I think that if I listed all the Linux distributions I have tried, it would number somewhere near two dozen or thirty! Some didn’t last a day, some not even an hour. Some lasted for weeks or months, when either some update messed it, or I messed it up myself, one just disappeared, one got political and I dumped it on principle, and one – only one – was the distro I always ran home to when I either got scared off, ticked off, or turned off.
Debian and Debian-based distros. Slackware and Slackware-based distros. Ubuntu and Ubuntu-based distros. PCLinuxOS (independent, the apparent “heir” of Mandrake). Red-Hat-based distros. Everything but Gentoo and Arch. I am a technophobe still, after all. Some I loved! Crunchbang Linux, now unsupported, was most awesome when it was Ubuntu-based. The switch to Debian brought improvements in some areas but made installation and configuration much harder and more complicated, and one installed, it ran slower too.
In the end, they’re all Linux, all wonderful for the niches they fill. Whether for servers, tablets, or desktops; whether for super-geeks or novices; grandparents or little kids; students, teachers, heroes, and sidekicks – there’s a Linux for everyone.
For this technophobic sidekick, it really has, after 6 years, boiled down to one single distro that has kept my old relic computer out of the landfill since I first ditched WindowsXP for my first ever alternative OS, Ubuntu 8.04. One that – once discovered – became my go-to operating system, the one I always ended up falling back to.
When Canonical tamed mighty Debian and made it finally available, installable, and useful for ordinary mortals to use without “mad techno-geek skillz,” they did it better than anyone else had before. And they still do. I know a lot of Linux folks enjoy belittling Canonical for their business dealings and Ubuntu (to include the official derivatives, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu, Edubuntu, etc) users for their lack of computer skills. So be it. I have always lacked computer skills when it came to tweaks and fixes and configurations and such. I kept a diary of whatever I did and what resulted. I learned to use the terminal like a wonderful, powerful, magic toolbox! But I always preferred the graphical interface, and the point-and-shoot simplicity of the Synaptic Package Manager instead of sudo apt-get whatever, for example.
I may yet get a few more years out of this old dinsaur before Linux stops offering support for 32-bit architecture. But even when I no longer need to stick to “lightweight” distros, I’ll stick with the best one I’ve ever used, the one that more than any other, has kept my old desktop running, got me through all my college classes, and inspired this blog.
Robin’s all-time, forever fanboy Linux distro:
XUBUNTU. Here’s 16.04, built from Xubunu-core (after installing the Ubuntu base with only a terminal) and my own selected lightweight applications. There’s no Firefox or Thunderbird in my remix, no LibreOffice, none of the usual popular stuff, but ultralight or other lightweight alternatives. Geary for email (because Claws Mail just refused to cooperate). Midori for web browsing. Abiword and Gnumeric for office stuff. Mostly standard Xfce apps for just about everything else I use my computer for. All with the awesome Ubuntu base and Xubuntu team community support.
This old Dell still runs faster and better on Xubuntu, now 7 years later, than it did when it was brand new running WindowsXP.