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I still can't decide which distro to choose


I thought Arch Linux would end my distrohopping. But no. What do I do?

Which distro will fit my old laptop?

Do work? Distrohopping is a disease that kills productivity. It serves no purpose. Get a bigger hard drive and setup VirtualBox or VMware and install every distro ever.

Then you never have to hop again.


You could stop hopping and use one. If you want a better answer you need to ask a better question with more information than that.


Find the distro that pisses you off the least, and then get involved with it to fix the little stuff that lingers.

If you have opinions on software at all, there’s guaranteed to be problems with any software you don’t write yourself. Unfortunately, people have different opinions about what makes good software, and most of them aren’t aware they’re wrong. :slight_smile:


Everyone hypes up every distro to be “the best, objectively better than X” while in reality, it may be better for some things than X OUT OF THE BOX, but the beauty of Linux is that you don’t have to stick with the OOTB configuration or intentions.

Find a reliable[2] distro[1] and stick with it. When you encounter problems, ask on here and we’ll help you. Push through problems, rather than trying to avoid them.

Most distrohopping, I believe, comes from a Microsoft or Apple mindset of “well, the distro isn’t doing what I want, so rather than fix it, I’ll get something else.” That’s the exact wrong mindset for Linux.

For example: Ubuntu doesn’t work well for me, since I am bothered by apt. Fedora works well for me because I like yum/dnf. Can Ubuntu do everything Fedora can do? unequivocally yes, but I choose Fedora because I prefer it.

Find a distro, who’s core tools (init system, configuration directories and tools) and package manager you’re familiar with, stick with it, and find solutions to problems, rather than avoiding them.

[1] Examples (including but not limited to) of reliable distros:

  • Ubuntu
  • Fedora
  • Centos
  • Arch
  • Linux Mint
  • Elementary
  • Gentoo

(I’m sure there are more, that’s off the top of my head)

Examples of reliable distros that are recommended by me personally for beginners ordered by recommendation:

  • Fedora
  • Ubuntu
  • Elementary
  • Linux Mint

[2] What makes a distro reliable?

  • It has a good user base, for support and longevity reasons.
  • It has been around for a bit, so you know the maintainers are in it for the long haul.
  • It has not recently undergone earthshattering changes in management, organization, infrastructure or leadership.
  • It may or may not be in the list above.

Friendly warning for those who come in here to start talking down a specific distro, or defending a distro, please remember:



Okay, so you haven’t found a new home that you are quite comfortable with yet.

I presume on your journey you’ve struggled to get one thing or another working, and tried other distro’s that do have it working.

I guess by now you really need to step back a little and compromise.

Make a list of each distro you have tried, with bits that didn’t work for your system, bits you didn’t like, bits you think you might eventually be able to learn/configure/fix, and most importantly bits you like about each.

This might help point to another version of something you already tried?

As an unskilled new user, what I found useful was sticking with an LTS that I didn’t particularly like (stock Ubuntu) until I had it stable for a couple of months, then tried a few different distro’s until I found one I actually liked.

But it was Arch, and I wasn’t ready for the bleeding edge, so settled back to an Ubuntu flavour that was a compromise between it’s stable base, but with a DE/WM that I felt more comfortable with.

Like @sgtawesomesauce said, it really does seem to be about pushing through problems, rather than switching to something that doesn’t have those problems, but comes with its own new set…


I agree that reliability is the thing. Bleeding edge distros can be quite some work to maintain, like rolling ones like arch and tumbleweed. I think Fedora is far better in that regard, much less broken updates and regressions to deal with (tumbleweed had a snapshot that was very broken not that long ago for example). Rolling distros can be fun to play with but as a daily driver I don’t really think it is a good idea, as every bigger update can take a lot of time and sometimes breaks the install.

I’ve found Ubuntu and Fedora to be pretty easy to change to my liking mostly. Most linux distros look and work very, very similarly if you have the same Desktop Environment on them.


When I started running full time linux a few years back, i was in the same situation. I tried Fedora, Debian and Ubuntu.

I wanted to, get my shit together and, learn how to run linux for good, because I was really sick and tired of the whole Windows experience, and was unhappy with the “user friendlyness” and bubbly waste of space UI Microsoft decided to implement more and more.

Reason I chose Fedora, was because I ran that many years ago, around the time Fedora project launched, so thought it’d be a reasonable place for me to start. It ran well, was quite satisfied with it. Then I started mucking around with some embedded and SoC stuff, and realized that a large part of this was based on Debian or derivatives (Armbian). Tried Ubuntu (didn’t know about its siblings at the time, Lubuntu, Kubuntu and Xubuntu), the default UI in Ubuntu (Gnome) irritated me to no end, so I installed Debian, first with KDE later switched to XFCE and happily ran it for years.

I was very satisfied with Debian, it worked well out of the box, but still required some manual configuration to work how I wanted it to. Was a perfect way for me to learn the basics of configuring my workstation and home server, and gave me a line to follow for learning and understanding it all.

Today I’m past that point, and can’t really be bothered too much with all the manual configuration, therefore, when Ubuntu 18.04 was released, I decided to try out Xubuntu, and am very happy. Many minor things work out of the box, running 2 GPU’s with 6 screens for instance, I don’t have to spend time configuring it all manually, which i truly enjoy. Now I can focus on other things I’m interested in now.

At the end of the day, it is, in my opinion, not about the distro itself, it’s about the UI you want to work in and if the support for what you want to do, is acceptable with the distro you chose to work on. One reason I like the Ubuntu line of distros, is that a lot of the extra things you might want to install, is a part of the repositories. So you won’t have to spend time manually adding them and dependencies if you might need them.

split this topic #9

6 posts were merged into an existing topic: The Lounge - 2019/03 March [Reformat It All Edition]



Yeah, I found Solus the most straight forward, with the least CLI hacks


also join the user forums for that distro they will be more than happy to help you through the problems you encounter!


Good point!

We’re not the only ones out there.

There’s an active community on SO, IRC, etc… That would love to help!



Here’s a tip from someone who did distro hopping a heap since 1995…

They all have their annoyances, they all have their benefits.

However they can mostly all be configured to do what you want/need. Spend less time hopping and take that time and energy to make your current platform do what you want.

  1. you’ll learn more doing that about how linux works most likely
  2. you’ll waste less time trading one set of annoyances for a slightly different set of annoyances


Unless there’s a fundamental reason for hopping.

For example, I had to hop from Ubuntu 18.10 -> 18.04 because the devs thought it was a good idea to break the installation of JFX; which I need to statically link against to be able to use Java for one of my Uni classes. And since Netbeans stopped shipping with the bundled JDK I was SOL and had to rollback.


That’s a version change, not really what i’d call a distro hop… but yes, if there’s a concrete reason like that… sure.

But you could have just installed your java environment into a VM of 18.04 for that purpose and left your bare metal/host platform alone (and not gone through the waste of time of reinstalling and restoring backup, etc.).


I had done that initially. However, it was a PITA to use.

It was easier to just roll back. I have my /home on a separate drive altogether so it was easy to change, install a few choice repos for Vulkan and DXVK, ukuu, and a few updates later I’m back in business and everything working.


Why do you want to hop again? What do you want to do with your computer?


In your experience, what would you recommend as a host? I’ve been considering doing just that, and now finally have free time again.
Would one see a difference between a kernel optimized for latency vs throughput?
Any gotcha’s or traps an inexperienced person may fall into?


Back in 2014 a friend of mine convinced me to switch to arch from windows (before that I had used debian and some of its derivatives for some time), still running that arch install from back then today. When I accidentally wiped my in 2016 I had to restore from the last backup I had made (mid 2015). Rsyncing that back to my main drive and updating worked just fine even after sitting for over a year. Used on 3 sets of different hardware as well. To contrast, I have manjaro on my laptop and after leaving it for about a month or two and updating it’s having problems, more noticeable bugs in their packages, not to mention they only push package updates to their repo once a month or so. Would definitely not recommend it. I short, I would say arch is a good choice if you liked it while you used it. While bleeding edge may introduce bugs from newer packages that get updates sooner, you may also notice that fixes come sooner as well. In that regard it may be “unstable”, but the OS overall from my experience is solid.