If why is one distro better than another if Wine/Lutris/POL works in all of them?

pop has been sold as having a good beginner frdly distro that allows people to play games.
as I continue my journey into linux, or ubuntu based distros (ubunut, mint and pop).
i am under the impression that it is all the same under the hood. it is all fully supported by the ubuntu community.

I am sure there are reasons that i don’t understand that makes one “better” than another. is it a hardware compatibility issue? or what ?

Well, yeah. By definition they are.

If one were actually better than the rest, nobody would use the other ones.
It’s just a matter of taste, what UI do you like and so on.


i don’t understand that makes one “better” than another.

For users who want an easy out-of-the-box experience for a generic desktop or laptop, the differences usually come down to a different set of default packages. This is the case with instances like Ubuntu versus Kubuntu vs Xubuntu (or various Spins in Fedora-land or editions in Arch-land.)

For users who want to build up from a minimal system to get precisely what they want, the difference usually comes down to a different default package manager. (Like RPM on Fedora or dpkg on Debian)

Understanding how your distro works is more important than the differences between distros. A solid understanding of any of them will give you the flexibility to adapt and customize it how you want.

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If we are talking strictly about Ubuntu-based, then there is not much change under the hood, except maybe, supporting more libraries, like multilib support that Ubuntu will drop (or will update only the popular ones), while Mint and Pop will try to maintain (or at least that was the plan that I heard, not sure how doable it is). Aside from theming and different DE, there are too few differences, some including separate repositories and default installed apps. I’m looking forward to some extent to see what LMDE will become.

If you aren’t talking just about Ubuntu-based distros, then there are a lot of differences, like package managers, kernel drivers, how the system boots, how the system starts apps and services (init), frequency of app updates, frequency of base-OS updates, support for different apps in the main repo etc.

Wine, Lutris, POL and Proton are really a niche in the Linux universe. A big and loud niche, but still there. I find them too much of a hassle to use and I’m not the only one. I prefer native alternatives and if that’s not possible, virtualization + hardware passthrough.

To answer the question “what makes one better than another” - there is really no “better” distro, because there exist no one-size-fits-all solution, they are all just different, catering to different needs and supporting different things.

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How different distros handle new software updates is important to many. Fedora tends to have fairly recent versions of software out all the time, new Fedora versions roll out fairly rapidly, while Debian, for example, is conservative and distributes older/more stable versions of software. Therefore, one usually fits a bit better to be a development pc, the other is more used for servers where uptime is crucial (only very important updates come through). This alone is very important to me when picking what to run in a given situation, and not necessarily which package manager is in use etc.

If I have a server and I need to reboot it more than a few times a year, that’s a problem to me.

If I have a desktop and my python/nodejs/whatever version is 20 years old, that’s a problem to me.

Thanks for the answes everyone.

I should perhaps rephrase my question, as I didn’t manage to bring out what wanted to ask:

If Wine/Lutris/POL can solve the same issues, why should one choose one distro over another? Strictly within Ubuntu based distros that is.

My question came from an experience last night. I tried to install Interactive Brokers on Pop yesterday. The installation failed on my pop_os. However, in my previous attempt to migrate to linux, I had Mint installed, and that worked 100% fine on that. Out of frustation, I wiped the drive and installed Mint.

So it got me wondering, if gamers complain that they can’t game and now can with Lutris and Pop, what’s stopping me from installing games with Lutris on Mint, Debian or Ubuntu? It’s all the same ubuntu based anyway. So all gamers should be able to game given that they have Lutris

They are all the same base but they will have their own preferences for which version of certain packages they use. So pop might have been behind or ahead and the version if which it was using might be incompatible with Interactive Brokers. It even happens where the is 100% compatibility one version and the next it is less or completely broken.

While they are the same base, mint, Ubuntu and pop all maintain what they think fits best separately.

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All in all, ‘better’ is contextual. For instance, I love void and arch. Many users here do. And between the two I’d say void is better than arch, but not for gaming or driners. For me its the package manager.

Now between mint, ubuntu, and pop, theres advantages and disadvantages.

Mint: Pros - Easy to pick up and use for a windows user. Can learn basics in an easy environment.
Cons - It doesn’t challenge the user. As well, packages are often out of date.

Ubuntu: Pros - Good basic linux distro setup. Does well for new users and power users. Also does nvidia driver setup on laptops.
Cons - Install can be confusing. Also if driver setup goes bad, theres no immediate way for a new user to fix it without knowing that their nvidia drivers can explode. Not as common of an issue anymore, thankfully. At least on this forum.

Pop: Pros - Customized environment, new theme, better appstore ( imo)
Cons - Newer distro. Can have weird bugs that can be confusing at times.

So I mean, they each have overall pro’s and con’s, and those are the ones that bother me. I bet other people have other things they don’t like, but really at base these 3 distro’s are the same.

And anymore, it really doesn’t matter if you’re on slackware, arch, antix… Same shit, different brand.

Thanks Aremis, one quick follow up:
How about Debian?

And how do these distros compare when it comes to security?

Thank you. I greatly appreciate your help in my Linux journey. You have Ben most helpful.

Don’t go gaming on debian if you have new hardware. It’s dated. Debs is amazing to old hardware but I couldn’t install it on a ryzen 5 2400g pc for example.

If you want someone to say “pick this distro” I’mma say it: ubuntu 19.10 and then 20.04 when it comes out.

Don’t like default ui? $: sudo apt install gnome-session and log off, get into vanilla gnome and you’re set

Don’t like vanilla gnome? Try another DE inside ubuntu until it fits you :man_shrugging:

Apt is fairly competent and ubuntu is what people think as “linux” when they don’t know shit

Debian is basically just upstream for ubuntu. I’m not quite sure how debian is out of date?

Security is kinda built in with either apparmor or syslinux. You can add more, but theres not much of a big point in doing so if you’re a basic user. Obviously if theres a bigger problem if theres a leak, Eg equifax, you might add more security or use a security centric distro.

Security is just another thing you can search against.

deepin linux is where i hang mainly software updates and stability and a great ui something deepin prides its self in is having alot of deepin made software which they give DDE(deepin desktop environment) is now on ALOT of distros. the distro its self is stand alone. its a beginner distro but actually shipped on some Huawei laptops and one of the few good distros out of china

i use it cause its been the best gui based distro ive ever used but its not for server or headless its about user exp

Well yeah that´s the thing with Mint.
There are allot of lovers and haters for it.
However in the end Mint is just the distro a user,
could always rely on as a daily driver that just needs to work.
But i kinda agree with @FaunCB that it generally does not really challenge the user,
to dig deeper than you really have to.
However that does not mean that you can´t doe.
You can also customize and tweak Mint to your hardest content.
You can also play around with kernels, build packages and scripts etc.
In that regards all distributions are kinda the same yes.
They are all linux in the end.

The main differences between linux distributions in general aside from the DE,
is the package management system, repo´s and how they role their updates.
The kernel is just linux.

Linux is kernel gnu is your os


@MisteryAngel and @FaunCB

So in this case, if I want a stable environment where I can grow to become a power user, it is really ubuntu then?

I read that it is very “bloated”. Do people still use it/ways to unbloat it?
Thank you!

Bloated in 17.04 maybe. We have minimal install for that.

People must be assuming debian stable.

Real men run sid


Well idk what you mean by ¨bloated¨.
I read those kind of discussions and they kinda hurt my head really.
i mean in the end you will install thirdparty applications anyways.
So yeah idk really…
Some distribution are going really crazy on third party applications,
and those i kinda call bloated.
But a stock Mint or Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu Mate, Xubuntu i don’t really find those too bloated.
But that’s just me.

Not really, there are many other distributions to choose from really.
But i would advice to use one of bigger common ones.
And not those forks from forks from forks who don’t really have any reason to exists.

I think that a very nice distro for you could be MX Linux.
This is a very nice Debian base distro, which comes with its own set of tools,
for making things easier.
However it’s also a very ideal system if you tent to become a poweruser as well.
And it’s not really bloated to use that term.
Itś a rock sollid distro, and you can also easily enable the Debian testing repo’s on it as well.

So yeah my recommendation if you don’t want an straight Ubuntu base,
then i would say MX Linux would be a nice place to start.
This distributions comes from the guys and girls from Mepis. (AntiX)

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I would like to add onto what MysteryAngel said by saying that people generally think of vanilla Arch when they think of really getting to know Linux and becoming a power user in a hurry (the hurry bit is merely my interpretation). It’s not like you need use and install Arch to grow as a Linux user, but the Arch installation process is basically a crash course in Linux. If you also want a crash course in compiling code and really get into the nitty-gritty of the features of packages and have time to spare, there’s Linux From Scratch. If you don’t need quite as much fine-grained control when it comes to the configuration step of building packages, want to have at least some kind of guided installation (LFS doesn’t have a package manager from what I know, while Gentoo has Portage) and want to actually use the system you’ve built instead of it being a mere learning experiment, Gentoo’s for you.

I think that the only real differences between distributions you need to think about are whether the distribution is rolling or version by version and whether or not it is source-based (think Gentoo, the distro I am running). Most other differences are a mix of various default settings and configurations crossed with the previous two factors, at least in my opinion.

Just watch somebody giving me the eye for even mentioning Gentoo, let alone Linux From Scratch.

Using Pop OS atm, me personally I liked Antergos which got shut down, so then Manjaro was ok alternative. If I went back to Arch I’d probably use some simple installer GUI for it.

I have serious trouble remembering all the console commands for all the stuff to configure my desktop as it is, so the way I see it is the more gui assisted the better, we don’t all have photographic memories!

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