Sunday, October 14, 2012

Where to turn in Linux?

There used to be a time that getting Linux on a system was simple. Just put Ubuntu on it, or XUbuntu if it is an older system. Done.

Not anymore, and I'm getting fed up of rebuilding my laptop...

I can't go for Ubuntu and Ubuntu-based distros (like Mint) because of some weird kernel issues.
I had issues with Fedora's 3.5 kernels, and taking in consideration that bug report above, it feels like any recent kernel is gonna go bad on me.
I've been using Linux Mint Debian Edition, and they're forgetting to update Firefox and Thunderbird despite security vulnerabilities. Plus, the HPLIP offered is half-broken.
UPDATE: I spoke on IRC with LMDE devs who are automating their infrastructure to test the new packages faster so that updates don't have to wait so much in the future.

I don't want to use GNOME because of a nasty CPU-hogging bug.
I don't want to use XFCE because of lame multimedia key support and buggy handling of keyboard layouts.

Of course, there are sort-of solutions to the above problems, but I'm tired. I want a distro that has good support for codecs and a great out of the box experience. I don't want to use super outdated software. And I don't want to be installing updates every other day. In other words, something I could use with someone who discover linux as well as a geek.

Of the big distros, only openSUSE is left, but it doesn't have the multimedia codecs. So, time to go for a bit arcane.

  • PeppermintOS, Ultimate Edition, and PinguyOS are Ubuntu-based. So kernel problems are expected.
  • MEPIS is based on Debian Stable. There is a way to be a bit less outdated though, but that doesn't sound too awesome (but maybe worth trying)
  • PCLinuxOS is an interesting contender. I installed it in a VM and it reminds me of the old Red Hat Linux of yore, before it split between Red Hat and Fedora distributions. Its lack of a brainless package updater is the only thing I see against it right now. Somehow, it installed the 32-bit version, which I'm not sure I'm happy with.
  • Fuduntu is another interesting contender. It is GNOME 2, but otherwise the software looks up-to-date and the GUI is sleek. I am running it in a VM and it looks like the choice of packages is limited. And beesu is driving me nuts asking my password every time.
  • Kororaa is Fedora-based, but a decent option. UPDATE: Installed in a VM, there were a lot of updates to put there. It looks very cutting edge - Kernel 3.6.1, KDE, 4.9.2. Makes me think of Sabayon.
  • Zorin OS is officially based off Ubuntu, but it looks like they are much more cutting edge. A lot of things are looking good, but that's a GNOME distro so...
  • Sabayon feels beyond cutting edge. It makes me almost uncomfortable.
  • Mageia sort-of has all the codecs installed... you need to enable another repo. It could be too much to ask for new users though. UPDATE: I installed in a VM and it won't start a GUI. FAIL!
  • UPDATE: Crunchbang is based on Debian Stable, but has a backported version that is more up-to-date. But am I gonna get the same problems as Ubuntu, as the version is nearly same? Anyways, I installed it in a VM, and I have to say that I wouldn't recommend the interface to a newbie. It does have a wizard (text-based) to install the stuff you'd want, but I want it already there. Its interface is everything but user friendly. I would probably like it, but wouldn't vouch for my wife though...
  • UPDATE: I didn't mention Fusion because, frankly, the Web site is confusing/wrong... Is Fusion 16 stable? Is the latest stable is 14? Why is it the link to it is telling me to download 16? I am not getting the feeling that this is maintained much, and so I didn't bother.
So, where do I turn to? What is the right distro to use?


  1. On Fuduntu, you can eliminate beesu by adding your user account to the wheel group. After that you can use sudo instead.

  2. Thanks for letting me know. I may go for that, but I feel its still too much to ask for a n00b.

  3. Clearly you need to start a new distro that will finally be the Perfect One. Fragmentation is power!

  4. ArchLinux. Try it. I'm using it for 3 yearts (before I used Ubuntu ad I didn't like it)