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venom104
January 18th, 2012, 03:51 AM
I realize this thread may be moved, my apologies to the admins as I didn't know where to start this thread.

How does an experienced user choose a linux distro? I don't mean them picking their favorite distro, I'm asking what specific criteria would cause a person to use a different linux distro...

In case you don't get what I mean, here's an example...

If you want a newer kernel and don't want to bother compling your own on an older system (like debian) then you would pick x.

If you want a rolling release, then you would pick x (my guess would be something like arch in this case).

I'm basically asking what specific criteria people take into consideration when they KNOW what they are doing. Why would you chose a linux distro over another? For that matter, why would you choose a REAL unix distro over a linux distro?

corrytonapple
January 18th, 2012, 04:50 AM
A REAL linux distro?
People use just what works for them. Many come into linux on Ubuntu. But once they mature to come to master Ubuntu, they look into what they want vs the distros that provide. I wanted complete custom install, on a debian distro, since I can navigate them very well. Ubuntu failed me on the netinstalls, so I went to Debian Wheezy. Built everything up, to the GUI to Login Screen to GRUB. Customized it all, now it is almost perfect.
Support is second on the list. Many distros have bad support, which means a bad distro if they have problems.
Finally, loyality. If they like rpm package managers, or they have friends who use all Debian, then they choose either one.
Ubuntu is great for beginners, but if you want to pop around, get a VM. Check them out, see what you like.

QIII
January 18th, 2012, 05:06 AM
Real "UNIX" is a trademark of AT&T, but you have the closely related branches like Berkely's BSD, Solaris (OpenSolaris died and OpenIndiana seems to be breathing very shallowly), HP-UX, AIX, etc. Most of those are commercial (other than BSD and its descendents), so that might be part of why people don't use "real" UNIX much. Linux is generally lumped in as a *Nix -- Unix-like OSes.

The fact is that it would be very hard to say "This is why you should pick Distro X for this purpose and this is why."

Why would YOU want a rolling release? Why would YOU want a part-rolling release? Why would YOU want a newer kernel? Why would YOU want everything in a hand basket all tied up neatly? Why would YOU want a minimal system? (Arch, Chakra, many distros, Mint (maybe), Crunchbang or Bodhi -- respectively)

What an "experienced" Linux user might choose depends somewhat on his/her experience.

I wouldn't even try to go there.

My advice is always to try different distros. Lots of them. Heck, use some form of virtualization and try them ALL. What works best for you and your purposes is what works best for you and your purposes.

Beyond that, most of what you will get is brand loyalty, fan commentary and opinion.

If you take a look at distrowatch.com, you can thumb through all the distros listed there and research a bit about them -- and choose to fiddle around with the ones that interest you.

llamabr
January 18th, 2012, 05:23 AM
You'll use one until there's something you need that you cannot easily do, and then another will do it more easily. For now, if you don't know why you need something other than ubuntu, then probably you do not.

Bachstelze
January 18th, 2012, 06:07 AM
Unless you are a distro developer, you use something that Just Works™ and lets you do your job. Also what llamabr said.

bodhi.zazen
January 18th, 2012, 06:08 AM
I realize this thread may be moved, my apologies to the admins as I didn't know where to start this thread.

How does an experienced user choose a linux distro? I don't mean them picking their favorite distro, I'm asking what specific criteria would cause a person to use a different linux distro...

In case you don't get what I mean, here's an example...

If you want a newer kernel and don't want to bother compling your own on an older system (like debian) then you would pick x.

If you want a rolling release, then you would pick x (my guess would be something like arch in this case).

I'm basically asking what specific criteria people take into consideration when they KNOW what they are doing. Why would you chose a linux distro over another? For that matter, why would you choose a REAL unix distro over a linux distro?

I think you have the general idea.

What features do you want -> use the distro with those features.

selinux -> fedora
build from source -> LFS, gentoo
rolling release -> arch
stable -> Debian, Centos, Scientific, Slackware

and on.

BrokenKingpin
January 18th, 2012, 03:11 PM
I choose a distro that just works for me. Back in the day I didn't mind hacking around to get things working, but now I don't have the time for that and just want something that works out of the box. For the past 4 years this has been *buntu. I do hop around a bit based on the DE I want to use (currently Xfce).

I have considered moving for a rolling release disro, I just have not found one that quite works for me.

grahammechanical
January 18th, 2012, 04:11 PM
Am I an experienced Linux user? I have been using it for almost 5 years. Is that long enough? On the other hand, I have used Ubuntu all that time. So, perhaps I am not an experienced Linux user after all. But I do have a very good OS and very good applications. I can do all that I need to do on a computer.

Oh, I choose Ubuntu because I was not an experienced Linux user and Ubuntu had a reputation that you did not need to be an experienced Linux user to install it and use it. I got my first Ubuntu disc as a give-away by a Linux journal. The magazine had instructions on installing and using that were helpful. I upgraded from magazine discs for a couple of years until I became more experienced and got a broadband connection.

Regards.

KdotJ
January 18th, 2012, 04:13 PM
You'll use one until there's something you need that you cannot easily do, and then another will do it more easily. For now, if you don't know why you need something other than ubuntu, then probably you do not.

I think that is a great explanation.

lykwydchykyn
January 18th, 2012, 04:25 PM
This is my 9th year using Linux. For me the biggest issues are availability of software and development/release cycle. (Almost) Everything else is just frosting on the cake.

I choose K/X/L/Ubuntu on my workstations because I know that most workstation-oriented software available for Linux will be readily available for Ubuntu, and because the six-month releases are a nice balance between bleeding edge and old-yet-stable code.

On servers I tend to prefer Debian because their release policy keeps things very stable for long periods of time.

I stick to the Debian world in general because of software availability, and because I'm too lazy to learn another set of admin tools. :)

snowpine
January 18th, 2012, 06:32 PM
I have been using Linux since 2007. I switch distros every few months, completely at random, based on my whims and on positive testimonials I've recently read. (I'm highly suggestible :))

One of my PCs has Debian/CentOS/Slackware/etc. installed at any given time, so that I have a stable platform in case I actually need to get a little work done. :)

Gremlinzzz
January 18th, 2012, 06:38 PM
http://distrowatch.com/

Is where i look for new or the best Distros.
:popcorn:Check it out.

forrestcupp
January 18th, 2012, 06:52 PM
There are tons of Linux distro chooser quizes online to help you find a good match. Here are a few:

http://www.linux-chooser.com/
http://desktoplinuxathome.com/distro.html
http://www.zegeniestudios.net/ldc/

If you type "online linux distribution chooser" into Google, you'll probably find more.

Paqman
January 18th, 2012, 07:41 PM
I'm basically asking what specific criteria people take into consideration when they KNOW what they are doing.

Everybody will have their own criteria. Main factors would be:


Choice of package management
Freshness of software
Release cadence
Size of repos
Amount of support
Quality of support
Desktop Environment
Availability of the distro's mascot as a cuddly toy

Linuxratty
January 18th, 2012, 07:48 PM
Everybody will have their own criteria. Main factors would be:


Choice of package management
Freshness of software
Release cadence
Size of repos
Amount of support
Quality of support
Desktop Environment
Availability of the distro's mascot as a cuddly toy


Agreed...I also check out their forums and find out if it's a one man show
or not. I do try live disks,but the distro must be dependable and not something that could vanish in a year.Also,working nicely with Compiz is a must as is doing things my way.

snowpine
January 18th, 2012, 07:50 PM
That is a good tip, linuxratty: avoid the "one man show" distros and choose one with a larger community (or a company) backing it up.

(Maybe making an exception for something like Slackware that started as a one-man show but has grown into something more.)

Paqman
January 18th, 2012, 08:19 PM
(Maybe making an exception for something like Slackware that started as a one-man show but has grown into something more.)

IIRC even Debian started as a one man show. Debian = Ian and his wife Deb.

lykwydchykyn
January 18th, 2012, 09:52 PM
That is a good tip, linuxratty: avoid the "one man show" distros and choose one with a larger community (or a company) backing it up.

(Maybe making an exception for something like Slackware that started as a one-man show but has grown into something more.)

"One man show" distros aren't so bad as long as they're based on a major distro to which you can easily switch if things go south. Most of these distros are pretty close to their parent with the exception of a few tweaks that, with experience, you could just as well make yourself (and more to your liking). But they're good for beginners who might want to see something different from the usual default KDE/GNOME/Unity setup.

wolfen69
January 18th, 2012, 11:40 PM
I'm basically asking what specific criteria people take into consideration when they KNOW what they are doing.

I can't speak for everyone, but I'm sure there are a fair number of experienced users that like to use the easiest to set up distro they can find. They've paid their dues, and may no longer want to spend time configuring.

I myself, can set up and use basically anything, but prefer ubuntu for it's ease of use and community. Just because you know what you are doing doesn't mean you're going to use the hardest/most time consuming distro available. Plus, some people are just lazy. ;)

wolfen69
January 18th, 2012, 11:44 PM
(I'm highly suggestible :))



Send me money, you will feel good about yourself. :D

Paqman
January 18th, 2012, 11:56 PM
I can't speak for everyone, but I'm sure there are a fair number of experienced users that like to use the easiest to set up distro they can find. They've paid their dues, and may no longer want to spend time configuring.

I myself, can set up and use basically anything, but prefer ubuntu for it's ease of use and community. Just because you know what you are doing doesn't mean you're going to use the hardest/most time consuming distro available. Plus, some people are just lazy. ;)

Here here. I used to jerk about with my system a lot more (new toy syndrome). These days I want a system that has sensible/tolerable defaults so I can just get on with it.

undecim
January 19th, 2012, 12:30 AM
It just depends on what you need. If everyone needed the same thing, there would be a lot fewer distros

In my case, I use Archlinux, because of the large repository (almost exhaustive if you include the AUR, which is easy to use if you install yaourt), and the control it gives me over the system. I'm willing to do a little more work in setting up and managing my system for those features.

Someone else, however, might not feel the same way. I know many experienced users that use Ubuntu because they have to do very little to setup and maintain it.

lykwydchykyn
January 19th, 2012, 06:23 AM
I can't speak for everyone, but I'm sure there are a fair number of experienced users that like to use the easiest to set up distro they can find. They've paid their dues, and may no longer want to spend time configuring.

I myself, can set up and use basically anything, but prefer ubuntu for it's ease of use and community. Just because you know what you are doing doesn't mean you're going to use the hardest/most time consuming distro available. Plus, some people are just lazy. ;)

One's definition of "easy" tends to evolve with experience, though. Some things I once considered "easy to use" are now obnoxiously pedantic now that I know what I want and how to get it.

StephanG
January 20th, 2012, 07:52 AM
How does an experienced Linux user choose which distro to go with?

Like an experienced Chess player chooses which move to make. He considers all the options, evaluates the consquences of his decision. And then settles on a single choice, which he hopes doesn't come back to bite him in the *** later.

But, if you want to know how to play/choose like an experienced player/user. Then the answer is simple: Become experienced yourself.

This will involve lots of painful experimenting, several gallons of coffee, with an ample serving of swearing on the side for everytime you break your machine.

wolfen69
January 20th, 2012, 06:09 PM
This will involve lots of painful experimenting, several gallons of coffee, with an ample serving of swearing on the side for everytime you break your machine.

Maybe several barrel's worth.

a2j
January 20th, 2012, 06:14 PM
Linux also mean choices. Unlike with other OS's, you can pick and choose what works best for YOU, not uncle Bill. ;)

lykwydchykyn
January 20th, 2012, 06:39 PM
I would add that most distro "reviews" that I've seen out there deal with aspects that are largely irrelevant in the long term, stuff like default theme, the simplicity of the installer, tools for driver installation, configuration tools, etc.

If you spend enough time with any distro, you can learn its tools and best practices, and configure any desktop environment you want to your liking.

What the reviews can't foresee is if you're going to get an update that kills your desktop at some inopportune moment, or if some application you need requires a library that will require recompiling half a dozen packages, or if you'll have the package management tools available to recover from a botched upgrade. These are the issues that make or break distros over the long haul.

3Miro
January 20th, 2012, 08:09 PM
What I did was that in 9.10 I installed all of KDE, XFCE and Gnome on all of my machines as well as many other programs. By the time 10.04 came out, I already liked XFCE and I had a good idea of all the different applications that I would be using. Then I started distro hopping, mainly looking for something with good XFCE and not much Gnome (or at least no Gnome polluting XFCE). Eventually I stopped at Gentoo + XFCE, it has great XFCE support, good balance between cutting edge and bleeding edge software, the package system gives me great control on the amounts of Gnome and KDE that I want or don't want in my XFCE and then it also has all the applications that I need.

Those were factors that won for me, other people will have different needs or desires, so they will pick other distros.