of shite ... "

                  Sorry that you are so easily confused. Honestly.

                  " ... I'll take your advice and stick to s where devs get paid. ... "

                  Commercial OS's?

                  Redhat, 2+ billion dollar company delivering and supporting Linux.

                  SuSE, a fairly large company delivering and supporting Linux.

                  Google, a very, very large company. Delivering and supporting Linux. Android is in fact a Linux based OS.

                  Microsoft, Amazon and NASA to name three more. All use and support Linux.

                  All of them pay their Linux devs.

                  Many, many companies have and pay their many, many Linux dev.

                  Oh and Linux runs ALL 500 of the worlds top super computers.

                  And is the OS of Mars probes.

                  Your "commercial" OS's aren't.



                  At least on this planet, and the reality that most of the people that live on it do.

                  And then there is the fact that outside of the PC market, Linux is the most used OS in the world. And I bet that you in fact use Linux without even knowing it.

                  Not bad for a " a confusing pile of shite".

              3. ianbetteridge

                Re: work around or move on

                I'm old enough to remember people arguing that GUIs were nonsensical and people ought to learn to use the computer "properly" with a command line. Those people used much the same arguments as you are.

                1. Tim99 Silver badge

                  Re: work around or move on

                  …people ought to learn to use the computer "properly" with a command line. And we were right…

          3. aerogems Silver badge

            Re: work around or move on

            While I agree on the whole forking thing as a problem, the issue is that you tend to have people who have strong opinions and stubborn attitudes on both sides who can't come to some sort of agreement, so forking becomes the only option.

            FOSS is populated with a lot of people who are technical geniuses, but have the emotional maturity of a 3rd grader. Without the corporate overlord threatening to withhold a paycheck if two people don't figure out how to work together despite their personal feelings about one another, eventually one side will resort to taking their toys and going home.

            And one of my biggest problems with FOSS, is that on large scale projects (like anything larger than say Notepad++) no one ever finishes anything. Apps remain in a perpetual state of "almost" because the developer(s) figure it works well enough for them and no longer have any motivation to work on the project, or something happens and they stop work. Maybe they get married or take a new job, or maybe they just lose interest in one project as they move onto another. Whatever the case, it never seems to fail that FOSS apps will get you 80% of the way no problem. With a little work you can probably get to 85-90%. But getting all the way to 100% is basically impossible, and every percent after about 90% requires a doubling of the effort. You eventually get so bogged down that you're spending more time fighting to get something to work than you are doing the actual thing. I've spent the last 30 or so years hoping one day the community would get its act together, but at this point I just don't think it's ever going to happen. Smaller apps, sure, but there's never going to be a serious FOSS competitor to Windows unless the FOSS community can learn to work together and not keep duplicating effort by forking everything every time there's a disagreement.

            1. Terry 6 Silver badge

              Re: work around or move on

              And bugs don't get fixed,usability issues don't get changed, quirks don't get removed because the devs aren't interested in that, it's too boring or something, and anyway they like the way that it does such and such, even though productive workers find it a total PITA.

              1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

                Re: work around or move on

                Just like commercial software.

                Having spent an hour or two cursing the vast failings of Microsoft's developers Yet Again this morning, I have zero sympathy with any suggestion FOSS is worse in this respect.

                1. georgezilla Silver badge

                  Re: work around or move on

                  " ... Having spent an hour or two cursing the vast failings of Microsoft's developers Yet Again this morning ... "

                  Did your update/fix break anything this time? Or did it actually just fix what it was supposed to?

              2. georgezilla Silver badge

                Re: work around or move on

                " ... And bugs don't get fixed,usability issues don't get changed, quirks don't get removed ... "

                Bullshit. Complete and utter bullshit.

                Ignorance is not a good look.

            2. georgezilla Silver badge

              Re: work around or move on

              " ... is that on large scale projects (like anything larger than say Notepad++) no one ever finishes anything ... "

              Huh ...........................

              I'll have to tell Black Magic that. DaVinci Resolve is used by many major video production companies. It's used over Adobe's and the Apple's offering.

              Then there's Open Broadcasting Studio. The majority of streamers use it. Currently at version 29.x

              Also the US and major education instantiations that do vital scientific research on super computers ( ALL of the top 500 of them for at least the last decade ).

              Then there's the last Mars probes.

              Computational Fluid dynamics.

              If you use an Android phone or tablet, so the vast majority of those devices.

              The auto industry.

              The list goes on, and on and on .......

              So yep, NO "large scale projects". None at all.

              < shakes head >

            3. georgezilla Silver badge

              Re: work around or move on

              " ... but there's never going to be a serious FOSS competitor to Windows ... "

              Okay. On the desktop, that I'll give you. But .....





              Window is no where near Linux.

              Not even close.

              Linux based OS's are by far the most used OS's in the world. For many, many things can not do.

              Just one example .............. smart phones. Moe of them use a Linux based OS then ALL other OS's combined. Android is in fact a Linux based OS.

          4. Citizen99

            Re: work around or move on

            I went to a fork not to go in a new direction but to stay the same. It was the original system that went off in a way that didn't suit me. Not mentioning actual names, as the point is generic.

            1. Terry 6 Silver badge

              Re: work around or move on

              This too is a valid point.

              My use of Libre Office fits with that

              But.Linux..there are an awful lot of forks, distros etc etc.

              1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

                Re: work around or move on

                Although the FOSS environment still counts fewer forks than the average IKEA store, it is indeed occasionally hard to keep track.

                However, sometimes such forks can foster progress, create resilience or bypass development roadblocks which is IMHO one of the things FOSS has going for it - there are more opportunities for evolution there than with proprietary platforms. That freedom to tinker has value, and I think we should cherish the fact that we have it.

                All IMHO, of course :).

            2. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

              Using a Fork to Continue the Original Direction

              Yes, I hate SystemD, and yes, I also moved from Debian to Devuan. ;-)

              1. georgezilla Silver badge

                Re: Using a Fork to Continue the Original Direction

                But if I move to a non-systemd distro, how will I have to swear at. Making fun of LP and systemd is just to much fun.

              2. Handy Plough

                Re: Using a Fork to Continue the Original Direction

                Why not move to an OS that uses proper UNIX init scripts, one of the BSDs, instead of the kludge that is GNU/Linux?

          5. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

            Why Distros Fork: Bug Triage and Dev Group Politics

            One user's SEV1 issue might be some developer's (or developers', pural) WONTFIX (sometimes a politer version of DONTCARE). Bug triage has to happen due to limited programmer resources. Dev group philosophies, and/or dev group politics influence what gets fixed and what doesn't get fixed. Sometimes the devs don't even see the problem as being a problem ("The system is working as designed.")

            When someone loves a particular distro, doesn't want to switch distros, but has some burning-hot-to-them problem they want fixed, and the exisiting dev group refuses to fix it (or to accept patches which fix it), it becomes easier to just fork the project than hammer your head against the philosphies or politics of the original dev group. The project-forker(s) hope the forked project attracts programmers aligned to their particular bug-triage philosophy and priorities.

            1. georgezilla Silver badge

              Re: Why Distros Fork: Bug Triage and Dev Group Politics

              " ... but has some burning-hot-to-them problem they want fixed, and the exisiting dev group refuses to fix it ... "


              Okay well once in 2+ decades of daily driving Linux.

              Got on IRC ( HexChat ) with the dev and an hour later he sent me the URL for the fixed package.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Two sided

        I agree.

        Though, it's probably not as frightening as it once was, pretty much everyone will know someone (that at least knows someone) that runs Linux for something these days. I am that guy, and the increase in interest over the years has been steadily increasing...there was a noticeable bump when the Steam Deck became available.

        Also, in my bubble at least, I'm seeing a large uptake in the older generations...over 60's specifically...they all want a machine that "just works" that "allows them to surf the web" without "worrying too much about viruses" and that can "check their email".

        Linux is perfect for this use case, and doesn't get in the way at all...more importantly, it allows these people to keep hold of their existing equipment for longer. Which is a big deal right now, because this area of tech has a certain level of reliance on old second hand stuff being sold out of the back of a techies car boot (for a nifty fifty, plus the odd £20-£30 in support a few times a year) and with second hand kit becoming much less common and a lot more expensive, making your old machine last that bit longer becomes that much more important.

        My old man has been using Linux since Ubuntu 14.04 and he very much looks forward to new releases of Ubuntu coming out, he is not technically inclined and never has been...but the excitement around an upgrade for him is comparable to the old Windows 95 days...nobody ever gets excited about Windows upgrades now because they've got used to them making your machine slower, less functional and more confusing...whereas Linux is going the other way, you tend to get new, interesting features, it generally gives you a small performance bump and best of all, doesn't cripple your machine.

        Weirdly, my old man is also a big fan of Gnome, he's tried many desktop environments over the years out of morbid curiosity (I didn't prompt him at all) and he always comes back to Gnome. KDE is too busy, MATE is a bit old fashioned (in his opinion!), XFCE is too fiddly and "in your face" apparently and tiling window managers are <manc accent> fucking stupid </manc>. What he likes about Gnome is that he can have a dock at the bottom with all his applications on (so he doesn't have to go searching for them) and that it's pretty much out of the way most of the time. I typically agree with him as well...I personally prefer Gnome because it's the only desktop environment that doesn't go out of its way to be a desktop environment...if that makes sense...very few bells and whistles, mostly out of the way, distraction free and it very rarely breaks (unless you go down the pointless extension-geddon route).

        Personally, I find Gnome to be absolutely adequate for what it is. I'm not a massive "desktop ricer", I usually just make minor tweaks to the appearance purely for functional reasons, very rarely aesthetic reasons, and I just want the DE out of the way...I spent most of my time in IDEs and terminal windows terminal is heavily customised and tricked out, but again for functional reasons with some very light aesthetics, mostly the aesthetic touches are to remove some of the shit you get by default than add to it (I'll never understand those massive, wild, prompts that people setup that take up half the damned terminal window...

        At most, aesthetically, I turn off the borders, disable scroll bars, setup a mono space font (currently Fira Code Mono), reduce the prompt to just the name of the folder I'm in with some git symbols, swap out BASH for ZSH and apply a nice background. That is about it. Everything else I do with tmux and various command line tools...I don't need to be visually bombarded by CPU usage charts, fucking instant messenger indicators, update indicators etc's completely unnecessary.

        Same applies with the top bar in Gnome. I have the clock in the middle (with the date), a volume adjuster on the right, network connectivity indicator and a power button...I don't display more than the title of the currently launched app in the top bar (I hit the Super key to get an overview if I need it) or god forbid...ALT+TAB.

        Having spent more than a sensible amount of time browsing /r/unixporn on Reddit, and tested quite a few of the "rices" out...I can confidently say that pretty much every custom "rice" is sheer style over function because hardly any of them are usable as daily driver setups...they look great for a screenshot, but in actual use, they are absolute trash. So is the lack of extreme customisation on Gnome a bad thing? No. Not at extreme customisation an advantage over Gnome? No, absolutely not. Is Gnome just fine out of the box, the way it is for most users? Absolutely.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Two sided

          "a dock at the bottom with all his applications on (so he doesn't have to go searching for them) and that it's pretty much out of the way most of the time"

          That is one of the reasons I chose XFCE... I don't fiddle with it much at all aside from having more than one dock/panel on my screen... 4 transparent panels... the top panel basically default for all the system stuff, bottom middle with launchers for my daily apps, a wee little one in the bottom left corner holding a screenshot function, and a slightly larger one in the bottom right corner for system monitoring.

          1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

            Re: have an upvote for


            Gnome has become a disaster. While not perfect, Gnome 2 was the best desktop since OSF/Motif.

            Now I use XCFE. Like Edge on Windows being used to download another browser, Gnome is only there until I install/activate XFCE.

            1. georgezilla Silver badge

              Re: have an upvote for


              Basically the same thing.

              Started with Gnome, because that's what the distro came with.

              Then Gnome2.

              Now, Mate.

              Gnome3 just fit my workflow.

        2. Tim99 Silver badge

          Re: Two sided

          Now that I’m in my dotage, I find that Raspberry Pi OS Lite 64 (and Midnight Commander) is all the Linux "desktop" that I need.

          1. georgezilla Silver badge

            Re: Two sided

            Yep, love me some MC.

        3. georgezilla Silver badge

          Re: Two sided

          I'm old ( 70 this year ) and I use Linux. As my daily driver.

          Oh wait. I've been doing that for 2+ decades.

          Never mind.

      3. fidodogbreath

        Re: Two sided

        Seeking advice quickly leads them into what seems like very polar discussions about the merits (or not) of GNOME, etc.

        Or getting berated for not having read every forum post since 1997 before asking a question.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Two sided

          Ah yes...

          "Have you tried the search function?"

          Followed by...

          "Yes, that's why I'm asking the question"

          ...and then...

          "I searched for you, here is an article...<pasted article link that they didn't read>"


          "moderator locked thread"

          We've all been there because of the 1 in 1000 cock wombles out there.

        2. georgezilla Silver badge

          Re: Two sided

          " ... Or getting berated for not having read every forum post ... "

          Or how about, you know asking an intelligent question, and being specific about your issue?

          And "It doesn't work" doesn't qualify as intelligent nor specific.

          That's were the answer ..............

          Did you turn it off, wait and turn it back on?

          .... comes from.

      4. LionelB Silver badge

        Re: Two sided

        > Let's appreciate there's a need for a (forgive the term) 'one-size-fits-most'

        Then again, at any given time that need, arguably, has been met - by, variously (and vaguely chronologically) Red Hat, Ubuntu and Mint.

        > We don't confuse young drivers by insisting they swap out their carbs for fuel injectors or remap the engine for more torque just to be able to learn to drive.

        I have indeed known at least one person who would do exactly that. The phenomenon is by no means exclusive to the Linux world.

      5. georgezilla Silver badge

        Re: Two sided

        " ... also need some kind of standard version that newer users can learn on ... "

        Okay. I just see one problem with that ........

        Do they want to "learn"? Or do they just want it to work, without all that messy, annoying, hard "learning"?

        I mean, who wants to learn to use Google and how to cut and paste.

        1. LionelB Silver badge

          Re: Two sided

          Funny how people seem to forget that they did, at some point, actually have to learn to use Windows, Mac, their mobile OS, etc.

          1. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: Two sided

            Err. No. You'd be surprised how little people know about how to use Windows, or iOs etc. Supporting work colleagues is an eye opener. Most people just know what ehy need to know to do what they need to do. Showing someone how to use ctrl+C and ctrl+V when it happens to become relevant to their workflow can make their day.

            Herself has had an iPhone for years. And barely touched upon controlling it. I've just started using one this year. So now I'm showing her how to do more stuff. But in fairness, for these years she's done what she needs to do, somehow. Never once though had she swiped from the top right corner, for example.

            And she uses the big Windows machine, in her own log-in, to do what she needs to do. If she needs something new or different she'll find out how (like making a "Doodle Poll" ) or ask me to set something up.(Like putting her Brownies group's waiting list, which was passed to her in an old exercise book when she took the role, into a spreadsheet that does conditional formatting by ages).

            1. LionelB Silver badge

              Re: Two sided

              I don't entirely* disagree - but perhaps your response would be better directed at the post I was responding to.

              *But in fact they will have had to learn at least some basic stuff, which may seem "obvious" to you, but only because you have learned it: e.g., how to log in, start an application,... maybe, who knows, even resize or close a window.

    2. Grinning Bandicoot

      Re: Two sided

      It was something I had read in the last century that compared in academics the defense of a school of thought as the same as territorial prerogative in apes. I contend the [ fill in ] about the distros is the same animal. I also contend based on observation that some are so locked in mentally that there is no other.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Other Choices

    There are other desktops not mentioned that are worth a look, and you don't have to stick with the big names. Saying that, personally, I like Enlightenment, but you can get a pretty good lightweight desktop by configuring fluxbox or one of the other *box window managers and adding in only the apps you want and none of the cruft. (Made my first generation eee PC quite zippy that way, with only a 4GB SSD.)

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

      Re: Other Choices

      [Author here]

      > fluxbox or one of the other *box window managers

      Well, yes and no.

      Crunchbang did this very well and I liked it.

      Sadly, Corenomial discontinued it. BunsenLabs and CB++ both continue it but they are too alike. I'd love to see one of them rebase on something lighter, like AntiX or Devuan.

      But you need to know what you're doing. It's not for everyone.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Other Choices

        BunsenLabs and CB++ both continue it but they are too alike.

        Indeed ...

        Commentard karlkarl wrote:

        Most people want to be rockstars, not ...

        Commentard oiseau wrote:

        ... they all want to be able to shout "Look Ma!!! I rolled my own [fill in here]! ...

        So ...

        BunsenLabs: "Look Ma! I forked Phillip's #! Waldorf!

        CB++: "Look Ma! I forked Phillip's #! Waldorf! But mine is prettier/nicer/[fill in here] ...

        What the holy fuck for? Choice?


        1. karlkarl Silver badge

          Re: Other Choices

          Bonus points for digging out one of my rambles from over 2 years ago!

          I indeed still stand by it.


          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Other Choices

            Bonus points ...

            Good posts I usually remember.

            ... still stand by it.

            Of course you do, because absolutely nothing has changed.


      2. hoola Silver badge

        Re: Other Choices

        And this sums up exactly why there is so little adoption of Linux outside of core fans.

        1. LionelB Silver badge

          Re: Other Choices

          No, it really doesn't.

          Desktop usage splits into the business and home sectors. In the workplace, the hegemony of Windows has pretty much zero to do with the merits or lack thereof of the OS itself, and everything to do with historical commercial reasons (which I won't rehearse here).

          For home computing, you buy a PC/laptop with the OS preinstalled - and again for historical commercial reasons (which again I won't get into here) that means Windows or (on a boutique scale) Mac OS. And your average home user is simply not going to change OS; why would they - even if they were aware that the possibility existed - when what they get is familiar and works to (okay, arguably low) expectations?

          So nope: Linux will not gain traction in the workplace desktop market because of business lock-in, and won't gain traction in the home desktop market until such time as PCs/laptops with Linux preinstalled are mass-marketed. Meaning possibly never, since there is no momentum for that from either hardware or software vendors (but who knows?)

          All this has virtually nought to do with with the qualities or culture of Linux itself.

          Meanwhile, Linux will continue to dominate in the server, mobile, IOT, cloud and HPC arenas, while a few of us will continue to use it on the desktop because that works for us (smugness optional).

          1. sabroni Silver badge

            Re: until such time as PCs/laptops with Linux preinstalled are mass-marketed

            How would that work? I go to the PC shop,

            Do you want windows or Linux?

            Um what flavours are the windows?

            10 or 11

            What flavours are the linuxes?

            We have RPM based, Debian based, pacman based....

            Ok I'll take Debian please

            Cool, what distro would you like? We have Ubuntu, Lubuntu, redHat....

            I'll take Ubuntu

            Cool, what app store do you want? Snaps or flatpak?


            Cool, what desktop do you want?

            I'll take the Windows 11 please.

            1. OhForF' Silver badge

              Re: until such time as PCs/laptops with Linux preinstalled are mass-marketed

              >>How would that work? I go to the PC shop,

              >Do you want windows or Linux?

              This is where your scenario diverts from reality. 99% of the time the sales guy will just attempt to sell it with the preinstalled OEM image without asking about your preferences.

              If linux was mass-marketed the distributor would provide prepared linux images and propably not have all choices available.

              1. LionelB Silver badge

                Re: until such time as PCs/laptops with Linux preinstalled are mass-marketed

                Erm, snap ;-)

              2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

                Re: preinstalled OEM image

                In the past, I've had a numpty from just about the last man standing in the UK when it comes to a large electrical retailer tell me to my face...

                "It is against the law to sell a PC without Windows."

                I calmly point to the Mac section.

                "What about those? They run the same Intel CPU as this thing here?"

                His reply was:-

                "They pay Microsoft a license before putting their own OS on it."

                At that point, I walked out of the store with my friend who wanted a new computer. She's now in her mid 70's and is very happy with a Mac Mini.

            2. LionelB Silver badge

              Re: until such time as PCs/laptops with Linux preinstalled are mass-marketed

              Disingenuous straw man. If it were to happen (and I doubt it will, for the reasons I gave), I imagine it'd be a case of Lenovo/Dell/Acer/..., maintaining a bespoke Linux distribution tailored to their hardware; i.e., more along the lines of Android on mobile - which you may not particularly like, but it is indisputably a hugely successful business model. That bespoke Linux distribution could even, if they wanted, be virtually indistinguishable from Windows as far as the non-techie customer is concerned (easy to do with, say, XFCE or Cinnamon) - except without the UI annoyances and telemetry, and with better stability and software updating.

              1. Mark #255

                Re: until such time as PCs/laptops with Linux preinstalled are mass-marketed

                except without the UI annoyances and telemetry

                Given how many OEMs have been caught with their fingers in that pie, I'm sure that, as likely as not, it would merely be with non-Microsoft telemetry.

                1. LionelB Silver badge

                  Re: until such time as PCs/laptops with Linux preinstalled are mass-marketed

                  Good point.

            3. Terry 6 Silver badge

              Re: until such time as PCs/laptops with Linux preinstalled are mass-marketed

              See icon

          2. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: Other Choices

            And that's a fair point. Whether this is immutable, if Windows becomes horrible enough and Linux becomes usable enough only history will tell.

            1. Col_Panek

              Re: Other Choices

              The latest history books explain that it happened about five years ago, for some distros (ZorinOS, Mint).

        2. georgezilla Silver badge

          Re: Other Choices

          " ... so little adoption of Linux ... "

          Only on the desktop. Everywhere else Linux is the most used OS on the planet.

          1. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: Other Choices

            Almost everyone's daily experience is of a desktop, running Windows.The server is just a remote place that files come and go to- if they even are aware of it.

            Yes there's 'nux buried inside their phone, which is to them just a phone and they probably don't even think of Android or iOS as being an operating system. It's more of a brand.

            Which (branding aside) is what an OS should be. The more invisible the better. Windows fails that majestically, because of MS's Prima Donna behaviour and general incompetence. Maybe MacOs does it better, I don't know enough about that, but Mac users do seem comfortable.

            1. LionelB Silver badge

              Re: Other Choices

              > ... they probably don't even think of Android or iOS as being an operating system. It's more of a brand.

              Don't you think that they perhaps feel the same about Windows? Like Android/iOS it's just what they get on there laptop/PC (okay, Mac users, on both phone and desktop, are probably more brand-aware).

              > Which (branding aside) is what an OS should be. The more invisible the better.

              Why, out of interest, would you think that? It doesn't, de facto, seem to be the case for some other technologies, such as cars.

              1. Terry 6 Silver badge

                Re: Other Choices

                I would disagree. Apart from petrol heads car buyers just choose to buy a Ford/Toyota/Honda/.. And within that a model size, HR-V CR-V Jazz etc. Then the level of luxury they can afford.

                What they don't do is think about the engine type. or the braking system or the exhaust.

                In computer terms - Do we go Apple Microsoft or 'Nux. Laptop desktop or tablet Then maybe 500gb SSD or 1tb

                But not which Linux, which version of which Linux, which fork of which version of Linux, which flavour of which fork of which version of Linux. Which cat that ate the rat that lived in the fork...

                1. Col_Panek

                  Re: Other Choices

                  "But there's too many choices ... " Fine, then use Mint.

                  1. Terry 6 Silver badge

                    Re: Other Choices

                    Which is pretty much what I tell people they should try.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Other Choices

              Maybe MacOs does it better, I don't know enough about that, but Mac users do seem comfortable.

              I moved from Windows to MacOS for desktop use (on servers I've been using Linux and FreeBSD for decades), so I can give you some insight there.

              The reason I stuck with MacOS instead of going back after a test period (I originally only got a Mac for research) was the humoungous amount of time I saved by everything being in the same place, rock solid sleep/restore ability and not being interrupted ad infinitum by patches, updates and driver problems, yet being out-of-the-box safer through various mechanisms than a Windows machine only gets after installing a substantial raft of extra software - and it came ready to use. Mail client, calendar, contacts management: all part of the default OS, with as added bonus that all of these applications talk open standards so I didn't have to faff around with conversions and other things to directly integrate with the back ends that I had set up. It also has by default almost the same command line tools I'm used to from Linux, and via brew I could even get other FOSS tools installed (and replace the MacOS version of bash which is gruesomely old for legal reasons).

              I'm now 14 years into using MacOS far more than Windows, I have quite a few commercial applications as well but the UI has pretty much remained the same. Translated: I have in 14 years not lost any time in having to find things that were moved for no other reason than to flog me a new version, with the sole exception of Onmigraffle, the Omnigroup's equivalent of Visio where not all changes helped usability (IMHO).

              So, in short, I have stuck with MacOS because it saves me massive amounts of time and the cost savings of that far outweigh the more expensive hardware - which, by the way, performs very well for what I need. I'm only considering replacing my Intel i9 based laptop for a new one because the M1 and M2 chips are far less power hungry so I'm less dependent on power sockets :). It has 32GB of RAM which it has never filled in its entire life, even with a few VMs running so that was a waste of money that was a bit of a carry over from my days using Windows. It just gets oyt of your way and lets you get on with the day job, and that's all I ask from my machines. That's also why I use Linux on servers - you set it up once, and then you check every so often if it needs updating or something else but in general it just sits there and gets on with what you set it up to do without incessantly demanding attention like a 5 year old high on sugar..

              So there. YMMV, but that's my take.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Other Choices

                Slight update: what I have not mentioned yet is the licensing structure of most applications: with a few exceptions, applications are licensed per USER rather than per machine, so if you have AND a laptop AND a desktop you don't have to spend money twice, and most are licensed one-off rather than via a subscription. Serif's Affinity has gone one better since v2 with what they call a Universal License which gives you access to ALL of their applications (Designer, Photo and Publisher) on ALL platforms (MacOS, iOS and Windows) for a single one-off fee.

                Given their habit of regularly halving that fee (presently some €150 plus VAT) with promotions I'd keep an eye out for the next one - as v2.1 is nearing release date I'd wager there will be one soon.

                There are also family licenses available, so from a Windows vs MacOS perspective it's also more cost effective to work on MacOS, at home as well as in the office - with one exception: gaming.

                If you want to play games, you definitely need Windows. For serious work, not so much..

  3. McBread

    Another Ubuntu —> Fedora switcher

    I too have recently done the Ubunto-Fedora shuffle. I've long used Centos (now Rocky/Alma) for VMs doing server things and finally decided to give Fedora a go on the desktop. There's definitely ways which Ubuntu retains the upper hand (sheer amount of software packaged or documented for it, pragmatism over codecs, propriety drivers, etc), but so far it's working for me.

    The fact Canonical recently had to implement a 'no flatpaks by default' rule on the affiliated distros (sorry, 'flavours' does suggest snaps aren't gaining the traction they'd like.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: SNAP ---Grrrrr

      SNAP is evil. It needs to go NOW!

      The whole concept is even worst than SystemD and that is saying something.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: SNAP ---Grrrrr

        The whole concept is even worst than SystemD systemd and that is saying something.

        There you go.



      2. cynic 2

        Re: SNAP ---Grrrrr

        It's not just evil, it's half-baked evil.

        Try running snapd on a IPv6-only network sometime. Or rather, don't bother - it can't connect to the snap store.

        1. Mike_R

          Re: SNAP ---Grrrrr

          When Canonical started to force snap and systemd is when I started shopping distros

          For almost a year now having switched from Ubuntu 22.04 to mxlinux wildflower, really minimal bumps, and some advantages, backup using built-in image creator -- on Ubuntu it was Remastersys, until that disappeared

          Still use (runs and hides) GNOME, because that's what my fingers are used to, and I'm very attached to my fingers.

          Because of personal history (RSTS --> VMS --> early Minix --> Ubuntu, sometimes two or three in parallel) my personal preferences tend to CLI.

          So, different strokes for different folks.

          My antagonism to systemd stems from it's ignoring the "Do one thing, and do it well" maxim. Removing systemd has an added bonus too - no snaps.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: SNAP ---Grrrrr

        I'm not yet convinced Snap is outright evil. So far it seems more like badly-conceived and poorly-implemented, with enough corporate shenanigans behind the scenes that the possibility for abuse and even Evil[tm] is a real possibility.

        Whereas systemD passed the point of no return a while ago. The creeping featurism is nearly viral at this point, it disregards "do one thing well", the devs seem to ignore or disparage anyone who disagrees with them, to the point of not fixing real issues or bugs. Sometimes things which previously worked well enough broke without warning or explanation, and remain broken. "You're doing it wrong".

        But perhaps the worst characteristic of systemD is that it's nearly everywhere now. Poettering sold his bill of goods to PM's and marketing and management at Red Hat and the rest of Linux mostly followed along. It's hard to see that getting un-done any time soon, if ever.

        Whereas even as widely-used as Canonical's offerings are, they don't yet(?) have the influence and sway over Linux directions as Red Hat. IBM may someday bungle Red Hat like they've done other parts of their business, so perhaps some of Red Hat's dominance will diminish, but will it be replaced by something worse?

        Maybe it's not always a bad thing when the biggest corporate players are on opposite sides of something: Snap (Canonical) and Flatpack (Red Hat) competing in this area might keep either from dominating. Whereas when they both adopted systemD, it was essentially a foregone conclusion the thing would metastasize.

    2. cdegroot

      Re: Another Ubuntu —> Fedora switcher

      Same here, I’m on Fedora 38 now. Too much is made of distributions and distribution features - tools nor desktop requirements have changed much since I first started using Linux (ok, the browser got added as a primary tool but that’s pretty much it) and I wish everybody would just stop tinkering and start focusing on stability. KDE seems to have the upper hand there in terms of “DWIM” desktops that you can change to your liking with a couple of clicks before you go on to stuff really matters.

      The new stuff is in Nix and Guix, not in Ubuntu or Fedora or Arch or whatever. But it’s too new, still. And most of their immediate advantages can be had with asdf-vm and direnv if you’re a developer.

  4. Andrew Barr

    Year of the Linux Desktop

    And this is all the same reason why the year of the Linux desktop has never really happened, too much choice!

    1. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

      "Too Much Choice"

      If you feel that way, you probably should never go into a Baskin and Robbins 31 Flavors ice cream shop, as you will be "frozen" with indecision.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: "Too Much Choice"

        You've actually illustrated the opposite point. Baskin Robbins 31 flavours are all displayed clearly in front of the customer. They are pretty much all totally familiar and easy to understand, they will all taste nice, which ever the customer chooses within the customers' range of acceptable flavours. Mint is mint, strawberry is strawberry. And most customers will often still choose one of the good old standards.

        With OSes there are fewer flavours; Windows, MacOs iOs, Android and a big bowl labelled Linux that contains hundreds of different flavours with weird names that mostly don't relate to anything at all.

        ( I chose Mint).

        1. georgezilla Silver badge

          Re: "Too Much Choice"

          " ... and a big bowl labelled Linux ... "

          Pssssttttt ..................

          Clue fallows .......................

          Android actually in that "big bowl". It's every bit a Linux based OS as any other Linux based OS like Ubuntu, Redhat, Debian, etc.

          1. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: "Too Much Choice"

            Disingenuous. That's like saying all the ice creams are made of sugar and cream.

            The user experience is what matters.

            Oh. and while I'm at it, saying the "Year of Linux...25 years ago" is equally disingenuous. It doesn't matter what you use, or I use. What matters is what the generality use on their desktops. It might have been your year of Linux etc. But that's all.

    2. Stuart Castle Silver badge

      Re: Year of the Linux Desktop

      I was going to post exactly the same. Being a keen tinkerer, I usually have several VMs with different Linux distros. I like to play with them, and do, unfortunately, need Windows on my main home machine. Not that I have any particular problem with Window. I believe in using the correct tool for the job, whether that tool is a Linux, Windows or macOS. I'm primarily a macOS user at work.

      Linux, given a good UI, is an ideal choice for novice users. Most software is free, it has much lower system requirements than Windows, so can be used on old PCs.

      The problem is choice. Windows and macOS have one "distribution" each. If a user wants to use either, without hacking, they have one choice.

      Linux has a lot more. There are potentially hundreds of distros. Which do users use?

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Year of the Linux Desktop

        "The problem is choice. Windows and macOS have one "distribution" each. If a user wants to use either, without hacking, they have one choice."

        Yes, that's the problem with WIndows and macOS. Actually I'm not sure about macOS but the situation with Windows is the UI isn't stable, it keeps changing to whatever marketing and/or the crayon department decide to impose on the next release.

        1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

          Re: Windows is the UI isn't stable

          IMHO, MacOS is a granite pillar by comparison.

          I will NEVER EVER go back to Windows. (unless MS pays me at least £5,000,000 a year to do it)

          1. georgezilla Silver badge

            Re: Windows is the UI isn't stable

            " ... unless MS pays me at least £5,000,000 a year to do it ... "

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

            For that kind of money, I might build and install it on a new box. I might even turn it on and leave it on. But ..............

            To actually USE it? Hhhhuuummmmm .................. No. not actually.

            As much as some people think that Linux might be as big a pain in the ass, I'll stick with it.

      2. LionelB Silver badge

        Re: Year of the Linux Desktop

        > Linux has a lot more. There are potentially hundreds of distros. Which do users use?

        I just googled "Which Linux distribution is best for a new user". Top hit was Mint. About four out of 5 of the top 10 results were Mint (Ubuntu gets a few too).

        Really confusing, no?

        1. UBfusion

          Re: Year of the Linux Desktop

          Not confusing at all! Everything just works out of the box in 99% of the cases (except the very latest or exotic hardware). In fact, judging from past Reg comments, Mint is the top suggestion for a newcomer to Linux.

          If the Reg ever decided to do a well-designed poll (meaning including both "what distro you use" and "what distro you recommend"), Mint still would be 1st or 2nd choice, meaning that in practice Reg readers interpret Ubuntu as "Mint" - a Debian-based distro with all the pros and none of the cons, with a clear preference to the Cinnamon desktop.

          1. georgezilla Silver badge

            Re: Year of the Linux Desktop

            My answers ...............

            1) what distro you use?

            opensuse ( for the better part of 2 dacades )

            2) what distro you recommend?


          2. LionelB Silver badge

            Re: Year of the Linux Desktop

            Um, yes. I was being ironic :-)

      3. georgezilla Silver badge

        Re: Year of the Linux Desktop

        " ... Which do users use? ... "

        Oh I don't know. How about anyone they want and can use.

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

        Sorry ............

        I forgot .............

        Choice is a bad thing. Something to be avoided at all cost.

        It's not like trying to buy a car ............

        Oh wait.

        It's EXACTLY like trying to buy a car.

        Never mind.

        < shakes head >

    3. georgezilla Silver badge

      Re: Year of the Linux Desktop

      " ... And this is all the same reason why the year of the Linux desktop has never really happened ... "

      < heavy sigh >

      That depends on how you define " the year of the Linux desktop ".

      If you define it as the year that there are more Linux users then Windows users, then yes you are right. And expecting it to ever happen is unrealistic. Not because of Linux, because of people not wanting to learn to use it.

      If you define it as millions, 10's of millions of users, then it may already have, or soon will happen.

      Me? I define it as the year that YOU made it the year to move to the the Linux desktop. For me that "year" was 25 years ago.


      1. LionelB Silver badge

        Re: Year of the Linux Desktop

        > Not because of Linux, because of people not wanting to learn to use it.

        More because they will buy a mass-marketed machine with Windows preinstalled (or maybe a Mac) - and they will almost surely have no motivation to go through the hassle of installing a different OS, even if they were aware that the possibility actually exists (which they probably aren't). And in the workplace they have no choice.

    4. georgezilla Silver badge

      Re: Year of the Linux Desktop

      " ... why the year of the Linux desktop has never really happened ... "

      But it has. Just maybe not for you.

      It happened for me about 25 years ago.

  5. Steve Graham

    My own quirk is that I dislike bloat. I've used Debian, and then Devuan for about 20 years, and I constantly strip out stuff that isn't necessary. Things like Avahi, which is installed by default, and appears to be a piece of software that runs constantly, waiting for me to buy a new printer. Consolekit claims to "keep track of seats". I have one seat. And so on.

    Recently, I installed Devuan from scratch on an old laptop from the official ISO, and then spent about 2 days removing packages.

    This led me to my current little project, which is to create a bootable image which has busybox, dpkg and apt-get, so that I can install a system by adding, rather than subtracting, packages.

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

      [Author here]

      > so that I can install a system by adding, rather than subtracting, packages.

      Good plan. There's a need for things like this.

      There are efforts in that direction, though. AntiX is weird and I find it difficult, but it does work.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      ... I dislike bloat. I've used Debian, and then Devuan for about 20 years, and I constantly strip out stuff that isn't necessary.

      Quite so. +1

      Avahi is just another disease in a long list screwing up Linux.

      I moved to Linux* when XPSP3 lost support and then to Devuan when Philip Newborough's excellent** #! Waldorf stopped being maintained/develped.

      My Devuan installs are from the netinstall.iso to continue from there and my next kernel upgrade will ditch the XFCE bloat and use Openbox.

      That said, your project sounds interesting.

      Maybe post a link to what you are doing?


      * by way of quite a bit of testing/hopping

      ** found it to be the best of all I went through. As always, YMMV

    3. Jonathon Green

      “ This led me to my current little project, which is to create a bootable image which has busybox, dpkg and apt-get, so that I can install a system by adding, rather than subtracting, packages.”

      Isn’t that pretty much what Alpine is?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Gentoo is also an "add what you need" distro. It's also only for beginners if they have a lot of time on their hands.... I learned a lot of what I know about Linux by installing Gentoo, when I had some spare time.

        1. DJV Silver badge


          I inherited a Sparc Ultra 10 around 2005 and given how it had been crippled by the latest version of Solaris and my own need for a server, I decided to try out Gentoo. It was certainly an experience (in a good way - it taught me lots about Linux) and it took several goes/builds before I had things exactly as I wanted them. A nice bare-bones system acting as a web server and SMB network share for my PCs. But, oh boy, you're definitely right about the "lot of time" on your hands comment! I think I had to leave some builds running overnight and hope I had something working by the next morning!

    4. devin3782

      This is something that prompted me to write so that automatically removes all the packages I don't use, adds all the packages/repos I do and will even go and fetch the latest backup from my nas.

    5. keithpeter Silver badge

      "My own quirk is that I dislike bloat. I've used Debian, and then Devuan for about 20 years, and I constantly strip out stuff that isn't necessary."

      I've gone the other way (Ubuntu -> Debian + DWM -> Slackware full install with XFCE4 or Fluxbox on one really old Thinkpad).

      Many libraries, compilers and build systems just there. A lot of more specialised stuff (maxima, reduce, octave) builds straight off No tight dependency graph so can remove/add stuff without apt wanting to remove half the system. Needs about 18Gb so not for tiny disks on netbooks &c.

      Wider reflection: I think the kind of people who install linux on their computer tend to be interested in the computer as a thing rather than simply using it as a tool. Hence exploration and churn.

      Icon: Nice we have the choice isn't it?

  6. trevorde Silver badge

    Easy choice

    Just use Windows

    1. mrfill

      Re: Easy choice

      I find windows very useful to look out and to provide additional ventilation if they open..

      1. b0llchit Silver badge

        Re: Easy choice

        Windows? Those are the holes people fall out of and land on the ground breaking bones and lives.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Easy choice

          Definitely to avoided when certain people are about. Even if they're not, check catches and hinges and particularly avoid those with skips parked beneath therm.

          1. Col_Panek

            Re: Easy choice

            Yes, I feel the same way about Gates.

            You know, in fences, with all those hinges to wear and catches to snag you.

        2. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

          Re: Easy choice

          Those are the holes people fall out of and land on the ground breaking bones and lives.

          I think that's the Putin distro, and yes, you want to avoid that. There's also a glowing version - same advice.


    2. oiseau

      Re: Easy choice

      Just use Windows

      Don't be daft.


      1. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

        Re: Easy choice

        Or don't be draft.

        Okay, OK.

    3. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

      Re: Easy choice

      Windows is full of both mountains and molehills. Most people don't even understand that those frustrations are optional. "That's just how computers are isn't it?" Also, "I don't understand them, it must be my fault."

      1. hoola Silver badge

        Re: Easy choice

        Exactly the same as Linux, different reasons but the same outcome.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Easy choice

        In my family, unfortunately it;s "I don't understand your (Linux) computer, it's Linux's fault for not behaving like windows."

        On the bright side, it's my wife's laptop that gets monopolised by the kids, not mine.... :-)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: it's my wife's laptop that gets monopolised by the kids, not mine.... :-)

          Listen to the children, they have wisdom beyond their years.

          And they don't have time to fuck around with Linux.

          1. Col_Panek

            Re: it's my wife's laptop that gets monopolised by the kids, not mine.... :-)

            My 8 year old grandson had no problem. His older sisters use Chromebooks. Their parents are too stuck in their ways and are hopeless Windows slaves, though. Grandma is happier on Linux Mint than Windows 7.

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Easy choice

      I have a W10 partition on an old laptop. A couple of days ago I decided to bring it up to date as it hadn't been used since the start of the year.

      First the Linux partition (Devuan). The usual few minutes whilst it installed a few updates, mostly a new kernel etc. Reboot into the new kernel, run apt autoremove to get rid of the last kernel but one (it normally boots into the current kernel but keeps the last one as an option.

      Then the W10. Looking at the history there were several intel patches, all with the same ID, one or two had installed previously followed by a couple of failed installs. Odd - maybe they're all different.

      After a looooooong "checking" it finally listed a few to download & started in on them. Sloooooooow downloads, Slooooooow installs. One or two went through, leaving a pending reboot. Then one stuck. It decided to do the reboot, came back, did the checking bit again which had a few more patches to the list. Going online to try to find a cure for the stuck patch suggested a few things, some involved going into safe mode, there was a suggesting of deleting the update cache (really? never had to do that on Linux). One was to go into services, stop Winodws Update and reboot; it turned out that it was already stopped! Restarting helped. Then finally a reboot or two later the update which had been allegedly stuck at 20% was suddenly complete.

      This process on W10 took several hours. Even if it had worked without a hitch it would have take at least an order of magnitude longer than the Linux equivalent. This would simply not be considered tolerable on Linux. IME Linux updates almost inevitabley Just Work,* Windows updates Only Just Work except when they don't. And, of course, it then tries to sign me up to sll sorts of things I don't want such as <=365. Somewhere along the line a news applet** had invited itself onto the task bar and kept offering me such garbage as GBP to AUS exchange rates.

      I really don't see how this can even be considered of merchantable quality and yet it's being foisted on the general public.

      * A long time ago this might not have been true. One of the aspects of all those multiple distros is that there is that competition and natural selection ensured that the mainline distros evolved to become reliable.

      ** That's what it would be called in KDE-land

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: Easy choice

        Your stuck update was most likely Windows Defender holding things back until it had a chance to check everything for viruses.

        Generally not a problem on a computer you use reguarly, but for a computer or virtual machine that is rarely used, expect to wait at least 6 hours before you get a useable up to date system.

        1. georgezilla Silver badge

          Re: Easy choice

          And people say Windows just works.

          As long as you're willing to wait for 6 hours while it tries to figure if it wants to work or not.

          Sounds like a winner to me.

    5. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Windows

      Windows? Ah yes... those pesky things that critics of Putin keep falling out of. Isn't the last count around 100 since March 2022?

      1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

        Re: Windows

        Only the ones we know of..

  7. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge


    Perhaps I've not DDGed hard enough, but I've never seen an explanation of what problems Snap and Flatpack exist to solve. Without that, why does it make any sense to have a second package manager after the system one?

    1. captain veg Silver badge

      Re: Snap/Flatpack

      > why does it make any sense to have a second package manager after the system one

      I guess it's because some publishers can't be arsed creating DEB and RPM packages.


      1. MattPi

        Re: Snap/Flatpack

        I guess it's because some publishers can't be arsed creating DEB and RPM packages.

        And the several other minor formats, and making sure the DEBs or nore likely RPMs work on different distros with different library sets.

        Snap and Flatpak use a model more along the lines of a Mac app or a container; everything you need for the app is in the bundle. No more, "Well, this distro has glibc 5.8 and we need 5.9 so you have to start upgrading stuff that other packages need to be 5.8". It's not a bad idea in concept. I haven't used either enough to get mad really. From the outside it smells a bit of systemd; yeah it's not the way we've always done it, and it has a issues, but once you start using it works well enough. I don't have the motivation to fight the tide to care about this any more. All these systems are better than Slackware 3.x's install process. :)

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Snap/Flatpack

          If you check LibreOffice as an example there are just two Linux options, DEB & RPM (just like there are two macOS options, Apple or Intel and two Windows options, 32-bit or 64). A number of other products manage things similarly.

          I think the means of achieving this is two-fold. First they don't get anal about most system libraries. If they compile against an old version they should be OK if the OS supplies something newer. Secondly, they install in their own sub-directory in /opt and provide their own versions of system libraries where they might have concerns about the OS's version.

        2. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

          Re: Snap/Flatpack

          I prefer AppImages.

        3. georgezilla Silver badge

          Re: Snap/Flatpack

          " ... All these systems are better than Slackware 3.x's install process ... "

          That is just an opinion. And opinions are like assholes. Everybody has one.

          One that I disagree with. Slackware was my first distro. I don't use it anymore. Mostly because I'm old and to damn lazy to.

          BTW, I use Tumbleweed.

    2. McBread

      Re: Snap/Flatpack

      A large one from the distro side is the effort of maintaining large repos of software. For example Chrome compiling is a lot of work; snap allows canonical to compile once every update instead of having to maintain it for all supported release versions. Or easy access to software that doesn't have to be maintained by the distro; for example Fedora/Redhat don't maintain the same size repo as Ubuntu.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Snap/Flatpack

        As I've written in another comment, LibreOffice and others manage the situation without resorting to this. Libreoffice has just one DEB & pne RPM option. They install into subdirectories /opt. Seamonkey does away with DEB and RPMs with a file to be untarred into /opt (although if you don't want US English you have to choose the right tar-ball).

        It was a solved problem years before Snap and Flatpak decided they had to re-solve it.

        1. captain veg Silver badge

          Re: Snap/Flatpack

          I'm not sure, but I think that you're arguing for a package manager that compiles from sources, respecting the user's preferences.

          That's a nice idea. I think it exists.


  8. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

    The question is how much you want to compromise

    My most recent Linux effort was running inside a FreeBSD VM with hardware passthrough. First off I tried Devuan as I'm not a fan of systemd, however although I'm not inexperienced in Unix Devuan is definitely for the more familiar Linux user - all 'documentation' is by asking on IRC channels.

    I've tried that before on multiple platforms, it's not a solution!

    Solution was Manjaro as it's specifically billed as working well with open source and proprietary drivers. I did have to run tasks in a specific order to get it to do what I wanted, but at least documentation and searches for information are easier. The downside was that I had to commit to systemd, but it's only running in a VM for testing!

    I've also tried and enjoyed Salix, but that's also awkward due to its use of LILO, which doesn't play well running with Xen or anything that requires a customised initrd. There are workarounds for that.

    Personally I'm trying to move to FreeBSD to de-emphasize Windows. For a day to day driver FreeBSD is fine for web browsing, Libre Office, vscode etc. The sticking points are games, VR, and a limited selection of Windows apps.

    For an average user it probably is easier just to use Windows. It's been compatible and stable for years, but of course they like trying to extract as much data as possible and limit hardware compatibility. Linux gets up my nose as it's some way from a classic Unix in operation and often features software that is designed for Linux with no consideration for other Unixes.

    Having said that, whilst some things about FreeBSD are fantastic (ZFS largely 'just works'), both Wine and virtualisation capabilities are severely behind Linux, and FreeBSD documentation is lacking compared to Arch Linux for instance. It doesn't have the laser focus and hassle free manageability of OpenBSD either.

    1. Ozan

      Re: The question is how much you want to compromise

      Documetation do matter indeed. Ask in IRC channel is not documentation as you said. I love Arch Linux Documentaiton. It's usually my go to place to look up things even thou I use Slackware.

      For me, there's three applications I need for work for full switch: Office (LibreOffice handles taht well), Primavera p6 (wine almost got it working) and AutoCAD (Bane of my work).

      Rest I can cook up with whats around.

    2. georgezilla Silver badge

      Re: The question is how much you want to compromise

      I don't. Because I don't see Linux as one.



      Those would be.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The question is how much you want to compromise

      "Devuan is definitely for the more familiar Linux user - all 'documentation' is by asking on IRC channels."

      Curious about this: what are you looking for as "documentation"? E.g. some kind of handbook or guide, a faq webpage, a wiki, blog walk-through/howto's, man pages?

      I've used all of those in one form or another for Debian, at least, and have yet to resort to IRC for documentation.

      I'd have thought most Debian things would apply pretty well to Devuan, no?

      I do agree that Debian (and presumably Devuan) are probably not the best choice for new or inexperienced Linux users.

  9. steelpillow Silver badge

    The rise of "It just works"

    I am not a very technical user. Many decades ago I learned to bumble around the 'nix filesystem in whatever shell Solaris gave us at the time. When RISC OS faded away all I could get cheap was Windows, and ran 98SE well into the new millennium. Then the Linux desktop became a thing. RedHat taught me to hate KDE, SuSe YAST, Ubuntu Unity, etc. Debian+GNOME proved the first workstation since the RISC PC that "just worked" for me and, apart from odd forays into Mint and suchlike, I stuck with it until SystemD stuck in my throat and I switched to Devuan. GNOME2 was the first GUI I felt comfortable with after RISC OS, but GNOME3 was so execrable and, frankly, Unity not much better, that I switched to MATE. Being also uncomfortable with vertical taskbars, this "feature" is not a problem to me.

    I bump into other Linux users now and then, almost all are in the "it just works" category and fear the shell. They don't participate in the shouting matches ("why war over vi and EMACS, surely a decent text processor is a decent text processor? I just use gedit [or whatever]" "What is SystemD?") Se we seldom see them in the geek haunts, and end up with a false idea of what is "popular" on Linux.

    But I do admire Liam's courage in sticking to the subject here and coming back for more. Icon for you, Sir.

    And I want to add one more argument to the mix. In Unix/Linux we have always liked our apps to do only one thing but to do it well. This does not always work well; The Hurd is slow, getting init, audio or remote desking to fly can be a pain. OTOH the all-in-one mega-pack destroys things like choice, reliability and maintainability; the user loses control. SystemD, pulseaudio and Wayland bring much heat and hate in their wake. The Linux kernel seeks a middle way, being modular in construction. There is a core functionality, which marks it out as Linux, but most of it comes in modules which can be integrated or not, in various ways according to need. Why do we not take the same approach with perceived monstrosities like SystemD, pulseaudio and Wayland? We have many forks, but each ploughs its own furrow. They should do what Linus does with his kernel; collaborate on a core service, identify the interface architecture to optional functions, and then let the ecology get on with it.

    That way, some like-minded geek somewhere will put together a distro which "just works" for you.

    1. Andy Non

      Re: The rise of "It just works"

      "It just works" is what I like about Linux Mint Cinnamon. I'm not really interested in how it has implemented various aspects of its operation, be it flatpaks systemd or whatever. All I want nowadays is a good all round stable and secure operating system that allows me to do what I want. I do use the Terminal occasionally for more complex tasks, but as a retired software developer I don't find that intimidating. I think a general user could easily get away without ever needing to use a Terminal window. I find the desktop environment much cleaner and easier to use than the dog's dinner that Windows has become.

      1. mrfill

        Re: The rise of "It just works"

        I too am a retired systems developer and have been the 'computer man' to a couple of 70+ yr old friends for years. Neither is particularly computer literate and up to 10 years ago, they both used Windows and I would get at least a call a month from both as something had gone wrong - nothing serious but just time wasting niggles. I convinced both of them to move over to Linux Mint and even though both were hesitant about change, quickly adapted.

        I now get maybe a couple of calls a year about very minor problems and both are quite happy working on some fairly ancient machinery. When I visit now, the conversation rarely mentions computers.

        For basic users, Linux is far more suitable for them. It doesn't keep adding unwanted junk or telling you the weather in Burkina Faso and doesn't malfunction with useless error messages. And if it does go wrong is far easier to sort out.

        If I was fixing machines as a business I'd despise Linux as it wouldn't even keep the budgie in millet. As you say, it 'just works'....

        1. Col_Panek

          Re: The rise of "It just works"

          Look in the back of the AARP magazine and you'll see "Senior Computers" advertised. "So simple to use, and carefree, etc." Yup, Linux based, of course.

          Despite being a retired vacuum tube engineer, people ask me about PC problems. My standard answer now is "I Don't Do Windows" but I'll install Linux for them. If they "need" a new computer, I steer them toward a Chromebook, which usually does the job for them. I have one myself, 10 year old Pixel, which I run Linux Mint on. My first PC that was never contaminated with Windows!

    2. dmesg

      Re: The rise of "It just works"

      Another "just works" user here. I used to be heavy into the techie/experiment stuff, but it was long ago when that stopped paying the bills. Now I just install Mint (MATE, no GUI foo-foo tempting me to adjust it), pick a background I like, and get to work on what currently matters. At home and at work. Also put it on my wife's machine. Whatever issues are encountered (by either of us) are usually in the application/interface layers (or upstream of our internet connection) and would be just as bad on Windows. Probably much worse.

      Still glad for all the tech experience, as I have to wrangle a bunch of Windows workstations and servers (insert gagging sounds) and some Linux servers (TG4 proxmox!) and install/config/maintain various server-side stuff, and that sometimes involves the command line or a config file.

      Now, how about an opinion piece on server-side stuff that "just works" with minimal fuss, vs stuff with mazes of twisty little configuration files, all alike, but if you get a detail wrong you're either inaccessible or pwned once you open port 443 on the firewall?

  10. VoiceOfTruth Silver badge

    Glad but sad to read this

    I'm glad that LP has written this article, but it also brings me some sadness. Sure, the linked article seems to far more about Firefox than Snap. But I wish that whatever $packagesystem just worked properly. Snaps are supposed to make life easier. Instead they seem to bring their own list of problems.

    -> people are seldom willing to give detailed specifics of what is broken and how

    I agree - lots of people hating on Snap without giving the details. This is no different to Windows haters who don't give specifics.

    -> Isn't it easier to just install a different browser package than change to a different distro?

    Yes, but some people like to beat their chests in public. There's quite a few penguins out there like this. I can imagine them in the Middle Ages, chasing down their version of heretics and nonconformists.

    XFCE is the way to go, I think. It's pretty clean and it works. I want a desktop manager to manage my desktop, not to do my laundry.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Glad but sad to read this

      I suspect there have been enough articles and comments about folks' issues with Snap, that many are tired of rehashing again here.

      I don't believe it's simply "hate for hate's sake". The oft-mentioned issues with Snap I recall top o' the head:

      - it insists on /home/ for user directory path; using NFS for $HOME is (was?) a non-starter

      - diskspace waste

      - lots of bind mounts

      - creeping (silent?) use, i.e. Snap taking charge when one was expecting a .deb package instead (haven't seen this personally)

      - distrust of Canonical, now and future, e.g. corporate "walled garden" behavior

  11. karlkarl Silver badge

    In some ways, distros are kind of the opposite of what Linux should be about. Tying yourself down to one project seems to miss the point a little. Yes, trading convenience for flexibility and lifespan.

    Personally I do an ArchWiki-style and LFS manual install but with Debian userland (i.e debootstrap), then add kernel (Jetson, RPI, UEK, upstream), firmware and modules from other projects / distros.

    Being able to jump between projects is useful. For example I wasn't happy with the shim-x86_64 stuff from RHEL replacing a working grub-install (EFI) so nabbed that from upstream. A bit Frankenstein ('s monster) but this is the essence of Linux.

    One thing I really wish though is that distros would take a note from the Solaris (i.e 10) book and use different install prefixes. /opt/fedora, /usr/local/rhel8, /opt/arch2015. That way we could get a whole different generation of packages on a single distro. I know brew (for Linux) is doing this but only if you compile from scratch (or settle on /home/brew). Relocatable packages is a weakness on Linux (UNIX in general) so different distros using different prefixes would add some real flexibility.

    I know... I will create a *new* distro and try to resolve these problems... ;)

    1. VoiceOfTruth Silver badge

      -> Relocatable packages is a weakness on Linux (UNIX in general)

      I'm not sure if I understand your point correctly. with rpath you can put binaries wherever you want (if the file system allows executables).

      1. karlkarl Silver badge

        rpath is a compile time thing; the package maintainer (of the distro) makes that decision for you. If you already have a different version at that location, you can't have both.

        Instead you may want something like:



        Unless you recompile / relink the binary, it will potentially be looking at the wrong location for that lib.

        A quick overview of relocatable i.e RPMs. Unfortunately only about 5% of packages from i.e Fedora repos are relocatable. The rest use hardcoded paths (/usr)

        Upstream firefox binaries are a good example of a relocatable package. You can put it anywhere and it will run. The build extracted from i.e Debian's .deb file will not allow this.

        1. karlkarl Silver badge

          > is a compile time thing

          I should have said "build time". Happening at the linking stage, it is set in stone and the user installing the package can't change it. You *can* make it relative but few projects do.

        2. VoiceOfTruth Silver badge

          -> rpath is a compile time thing; the package maintainer (of the distro) makes that decision for you

          You can also set rpath as an environment variable.

          1. karlkarl Silver badge

            Do you mean the LD_LIBRARY_PATH variable? Yes, you can, though things such as data paths are still needing to be considered.

            One (fairly extreme example) is to install xorg (and all resources) to /opt/xorg and try to run it. There will be a number of problems.

  12. PerlyKing

    Vi vs Emacs

    It's definitely emacs :-p

    1. Andy Non

      Re: Vi vs Emacs

      Heathen! Burn him, burn him! Vi is the one true editor!

      1. Tim99 Silver badge

        Re: Vi vs Emacs

        I’m too old for this. If I have to do a "big edit" nano is OK. For non-sudo stuff, Midnight Commander F4 mcedit…

  13. skataf

    Been using Kubuntu with KDE for few months now. It just works and very happy with it. I do not use snap or flat. Just apt. I really think distrohopping is bad idea. It's like trying to find utopia. Good luck.

    1. Col_Panek

      You could use MX with the KDE desktop and get a speed boost. Just sayin'.

  14. Blackjack Silver badge

    used to use Ubuntu, then Xubuntu but until my video card and display problems I was happy with Mint.

    Nowadays I use Puppy Linux Fatdog; Batocera and Linux Mint. And I used to use even more Linux distros but the old laptop I used them in died.

    I heard rumours there is an updated version of Steam Os and I want to try that, but I got most of my HDs like 70% full or more so no dice until I make some space by making backups or something.

    Currently trying to replace Mint with something else since newer versions hate both the old video card in my desktop and my cheapo LCD display.

    Batocera covers most of the stuff I use Mint for, that's gaming and works okay with my video card but It is mostly made for emulation so is not a full replacement.

    So I have a Yeah"stuck in the land of no updates and forever offline" Mint instalation, a Batocera I am still learning how to use and a Puppy Linux Fatdog I use when I need to get online with a computer instead of my smartphone.

  15. crowbuddy

    Install a system by adding rather than subtracting packages..

    I have used linux for about 20 years, since 2005 I have settled on Debian. Basically I install like this:

    Download the netinstall "iso" and create an install medium (I burn a cd via wodim). On installation I use the debian installer to match my requirements (static network connection, remove all the choices in install options). Then on first boot I install aptitude with this: 'apt --no-install-recommends install aptitude'. Then

    on first run of aptitude I set preferences to *not* install recommendations by default. That results in aptitude only installing packages that I choose, plus dependencies. The first package I install from aptitude is "debfoster" which supports keeping the installed packages "slim and trim" because it has an option

    to only install your choices with dependencies, but *not* recommendations or suggestions. Debfoster keeps a list of the packages you install which can be used to duplicate your installation - like when you need to install a new Debian release.

    With that (lean and mean) starting point I add the packages I want using a list of the packages I have installed from my last installation as compiled by my previous installation of Debian - provided by debfoster. When is install I use a partition setup with partitions for efi, swap, root filesystem and /home. The root filesystem is formatted to accomodate the new install, but the /home is carried forward from my previous install - containing the magic "keepers" file produced by debfoster.

    I have all my favourite packages (xorg, blackbox, midnight commander, openssh and many that I have found necessary over the years, eg dosfstools to allow a file system check on the efi partition which is formatted with fat32). Here is the command to install all the files I have come to need over years of use:

    debfoster -f keepers

    This command installs the roughly 350 packages that I wish to have installed (with dependencies), all in one operation. With my network that takes about 5 minutes or so and results in a system with about 650 packages, runs on about 200 megs of memory and uses about 3.5 gigabytes of disk.

    Then with some minor configurations I have the simple, fast system that I like. It is configured to boot the machine to a console (character mode). I have an alias

    which starts X and blackbox. Blackbox uses my own menu which does not contain links to every executable on the machine - only a few graphical apps that I use. One of the apps is XTerm which allows a graphical version of Midnight commander run as the local user or as root if you first "su to root". This allows housekeeping in the home directory (ordinary user) or the rest of the file system (as root user). There is a menu item for Firefox, Sylpheed email, htop, geany, keepassx password vault and a few menu entries to allow configuration of Blackbox.

    I have a deep admiration for Debian and how it allows you to have "whatever you want". It allows me to have an installation that is simple, fast and reliable, using the packages that I have come to like. At every stage of the install I am installing only what I want to install.

    I like The Register and read just about everything written by Liam Proven. Good stuff LIam.

  16. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    An old hand

    at linux speaks.

    Actually in terms of experience I'm a newbie , in terms of years using linux its coming up on 20(or whenever Fedora 6 came out)

    Lets see .. the downsides to those early days... having to install the codec to read DVDs and configure samba to act as a file server*, but back then , it was still pretty much plug and play(or at least insert DVD and set the bios to boot from DVD first) , this was on generic wintel hardware btw. even manged to get puppy linux on my old win98 box(shortly before its PSU let out the magic smoke)

    Now... I'm firmly on the path of Linux mate... squeezed mate 19 onto a 2007 toshiba laptop(runs better than vista does... but then a dog with no legs runs better than vista)

    Got Mate 21? 22? on the dual boot box, install... and run..... configuring samba was again some fun.* but by and large... plug and play...... and in all cases linux played nicely with my HP printer(which is more than can be said for windows)

    The only thing stopping linux on the desktop (or indeed any other OS) is the mass adoption of win/office in business and the inability of anyone to break that monolopy... so long as office does not run on linux, windows will reign supreme on the desktop

    *Linux forums suck for help in both cases , usually ranging from helpful "neer neer look at the newb" to "RTFM!" to "ah yes.. goto console and run ./UYF&$£"646ywe87--y -88%$$$$$eddrfdhb condump then ./^&%%%Dfdshdhd---Y%%%%rrr FF-u-g -G* as admin from $home and that will fix it"

  17. dmesg
    Thumb Up

    Proving Liam right ...

    Has anyone else noticed that many of the above discussions go quite firmly toward proving Liam's point? "I do X, but replace Y with Z because ${REASON}. It's not too hard with a distro that supports W, but if it doesn't you you can usually get it if you install V first and then adjust for U". Yes, it's nice to have this much choice, but it's the kind of thing that gives newbies weak knees.

  18. TJ1

    Snaps and the fin' FOSS....

    ... stands for Freedom.

    No matter how much freedom of choice you give, someone will always want more. Don't give them that freedom and they'll happily just get on with what they're given (e.g: Apple, Microsoft).

    Tinkering with the desktop stuff always strikes me as rearranging the deck-chairs on the Titanic whilst it's sinking :)

    Snap is there to allow software publishers to push out frequent changes to their software including more recent library dependencies than are in the 6-monthly Ubuntu releases, and to avoid having to learn Debian style packaging or deal with the discipline of getting their project accepted into Debian (Ubuntu's upstream) so that it flows into Ubuntu.

    Some of the issues with snaps and specifically Ubuntu:

    0. Critical vulnerabilities in core libraries are fixed once in the apt world and managed by a distro-wide team of maintainers. In Ubuntu there is a dedicated paid security team; in the snap world if multiple snaps embed their own versions of the affected library firstly you may not know, secondly you're reliant on swift and correct fixes and publishing of updates, and thirdly the 'team' responsible for doing those things may only be a single person publishing in their free time.

    1. Core packages moving from apt repository to snap, making life difficult if one choses to remove snapd (affects -server (e.g. lxd) as well as -desktop (e.g. gnome))

    2. Delivery system (snap store) is closed source. Unable to set up alternatives, or local 'stores', as is possible with apt repositories

    3. Canonical controls the delivery mechanism and acts as gatekeeper

    3. Mixing of open and closed source packages in the same repository (no pockets so one can easily avoid closed-source for example)

    4. Lots of manual work required to obtain source code of open-source packages (see ) in contrast to: "apt-get source $package"

    5. No easy way to replicate the build environment of a snap and do reproducible builds, in contrast to "apt-get build-dep $package; apt-get source $package; cd $package-$version; fakeroot debian/rules binary"

    6. Reporting of bugs is not centralised via as it is with all Ubuntu apt packages (which also includes all package version build histories, build logs, changelogs, and source repositories)

    7. Variable or lack of (professional) support. Ubuntu Advantage / Pro paid support packages do not cover snaps in the same way as they cover the apt repositories. Pro covers 2,300 packages in the Ubuntu Main repo, plus an additional 23,000+ packages in the Ubuntu Universe repository for 10 years. ( )

  19. FirstTangoInParis

    Linux IoT

    To fork the discussion a bit, I’ve been playing with Ubuntu desktop trying to make a digital sign. This ended in abject failure because of the insistence of both Unity and Firefox, even in kiosk mode, to post pop up messages about this, that and the other. I’ve tried all the alleged fixes and nothing worked long term.

    So on to Ubuntu Core. Long story short, it is actually ludicrously easy to build a digital sign using Core, but the instructions available miss out a few key points. But hey it wouldn’t be Linux if that wasn’t the case. I don’t really care that Core is built out of Snaps, but I do care that it runs on old hardware and doesn’t have annoying pop ups.

  20. Nerd Noise Radio

    "The itch of wanderlust" is very real to "Linux sophomores"

    I think distro exploration is natural for most users.

    I think an apt (not a debian pun, but haha) metaphor would be of a child growing up in the village of their birth, before coming down with an insatiable wanderlust to go off and explore the wonders (and sometimes horrors) of the world before eventually settling down, either back in the childhood village, or off in some other place.

    I can't speak for everyone, of course, but I can speak for myself, and at 3yrs since Linux became my primary, "daily driver" distro (5yrs since I started dabbling with it on the side), my own personal trajectory has thus far seemed to match this metaphor perfectly! I landed in the "village of Ubuntu" with Ubuntu Studio not only being the distro on both my main [gaming] desktop and main laptop until very, very recently (and it was not actually the plan to get rid of it on both devices), but not only that, but it was also the primary distro I kept nearest and dearest during the pre-primary "dabble phase". And in the time since, I have become possessed of that wanderlust; that sense of "this is great, but is there something even better?", and I have since begun exploring!

    Now, while I do not judge "pure hoppers", who will install a distro on the main partition on their main machine, play around a bit, then wipe and put a new one on (and you shouldn't judge them either), I will admit that that strikes me as a big mess, and a lot of work for potentially very little gains. That's why I used the term "pure hopper" above, because I consider myself a hopper, but I don't do this either (I consider myself a "modified hopper"). I've also not really liked VMs or smaller, "hotel" partitions alongside the main one (both of which I've tried). So, instead, my vehicle of exploration has been to repurpose old hardware lying around, put them in different rooms in the house, and put various and sundry distros on them - which I don't frequently hop around on either.

    Through this, I have ended up with eight simultaneously active distros (though frequencies and intensities of use among them vary greatly): three based on Arch, two based on Ubuntu, one based on Debian, and two based on Red Hat (four using KDE, two using Xfce - configured to look like Windows 95 and macOS 9 respectively, one using Pantheon, and one using Fluxbox). And while that still doesn't represent a gigantic swath of the Linux world, it is still a far cry broader than where I began. And I already know the next few I will want to try as I come upon more legacy hardware

    I fully imagine that after enough time, I will come to feel like I have seen and "tasted, touched, and smelled" enough of the Linuxverse that I will begin to "decomplexify" and start reducing the number of distros I'm playing around with, until who knows, maybe I just end up with one or two active distros someday. Maybe they'll be back in "the childhood village of Ubuntu", or maybe they'll be off in an Arch or Red Hat world. Maybe they'll be in a corner I haven't explored yet, or potentially haven't even heard of yet, or hell, may not even exist yet. I absolutely do not envision being a "distro rambling man" forever....but right now, at my stage of development as a Linux user, where the wanderlust burns in my veins....there's no place I'd rather be.

    But the point is: let's not judge or attack one another for having differences of opinions here. While I generally have a pretty high opinion of the broader Linux community in general, one gentle critique I might offer as one who is neither "noob" nor "pro", for as much choice and diversity and flexibility and freedom as Linux is designed to offer us, we still seem to have a lot more "gatekeeping" and "fanboying" problems than we should, or that you'd think we would. Let's try to do better to leave space for people, including, maybe....wanderers and explorers like me. :-)


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "The itch of wanderlust" is very real to "Linux sophomores"

      I have no doubt your observations are accurate -- I've personally known a few "distro hoppers" over the years, and sometimes I envy their enjoyment in the ride, or the experiment.

      I'm largely past that, for quite a while. My Linux choices for the longest time were driven by $WORK. I.e. the company was a RHEL/CentOS shop, so I used CentOS at home for most things. Company after that was Ubuntu desktops and CentOS servers, so even though I dabbled a bit with Ubuntu, I mostly stuck with CentOS.

      Then Red Hat did what they did, and CentOS wasn't palatable to me anymore. Truthfully, it had already been feeling off-the-rails anyway, with full-throated adoption of the systemD mess, and Gnome3, and other things. But the last straw for me was the violation of trust, however you want to think of it, by the Red Hat corporation.

      So nowdays my Linux is Debian, with the remaining CentOS systems being replaced as their time is up.

      But that's only part of the story. Another part of it is FreeBSD -- I've been running some of my systems on FreeBSD since i386, before I had any Linux at all. I think part of the appeal of BSD, and Debian, is the absence (I won't say "lack") of a corporation behind the scenes, or even in front of the scenes, pulling the strings. The BSD's do struggle at times with lack of resources or attention, smaller communities, fewer devs etc., but I think sometimes the tradeoff -- no corporate oversight or interference -- may be worth it.

      1. Nerd Noise Radio

        Re: "The itch of wanderlust" is very real to "Linux sophomores"

        Sorry for the delayed reply!

        Yeah, I think you make some very good points! But I also think that having both the "corporation-free" (or as close as we can get to such a thing) micro-distros and the BSDs of the world on the one hand, as well as the gigantic (by Linux standards) Canonicals and RHELs of the world out there in the scene all together is a good thing for all of us, and we can just avoid the side of that divide which doesn't resonate with ourselves, right? I have (perhaps baseless, perhaps well-based) apprehensions about what could possibly be lurking inside Deepin, but it's still a distro I would very much like to return to and explore again (it was a semi-regular back in my "dabble phase", probably second only to Ubuntu Studio in terms of presence on my machines in those days).

        Lastly, I'm glad you brought up BSD. Someday, I would like to try out an install, if for no other reason than to say that I have, as well as to say that I've tried out a non-Linux, Linux-adjacent UNIX-based OS that isn't macOS. Perhaps someday! :-)

  21. ComputerSays_noAbsolutelyNo Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    I for one welcome the quite creative mess that is the world of Linux distributions

    With Windows or macOS, you get the current release and that's it.

    Whatever the powers the reside in Remond or Cupertino thought is best for you, is what you get. Nothing less, nothing more. If you're lucky, they allow some sort of customisation.

    With Linux on the other hand, if you don't like X, take Y. If that also isn't to your liking, try Z.

    For me, as an interested lay person, it's like buying a car or choosing a flat/house.

    Why would one think, that one thing can make everybody happy? Different people have different needs, and more so, even more different preferences.

    Let them all have, that they like best.

    There are many Linux distros out there?

    Hell yeah, I like that.

    PS: The (good) thing is, while one may lament the fracture of the ecosystem into tiny fiefdoms; the Linux world is rather good at adhering to common standards. While there are countless distros, there's only one kernel. While the init vs. systemd debate can become quite heated, the ecosystem as a whole has been pretty consistent in using either of those two. Yes, there are other ones out there, but in general, it's one or the other.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And after all that...

    ...there are still people on here that wonder why ordinary users stick to Windows...

  23. Martipar

    Reasons to use Linux.

    1. It's free - So is Windows it's came with the PC I bought.

    2. It's easy to use - Can you just turn the PC on and it's there? No you have to backup your data, install it, create a login then put your data back on your PC, once that's done you can use it.

    3. You can use some of the applications you are used to - "Some" why not all? Well there are alternatives but you can learn the differences as you go along.

    4. It's good for gaming. - "Excellent, I've just bought this latest game, will it work?" Not yet but maybe, you'll have to wait and some older games may need a bit of persuasion to work.

    So I have to take my perfectly good PC, spend time backing up the data, install Linux, put my data back, install applications that may or may not do what the standard Windows apps do and if i'm lucky they'll be compiled binaries. I will have to hope that the game I want to buy works and I need to learn the differences as I go along?

    This is the typical thought process of everyone I used to to tell about Linux, i used Linux, for me it was fine but for someone who want's to buy a PC, work on a PC and play on a PC Windows is the easy, free and most compatible option.

    Until there is 'A' Linux, the one true distro, then there's little to no hope of Linux ever being adopted as a serious desktop OS. other distros can, and should, exist but The Linux Foundation needs to set some rules such as a standard desktop environment, standard package manager and a set of standard applications. Everything else will be an unofficial testing ground for potential alternatives.

  24. Oliver Knill


    I'm one of the users who stick to the same distribution since decades.The snap version of firefox definitely did not work for me with too many bugs, like not able to copy paste, not safe files, not starting up correctly. Instead of switching distribution, I indeed just installed an other firefox version. yes, I can forgive canonical many things but a webbrowser not working correctly. I will soon upgrade to ubuntu 23.94 and hope the basics will work.

  25. BPontius

    Fussy is as fussy does

    In your article you sound equally as fussy the people you are commenting about. Maybe you see too much of yourself in this lot and that is your source of irritation?

  26. Basmman63

    Linux Desktop

    Loooong time Linux user here (25 years). I have tried them all. Mandrake, Redhat/Fedora, SuSe, Slackware, Debian and all it's derivatives, MX, PCOS-Linux, KDE Neon, and many more. The last few years I have been using Manjaro KDE. It suits me perfectly, is super reliable and has the best hardware detection in the business. I hate GNOME with a passion and will not use any distro, based on it. I have always preferred KDE, for its functionality and configurability.

    Every once in a while I get itchy feet and try something else, but I always end up coming back to Manjaro. Not saying this is for everyone, but it's perfect for me. I have setup other family members with Mint or Zorin, because they're simpler and suit non-technical people more.

    Essentially, there is no single distro that fits everybody. Best option is to tryout a few and find the one that works for you.

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