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Linux Distros - Out of the Box Experience
#1
I think one of the biggest challenges Linux has at becoming a more mainstream desktop OS is that some distros are not very well polished as others, plus there's a ton of distros, hell you could build your own if you really wanted to. I think most of us know or heard of Ubuntu. Ubuntu is also one of the more popular Linux distros, as well as Mint. The other hurdle is software, particularly software like Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop don't run on Linux (not accounting for emulators, wine or virtual machines)

I have pretty much stuck with Debian based distros as that's just been what I have been familiar with, however, since at work we have (finally) moved from Solaris to Red Hat Enterprise Linux (will refer to as RHEL moving forward) I thought it might be better to get more acquainted with RHEL based distros like Fedora. Well I installed Fedora on my work laptop and I have to say I'm pretty impressed with how polished it is, how well it runs and the overall attention to detail. I thought it might be an issue to get some software running but seems many of the things I use like Microsoft Teams do have an RPM and a lot of the other software I like under Debian/Ubuntu/Mint are also available from the repository, although getting used to doing "sudo yum install whatever" instead of "sudo apt install whatever" since the distros use different package managers. Not getting into which is better, they both work and I haven't used yum/dnf enough to break it (Oh, I have fubar'd apt a few times).

Speaking of screwing things up, I did have Kubuntu on this system and kind of screwed it up (thank's Nvidia). So I decided I would try straight up Debian, just to step away from Canonical and see how that worked out.

I have used Manjaro and it is visually appealing, I like KDE Plasma, but while the packages were newer some stuff was just broken and wasn't able to use it. I didn't bother with Arch.

The thing is, tinkering with stuff is great but I need things to be reliable and while packages from Debian are written in sand script, it is reliable in my experience.

Anyone else mess around with Linux and if so what distros do you use, perhaps what desktop manager you like?
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#2
I played around with various Linux desktops too in the past. My favourite were Linux Mint Cinnamon and Ubuntu LTS. Both have good support for Nvidia GPUs... with Ubuntu working great out of the box. Mint was a bit more fiddly to get up and running with an AMD CPU and Nvidia GPU.

I liked their cleanness with less background services running. (compared to Windows) It's also better for your security conscious... knowing that Microsoft isn't spying on your every move! Wink

Linux gaming has come on with leaps and bounds too using Steam's Proton compatibility layer... about 90% of Windows games work now! Smile There is a slight performance hit though... I'd say about 10-20%. It's still really impressive compared to the old days were only a handful of games work. Unfortunately, my favourite game - Rocket League has stopped support for Linux and can only be played in Single Player mode with no online! Sad

I always end up coming back to Windows though! Wink As you said, there's always a favourite program that you miss and in my case - a feature omission that is really annoying. Missing simple things like desktop icon shortcuts or copy and pasting in the file manager. There were probably different versions of Linux desktop that had those extra features but in general going back to Windows just felt a whole lot easier.

That's not to say I'd ever prefer a Windows server... Linux is definitely my preference all the way for that! Big Grin
Note: No trees were destroyed in the sending of this contaminant free message. However, I do concede, a significant number of electrons may have been inconvenienced.
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#3
Mint for me was pretty good but I actually had performance issues with Cinnamon, and yes you can install whatever desktop environment you want but it is usually more seamless to use a distro with it baked in...although I say that where Debian let's you install as many desktop environments as you want and so far I haven't noticed anything screwy.

I don't do a whole lot of gaming but I do occasionally waste a ton of time playing around in BeamNG drive and I was able to get it to run with Lutris which is basically Wine. Not sure if or when BeamNG will be more Linux compatible. But if Office ever comes to Linux that will certainly change things. I have also heard rumors that Microsoft will ditch the NT kernel, favoring the Linux kernel and use a compatibility layer to make legacy Windows applications run...but that's is all but a pipe dream since Windows 11 appears to run the NT kernel as far as I know. Can't say I actually looked into it. You can run Linux inside Windows with the "Linux Subsystem for Windows" and can be pretty handy, but I'd rather have the real thing.

But yes, sadly, I do also come back to Daddy Microsoft so I can get into Office and my games. However, like you said with games, a lot of stuff in Linux works much better now than they ever did in the past and things seem to get better all the time.

Oh as far as a Windows server. I used to run my websites with IIS. It worked and all but when I ported everything over to Apache the performance doubled. Same hardware, still running PHP and MySQL on the backend but just ran so much better. Plus you don't have to run a GUI at all with Linux if you don't need it. Yes, you can run Apache in Windows but that's blasphemy.

I will have to check into Steam more because things might have changed with some of the other games I have in Windows too...
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