How To Pick A Linux Distro

Updated: Jul 7, 2020

This post is only for Linux enthusiasts. If you are not, save your time.

I have suffered from distrohopping. Now that I have settled for the last two years, here are some tips to save your time- 1. They run the same operating system at their core, Linux. They are more similar than different. Hence, the marginal cost (time) of looking for a better distro is much more than the marginal benefit of it. 2. Say no to distributions made for specific purposes. OpenSuse is great, but it is made for enterprise use. An everyday user won't ever need most of its features. To maintain it will be a waste of time. 3. Instead of trimming Suse, you better pick a distro made for everyday people, such as AntiX and SolusOS. Read their descriptions and target users on Distrowatch. 4. Say no to heavy desktop environments. LXDE and LXQT can do pretty much everything you'd expect from a DE. If you want your system to boot up quicker and be fast, pick a window manager like BSPWM. It may be reasonable to rule out all distros that don't come with a window manager so you don't have to do the work post-installation. Know the rule-- the less stuff you have, the fewer things can break, the fewer problems you will face. Keep it minimal. 5. Try out different Init systems. Every since systemd was adopted, Linux has started to feel like Windows, complex and out of hand. Personally, I avoid systemd because it's hard and complex, no hate though. I do have it on Manjaro and Bodhi. A particular init system might work better on your specific hardware. 6. Prefer independent distros to forks. I have Bodhi and Void on my laptop. Since the former is based on Ubuntu, it has Ubuntu's bugs, too. And the developers can do only so much about it. Independent distributions can fix issues more quickly because they can. 7. Don't worry about software availability. Just learn to compile from source code. You can learn it in less than an hour. It will free you from the fear of trying things beyond the Debian/Ubuntu world. Most package managers can also install from source. Furthermore, package managers like Snap and Flatpak allow you to install softwares on any distro.

8. For some of you, a rolling release distro may work better since you don't have to ever reinstall them. Reinstallation brings in a lot of work. Work hard. Be open to learning. Don't waste time on fancy GUIs. Use your computer to maximize your life. Don't let it waste your time. You have very limited of it.

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