Newb to linux trying different distros

I've messed around a little bit with Ubuntu and I've got a small grasp on it. About a months worth.
Here is what I use my personal (windows) computers for:

  • Photography (PS and LR)
  • Web browsing (Firefox)
  • File organization (7TB local and 4TB NAS)
  • Torrenting
  • watching movies (VLC)

Seems basic enough. I don't game anymore. So mainly I just need photo manipulation tools. I've been trying out different programs for this and I'm ready to try something long term to see how it goes. Darktable and Pixeluvo are what I'm planning on using. I prefer to organize the files by hand in a native file browser. With Ubuntu i've went as far as working with wine and playonlinux to get some things to work. However I ended up switchcing back to windows to use adobe products again. Now I'm having the urge to break away from microsoft again and I'm thinking of using a different distro. Arch linux looks cool. I don't know much about what it can do and so far the photo manipulation tools I was going to try to use are saying they work on it. Is there any downfalls of going with a distro like this? Is the setup about the same? I might also try and get into coding again. I'm currently working at an old ass bank with lots of windows servers and end up doing a lot of networking problems/upkeep. So I'd say my windows knowledge is decently strong.

Edit1: What about other ditros like Mint? At this point its pretty much just about aesthetics since most photo programs will work on it.

Edit 2: I just wanted to mention that I haven't yet tried to make my backup scheme on Linux yet. I currently use a .bat with a robocopy command that is scheduled to run for copying my local drives to my NAS. I then use CrashPlan as a 3rd offsite backup. CrashPlan is saying it has linux support so I'll see how that goes, but I've got to learn how to do the equivalent of robocopy on linux.

Setup is a lot harder then Ubuntu. In Ubuntu you basically click your way thru the install. With Arch their are alot of commands and info that must be typed out and typed out correctly, a mistake can break the install. But the great thing about Arch is that it is very easy to make your own. So as far as the question What can it do? it can do anything you put your mind to.

As far as programs, Arch usually has every single package out their, and they strive to make sure each package works.

If you want Arch but do not want to do the non GUI install try Manjaro, its Arch but easier.

BTW what Adobe products did you go back to?

I'm not super scared of a non-gui install. I'll definitely try it. Google will hopefully help me there. However I did have some issues with trying to install ubuntu onto my desktop. Might try to install arch on my laptop first. It had 0 issues with ubuntu.

what Adobe products did you go back to?

I went back to Photoshop CC and Lightroom CC. I pay for the subscription.

You could try Arch or an Arch based distro in a virtual machine if your computer supports it on a hardware level. I personally use Antergos. Commonly known as an Arch installer, it just provides a GUI to download and install Arch on your computer along with a custom theme. I like it simply because everything is always up to date and theming Gnome can be a pain. You do also get a small choice of software and environments in the installer as everything is downloaded fresh from the internet rather than what is on the disk.


I hate that they went to subscription based, I remember when one was able to pirate Adobe and get all the features.


I did that for the longest time. Even after CC came out. But $10/month is really nothing for me to have the consistent updates and have my metadata be legal for selling my pictures in the future and whatnot. The other thing that drove me to paying for it was when I tried to get it installed on ubuntu it was really hard to use the cracked .DLL's and whatnot on Wine. was much easier to just input my email and password.

I'm kinda lazy with virtual machines. I'd actually rather just wipe my laptop and go full in on it. I don't use it all that much. And so what exactly is Anergos? is it just purely an installer? or is it a ditro that can also install arch. I guess I could also google that lol..

If you want to install Arch, follow the wiki, everything is there.

1 Like

Yea, I plan on getting into the details of installing it once I get off work and have some time. Just wanting to get some high level opinions on distros

Opensuse Tumbleweed is my recommendation.

Arch is cool and all, but its a pain. And as of late, tumbleweed has been more up to date than arch has. Maybe it was because of the holidays or something, but arch is just now using the 4.3.3 kernel. Tumbleweed has been using that kernel for almost a month.

Tumbleweed is also more stable, and allows you to take snap shots when you upgrade of your root partition.

So win all around.

Interesting, looking into that now

Snapper is available for Arch too, plus if you use LVM you don't even need snapper to take root snapshots. Same goes for btrfs.
And you can always enable the testing repos, it's not so scary if you take the right precautions.
The real bleeding edge is on testing.

Mhmmmm. Or all of this could be done out of the box for you on opensuse.

For someone who just wants to watch youtube and do some photo editing, I think vanilla arch is too much work for too little reward.

Antegros would probably be fine, and I would go so far as to say that manjaro would also probably be a fair recommendation......but then again, opensuse just has more features. Plain and simple.


Is the opensuse UI as easy to customize? I will probably spend a lot of time just customizing the way it looks. I haven't really heard much about opensuse. Is it also a version of linux that can run the same programs?

Its a distro itself, but is really just Arch. It allows you to install Arch the same way you would install Ubuntu, except Ubuntu installs itself from the ISO you downloaded. With Antergos you still download the ISO for a flash drive, but when it installs the OS, it actually re-downloads the whole operating system fresh so you don't have any updates on your first boot. There are a few customization like a theme as well. So in a way it is kind of a distro that installs Arch, but its a bit more than that.

gotcha, this sounds awesome. but also too good to be true. there's gotta be some altercations?

Linux mint is allways a good choice.
It offers a very good out of the box experiance for home users and starters.
And there is realy a big community of support.
Software support is also massive, since it shares their repository´s with Ubuntu and Debian.

1 Like

None that I have come across. Just like Arch its rolling release so there are all of the cautions to go along with that. It uses the Pacman package manager, not aptitude. You can use the Arch wiki for troubleshooting.

Manjaro is similar, but changes a lot more than just adding a theme and installer.

Lets get some things straight so that you do not confuse yourself.

The UI is made up of a few different structures, but the big one you need to focus on is the Desktop Environment or DE for short.

On ubuntu, the DE is Unity. You can also install KDE, Gnome, XFCE, Enlightenment, Pantheon, Cinnamon, etc. The list could go on for miles.

All the DEs are fairly easy to customize. Some more than others. But with opensuse or arch you are free to install what ever DE you like and then customize it from there.

So what you need to do is choose the distro with the most features that suits your needs coughopensusetumbleweed*cough cough* and then choose your favorite DE to stick on top of it.

Arch is pretty involved.... although it's possible for anyone with patience and google access, it's not going to be as enjoyable. You don't realize how many things are already setup in other distros until you try Arch... just saying... Arch is not easy or quick to get going. IMHO, best part about Arch though is that it's VERY well documented just in case you decide to go this route.