I’m using the term “day” in my titles very liberally, as I’ve actually spent the last couple of weeks sifting through my options. My “mule” is now officially schizophrenic having had more versions of Linux installed on it than I thought even existed.
This happens to be an odd time of year, with many distributions and desktop environments approaching a new release cycle come April. That means a lot of what I’m working with is either outdated or in a furious battle to burst out of beta. I wanted Debian Stable to work for me, as it’s a rock solid and reliable base to build on, but it’s proven to be tricky when it comes to supporting my hardware (a.k.a. “mule”). The Nvidia drivers are the main culprit, stuck at an older version (304) that is replete with video tearing issues for movies and games alike. The only way to fix it was either by installing newer drivers from the backports repository, moving to Testing or Unstable, or going the manual compile route.
Addressing the Apple In the Room
I have several friends and family that are avid Mac users. In no way, shape, or form do I look at their decision to stay within the Apple ecosystem as a bad one. Some people find they can be incredibly happy having someone else (e.g., a corporation) dictate and manage their computing environment. I’m not one of them.
An Outing With OpenSuse
Since I had omitted OpenSuse from my previous list of popular Linux distributions I decided to give it some attention last night via running it off a USB thumb drive. That way I could continue testing my current Debian setup without reinstalling, and OpenSuse would run faster than what my ancient hard drive could muster anyway.
As a primer, let me say that OpenSuse’s development process is very similar to Fedora’s, in that it’s a testing platform for a company’s official, paid-for distribution, Suse. I still don’t want to be a beta tester on my primary computer or feel that I have to pay the “big bucks” to get a stable platform.
Bumps In The Road
Remember how I said the greatest strength and weakness of Linux lies in its plethora of choices? Well, not everything has gone smoothly with my decision making process.
Cheating On Debian
Yes, I admit it! I cheated! I couldn’t stop distribution hopping! My poor mule must be furious with me, but I’m enjoying seeing what’s out there a little too much.
Xubuntu keeps grabbing my eye because of it’s sheer beauty and amazingly streamlined system. Talk about a great performer. Then, there’s Linux Mint that takes ease-of-use to an almost a Mac-like level.
What’s an operating systems geek to do?! I still have reservations about anything built over Ubuntu’s packaging and architecture. Though both Xubuntu and Linux Mint have shown a penchant for giving up the corporate “sins” of their father distribution. It’s a tough call that I’m going to have to revisit later after giving due time to Debian.