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Linux

'The Cynic's Guide to Desktop Linux' (theregister.com) 171

The Register has unveiled their "cynic's guide to desktop Linux," which they ultimately concede is a snarky yet affectionate list of "the least bad distros."

For those who are "sick of Windows but can't afford a Mac," the article begins by addressing people who complain there's too many Linux distros to choose from. "We thought we'd simplify things for you by listing how and in which ways the different options suck."- The year of Linux on the desktop came and went, and nobody noticed — maybe because it doesn't say "Linux" on it. ChromeOS only runs on ChromeBooks and ChromeBoxes, but they outsold Macs for a while before the pandemic. "Flex" is the version for ordinary PCs... ChromeOS Flex works great, because it only does one thing: browse the web. You can't install apps, not even Android ones: only official kit does that. You can run Debian containers: if you know what that means, go run Debian. If you don't know what that means, trust us, you don't want to.

- Ubuntu is an ancient African word that means I can't configure Debian....

- Mint is an Ubuntu remix with knobs on. It was an also-ran for years, but when Ubuntu went all Mac-like it saw its chance and grabbed it — along with the number one spot in the charts. It dispenses with some of the questionable bits of recent Ubuntu, such as GNOME and Snaps, but replaces them with dodgy bits of its own, such as a confusing choice of not one, not two, but three Windows-like desktops, and overly cautious approaches to updates and upgrades.

- Debian is the daddy of free distros, and the one that invented the idea of a packaging tool that automatically installs dependencies. It's easier than it used to be, but mired in politics. It's sort of like Ubuntu, but more out of date, harder to install, and with fewer drivers. If that sounds just your sort of thing, go for it.

There's 10 snarky entries in all, zinging Fedora, openSUSE, Arch Linux, and Pop!_OS — as well as the various spinoffs of Red Hat Enterprise Linux.(The article calls Rocky Linux and AlmaLinux "RHEL with the serial numbers filed off.")

And there's also one final catch-call entry for "Tiny obscure distros. All of them."

Thanks to Slashdot reader AleRunner for sharing the link...
  • I like Ubuntu. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Brain-Fu( 1274756 ) on Saturday June 04, 2022 @11:52PM (#62593792)HomepageJournal

    I only have experience with Fedora and Ubuntu (and Android but I think that doesn't count).But I have found Ubuntu to be rock solid, compared to Fedora in which things would randomly break during updates.Not EVERY update, but often enough that every update was frightening.I haven't had anything break as a result of an Ubuntu update.

    I may be biased since I play Steam games, and most of what broke during Fedora updates was Steam-related.Steam officially supports Ubuntu so this difference is to be expected.

    Fedora is associated with RedHat, who decided to participate in cancel-culture and voice hatred towards Richard Stallman.Cannonical (the providers of Ubuntu) sent out a poll asking their users what they should do, and the vote was "do nothing, stay out of politics."So they did.I think that shows wiser and more mature leadership, but that's just my opinion.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I liked Ubuntu too. But I hate snaps. So much so, I'd rather use Gentoo.

      Gentoo is a little tricky to get started, but once you get good at it, it's really nice how fast everything runs (aside from portage) and how completely up-to-date your software always is. And I LOVE not having to periodically reinstall my system to get on the latest release -- rolling release is awesomesauce.

      I feel your pain on Fedora. It's like the distro that is 99% good enough, but that last 1% always bites you in the ass somewhere.

      • agreed snaps are a waste of hard drive space and a excuse for poorly maintaining the OS. why update when you can just use a snap with yet another copy of almost the entire OS....
        • "...a excuse for poorly maintaining the OS"

          Much more than that they are an excuse for incompetent and lazy developers, which is essentially most of them.People who out of incompetence just always "need" to use the latest version of libraries, and also are too lazy to just integrate with Linux desktops' packaging systems.

      • But I hate snaps.

        So don't use them. One of the first things I do on a fresh Ubuntu install is uninstall all the Snap related packages, including snapd ...

        • So don't use them. One of the first things I do on a fresh Ubuntu install is uninstall all the Snap related packages, including snapd ...

          The trouble is Ubuntu are starting to use them as an excuse to not bother to ship properly packaged up to date versions. So apt-install an ancient version or snap install an up to date version which takes 10x as long to start, uses 3x the RAM and can't access all your properly without fuckery.

          • So don't use them. One of the first things I do on a fresh Ubuntu install is uninstall all the Snap related packages, including snapd ...

            The trouble is Ubuntu are starting to use them as an excuse to not bother to ship properly packaged up to date versions. So apt-install an ancient version or snap install an up to date version which takes 10x as long to start, uses 3x the RAM and can't access all your properly without fuckery.

            Ya, I just read up on that concerning Ubuntu 22.04 only providing some apps, like Firefox, via snap -- and the apt version will/may be an empty package that installs the snap version.I'm still using Ubuntu Mate 18.04 and when I upgrade guess I'll have to either use the Mozilla (and other) PPA repos or switch to another distro. I read that Mint won't support/use snaps -- ever if you believe the devs -- so that may be an option or switching to Debian...

            Too bad, I like Ubuntu but Snap (and things like it)

            • Too bad, I like Ubuntu but Snap (and things like it) seems like a step in the wrong direction.

              Snap specifically is. I mean sort of is. I understand the idea, but it's poorly executed.

              There's always the tradeoff between OS independent and OS packaged: the latter share resources, the former don't. It's not a huge worry for big rather than small programs since the sharing is a relatively small part, but you have this weird ubuntu specific thing that now has all the disadvantages of both sides pretty much.

              The

              • They [snaps] are really really fucking slow to start. Not sure why. ... Snaps are glacially slow.

                According to several articles I've read, the slowdown is on the first cold start when the snap squashfs has to be searched/expanded and user, font, extension, etc... files copied into the sandbox, etc ... they're "working on it" -- (sigh)In any case, I'm not swayed by any of the "benefits" described for snaps (or flatpak, etc...) so I'll still be removing *all* snap components on fresh Ubuntu installs and relying on other sources, like PPAs or, if I can't, switching to another distro, like Mint or Debian

            • Ya, I just read up on that concerning Ubuntu 22.04 only providing some apps, like Firefox, via snap -- and the apt version will/may be an empty package that installs the snap version.I'm still using Ubuntu Mate 18.04 and when I upgrade guess I'll have to either use the Mozilla (and other) PPA repos or switch to another distro. I read that Mint won't support/use snaps -- ever if you believe the devs -- so that may be an option or switching to Debian...

              Too bad, I like Ubuntu but Snap (and things like it) seems like a step in the wrong direction.

              Mint is maintaining its own snap-free Firefox .deb package. No ppa needed. One may also install flatpak stuff in Mint if they want sandboxed applications (or if they find the default .deb installation outdated while the .flatpak version newer)

              • Mint is maintaining its own snap-free Firefox .deb package. No ppa needed. One may also install flatpak stuff in Mint if they want sandboxed applications (or if they find the default .deb installation outdated while the .flatpak version newer)

                Thanks for the tip. I came across this, from looks like 2020, but don't know how current / relevant it is now: Flatpak - a security nightmare - 2 years later [flatkill.org].There's a fairly long 2021 discussion of this here: https://news.ycombinator.com/i... [ycombinator.com]

            • Biggest thing Mint has for me over Ubuntu is the default desktop config (I prefer MATE fwiw).

              That said, it is trivial to install pure Debian and then boot the Mint LiveDVD, and export the defaults via dconf.

              dconf dump /org/mate > ~/Desktop/dconf-mate-backup

              Then copy that file somewhere online, stick it in a git repo, email it to yourself, etc.

              Then boot into your Debian install and install the task-mate-desktop package, log in as your regular user, import the dconf file and you should be good to go.

          • The trouble is Ubuntu are starting to use them as an excuse to not bother to ship properly packaged up to date versions.

            In fact in the latest version both firefox and gnome are snaps. But I don't want gnome anyway (I installed KDE) and I was able to install a newer Firefox from the mozillateam ppa, so this is in practice not an actual problem on the latest Ubuntu. for me :)

    • I've tried a bunch of different distros over the years, even used Gentoo for several years, but I seem to always gravitate back to Ubuntu. I'm not interested in the politics, I am not against using proprietary software and blobs, I'm not inherently against using snaps (though I only use them very specific, non-desktop stuff) and I'm not interested in constantly fiddling with stuff -- I just want to get stuff done.

      Ubuntu is not perfect, but so far it's the best out of all I've tried and I don't really see an

      • I avoid main-line ubuntu, because of some of the more questionable shit.

        I currently am driving xubuntu though. It uses the main ubuntu package repositories, but is less, hrm... Bloated.

        I drove mint for awhile, but found it did not really keep up with packages the way it needed to.If that has changed, I might try it again.

        Debian feels like doing the timewarp.

        I greatly dislike systemD's hentai tentacles, but have not waded into Devaun waters.

        I dont feel like building everything from scratch, so Arch is kind

        • While I think the listicle made a good point about not tying yourself to someone's grad school thesis, there's a huge difference between bespoke "I made my own GNU/Linux from scratch" and "I lead a team who's put together a collection of GNOME apps into a clean and distinctive desktop environment." I stan elementaryOS but describe my OS "an Ubuntu variant" on support forums, because unless it needs a snap, anything that works for Ubuntu 20.04 will work for elementaryOS 6.1.

          And if the elementaryOS distr
        • by scrutinizer80( 7858684 ) on Sunday June 05, 2022 @06:28AM (#62594238)

          Slackware can do that and more.
          It's always been a rock solid, sane and as true to the Unix philosophy as you can get in the Linux world.
          I think it's being unfairly ignored by the wider community for no good reason.

          • I like Slackware as well. And I'm amazed that with all the anti-systemd campaigning that Slackware is almost never mentioned at the top of any list as an alternative to systemd including distros. Still, it has to be conceded that the majority of users want LESS control rather than MORE for the sake of stability and the distro that delivers that will lead all others.

            • Slackware was my first distro long ago. I liked that it felt more raw and BSD like. With that said, I hated the package manager and I don't really want to compile from source if I can help it.

              I tried Red Hat/Fedora but once again did not really enjoy dealing with their package manager.

              Debian is pretty awesome but running stable puts you so far behind. Great for a server but definitely want something more cutting edge for a desktop. Debian's package manager is just awesome though.

              I use Xubuntu these days. It

        • > but have not waded into Devaun waters

          Hey? Must be new, systemd hasn't been around that long.
          It's (supposted to be) just like the good old Debian sans said bad friend.
      • I prefer Kubuntu, because GNONE is shit. GNOME is just so bad that I can't understand why any distro would make it the default, best supported desktop. If I wanted a mobile interface I'd use my phone.

        These days I only use Linux as a standalone OS for embedded (Raspberry Pi and the like) and for some VMs that only exist to build some old projects that need specific versions of things. Mostly when I use Linux, it's via WSL2. WSL2 isn't perfect, but it's damn good.

        That may change, we shall see what happens wit

        • I prefer Kubuntu, because GNONE is shit. GNOME is just so bad that I can't understand why any distro would make it the default, best supported desktop. If I wanted a mobile interface I'd use my phone.

          Eh, personally I don't like either GNOME or KDE. They're both bad in a lot of ways that get on my nerves. I liked Mint's Cinnamon a lot when I tried it, but it never worked right on Ubuntu and since I'm not interested in fiddling, I've just kind of....given up. Thankfully, I rarely do anything that requires a graphical desktop under Linux anyway, so that's not that much of an issue; it's just more of an annoyance.

          I do wish GNOME-devs would stop fucking with things and making GNOME even worse, though.

          These days I only use Linux as a standalone OS for embedded (Raspberry Pi and the like) and for some VMs that only exist to build some old projects that need specific versions of things. Mostly when I use Linux, it's via WSL2. WSL2 isn't perfect, but it's damn good.

          Yeah, I

          • I was thinking of trying a tiling window manager, since I mostly have windows either tiled or maximized anyway.

            I really don't understand why Linux desktops are the way they are. Open source is supposed to be about scratching an itch, implementing features that you want. I can only assume that the developers don't really like desktops or mostly use them to open shell windows or something. Surely they don't actually like GNOME or even KDE...

            Cinnamon is nice but I could never get the mouse wheel to work reason

    • - Ubuntu is an ancient African word that means I can't configure Debian....

      Maybe other distros should take that as a hint to why it's so popular.Why exactly does a user have to "configure" their OS again?Anyhow, I like Ubuntu as well.Good, reliable self-updates, even for major versions (like from 18.04 LTS to 20.04 LTS).Decent compatibility with a number of Steam games.Easy to use even for less-than-experienced Linux users.

      I actually have four machines on my desk, all running through a KVM switch.Windows for home, Windows for work, a Mac Mini, and a mini-desktop runnin

      • Besides the GPU insanity you will find the war with a reborn AMD vs Intel has resulted in an incredible amount of cpu cores and insanely fast NVME speeds. You literally can build a freaken virtualization lab on just a medium grade cpu with 4500 megs a sec transfer rate and 8 to 12 physical cores and another 8 to 12 threaded/virtual cores ON TOP of that. The i7 12700k has I think 12 fast cores, 4 slower cores, and another 8 virtual cores or threads.

        A new PC is in order indeed if you use qemu or if you are st

    • I only have experience with Fedora and Ubuntu (and Android but I think that doesn't count).But I have found Ubuntu to be rock solid, compared to Fedora in which things would randomly break during updates.Not EVERY update, but often enough that every update was frightening.I haven't had anything break as a result of an Ubuntu update.

      I agree with that to the exception of any dist-upgrade. After more than 15 years using Ubuntu I've stopped trying. When I want to upgrade to a more recent version, desktop or server, I reinstall the OS from scratch. I don't think I've had a single successful dist-upgrade so far.

    • I found the latest Ubuntu to be stupid, but with a solid foundation under the stupidity. Removing snap from the system completely was an important first step to sanity. In fact, I wrote a journal about it [slashdot.org]. After my install snap was broken, the iommu wasn't being used correctly so USB3 was broken, nvidia-settings was broken... All fixable but irritating.

      Snap in particular is crap. I'm against the whole idea in general, but snap is a really garbage implementation in literally every way. Flatpak actually works

    • Perhaps I'm just not a "power user," but I have had zero issues with using Ubuntu as my primary desktop for a few years now (since 18.04).On the few occasions where I absolutely HAVE to use Windows for some work-related task, I fire up the crappy laptop that was issued to me, do what I need, then mothball it again.

      The article seems to be from a "smug Mac user" viewpoint. :)I can afford a Mac and they work fine, but I don't want to get sucked in to that ecosystem where you need Apple everything to take a

  • by Billly Gates( 198444 ) on Sunday June 05, 2022 @12:14AM (#62593816)Journal

    I was thinking about this not too long ago. Back in 1999 when I discovered Slashdot this was the holy grail. A real OS that you could finally do work in and learn.

    Fast forward to 2022 and a modern Mac/Windows box can run Linux/Unix and Virtual Machines, WSL or tcsh on OSX plus every software package under the sun including Office, Adobe products, Visual Studio, and JetBrains products. Windows now has VS community which includes clang, VS Code (no one uses Vim or emacs anymore in software development under 40), Python, and other things. That was not true in 1999.

    The backend we all can ssh in AWS/Azure/On-Prem on Windows/Mac and both operating systems are more reliable with less issues with updates. I don't have to worry about a proton package modifying my SystemD init scripts making my system unbootable. Apt-get upgrade keeps including whole config files which bork my desktop which just do not happen under Mac/Windows which only upgrade the software. Who mimics their home PC to their servers anymore?

    Come to think of it I think we all started as young kids in college who had no need for Office and sharing stuff so the need to run MS Office was not cemented.

    As Steve Jobs said he didn't want to expand the Macintosh sales team other than account executives when he returned to Apple. He said Microsoft won. The Mac will always be a niche.

    But if it makes people happy go for it! I gave up desktop Linux 12 years ago but briefly tried it last fall with disasterous results with my nvidia card and qemu.

    • Gonna ignore the username and take your post at face value rather than a troll.

      Having used Linux personally and macOS professionally for the last decade, I can tell you which one is far more likely to push out software updates that brick your setup, and it ain't the one with the penguin logo.

      Flatpaks, Appimages and, yes, even Snaps, have made config issues like you're mentioning virtually impossible and have finally vanquished "dependency hell."

      Software--and hardware--largely just works out of
      • by Billly Gates( 198444 ) on Sunday June 05, 2022 @01:21AM (#62593872)Journal

        I started in 1998 with Caldera OpenLinux lite 1.2 from a box at CompUSA. I discovered startx to use the gui and ls by accident playing around typing random keys. I used w-pppd to get my modem to work which back then you had to be root which surprised me.

        I then moved to Redhat 5.2 because it had a cool gui on the box (i didn't have broadband yet) in 1999 and liked it except I couldn't upgrade it due to rpm hell trying to get gnome 1.0 installed. I played with a few others and went back to Windows 2000 for awhile and then in 2000 instealled FreeBSD 4.0 and fell in love with it. The manual was great and big book back then. It taught me how to do everything and my local New York Linux users group recommend Unix Power Tools by Oreily which I still owned. I created this account as a 22 year old kid angry at Microsoft and was the typical MS hater and fanboy.

        I kept using FreeBSD and remember the backwards bootstrop to get Java to work for programming classes at school. Mozilla started to have more and more trouble rendering web pages and employers wanted resumes in Word's .doc format as StarOffice kept misrendering my tables. I finished school dual booting Windows XP/FreeBSD from 2002 - 2004. By 2004 I was using Windows more and more and started using Office and IE 6 to remain employable. In 2007 I discovered Ubunty 6.10 and fell in love again as I finished my bachelors and did some presentations on it but kept my school laptop on Windows because I needed to get work done and FBSD 5+ sucked goatballs so I gave up.

        After getting more real jobs I wanted to learn web development and played with Fedora and Linux Mint and settled with Fedora for a few more years and gave up in 2011 when Windows 7 was everything Linux wasn't and I didn't get a career as a web developer.

        Recently after many years I tried Fedora Cinnamon and Mint with a terrible experience with my 3080TI. Sleep didn't work or fonts were garbled when I woke up, multi monitor settings were a mess and it was less stable than it was 12 years earlier. In 20 years I haver had a Unix system that just worked besides FreeBSD. Xorg would always break during an update. Wifi would drop after a dist upgrade. Or some api that an app used broke during another upgrade.

        Windows just works for me sadly. I see nothing wrong on a server but drivers and just config files being replaced is so unprofessional and unacceptable. I do not like the guis either and find them inferior. Especially a Mac. I just do not trust it.

      • Just curious... have you tried to use a FTDI driver in Linux?It worked great for me and then something got updated.No idea what... it was years between needing to use a dongle, but... now it doesn't.And... it is better just left that way, because any solution to the problem will cause other problems that you could not possibly anticipate.

        (Ok, so my Mac isn't much better on this front, but still...)

        • This may have been the driver refusing to support FAKE FTDI chips.

          There was a persistent problem with fake chips being badged as officially correct ones, and the people that actually make those chips legitimately, made changes to basically break those counterfeits.

          This has happened repeatedly on windows, but I am unsure on Linux. My FTDI serial cables (official), work just fine through linux.

      • Gonna ignore the username and take your post at face value rather than a troll.

        Dude!Click on the link in his sig.It goes to some casino web site.The real Bill wouldn't do something like that.Hmmm.Or would he specifically do something like that to confuse us?

      • Flatpaks, Appimages and, yes, even Snaps, have made config issues like you're mentioning virtually impossible and have finally vanquished "dependency hell."

        And successfully replaced it with a management hell. Which do I install? Heck I have a program installed already, how do I update it? But really the problem of dependency hell is not really an issue providing you don't stray from the path you were presented. There is no hell providing you don't install other PPAs install packages manually, or do anything that your distribution maintainer has deemed not yet ready. It's only when you deviate from what is presented to you on a plate that things get ugly.

        And now let's talk updates: every Linux distro I've ever used always tells you what updates are available and, if you're interested, exactly what will change. You then have the choice to freeze any packages you want to hold onto.

        The pr

        • The problem is a complete lack of middle ground. The updates list and exactly what will change defends itself against being read by its sheer length. *No one* actually reads it unless they have a medical condition and no medications to manage them making the Linux update process one of "push button and hope for the best" not unlike any other OS.I have a short list of five or so packages I've had issues with in the past--not issues like, "Updates and the system fails to POST" but more like, "MSPT doubled i
      • Software--and hardware--largely just works out of the box now--I still can't get used to the fact that the open source driver for my current generation graphics card was included with the kernel and supports ray tracing through Vulkan with no futzing whatsoever.

        I do wish the pytorch people would get their arse in gear and get AMD supported. I'm on the tyranny of NVidia. Q: How do you know when your nvidia driver has been updated? A: OpenGL stops working!

        Flatpaks, Appimages and, yes, even Snaps, have made co

        • I do wish the pytorch people would get their arse in gear and get AMD supported. I'm on the tyranny of NVidia. Q: How do you know when your nvidia driver has been updated? A: OpenGL stops working!

          AMD themselves are part of the fault here. Currently they are deprecating their old closed source OpenCL implementation. Meanwhile their new-and-shiny open source OpenCL / ROCm team waste time to do their own port of numerous frameworks into ROCm, taking the job of developers of those framework, but neglect the basic - get the OpenCL or ROCm work for every GPU old and new. Come on, if your platform / library can work reliably in every machine with AMD GPU / APU, people will nag the frameworks or software t

      • Flatpaks, Appimages and, yes, even Snaps, have made config issues like you're mentioning virtually impossible and have finally vanquished "dependency hell."

        Snap is crap. It is pure shit from front to back. I just did a fresh Ubuntu install, ran apt update and apt upgrade, and snap was broken. It fucking broke itself, rendering my system more than half worthless. Since Firefox is a snap you can't even look up a remedy for the problem without another machine. If you think snap solves more problems than it causes then you don't know snap. It's got no purpose other than to send people to the snap store, and it exists only for that and because NIH.

        • No argument--first thing I do on an Ubuntu install is sudo apt remove --purge snapd,but I also recognize that I had snaps alongside flats on my main rig for almost two years with the only big issue being that it was hard to migrate config files from the snaps to another machine that was using flats exclusively.
    • After 25-30 (not sure) years on Linux I had to run on Windows due to my job for 6 months (fortunately I have quit it already) and it was a hell. The only win was MinGW64 there but 'find' was 100x, 'du' was 500x slower (really, it ran whole day). The same for 'clean -dfx' as instead of 2 seconds it took 20 minutes. Visual Studio is like GDB from year 2000 - no C++ support at all. After several debuggee restarts it was hanging so I had to restart also Visual Studio. It was BSODing IIRC 5x, later I learned not
      • Nobody on windows uses du. Windirstat is much, much better.Microsoft should make those utilities standard.

        • I have googled now windirstat.net [windirstat.net] and it is some graphical crap, that is useless. You cannot pipe its output to other commands to process it in an automated way. That's the monkey clicking all the days how Windows users spend their lives.
        • BTW similarly slow were operations in File Explorer so the slowness was not specific to MinGW64 'du' or other utilities. File Explorer was showing copying speed around 50kB/s. It was sure an NVMe drive on a new laptop. Such speed is no longer even funny.
    • I recently successfuly ran an Aarch64 Yocto with qemu on a Nvidia Ubuntu 18.04 system with OpenGL ES 3.2 using appropriate Mesa repos. Maybe you want to try again.

  • OpenSUSE (Score:4, Informative)

    by Sin2x( 1189089 ) on Sunday June 05, 2022 @12:57AM (#62593846)
    Is seriously good, no snaps, stable, RPM-compatible, long support compared to Fedora, DEs are preconfigured in a way that I prefer to Ubuntu's. Leap 15.4 is coming out in a few days, give it a spin. There's also Gecko: https://geckolinux.github.io/ [github.io]
    • When I first looked for a distro, what I wanted most was a Linux version of Amiga Arexx.What I found is dBus, which could do that job, but is usually used at a lower level.dBus started from KDE, and OpenSUSE has always been the recommendation as best distro for KDE, so that's where I've always been, and I like it.

      As time goes on, the anti-systemd comments in the systemd articles (and its growth) get harder to ignore, and part of me thinks I ought to try setting up Artix with ZFS. Then I could try and
  • by crunchygranola( 1954152 ) on Sunday June 05, 2022 @01:33AM (#62593880)

    I just want a Linux environment that keeps the same UI elements (e.g. menus) that I have used for decades, and is stable, doesn't crash, and lets me run whatever software I want to run (none of which are games).

    Since I am not constantly trying different distros to see how they perform now I cannot say what the current state of any but a few are at this point, but over the years I have tried Red Hat, then Fedora, OpenSUSE, CentOS, Ubuntu several times, but have settles on Mint Cinnamon, except for my System76 laptop that runs PopOS.

    Ubuntu aggressively pushed me away with the Unity release and Shuttleworth's notion that the UI needed to be reinvented, and that menus were bad and should go away. Also around that time I recall Ubuntu was sending my desktop searches to Amazon unasked, and trying to push onto my desktop some horribly buggy cloud storage scheme he was promoting.

    Sure a smart find-the-tool-by-typing feature is a useful addition, but not if you take away other UI elements I like. Anyone in 2012 who thought that he was up to reinventing UIs that people had been using for over 25 years was a foolish person.

    I have left the PopOS on the laptop for fear that replacing it would undermine power management (and because I need to use it, and do not want the downtime to try a replacement) but its UI... what's the word for it? It sucks. Instead of menus it has screens of animated tiles that fly across your screen and then you have to navigate through (if you can't find the magic with its version of HUD) that take more user effort than just navigating hierarchal menus. it is a horrible organization and presentation idea invented by someone who just likes dancing tiles.

    • Maybe I'm missing something, but why haven't you tried something like XFCE which has had one interface for ever?That's the desktop environment I use on all my Linux installations.
      • Maybe I'm missing something, but why haven't you tried something like XFCE which has had one interface for ever? That's the desktop environment I use on all my Linux installations.

        Right? Isn't this, like, the entire point of Linux on the desktop? I've never understood the fascination with how the distribution comes out of the box. Either way I always install my WM of choice, git-clone (formerly cvs checkout) my repository of settings and make the OS look and feel exactly how I like.

        • Hardly any of the non-native-DEs I have tried on different distros come with a decent look and feel out of the box. If at all possible for a mere user, substantial efforts are necessary to give them a nice and usable look and feel.

          Except in Linux Mint, where even if a machine wouldn't be up to running Cinnamon I can still choose MATE or xfce and the desktop would, at first glance, still look the same and behave similarly. It's the maintainers' efforts that went into theming and customising those DEs which m

          • The downside of Linux Mint is, its support of new hardware is slow. One have to take more caution before purchasing the latest and greatest.
          • Hardly any of the non-native-DEs I have tried on different distros come with a decent look and feel out of the box.

            What is this box of which you speak?

            I use FVWM, plus a collection of utilities so there isn't really a box to speak of. For me it works much better than any out of the box DE on any platform. Setup is a few minutes: install some packages, clone a config and it's done.

    • by Lproven( 6030 ) on Sunday June 05, 2022 @05:41AM (#62594192)HomepageJournal

      [Article author here]

      You know why they did that, though, right? They *had* to. Microsoft were threatening to sue everyone bundling a Windows-like desktop.

      SUSE signed a patent-sharing deal and kept on shipping KDE.

      Red Hat and Canonical said no. RH built GNOME 3. Canonical tried to contribute and got told to get lost, so it built Unity.

      • Gnome 3 retained a 'Fallback Mode', later superseded with the 'Gnome Classic' mode, that continued the Windows-like desktop. Also, Canonical kept shipping Gnome 2 as Ubuntu MATE, KDE as Kubuntu, xfce as Xubuntu, LMDE as Lubuntu, so Microsoft's threat doesn't seem to have worried them too much, after all?

        • They're both still there.

          But the point is, they aren't the default. The user has to choose them, and on most distros, install them.

          And even with them installed, the apps do not change. No menu bars inside windows any more. Default buttons moved to the title bar, and so on.

          I think that the companies decided that they had done enough, and the legal threat was receding, due to laches and so on.

    • I reached the same conclusion (Mint Cinnamon) after a serious odyssey through numerous distros, which started when upgrades from Ubuntu MATE 16.04 to 18.04 didn't go too well and broke things and I didn't like the direction MATE was going even though I liked it worlds better than Ubuntu's Gnome Shell. Funnily, I had put off Mint as the last one to try, if at all, because I had thought it was just another Ubuntu spinoff, and then I was amazed by how wrong I had been. It has the most consistent and polished U

    • I recently built a new computer in the winter.My old one despite being eight years old, probably still has life left. It has a 4th gen i5. I installed Mint with Cinamon on it and realy like it. It strikes means having the interface that Windows (& Ubuntu) should have. It's modest, easy to navigate. The window manager is modest and seems to have everything right there for configuration and the command line is there if you want it.

      I've used Slackware in the past, but as my career has taken me to the bus

  • by theshowmecanuck( 703852 ) on Sunday June 05, 2022 @02:22AM (#62593912)Journal

    I like Kubuntu. That is all I have to say.

    • I fully agree, a nice configurable but relatively light desktop on top of a solid ubuntu/debian based OS.
      It also comes with good applications.
    • I am tempted by Kubuntu, because I am very fond of KDE.I like it much better than gnome.I can't deny that gnome works, gets the job done, etc.It's just an aesthetic preference.

      But Kubuntu is not maintained by Cannonical.It is community maintained just like Fedora.That frightens me, given all the trouble that Fedora (KDE spin, in fact) gave me when I used it before.Now that I finally found the Linux desktop that gives me the stability I want, I am afraid of mucking that up.

      I am also tempted to at

      • I can't answer the question you asked, but I've been searching for a good KDE distro for a long time. OpenSUSE is the best I've used, but I swapped to Kubuntu for gaming compatibility. Most games work in OpenSUSE, but Ubuntu seems to be the standard for support from game devs (and it's the only distro officially supported by Good Old Games). I have had numerous problems with Kubuntu, but my laptop is still limping along... I suppose that's an endorsement.

        Another option: Neon is the official KDE distro an
  • Is letting the closed source software vendors define what that means and letting the closed source hardware vendors control what drivers are available.

    Let loose the dog of war. We don't need to play catch-up, we are entirely capable of working out where the desktop will end up and get there first.

    We don't need the hardware vendors. The mincing fops who encouraged proprietary solutions have failed. We gave them the chance they asked for and even Nvidia has conceded it's a failed approach. Investment needs to

    • Is letting the closed source software vendors define what that means and letting the closed source hardware vendors control what drivers are available.

      That's only a problem if you're RMS. The overwhelming majority of people in the world have never even met anyone who gives a crap about that stuff, let alone care about it themselves.

      An OS exists to run my software which I use. That's the start and end of it.

      • by jd( 1658 )

        And how does new software get written?

        Either by copying or by originating. Only two options.

        So you're either getting software that's last generation but one, due to lead times, or next generation. There's nothing else.

        Those who buy last generation but one are the smaller market, because 98% of people will have bought the next generation already and be using it.

        That means you're not someone who matters to any vendor. The ones who matter, who finance software development, all buy next generation products.

        This

        • And how does new software get written?

          Completely none of my concern. I use software, I don't write it. How software gets written is up to programmers. The existence of the desire for something new is up to philosophers and economists.

          I've seen many discussions over the years saying the only true way to progress society is through open source. Here we are 30 years later and the world hasn't fallen. As an end users I don't care who decides what the desktop means or what drivers are available. I will buy things that work and do the job, or I will

  • 'For those who are "sick of Windows but don't want a Mac"'

  • As Microsoft, Apple and others continue down the path of turning your personal property into a dependent platform upon which you run software that can be rented but never owned, a significant number of consumers are going to bite the bullet and change to open source in order to maintain control of their own hardware.As long as Linux doesn't suck too badly, I believe it will pick up users.I will be one of them.When my Windows 8.1 installation finally becomes utterly untenable, I will make the switch.

    • you run software that can be rented but never owned

      Unless you wrote the software, in no sense did you ever own it. You either purchased or were granted permission to use it according to a stated set of rules.

      a significant number of consumers are going to bite the bullet and change to open source in order to maintain control of their own hardware

      What's "a significant number"? I suspect that, whatever it is, a much larger group has already abandoned the proprietary desktop for something even more proprietary– mobile. It seems to me that the vast majority of consumers couldn't care less about open source, telemetry, software patents, hardware control, etc.

      I think Linux will eventually domin

  • Not too difficult if you have compatible hardware. It will be a good learning journey too!
    • It will be a good learning journey too!

      What am I going to learn? OSX is nonstandard, baroque, and designed to prevent me from doing what I want to do? You can learn that with any shitty used mac these days, no need to dick with building a new one.

    • My only fear with that route is one day Apple will enable some hardware requirements and the OS will not install. Sure the word here is hackintosh but now you're at the mercy of a random group figuring out how to disable the security checks.

  • The line: Rocky Linux and AlmaLinux "RHEL with the serial numbers filed off." made me actually laugh out loud.Got to love that sense of humor!
  • the content of the article is what I have been saying for years.The only thing that has been holding linux back is all the different distros. Pick the wrong one and it would turn the user off of linux forever.

    I started with linux 16 years ago.I got lucky starting with suse, thenzandros, finally Ubuntu/Linux Mint Two things almost stopped me at the time, creating the different partitions that was needed and the problems getting wifi working when nswrapper was needed.

    Though wifi has gotten

  • by bsdetector101( 6345122 ) on Sunday June 05, 2022 @06:46AM (#62594252)
    Install Linux for what ? I have thought about trying Linux, but too many variations and research almost always showed issues with trying to get things to work like: sound, printer, wifi, etc, etc.Don't think I ever found a program I needed that was Linux only. Just decided I wasn't going to screw up my computer. Wanted something solid that worked consistently.
    • If this is a serious question: the whole point of Free Software is control. The notion that you should have control of your own stuff. My computer should do what I tell it to do, regardless of what some company might want, and my computer should not do what I don't want it to do, regardless of what some company might want. For this reason, things like spyware and DRM are anathema.

      I stopped using Windows entirely when Microsoft made Windows Genuine Advantage non-optional in Vista. I also recall something
  • by definition software gets between you and what you want.

    It's like searching for a bittorrent. You know you want it. XYZtorrent.com knows you want it. So they make a page that looks like it has the torrent you want.Then you start clicking and they start serving adverts. You never really find out if any of their links are real, because you get tired of whacking moles.

    So RedHat started by taking something that is free (Gnu/Linux), shoving a bloated slimy monster into it (systemd), making it incomprehe
  • I have this problem that, unlike what most people seem to think is obvious, I *don't* want my desktop to operate likeMac.I find using a Mac desktop is like using a text editor other than my preferred one (which is increasingly necessary as text editing is moving to being whatever javascript monstrosity is attached to the collaboration or notebook platform you're forced to use); I'm always fighting with it and trying to work around it's little assumptions that are different from what I want.

    Lots of the L

  • Back in early 2000 I used Gentoo on an old (at the time) PC. At the time it would sometimes take 3 days to compile an update. And break often ! But nowadays I don't understand why there aren't more source-based distros. It wouldn't take too long to compile on 16-core systems, and you could use -native to optimize code natively instead of relying on the same minimal-comon-denominator executable for any kind of CPU architecture.
  • Linux is incidentally a desktop OS and that's fine. I've used it as a main OS since ~2004 but I don't promote it to normals because they're better off with a Chromebook or a phone, or Windows if they game or need Office, AutoCAD etc.

    Advice for techies (no one else needs Linux and Slashdot at least used to be News for Nerds) who for some reason are new and want to sample Linux with least hassle and max fun:

    Dual booting on bare metal is (mostly) a waste on modern PCs with potential to bugger boot records. OTOH virtual machines are very low effort and can be rebooted into a previous snapshot if you break something. (I go the opposite way and run Windows VMs on Linux hosts so when an update borks my Winstall that's never a problem.) VMs let you explore any or many OS without disturbing your host and are terrific for experimentation. Having both OS available at the same time is ideal for learning especially on multi-monitor setups or large displays. Surf for info on the host while working on the guest.

    All DEs suck on all OS. They just suck differently so explore and find out what YOU prefer. What I prefer (xfce) doesn't matter. Sampling a variety is easy so do that and have fun. Spend enough time with any DE that interests you to get comfortable.

    Embrace the command line. Decide to use it often and it will come naturally. Avoid it and it will remain awkward.You can load (for example) a Ubuntu VM on your Ubuntu host and break things in the VM to learn without hosing your host.

    Get comfortable with live OS run from USB devices. Ventoy is impressively convenient for Linux, Windows, and Windows PE custom builds. Live OS are convenient on weaker machines that don't run VMs well. They're also an instant backup OS and usable on machines with no hdd. You can remote into a live OS like any other which is convenient for doing installs while using your main PC.

    https://www.ventoy.net/en/inde... [ventoy.net]

    Avoid running Linux on really old junk unless you've good reason because very slow machines lack appeal. Having to switch computers to learn Linux is an inconvenience. If you don't mind using multiple machines you can remote into your fossil from your main machine for least hassle. (I have NoMachine on all my PCs to access any from any on my LAN. I'm lazy.)

    • ^ Great wisdom above. But my favorite part:

      All DEs suck on all OS. They just suck differently so explore and find out what YOU prefer.

      It's always about finding what sucks the least, and it's always subjective. And just from a statistical point of view, this is how Linux so-long-ago won: its most two well-known competitors each only come with one single DE. For a given person, the chances that DE happens to be what least-sucks for them, just aren't very good.

      One of the more striking things about trying out L

  • There's plenty to agree or disagree about here, along with all our subjective takes, so I shouldn't be surprised by anything anyone says. Neverthless (heh), I'm a little surprised by this:

    If you just want to get on with using it rather than fiddling and fighting, try Ubuntu MATE or Xubuntu, but then our warning about niche distros applies.

    Using Xubuntu instead of default Ubuntu makes your installation niche-like, really?

    With the exception of my laptop (which lazily has pre-installed PopOS on it) for the las

  • Funnily yesterday I was trying to figure out why I couldn't start containers on Fedora, I spent a bunch of time trying to reset firewall settings before on happened to notice the kernel version looked different than the one I'd updated to. This lead me to discover that my headless server has been silently running a kernel from fedora 29 (3-years old) which seems to have been caused by something ceasing to update the grub config.

    I've used Linux for a decade and I don't think I've ever had an install that did

  • As microsoft insist in making windows significantly worse and more locked down, and MacOS is a constant struggle between an ancient OS and a tablet OS, linux keeps getting better by mostly being pretty much the same thing.
    No linux distro is able to touch Windows 7 in usability, but Windows 10/11 is so bloated with unnecessary trash and android envy that most linux distros are just better than it.

  • A distro that consists of only emacs, gnome3 and systemd . . .
  • by walterbyrd( 182728 ) on Sunday June 05, 2022 @05:00PM (#62595398)

    Devuan is based on pre-systemd Debian. Easily blows RHEL 8.5 out of the water.

    I thought the entire BFD about systemd was that it booted a few seconds faster. In my experience Devuan boots much faster than RHEL 8.5.

    JMHO.

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