Narrowing it down…

Two posts in one day!

I am learning quite a bit in my continued research of which Linux distro will be right for me. So far I think I have knocked out a lot of the more… exotic Linux distros and have come up with a bit of a short list with a few pros and cons to go along with them.

The Short List

  • Debian
    • Pros: Very stable, lots of support, lost of software, one of the oldest distros.
    • Cons: The distro prioritizes stability over new technology which sometimes seems kind of dull, only F/OSS software.
    • Why I am considering it: This distribution has widespread use and serves as sort of a gold standard and I know using this would be a very practical choice.
  • Fedora
    • Pros: Stable, very secure, a lot of support, constantly adding brand new technology.
    • Cons: Using bleeding edge technology can sometimes be a bad thing (I hear KDE 4.0 didn’t go over so well for example), I don’t know a lot about it, not sure what the software situation is like for example.
    • Why I am considering it: To be honest it intrigues me. It seems like a distro that can have a lot of customization done to it and it has a focus on security which I’m a bit of a nut about.
  • Linux Mint
    • Pros: Ubuntu as a starting point, tried to make the best desktop experience possible, simplified a lot of the UI and made great improvements in the usability.
    • Cons: It’s a relatively new distro and doesn’t quite have the community behind it yet. I’m worried that updates for Mint specific problems might not come frequently enough.
    • Why I am considering it: I am familiar with Ubuntu and this seems like an improved version of that.
  • Mandriva
    • Pros: Mandriva One sounds like it includes everything I could possibly ask for.
    • Cons: It seems to try and push a full computing experience on the user, which for most would be great but for this experiment maybe not so much.
    • Why I am considering it: It seems like an easy out.

Hopefully I can make my decision shortly and read up some more about it before the start of the experiment!


  1. Debian for stability, Fedora if new features are really really important even if they aren’t quite ready, and Mandriva kind of fills in the middle.

    I’ve never been incredibly fond of Ubuntu, there just doesn’t seem to be a need for it and it quite often turns out to be “Debian with a lot of bugs”.

    What I use on my main system:

    Mandriva 2009.1 X86-64 edition. Be sure to check out the Penguin Liberation Front repos if you need codecs. Proprietary drivers should be offered to you when you fiddle around with the Hardware applet in Mandriva Control Center. Takes about an hour to set up perfectly.

    Windows XP X86-64 edition (Really Windows 2003/NT5.2 in disguise), have to hack around a lot of aggravating limitations, takes about an hour just to bring the installation disc up to speed with RyanVM Integrator and the various update packs. (Post-SP2, DirectX 9 March 2009, IE 8, Windows Media Player 11 with Booogy’s integrator), and hunting down drivers is doable but a pain in the ass, I put a folder on the remastered CD’s ISO with most of the drivers and software I need to get up and running, so it kind of turned into a DVD.

    The point of doing this is because Vista sucks and Windows 7 sucks harder. (DRMing my cable television in Windows Media Center didn’t earn it any brownie points from me)

    I suppose I’ll probably keep using Windows XP on my laptop and Windows XP x64 Edition til 2014, by that time I’ll probably just build a system entirely with Linux in mind and go with that. MS has really dropped the ball not only with aggravating bugs and performance issues, but also in Hollywood DRM and using installation images you can’t integrate updates into properly. I’m kind of sick of them personally.

  2. “I hear KDE 4.0 didn’t go over so well for example”

    It didn’t, it was a disaster, but that was a while back. They’ve been doing heavy work on it ever since though, KDE 4.2 is decent, KDE 4.3 is out but not many distros are using it yet, it’s fairly stable.

    “only F/OSS software.”

    Not having this policy invites lawsuits from patent trolls. Most distros have an unofficial third party repository that provides what you need.


    OpenSuse- Enable the “Packman” community repo.

    Mandriva- Enable the Penguin Liberation Front Repo with Easy URPMI

    Fedora- RPM Fusion

    Various distros have various policies, some will go as far as supporting redistributable drivers, but none of them want to be sued and roughed up by Microsoft and other companies.

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