back to article Top Linux distros drop fresh beats

Three of the most highly regarded Linux distros around have put out new releases. As most Linux distro vendors have no telemetry, and most Linuxes don't "phone home," nobody has any solid numbers on how many copies of any distro are in use. Vendors certainly track downloads and update requests, but seldom publish the results …

  1. Scotthva5

    Style is optional

    MX Linux is, indeed, the bee's knees when it comes to reliability and low resource usage but I have one major problem with it: it's dogshit ugly. I had no idea XFCE could be made to look so utilitarian and spartan with icon designs right out of the early 90's but there you go. Yes, yes and again yes I realize I can customise it to my heart's content but that's not the point, right out of the box it looks dated and old and not something I would show to someone considering leaving Windows. Before any of you penguin herders get snippy I'm looking at MX with home user desktop googles and not a productivity focused build. I've been running Zorin Pro for years as my main rig at home and I do appreciate the spit and polish that it provides right out of the box. Down votes in 3...2...1...

    1. Youngone Silver badge

      Re: Style is optional

      I agree with you about MX. I use Mint at home as my main machine and it's boring.

      I mean that in the best possible way too.

      1. The Central Scrutinizer

        Re: Style is optional

        Mint is a boring OS. It boots quickly and sits there doing what it has to do keep things running smoothly. It's so boring that most of the time I forget I'm even running Linux. That's my definition of a proper OS.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Style is optional

          Arch is boring too...and so am I for saying that probably.

          I use Arch btw.

          1. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

            Re: Style is optional

            Arch was too exciting for me. It boringly worked for me until one of the devs bjork'd something such that I could no longer boot. They published a set of manual steps to fix the problem, but unfortunately, that solution did not work when I used it.

            Since then, I've used boring Devuan, which runs without systemd.

      2. Jason Hindle

        Re: Style is optional

        Nothing wrong with boring OSs that do their shit without complications.

    2. ldo

      Re: I can customise it to my heart's content but that's not the point

      That is the point.

      1. Scotthva5

        Re: I can customise it to my heart's content but that's not the point

        I would argue it's not the point when comparing the out of the box experience for a prospective Windows convert. The bones of MX are rock solid but the interface is crude and amateurish and takes considerable fiddling to bring it anywhere near modern aesthetics. That's a hard sell for a new user wishing for a simple Win10/11 replacement.

        1. ldo

          Re: out of the box experience for a prospective Windows convert

          On the contrary, it is very much part of that. Let’s face it: defaults are never going to satisfy everybody: what one person thinks is cool, another is going to think is horrible. Hence the need for customization. The first thing the Windows convert notices is that the system can be customized, easily, endlessly even, without having to download flaky, system-stability-threatening third-party addons from dodgy websites. Customization comes in the box. You are allowed, nay, encouraged, to take advantage of it. Unlike Windows.

    3. LJFox
      Linux

      Re: Style is optional

      100% agree on the enticing windows (and mac) users to jump to a lightweight, reliable OS when their kit starts to show its age.

      "Stylish" and "appealing" are probably not on the maintainers list of priorities, but are definitely a key point to the standard home user who just wants to turn it on and intuitively get to their Web browser of choice and maybe, just maybe, an email client.

      Alas those of us helping with transitions can spend those extra 20 minutes setting it up for them.

      Icon in honour of the penguin headers. I don't see myself as one of them, but I contemplate them from afar.

      1. jgarbo
        Facepalm

        Re: Style is optional

        Why "entice"? No-one's trying to sell Linux. If an happy Windows user wants to try it, go ahead. We're not evangelizing or baby-sitting; it's just another way of computing.

        1. Zoopy

          Re: Style is optional

          I think some of the benefits I reap from Linux exist only because there's a certain critical mass of users. E.g., Valve Steam; well-maintained Wine/Proton; good driver support for most peripherals; and laptop/PC vendors that explicitly support Linux.

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

      Re: Style is optional

      [Author here]

      > it's dogshit ugly.

      Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that.

      I know, it's fair, and this does matter. For me virtually all versions of KDE since then end of the KDE 1.x release series have been retina-burningly fugly. It's one reason I can't use it.

      Corel LinuxOS and later Xandros made KDE 2.x usable and inoffensive. They turned off most of the BS and the bloat, slapped a WinXP look and feel on it, and it became pleasant to use.

      Red Hat Linux with its Bluecurve them made it look *good*. Predictably, the KDE fanboys screamed in rage. How _dare_ RH make their lovely German desktop look like GNOME with GNOME icons and GNOME themes? Well, you know what, I don't like GNOME much either, but it has the best graphic design outside of ElementaryOS. Jakub Stein's work on GNOME 3 is the best in the whole industry. RH brought some GNOME 2 elegance to KDE. Result: outrage, and Bluecurve died the death of a thousand weak nerd-slaps.

      So, while I personally feel MX is inoffensive and looks better than any distro's version of KDE has looked this century, I can see that might turn people off.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Style is optional

        I really don't care about the aesthetics of the UI. I use it to get into the application. Minimal is perfectly good enough.

        1. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

          Re: Style is optional

          Minimal is perfectly good enough.

          i3 Window Manager home page

      2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: GNOME V 2

        Everything after that went to the crapper. The latest thing is little more than Bovine Excrement that has been left to fester to 9 months.

        Who the hell decided that we no longer needed THREE buttons on the Top right of the window frame, when TWO would be enough?

        The people responsible for that need to be taken out and put in the stocks until they repent.

        I could customise Gnome 2 easily. The devs have clearly forgotten KISS with V3.0 onwards.

        I've lost all faith in them and these days, I use XFCE but there are still bits of Gnome needed for it to run well.

        Then there is the repackaging that makes errors appear (for example, Failed to load module “pk-gtk-module") which no one can explain why...

        When on older versions of the OS it didn't appear.

        That sort of thing could drive newbies mad. Many of us old hands (I go back to Ultrix when it comes to unix like OS's) simply shrug our shoulders and move on.

        Linux is used by many of us commentards but it is still very rough around the edges.

        1. guyr

          Re: GNOME V 2

          I also got most of my formative Linux graphical experience with GNOME 2, so when I saw the proposals for GNOME 3, I investigated how I might stay with GNOME 2 without excessive work on my part. MATE fit the bill for me. While MATE has since migrated to GTK 3+, it continues to provide the traditional look and feel of GNOME 2. As an added bonus, it is lighter weight than many other UIs, so runs well on (slightly) older computers.

        2. Lomax
          Facepalm

          Re: GNOME V 2

          I'm going to send a bill for a new keyboard to the Gnome devs after seeing for the first time today the absolute monstrosity of a UI that ships as default with Debian 12 - the shock of which caused me to spray my morning coffee all over the keys. I'm a happy Devuan+XFCE user and was just curious, and now I have PTSD. What. Were. They. Thinking? This is worse than Windows 8/Metro.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Style is optional

        MX Linux is the bulldog chewing a wasp of Linux.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Style is optional

      XFCE is indeed horrible and needs a huge amount of configuring, customisation and hacking to get it remotely useable. Resize window anyone?

      This puts me off MXLinux but I would really like to try it. Whats the state of Cinnamon or Budgie for MXLinux? Anyone use these?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Style is optional

        > Resize window anyone?

        I'm now staring at my monitor with a slightly confused look - I'm running XFCE, read your comment and then clicked and dragged to resize the browser window it's in.

        I've not done any real customisation beyond setting a background I like and sticking a little panel at the bottom

        Have you not tried it in a while, or am I missing what you meant?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Style is optional

          I tried MXLinux with XFCE and could not resize a window with the mouse. Maybe I am old and cannot quite click on that 1-pixel target to drag and resize.

          A few people have told me its the default theme and there are better themes. I tried a few and still ciuld not resize a window with the mouse.

          Grateful for any XFCE theme recomendations that give you a chunky area in the bottom right hand corner to grab and resize. Like Budgie does, or Cinammon.

          1. jilocasin
            Linux

            Re: Style is optional

            I used to use XFCE for many years, but I to got fed up with the 1 pixel window borders. There's an open issue, that's been open for more than a decade concerning it.

            Tried alternate themes, 'magic' scripts, etc. nothing really addresses the issue. Of course my old shaky hands and trackball just makes this issue all that much worse.

            The stock response is to use a multi-key keyboard shortcut in addition to your pointing device to resize windows. Apparently this is a limitation of the windows manager XFCE uses, and they don't want to address it, see previous multi-key keyboard "solution".

            It's really a shame as XFCE is a decent desktop environment. Low on resources, just enough GUI. If they ever get serious about addressing this longstanding issue I'll give them a try. Until then, life is too short to be fighting with my desktop environment over something as simple as resizing windows.

            1. Scene it all

              Re: Style is optional

              Those narrow borders (and scrollbars too) are my only real complaint about XFCE. I prefer clean and functional and fast, not flashy.

            2. The Dark Side Of The Mind (TDSOTM)
              Linux

              Re: Style is optional

              Try the solution(s) in https://mxlinux.org/wiki/xfce/changing-border-size-with-xfce4-window-manager/

              It's not straightforward but it might work.

      2. Bodge99

        Re: Style is optional

        Hi, I use Cinnamon on MXLinux.. It's just about perfect for me.

        All very easy to install and configure.

        B.

      3. This post has been deleted by its author

      4. The Travelling Dangleberries

        Re: Style is optional

        @Anonymous Coward

        "XFCE is indeed horrible and needs a huge amount of configuring, customisation and hacking to get it remotely useable. Resize window anyone?"

        I find dragging using Alt Right-Mouse-Click very useful when resizing windows.

        I generally find that defaults chosen by LinuxMint for their XFCE desktops, such as dark themes, modern looking icons etc to be displeasing. But a few mouse clicks including re-creating the RISC OS placement of window buttons (close, minimise, maximise) and installing tango-icon-theme does the trick here.

        I got used to having the primary panel at the top a la MacOSX as I started with eeebuntu which used Gnome 2 and had the panel at the top. Which was, at the time useful if you connected an external monitor with the eeepc screen as primary.

        While it is possible to get RISC OS button placements under MATE the last time I tried it was only possible from the CLI. XFCE allows you to place window buttons in any order from the GUI.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Style is optional

          > I find dragging using Alt Right-Mouse-Click very useful when resizing windows.

          As useful as just clicking and dragging?

          1. The Travelling Dangleberries

            Re: Style is optional

            @Anonymous Coward

            "As useful as just clicking and dragging?"

            More so,because I do not have to hit the narrow borders on the edges of windows that most GUIs I have used in the recent past seem to think are a good idea.

            Hand-eye co-ordination tend to get worse as you age. Clicking at the right moment once the mouse cursor has changed to "resize" mode becomes quite difficult on bad days. With Alt Right-Mouse-Click you can click "inside" the window and drag to resize without having to hit that thin resize zone on the edge of the window and click at the right moment.

            This kind of problem just shows how of little importance today's UI or should I say UX designers place on the needs of older people. Shit like having to mouse over things to try to find where the feckin' scrollbar has gone or to find the drop down menu that then disappears just as you have located the thing you want to click on.

            So yes, for older people like me Alt Right-Mouse-Click has its place.

            1. jilocasin
              Coat

              Re: Style is optional

              or they could, I don't know, just allow you to resize the window borders to something other than 1 px.

              5 or 10 or 20, sure it might not please the aesthetic sensibilities of the developers, but I thought one of the main selling points of Linux was that it was written for the user.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Style is optional

        I used to use Budgie a lot, but the development slowed down a lot and was quite broken for a while....I haven't checked in for a while though.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Style is optional

          I use Ubuntu Budgie and find it just what I need from a desktop.

          It seems to be activtely developed still:

          https://buddiesofbudgie.org/blog/state-of-the-budgie-2023

          I am trying to set up MXLinux with Budgie but struggling to get it to look and feel like my Ubuntu Budgie desktop. Missing Panel applets and microscopic text on the Search Box in the Budgie Menu.

    6. Francis King

      Re: Style is optional

      Apologies - I found that I had to up-vote you instead.

    7. Grogan Silver badge

      Re: Style is optional

      I wouldn't single out MX, ugly is the new norm. Distributors (including Microsoft Windows) ship ugly configurations out of the box, because people are bland, boring and fugly themselves :-)

      Even things like, the default wallpaper in a desktop environment (upstream, not distro). Do I want abstract orange squares on my destkop? lol

      To be honest I've never been happy with a distributors configuration of just about anything. I wouldn't like your :Zorin OS either. Moreover, even distros I "like" piss me off. "Why the fuck would those idiots do it like that!" etc. (and yes, I do know better, at least in the sense that I know how I want things to be built/configured and I change it)

      Whatever distribution you use, you can customize your styling. Gnome is making that more difficult to have applications conform to styling though. I detest "client side decorations" and removal of titlebars and window manager controls. I can make QT applications look just like my GTK+ 2 and 3 styling too.

  2. billdehaan

    Preparing for October 2025

    I'm pretty much the textbook example of the type of user this appeals to.

    I've been an on and off again Unix user since 1983. I've booted Nixdorf and Siemens boxes, I spent five years developing on pre-Oracle Sun machines (the ipcs and ipxs that predated Sparc), HP/UX, and a number of others, and I migrated SCO Xenix stuff to Red Hat and Mandrake in the late 1990s.

    Although I frequently ran my backup PCs on some Linux flavour over the past 20 years (whether Mandriva, Ubuntu, or something else), my primary machines were always Windows (XP/7/10). But while Linux was fantastic for firewalls, backup servers, NTP servers, download boxes, FTP transfers, etc., the desktop experience simply wasn't enough to justify a switch, especially since I was working in Windows at the office.

    That's not to say that Linux was bad, or incapable. It wasn't. But there really was nothing to justify switching away from a working Windows system. If it was "just as good", or even a little better, that didn't warrant the effort of switching; there was not enough benefit to justify it.

    Until now.

    The sheer amount of telemetry and spying that Windows 10 does, and the amount of effort required to neuter all the data collection is absurd, and unacceptable. As the saying goes, you're either the customer or the product. But with Windows, you're now both.

    With free online services, you expect, and accept, that they will collect some data and/or provide advertisements. With a commercial operating system that you pay money for, the vendor should not be collecting your data, or shoving advertisements onto your machine, but Microsoft is doing both.

    That alone sours the desire to stay on Windows. Fortunately, there are lots of free "decrapifiers" that make Windows less intolerable (if not great) on the privacy front, and ways to get past the MS requirement that you have an online Windows account to use your PC. But why on earth should users be fighting against their OS vendor, trying to defeat OS functions that they don't want in the first place? And not only that, they pay for the privilege.

    Add to that the fact that many fully functional Windows 10 PCs won't run Windows 11 (mine say they won't), and that means in October 2025, people must either run an insecure and unsupported operating system (a bad idea), throw out perfectly good hardware (just as bad an idea), or switch to Linux.

    So, I've switched one PC to Mint, with the other dual booting Zorin and Windows. And although I've tried MX, I wasn't really that enthralled with it. Zorin wins in terms of easy migration off of Windows, Mint wins in terms of customization, and both are excellent choices. Unlike 15 years ago, the software available for Linux is largely on par with Windows (at least for home users), so it really won't be that difficult to turn off Windows next year (and if necessary, it can be run in a VM with network connectivity disabled on a Linux box).

    The sad thing is that it's not so much that Linux made a compelling case for people to move to it, but that Microsoft made a compelling case to move away from Windows.

    1. Jeff3171351982

      Re: Preparing for October 2025

      100% agree with that last paragraph.

    2. simonlb Silver badge

      Re: Preparing for October 2025

      And this is why I moved away from Windows at home over seven years ago: I just want an OS that does what I want, is easy to make changes to, has the right applications I need and then gets out of the way to let me get on with stuff. Sadly, with Windows, this hasn't been the case since Win8 came out and it's just got worse since. Ok, you can install add-ons to give you a Win7 style menu and you can hack it to get rid of as much telemetry as possible, but you shouldn't need to have to do that.

      Win7 was the only version of Windows I was happy to purchase, because at that time it was exceptionally good at what it did, was quickly customisable to how you wanted it and was very stable. It wasn't necessarily perfect, but which OS is? But is was bloody good. And then MS went back and had a look at Vista and decided they hadn't tried hard enough to truly fuck up the UI and UX because 'reasons'. And it's only got worse since then. Much, much worse. I'd like to think that MS will at some point actually listen to their end users, stand back and take a really hard look at just how truly awful some of the basic design and usability decisions in Win 10 & 11 are (menus and desktop theme for starters) and actively fix them or remove them if they are not needed (telemetry? Why? There is no indication you actually use that information for development purposes so why is it there?) I'm not holding my breath on that, though.

      1. billdehaan

        Re: Preparing for October 2025

        I think the first Windows version I bought was Windows 95, although you could argue that the OS/2 v2 copy I bought (for $1) that included WinOS2 might qualify. I only ran the earlier versions of Windows at work, and after Windows 95, I was a beta tester for NT4, so that was free, and I think my Win2000 and XP copies were from MSDN, so I got those for free, too.

        Like you, I paid for Win7 when XP was deprecated (or defenestrated), and it was a good upgrade from XP, although if XP support had continued, I'd probably have stuck with it. The same was true for Win to Win10, but at least that upgrade was free. But even if Win11 worked on my machines (which it supposedly won't), and even if the upgrade was free (which it isn't), I doubt I'd upgrade it even if I could. The data collection, the privacy issues, the mandatory online account, and the move towards AI integration are not improvements, but downgrades, in my opinion. And since they aren't optional, and cannot be disabled, there's simply no reason for me to support it with my hard-earned money.

    3. Martin Howe

      Re: Preparing for October 2025

      THIS.

      "The sad thing is that it's not so much that Linux made a compelling case for people to move to it, but that Microsoft made a compelling case to move away from Windows."

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Preparing for October 2025

        It doesn't really matter. The average user doesn't read Register. They buy a new laptop or whatever, start the thing up, log on to their broadband and their social media apps, read their emails, pay their bill, buy coffee pods from Amazon and watch their cat videos. They don't care about ideologies.

        1. Mike007 Bronze badge

          Re: Preparing for October 2025

          I ran Linux on my main machines for years. Then I got a surface where the experience is shit on Linux distros compared to windows... Then I put windows on my desktop...

          I do not miss clicking play on a video only to discover my audio service updated and the configuration I came up with to fix it last time this happened has broken again..

        2. Col_Panek

          Re: Preparing for October 2025

          Those people could use Chromebooks. I don't mean necessarily should, but can, and enjoy Google's version of Linux without the Microsoft hassles.

          Next stop is to de-Google, run a pure Linux, and be free. I have, for the last 5 years.

        3. billdehaan

          Re: Preparing for October 2025

          I have no illusions that there is going to be a mass migration off of Windows onto Linux (or Mac) in 2025. I expect some, certainly, but people who are expecting to see an 80%, or 60%, or whatever drop in the number of Windows machines, to be replaced with a huge adoption of Linux (whatever flavour) are going to be disappointed.

          On the other hand, I expect to start seeing lots of really good deals in terms of used computers as perfectly good Windows 10 machines that cannot run Windows 11 are thrown into the market. Some companies will continue to pay for support for Windows 10, and apparently, even consumers will be able to for the first time, but most will just buy new machines. Since all those machines will be Linux capable, there will be some great deals to be had.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Preparing for October 2025

      Some nitpicking:

      "the ipcs and ipxs that predated Sparc),

      Both IPX and IPC were SPARCstations and thus didn't predate SPARC (which is an acronym for Scalable Processor ARChitecture so it's spelled all uppercase).

      Pre-SPARC would have been something like a 3/75.

      "HP/UX"

      That would be "HP-UX" (with dash, not slash)

      1. billdehaan

        Re: Preparing for October 2025

        Well, the terminology of the time was a little vague.

        The original SparcStations, like the IPC and IPX, didn't use the Sparc processors. I think the first pizza box we got was a SparcStation 10, which had used the Sparc I chipset. The IPC used a Fujitsu processor, and the IPX had a Weitek.

        So, generally speaking, Sun (at least our Sun reps) referred to the IPC and IPX as such, and only used "Sparc" to describe stations that had a Sparc (later SuperSparc or HyperSparc) processor in it.

        As of HP-UX, you're right. So many of the terms uses slashes (OS/2, A/UX) that I forget which is which.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Preparing for October 2025

          "Well, the terminology of the time was a little vague."

          Actually, it wasn't.

          "The original SparcStations, like the IPC and IPX, didn't use the Sparc processors. I think the first pizza box we got was a SparcStation 10, which had used the Sparc I chipset.

          That's nonsense. As the name implies, all SPARCstations did use SPARC processors. Hence the name.

          "The IPC used a Fujitsu processor, and the IPX had a Weitek."

          The IPC's Fujitsu MB86901 was most definitely a SPARC processor:

          http://www.bitsavers.org/components/fujitsu/sparc/Fujitsu_MB86901_SPARC_Processor_Product_Description_1988.pdf

          As was the LSI L64801 the IPC was also sold with:

          http://www.bitsavers.org/pdf/sun/sparc/SPARCstation-1_Programmers_Model_Jun89.pdf

          Quote: "The l64801 Integer Unit (IU) is a high performance CMOS implementation of the SPARe (Scalable Processor ARChitecture) 32·bit RISC microprocessor."

          The IPX was sold with a Fujitsu MB86903 or a Weitek W8701. Both were, of course, were SPARC, too:

          http://www.cpu-collection.de/?l0=co&l1=fujitsu&l2=sparc

          http://www.cpu-collection.de/?tn=0&l0=co&l1=Weitek&l2=SPARC#8701

          You really think Sun would have called the series SPARCstations/SPARCservers when they weren't, you know, using SPARC processors?

          "So, generally speaking, Sun (at least our Sun reps) referred to the IPC and IPX as such, and only used "Sparc" to describe stations that had a Sparc (later SuperSparc or HyperSparc) processor in it."

          Then I'm sorry but these reps were idiots. From the SS-1 programming manual (so Sun's own words:

          "SPARC is an open architecture which is being implemented in a variety of forms by various semiconductor manufacturers. This multiple sourcing allows designers to choose from a wide variety of price/performance options and provides a rich selection of peripherals, memory devices and proprietary ASIC extensions."

          All SPARC processors were made by someone else as Sun didn't had its own fabs. For example, those SuperSPARCs were all made by Texas Instruments, and HyperSPARCs were made by Cypress and later Fujitsu.

          That's also true for SPARC computers, of which Sun also wasn't the only vendor. Fujitsu had its own SPARC based server series (PrimePower) until 2017 or so, and in a few boards from embedded systems manufacturers.

    5. Francis King

      Re: Preparing for October 2025

      "The sheer amount of telemetry and spying that Windows 10 does"

      Telemetry is a good thing, it's how Microsoft improves the product.

      Microsoft doesn't collect and store data which contains personal information - apart from anything else, the cost of protecting it would be ruinous.

      1. druck Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Preparing for October 2025

        You forgot this ---->

      2. Steve Jackson

        Re: Preparing for October 2025

        You're going to want to get off that PoV once you've evolved....

    6. Simplicity is good

      Re: Preparing for October 2025

      Besides, when Windowz 10 automatically updates something I don't know, it almost paralyses my PC with an AMD Athlon II X4 640 processor.

  3. Jeff3171351982

    KDE neon user here

    Since the article points out that Linuxes don't phone home & usage numbers are hard to know, I'm noting here my continued use of KDE neon for 3+ years. I know LP isn't a big fan of KDE neon, but I am a fan of LP and just want to make sure my vote gets counted. I converted to Linux back when Windows 10 came out. I tried a variety of Linuxes & desktop environments, was kind of amazed by KDE, and after about 3 different KDE distros, found neon to hold up the best, so I stuck with it. My goals are easy GUI, low telemetry, some ability to tweak, reliability, and lowest friction when installing Linux apps outside of a distro's main repo (which in personal experience means known to run on current Ubuntu LTS). The KDEs I had to pass on included Kubuntu (unreliable, froze), Manjaro (great until broken by update), Fedora (some apps I needed didn't have rpms handy), Debian (decent, but couldn't afford time too learn new things which seemed to already easily work on other distros). I do actually keep an MX Linux box updated, just in case neon fails/goes away. (Wife's also on neon, kids on Ubuntu, and Mom's a Zorin.)

    I should add that my main neon machine has 3 monitors, and neon is quite bad for getting multiple monitors set to one's liking (like, once you've got your setup, don't disconnect or add a monitor!). But, even with this, neon still checks the most boxes for me. Thank you for the opportunity to comment (and thank you for the articles).

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

      Re: KDE neon user here

      [Author here]

      Repeating myself here...

      > Kubuntu (unreliable, froze)

      On good working hardware, Linux should not freeze up. Not any Linux.

      Run memtest86+ on it overnight. Make sure the BIOS or UEFI is fully updated. This shouldn't happen and I doubt it's any distro's fault.

      1. Jeff3171351982

        Re: KDE neon user here

        True that my hardware has been refreshed since I was using Kubuntu. Although, the other distros that I tried before hardware refreshing didn't have the freezing issues. I'll keep an open mind. (Also, I do worry that forthcoming Plasma 6 on neon could break things, so I need alternatives on standby.)

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

          Re: KDE neon user here

          Fair enough!

          BTW, thank you for the kind words. Really much appreciated. (Should have said so when copy'n'pasting the response... sorry.)

    2. nightflier

      Re: KDE neon user here

      KDE user since Xandros Linux. After Mint KDE went away, switched to Kubuntu, then Neon user edition. Does every thing I need, and does it well, so another vote for it.

  4. Denarius

    will retry MX linux

    On my test PCs, previous releases of Antix and MX linux worked very well on initial install. Any upgrade and either lost sound (MX Linux) or desktop froze. Could not find a fix or workaround. Back to vanilla Devuan and LXDE. AntiX appeal is its very low memory use. Doesnt seem to cache everything so smaller laptops stand a chance of using it for basic requirements.

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

      Re: will retry MX linux

      [Author here]

      > desktop froze.

      On good working hardware, Linux should not freeze up. Not any Linux.

      Run memtest86+ on it overnight. Make sure the BIOS or UEFI is fully updated. This shouldn't happen and I doubt it's any distro's fault.

  5. Gene Cash Silver badge

    "most Linux distro vendors have no telemetry"

    Not exactly true. Debian has "popularity-contest" which tells what packages you have installed.

    Of course this is 100% optional, and I believe there's an install-time switch for it, but it's been a while since I installed a Debian variant from scratch.

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

      Re: "most Linux distro vendors have no telemetry"

      [Author here]

      > Debian has "popularity-contest"

      OK, yes, true. It's optional, opt-in, it's only new stuff you install not the OS as a whole...

      (Good luck getting that respect, Fedora fans!)

      ... but yes.

  6. Al fazed
    Unhappy

    So happy

    to have MX Linux available as Windose has finally hit the rocks. So much background shite that I am now unable to switch off without breaking the OS, that even playing a music file in VLC is interrupted by system calls. It's made video editing impossible on the machine which until a few months back was absolutely the best hardware I'd ever had on the desk.

    Now the same machine whizzes along under MX Linux, however all is not clear as there is bugger all support for the integrated Intel Graphics chip. The result is shit.

    On this machine I cannot draw a true representation of a circle and A4 paper looks well squashed. The only way to get the screen correct means running at 800x600 which means the menu boxes are chopped off at the bottom and have no buttons to Cancel or Accept, thank the dog for the Enter key....... It looks like Windows 3.1 all the way, none of the application windows fit the sodding screen, no matter what the fucking resolution.

    MX Linux It's so shit at this that I have to use the Windose 10 box in order to use Libre Office Draw with circles appearing as circles and A4 paper looking like A4 paper.

    Come on guys n gals............please

    ALF

    1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: So happy

      I'm curious which chipset you're talking about - in my experience Intel graphics of every generation are always well supported (it's pretty much the default for Linux) apart from occasional tearing on full-screen video (which can be corrected/improved by appropriate conf file settings).

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

      Re: So happy

      [Author here]

      > integrated Intel Graphics chip

      What others said.

      If you just want to vent, fair enough.

      But if you want help, be a *lot* more specific. This shouldn't happen.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So happy

        I recently got a Lenovo Ideacentre 3 running a Pentium Gold G7000 series which immediately had a linux put on it - in terms of performance it's roughly equivalent (apart from graphics) to the i5-3000 series it replaced.

        I tried a few distros before ending back with Mint, but iirc, MX Linux had release notes saying it had issues with 12th Gen Intel CPU graphics - looking at the repos for official Intel drivers didn't reveal too much that was any different from what's included in the kernel and MESA.

        But there was just a couple of things about MX that I didn't like. I'm an XFCE user, and had the same problems as other people with resizing windows - could do vertical or horizontal one at a time, but grabbing a corner of the window? No chance. But I think my biggest issue was software packages - MX's package management system is just so vast and complicated compared to something like Mint that it would be overwhelming for most newcomers - it's OK if you know what packages you are looking for, but things like driver and kernel updates seem more complicated than they should be.

  7. Antony Shepherd

    What fresh hell is this?

    After having my Ubuntu installation demand I signed up to Ubuntu Pro just to complete the update I was doing, and making me jump through bloody hoops in order to do that I'm rather less keen on that than I used to be, so I'm looking at other distros right now. Was thinking of going to Mint which I last tried in late 2022, but wanted to check out other things first.

    Some of the comments here have been quite informative in terms of what not to try!

    1. simonlb Silver badge

      Re: What fresh hell is this?

      Personally, I've been using Mint with either MATE or Cinnamon desktop. Whilst neither are are the 'prettiest' UI you'll see, Cinnamon is my preferred desktop and has been completely trouble free for me. ***Caveat*** I don't do gaming so cannot comment on Steam availability, compatibility or anything like that.

      1. cookieMonster Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: What fresh hell is this?

        100% agree on all points.

        Currently on mint on an X220 (my daily driver, as the kids say these days), run it on an old skip rescue (HP elitedesk as a server) and my wife on a MacBook Pro, everything just works.

      2. Kevin Johnston

        Re: What fresh hell is this?

        While I do not run the latest AAA*PrimeMegaMustBuy games (or whatever the latest label is for them) I have not had any games not run on Steam. I have played with the various compatibility modes, due to an odd CPU/Graphics set-up which came from re-using old kit, to find the sweet spot although most have simply run the most recent option.

      3. firu toddo
        Happy

        Re: What fresh hell is this?

        "Steam availability, compatibility"

        I'm running Mint on old HP hardware (Elitebook 8570w Jan 2013) and I can say that Steam works OK for me.

        In general the box works well, the OS does what it needs to do without getting in the way and the best bit, updates.

        I'm in control of the updates, choose the updates and when to install them. When they're installed they work.

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

      Re: What fresh hell is this?

      [Author here]

      > I'm looking at other distros right now.

      Mint is good but swaps one arguable vicissitude (snap) for another (flatpak).

      If you want to break free from that too, try Zinc.

      https://teejeetech.com/2022/08/15/zinc-22-04-1/

      My review:

      https://www.theregister.com/2022/10/13/zinc_ubuntu_remix/

      For me, Xfce does everything MATE does and everything important Cinnamon does (I do not currently _need_ fractional scaling) and it does it in a lot less RAM, disk, and CPU cycles.

      Zinc is Ubuntu without the questionable bits.

      If you want to banish systemd as well, then MX. Which also uses Xfce by default. This is not a coincidence.

      1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: What fresh hell is this?

        Apparently Zinc is now known as "Asmi": https://teejeetech.com/tag/zinc/

  8. Wellyboot Silver badge

    Older hardware.

    >>kernel 6.5 will be the point at which a lot of still perfectly usable hardware hits the end of the road with the big names in Linux<<

    To be fair it's the point where old hardware just has to be left on the 6.1 LTS* version which will be getting support for quite a long time to come.

    If you're no changing your software the underlying hardware will continue to be adequate until it fails.

    *32bit is supported on kernel 5.10 & kernel 4.19 from 2018 years ago are both still going in LTS

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

      Re: Older hardware.

      [Author here]

      > the 6.1 LTS* version which will be getting support for quite a long time to come.

      You're right. But there are snags with this.

      * Ubuntu doesn't offer 6.1 as a supported option, and even 22.04 now gets 6.5 and breaks.

      * Debian (& Devuan, etc.) does offer 6.1 but doesn't offer legacy nVidia drivers.

      * Fedora always has more or less the latest stable kernel. No use here.

      The author of Zinc has a tool for managing Ubuntu kernels I hope to have a look at soon:

      https://teejeetech.com/product/ukuu/

    2. Yankee Doodle Doofus Bronze badge

      Re: Older hardware.

      "the 6.1 LTS* version which will be getting support for quite a long time to come"

      Perhaps not as long as you think, as the decision has recently been made to shorten the support life of LTS kernels. Versions 6.1 LTS and 6.6 LTS will both lose standard support in December 2026, though the 6.1 version is also an SLTS version, meaning that the Civil Infrastructure Platform (CIP) will take over supporting it until 2033. I don't know how easy it is to install and update these SLTS versions after the normal maintainers hand it off to CIP, as I've never had the need to try.

      1. keithpeter Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: Older hardware.

        There was discussion on the Slackware forum about building the older CIP versions of Linux 4.4.x some years ago. The context was in adapting Patrick Volkerding's build scripts though. The final outcome was a build script. The discussion was a bit noisy.

        https://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/slackware-14/civil-infrastructure-platform-kernel-slackbuild-4175723704/page3.html#post6423285

        I got the impression that the CIP kernels are buildable by mortals but may have configs that are unusual and may need work for normal desktop type applications.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Happy Bunnies Here (except for Flatpak!)

    I use Fedora/XFCE.

    My wife uses Fedora/XFCE and WINE.

    My brother uses elementary.

    None of the three of us are fanbois for anything at all! What we all want is the same:

    - APPLICATIONS which help us get on with our lives

    - An OS environment which never gets in the way

    What all three of us DON'T want is the aggravation which came (often) in the past from products from Redmond, WA and Cupertino, CA.

    P.S. Someone above mentioned Flatpak. In a recent experiment, a Flatpak download was HUGE. And removing the install afterwards left a HUGE, UNUSED load of crap in /usr! Please avoid Flatpak!

    1. Yankee Doodle Doofus Bronze badge

      Re: Happy Bunnies Here (except for Flatpak!)

      Flatpaks ARE often large compared to most distro-packaged applications, as they come packaged with all of the needed dependencies, rather than relying on the distro to handle dependencies. You will also often get (slightly) better performance with a distro-packaged version, as well as the space savings of not needing all of the dependencies in the package. These are definitely disadvantages to Flatpak, as you point out. The Flatpaks have advantages as well, though. If the application depends on an older or newer version of a dependency than your distro packages, you can install the Flatpak and not worry about breaking other applications which need the distro-packaged version. The ability to sandbox the Flatpak app and fine-tune permissions with Flatseal is often handy as well. With today's fast hardware and ever-larger SSDs, the negatives of Flatpaks are many times outweighed by the positives, therefore I think your advice to avoid Flatpak should not be applied universally. I prefer natively packaged apps from my distro's repos when they are available, but when they aren't, Flathub is generally the first place I look.

  10. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Linux is becoming too easy

    Greybeard here who did SLS floppies and risking monitors with modeline

    Now with all our office apps online and all the dev environment in docker/conda I can reinstall Linux and be back working in a couple of cups of coffee

    We had a bunch if windows laptops updated to Win11, between TOM resets, 'the domain has no trust relationship with this machine' login to domain to fix login problems and all day on support calls we're thinking of just going Linux for engineering and Macbooks for suits while all our office apps are Microsoft O365

  11. Tron Silver badge

    and no legacy drivers are supported.

    Thus screwing the user. Sounds like the sort of thing Microsoft and Apple would do. Maybe Linux vendors aren't so different after all.

    1. An_Old_Dog Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: and no legacy drivers are supported.

      Devs dumping support for old hardware also are dumping on users who run Linux so they can continue to use their old hardware. (/me wanders off to look at NetBSD ...)

  12. Necrohamster Silver badge
    Windows

    After all these years, the Linux world still doesnt understand how to convert Windows users

    Why do most Linux distributions look like the desktop interface was created by a twelve-year-old or someone who used one of those skin packs for Windows 95?

    Seeing the comments here about what Linux users think people coming from Windows want makes me scratch my head. I'll tell you what they want...not having to fuck around customising desktop environments or troubleshooting nvidia driver versions.

    They don't want a boy-racer-Vauxhall-Corsa of an OS that needs constant attention. Give them something that works without needing a BSc in Computing, or an on-call nerd in the family. Ubuntu will be fine thanks.

  13. LPBBear

    I've been using Linux since about 1997. I see the same mistakes repeated over and over in many distributions.

    1. Too much emphasis on making it pretty instead of fixing basics. Often new releases have obviously spent a great deal of time "rearranging the deck chairs" instead of addressing obvious bugs and flaws in the release. For example how many of you reading this are using a distribution that forces you to race the DVD drive tray when you eject the disc from the drive before it pulls back to closed? Yet those same distros have clearly spent a ton of time changing themes, wallpapers, icons, splash screens etc on each new release. I've seen these kinds of basic issues go on for years without fixes. I'm sure readers could post a huge list of similar basic issues like this one example.

    2. Useless, broken, unfinished, and unfixed abandoned software in repositories. Another common issue. See this one often. Looking for a new software in your package manager. You find one that looks promising for the task you're needing a solution too. You run your package manager to install it. It installs but when you try to start the app it fails or gives some error message or if it does actually start it either crashes or does some weird glitch. Its basically useless. Distro Devs could do a lot to raise the reliability reputation of Linux by only including software in their repositories that has been tested to actually work with their distribution. If it hasn't been tested and proven to function DON'T include it in your repositories.

    3. Releasing too often. A release every 6 months is too frequent. Use the entire year to fully develop and test your next release. In the meantime update the released version with regular tested updates. Releasing every 6 months causes too much "churn" especially if you're someone (resller/system builder) who is trying to build a Linux using customer base.

    4. Nouveau/Nvidia Driver. I have tried numerous times to use the Nouveau driver with various Nvidia cards. It has failed in some manner EVERY time. Its unfinished not ready for prime time usage. Every distro should make the Nvidia driver the default driver right out of the box until such time as the Nouveau driver is fully functional.

    5. Jumping on the its new bandwagon too soon. A long and continuing list of examples in this area. KDE4, KDE5, new Gnome release, Pulse, now Pipewire, Wayland etc. etc. etc. Nothing wrong with new cool stuff but fully test before adding it into your distro as a default I'm absolutely sure the same thing will happen with KDE6 when its released.

    6. One of the really cool things about Xandros, before Microsoft trashed them, was that the installer set up your Windows for Workgroups during the actual install. When you were done with the Xandros install your system had a functioning Samba setup that allowed you to integrate right into a Windows network. Right now I only know of one distro that even tries to do this, MX Linux. Its not quite as good as Xandros in this area but better than any others I know of out there at this time. Xandros was doing this 20 YEARS ago. Holy Geebuz what the actual **** have you other distros been doing during all that time.

    7. Abandoning libraries and older software. With the limited number of software programs available for Linux compared to Windows why are distributions completely abandoning libraries for older software? I have a ton of older applications that I know could run in current versions of Linux if it wasn't for the fact that the needed libraries have been removed from distribution repositories. In some cases the distributions have even removed all of the old versions of their distributions as well which makes it extremely hard to track down those libraries. I have spent hours tracking down libraries to get a single older game working. Its not that it won't work in a current Linux version, its that some genius decided no one needed the libraries anymore. C'MON!

    During the past couple of weeks I have been testing some gaming oriented Linux distributions. While some of them have shown promise, several of them are basically unusable. One I tried had an gorgeous look to the desktop layout but right from a fresh install with zero changes it was freezing up constantly to the point where the mouse was solidly locked for minutes at a time. Another, also visually beautiful, had a mostly non functioning package manager. Since I use the same system daily with another distribution I knew this wasn't a hardware issue. The distributions I was testing are so buggy they shouldn't have been released. Yet you can find articles all over the net touting these same distros as great gaming platforms.

    Basically, as long as this goes on the Linux world is ceding the desktop space to Microsoft. I'll keep using Linux but puhleeese. Some of this is just common sense. Fix it out there in distro world.

    (but be aware, Xandros, Corel and others were doing this much need fixing years ago. Microsoft did come after them and did push out of business. They'll do it again should any of you get your acts together.)

    1. Yankee Doodle Doofus Bronze badge

      So you want a slow moving, rarely updated distro that avoids newer, bleeding-edge tech. You want this to work with all of your current hardware, and you want to use it for gaming.

      This all seems perfectly reasonable. /s

      1. LPBBear

        Why bother posting a comment like that? I said nothing like what you came back with. Troll much?

  14. Kev99 Silver badge

    But, how fat are they? RAM? HDD/SSD?

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