Why Newbies Shouldn’t Beta-Test Linux Distros

Linux newbies should not beta-test Linux distributions, or they might end up like I did today! You may recall that my efforts to preserve the /home directory when I first installed Xubuntu 12.04 failed, and Xubuntu insisted that I give it the entire hard drive. Ah, what the heck, that’s what backups are for, right? So I went ahead and did it.

Changed my mind today. I figured I could use a LiveCD and restore a separate /home partition so I wouldn’t have all that hassle the next time. Besides, I might want to distro-hop a little.

Too bad. GParted from the LiveCD pretended to do the job, but when I was finished, Xubuntu refused to boot. Locked in a BIOS-cycle or something, I went from the Dell screen to a black screen, then back to the Dell screen over and over. No access to my hard drive at all. Okay, that’s it. I’ll just use this opportunity to try that SalixOS I’ve read so much about. Already had the LiveCD ready. It booted into the Live environment, I logged in using “live” as instructed in the documentation. The welcome screen loaded, and my keyboard and mouse froze, refusing to let me go any further.

2 for 2. Y’know what? I’m done. Back to where I started: Xubuntu 10.04-based Linux Mint 9 Xfce. Harder to modify than I thought. The Mint stuff is designed to protect fools like from ourselves I guess, but it also makes it hard to make it do what I want! Fortunately it also has a few tools that help out. After about 20 zillion updates were installed, I finally have a functioning Xfce4 desktop with all the ease of Xubuntu 10.04. And I’m done with Beta testing. I’ll use 10.04 as long as it is supported (until April 2013), then switch to the next LTS release (12.04) after it’s a year old. Safe, simple, and sane.

Now back to regular life.

3 thoughts on “Why Newbies Shouldn’t Beta-Test Linux Distros

  1. Ah, Phoenix! It looks awesome! I love the screenshots, the kinda-sorta rolling release thing, and of course, the Xfce desktop. For me it boils down to two things:

    First: hardware compatibility. The ‘buntu’s have been trouble free on this old Dell for years. Keeping my fingers crossed, of course. Phoenix looked great on it, but sound, font rendering, and printing gave me fits. I thought there must be something to the complaints I used to read about Xubuntu’s “bloat,” that is until I tried PCLinuxOS and it’s Xfce spin, Phoenix! Holy blubbizoid balloons, Batman! It’s got it all! I was surprised it all fit on a CD. I bet it doesn’t anymore though, Another plus for Xubuntu: It still fits on a CD.

    And Second: “Choose a distro, choose a repository,” a wise tinkerer once wrote. I’m not sure how many maintainers and such there are for PCLinuxOS, but between Ubuntu and Debian, Xubu users enjoy prob’ly the most vast and up-to-date library of software in the history of ever.


  2. Dangit, Mint… I know you’re intended for newbies and all, but must you prevent me from doing ANYTHING to modify this desktop? Yeesh. Mint gets in my way a lot more than Xubu did… instead of reinstalling though, I’ve “deMintified it” and got some control back.


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