Over the past year and a half of using linux, I’ve distrohopped a lot, today I am going to review every distro i’ve ever tried

Criterias for a good distribution

here are some things that I care about when installing a distro

  • Software availability This excludes distros that only have free software in there repositories (like the fsf recommeneded distros) most of the software I use is free, but in some cases I can not work without certain propritery packages, like wifi and graphics drivers, programs I need for work, etc..
  • Up-to-date software similar to the first point some packages, require up-to-date libraries, this is why I prefer rolling-release distros, but I can live with stable-release distros as long as they have a short update cycle
  • Minimum bloatware I like minimal software and distros that come with as little bloat as possible, but not to the point where it would take a month or two for the distro to be even usable (I am looking at you, Linux-from-scratch !)

Arch Linux

This is the distro I am currently using, and the one that I have been using for a the longest time and that is for good reasons:

  • Pacman is great package manager, I would go as far as to say that pacman is the best package manager on linux, it is pretty lightweight, but also comes with a lot of shinny features.
  • The largest software repository, if something exists on linux, you are going to find it in the arch’s repositories, or at least in the Arch User Repository (AUR)
  • Arch is clean out of the box, This is good because it allows you to pick exactly what software you want to use, and by software I mean everything ! Window manager, Display manager, terminal, productivity suite, etc..

Here is how my arch linux setup looks like at the moment, using xmonad

Gentoo

Gentoo is a special kind of distro, it is source based, which means that you get to have much more control of your system, you can pick what init system to use, you can even disable certain parts of programs that you don’t need, this means that you will end up with a minimal system that is designed specificly for you , and you will also gain a little bit of a performance boost, but this comes with it’s problems:

  • because gentoo is source-based, most of the time it takes up to 7x more time to install anything compared to other linux distros, even on relativly good hardware
  • the packages repository is considerably smaller than other distros.
  • sometimes I just don’t need that much customization

to conclude, gentoo is a great distro but only for a very small user base

Ubuntu

Ubuntu holds a special place in my heart, that is because it is the first distro I’ve used, or even heard about, but now that I use a relativly more complex system, I’ve came to realise that ubuntu has it’s problems:

  • ubuntu is slow at least for what I now consider slow, because that was my first distro I didnt even know that an operating system could be any faster than that
  • bloated by default: even with the minimal option selected, ubuntu is still very bloated, it comes with gnome as a DE and an office suite etc..

that said ubuntu is still great for the new distro and is generally much better than windows, it is also very widely used in servers.

Distros I want to try out in the future

there are many distros I want to take a look at in the near future, the main two are NixOS and Bedrock Linux !

and that is pretty much it, thanks for reading !