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  The Big Linux Distro Thread  (Read 1955 times)
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Offline princec

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« Posted 2014-04-02 08:52:48 »

Hopefully a magnet for such discussions, focusing on clientside distros suitable for development on modern PCs.

The story so far: every time I try Linux, I discover that it is in some way shit, for example, the various sound drivers available ("so now the user can choose in what way his audio is broken"), graphics drivers (some sort of ideological bullshit about open source vs. closed drivers), and ultimately, shitty, ugly desktops that almost make me retch to gaze upon (Unity, I despise you only slightly more than all of the others).

Lately I've tried Mint, after a ghastly experience trying to use Ubuntu. I found Mint to feel almost bearable and yet it managed to blow up and leave me with a broken system in short order. This will not do.

Cas Smiley

Offline JFixby
« Reply #1 - Posted 2014-04-02 08:54:26 »

Release The Kraken!

my dev log: http://jfix.by/
Offline kappa
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« Reply #2 - Posted 2014-04-02 09:02:19 »

OpenSUSE is my favourite distro, pretty much just works (once the appropriate repo's have been added). Also probably the best distro for KDE users which IMO is current the best linux desktop environment.
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Offline JFixby
« Reply #3 - Posted 2014-04-02 09:07:07 »

I remember how Linux community fixed that screen resolution problem when GUI just doesn't work and you have to edit xorg.conf manually writing mode-lines.
They were just releasing distrs saying that "NOW THIS TIME IT WORKS" until some day all CRT monitors just went extinct and were replaced by LCD-screens.

my dev log: http://jfix.by/
Offline princec

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« Reply #4 - Posted 2014-04-02 09:07:27 »

Are there any distros that don't insist on managing the entire software suite available for them? I much prefer the Windows / Mac way of installing distribution-agnostic software as standalone units without all that dependency crap (which is where, inevitably, it always explodes and leaves me with a fuxx0red system)

Cas Smiley

Offline MatthewNicholls

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« Reply #5 - Posted 2014-04-02 09:12:31 »

I've only tried knoppix, ubuntu, mint and raspbian wheezy for the raspberry pi ( debian cut down version i think), and debian on VMPlayer to run SWGEmu. So far mint is my prefered distro. I just wanted an easy route to linux as I've mostly only used windows for many years. I started with a zx81, BBCs and acorn electron and used to using dos, so the terminal isn't to alien, but I still prefer to point and click and mint lets me use it the way I'm used to most of the time. Installing video drivers can be tricky but there is usually someone who has done it before and written a guide.

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Offline Roquen
« Reply #6 - Posted 2014-04-02 09:13:04 »

For experimenting...grab virtualbox images...no install hassel just the download time and off you go.  Actually I'm thinking about trying out virutalbox only.  I stopped that at one point because 3D support was iffy...might be better now.
Offline kappa
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« Reply #7 - Posted 2014-04-02 09:21:36 »

Are there any distros that don't insist on managing the entire software suite available for them?
Its pretty much how most modern distro's work and for the better IMO. Package managers are a lot easier to use these days then to manually down and install apps (or worse manually compile).

You just add new repo's if the current ones don't have the app you need. For games you can just install Steam on Linux, which again pretty much works in the same way.
Offline princec

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« Reply #8 - Posted 2014-04-02 09:24:53 »

VirtualBox sadly still doesn't cut it Sad 3D stuff barely runs at all properly. Otherwise I'd be using it a lot.

Cas Smiley

Offline Gibbo3771
« Reply #9 - Posted 2014-04-02 09:29:12 »

Lol. Everything the OP said is why I hate but love Linux, I am currently dual booting Windows 8 and Linux.

I use the crunchbang distro, it pretty much has nothing that you mentioned. Well I had a complete horrid time trying to get my optimus to work.

However it comes with almost zero software, only stuff required to run, it has NO DESKTOP. Everything is run by shortcuts or a menu you summon with the Windows key, everything is ridiculously customizable, literally everything,

Also it's only 700mb, so it fits on 1 dollah usb drives that you can fire into random computers to gain access to shit and you can just ditch the USB when shit hits the fan...college is fun :p

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Offline erikd

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« Reply #10 - Posted 2014-04-02 09:33:46 »

Ubuntu has been great and reliable for me (but I use it with Gnome, which I prefer over Unity. If you hate Unity, you could try UbuntuGNOME or install Gnome yourself on a 'standard' Ubuntu install).
No big problems with drivers or whatever, unlike on my Windows machines I have to say.

Never had stability issues with ubuntu's software repository either, although I do have to admit I always hold my breath with that dependency stuff because I tend to expect it to blow up in my face for some reason. Knock on wood, but it never did.
You can always manually install software, just like on win/mac (which I often do, especially when it comes to IDEs).

I dunno, I always have the feeling that Windows (every single one after XP) is working against me, instead of *for* me. It just seems so... I dunno... stiff, unfriendly, and increasingly imposing.
Ubuntu otoh, while not perfect, has pretty much always been smooth sailing for me. I hated it when they switched to Unity though, because I hate changes like that. But Gnome is nice.

Offline Roquen
« Reply #11 - Posted 2014-04-02 11:10:24 »

VirtualBox sadly still doesn't cut it Sad 3D stuff barely runs at all properly. Otherwise I'd be using it a lot.
Tested recently on recent versions?? (Please tell me no...'cause it'd really make my life easier).
Offline princec

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« Reply #12 - Posted 2014-04-02 11:30:10 »

Only a few months ago Sad Varying degrees of hassle. Might try it again - they tweak it frequently.

Something that particularly makes me cross is what passes for the "File Manager" in Linux. Astoundingly it is actually worse than Windows Explorer in almost every way. Though possibly a bit better than the inexplicably travesty that Mac users have to live with. It's possibly not so much of a burden for people who resort to commandline wankery all the time or who just treat their computers like buckets of shit ("oh noes my computer's brain is full! I will have to buy a new one!") but I use Windows Explorer a lot.

I suppose all that's really important to me is:
-Some decent SFTP GUI
-Java
-Eclipse
-OpenGL
-Steam
-File manager that is not awful
-Chrome
-7Zip
-Dropbox
-Skype
-Some equivalent of WinAmp that is not utterly despicably bad
-Photoshop (hmm)

Cas Smiley

Offline kappa
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« Reply #13 - Posted 2014-04-02 12:02:12 »

Can't speak for Gnome, but KDE's Dolphin file manager is fantastic, can even be made to look and function like Windows Explorer.

Filezilla seems to work well as a GUI ftp/sftp program on linux (has a windows version too).

Eclipse, OpenGL, Steam, Chrome, Dropbox and Skype are available on linux and work like their windows counterparts.

As for an alternative to WinAMP and 7Zip there are quiet a few choices but can't really recommend a single best.

Photoshop is a difficult one to replace, you could maybe run it using Wine or try one of the apps like Gimp, Krita or Inkscape to fill its place.
Offline princec

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« Reply #14 - Posted 2014-04-02 12:20:19 »

Dolphin's a perfect example of what I hate about it Sad Seems that the UI is deliberately all over the place and wastes space wherever possible. Anyone remember Directory Opus on the Amiga? Sigh.

Cas Smiley

Offline junkdog
« Reply #15 - Posted 2014-04-02 13:15:04 »

Granted I'm not using file managers often - except midnight commander, but I find dolphin to be rather clean: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/1615755/dolphin.png - certainly a long way from Directory Opus (heh, old times...). Dolphin can speak sftp too - good enough for simple operations.

Dropbox for linux is ok, but I believe the OS integration is better under win and osx.

If you go the KDE way, amarok is really nice. Quite different from how I remember winamp though. I also believe Ark (KDE's zip/unzipper) handles most formats, although gzip and bzip are more common in linux land.

Edit: KDE is butt-ugly in its default configuration, but can be made to look really nice. Also much less mouse-centric than the other window managers etc.

artemis-odb: bugfixing and performance optimized fork of artemis ES
Offline kappa
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« Reply #16 - Posted 2014-04-02 13:36:58 »

Yup agreed, Dolphin is totally configurable and can be made to look however you like (including toolbar size and how much space they take up). Customisability is one of the fundamental areas where Gnome and KDE differ in philosophy.
Offline HeroesGraveDev

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« Reply #17 - Posted 2014-04-02 18:49:23 »

I personally like Dolphin because of the built-in terminal. It's nice to run commands without havig to type ls every now and then because you forgot what the directory looked like.

I've found Firefox to run better than Chromium, but maybe that's just me.

Ark is a pretty neat tool for archives.

Offline kpars

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« Reply #18 - Posted 2014-04-02 18:51:44 »

[30-page rant intestifies]

- Jev

Offline gene9

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« Reply #19 - Posted 2014-04-02 20:12:44 »

The story so far: every time I try Linux, I discover that it is in some way shit, for example, the various sound drivers available ("so now the user can choose in what way his audio is broken"), graphics drivers (some sort of ideological bullshit about open source vs. closed drivers), and ultimately, shitty, ugly desktops that almost make me retch to gaze upon (Unity, I despise you only slightly more than all of the others).

Three reasons Linux is perfect for developers:

- The shell. A great shell is central for developers and science/engineering types. Windows cmd.exe is absolutely horrible. Microsoft tried to one-up the UNIX shell people with PowerShell, but it sucks and only appeals to the ultra-Microsoft types. Most of the Java ecosystem is designed for shell use. You should be using the shell for your primary build with a tool like Gradle or SBT (Maven is the dominant tool but it is not as good). You should be using the shell for git. You should use the shell for browsing files. Also Matlab/Octave/R/Python/Ruby work all are designed to be run in shells. Macs do have the same high quality shells that Linux does, but Windows is terrible for shell use.
- Repos: A large base of software is available through the repo system which just makes installation much simpler. None of the headaches associated with Mac/Windows installers.
- Clean and hyper customizable: None of the crap that Apple/Microsoft and various peripheral vendors want to put on your system. Linux is ideal if you like a lean, clean, elegant system. The GUI is minimal and that's great.

I'm not sure what you mean by "ugly desktops"? Do you mean the background wallpaper image when you hide everything else you are doing? Usually you should be using a web browser, text editor, IDE, or a shell window, and all those look great. The point-and-click widget type apps are terrible on desktop Linux.

If you need to resize an image or convert from one format to another, a Windows user would use a point-and-click app. A Linux user would just use a command line utility, which is far simpler and batchable if you can think that way.

BTW, I'm a fan of Canonical's Unity as it minimizes the point-and-click GUI elements, which are probably the worst part of desktop Linux. I want to use a shell window, IDE, or web browser, and I want the rest of the computer to disappear.
Offline matheus23

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« Reply #20 - Posted 2014-04-02 20:15:42 »

I personally like Dolphin because of the built-in terminal. It's nice to run commands without havig to type ls every now and then because you forgot what the directory looked like.

Btw, I also almost only use my keyboard together with dolphin. It's quite nice to navigate through directories with "type name -> Enter -> type name -> Enter" etc. Smiley

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Offline kpars

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Extreme Typist.


« Reply #21 - Posted 2014-04-02 20:45:46 »

-snip-

-Photoshop (hmm)

-snip-

I'm pretty sure GNU/Linux Mint + Wine is capable of running Adobe Photoshop.

EDIT: Here's a video showing off Adobe Photoshop in action on GNU/Linux Mint. This video isn't the newest, but I'm also pretty sure that the newer versions of Adobe Photoshop can run on Mint as well.

- Jev

Offline Cero
« Reply #22 - Posted 2014-04-02 21:25:54 »

LinuxMint > all.
Its Ubuntu with a lot of codecs and stuff preinstalled.
Also since I think the Unity UI sucks ass, the LinuxMint ones are nice.

Adobe stuff is the reason that people dont use Linux more.
I need Premiere, After Effect, Photoshop, Audition and stuff
SOMETIMES, SOME version work SOMEWHAT on wine, but its pathetic. Especially Premiere and video editing, forget about it.

Offline CaptainJester

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« Reply #23 - Posted 2014-04-02 21:27:08 »

-Photoshop (hmm)
The GIMP?

I have tried CentOS and liked it. Although I manually install the JDK and Eclipse because the package manager only has OpenJDK. You also should manually install ANT since if you install it with the package manager it will also install OpenJDK.

Offline gene9

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« Reply #24 - Posted 2014-04-02 21:39:57 »

Although I manually install the JDK and Eclipse because the package manager only has OpenJDK.

When you want to run software made by others, use the repos for runtime libraries such as JRE or Ruby or Python.

When you are developing your own software, you should usually have your own JDK/Ruby/Python environment setup outside the Linux repos. You can use the exact version/config you want and not interfere or be intered with by the repo system.
Offline Slyth2727
« Reply #25 - Posted 2014-04-03 01:47:47 »

Definitely check out GIMP Smiley

   Anyways, ARCH FOR THE WIN. I've used lots of different distros, but arch is by far my favorite. Gnome works flawlessly with it, though lately I'm liking LXDE just because it uses less resources. The default file manager for Gnome, nautilus, works fine for me even though it could be faster. Never checked out Dolphin so I suppose that's what I'm doing soon.

   I dropped Eclipse and it's slow ass a while ago for IntelliJ. It just seems much more customizable and sleek, and not to mention faster. The startup up time is very slow but that's no problem for me, because once it does start it integrates perfectly into my monitor setup. The GLSL support plugin is very nice as well.

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Offline HeroesGraveDev

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« Reply #26 - Posted 2014-04-03 01:49:43 »

+1 for Arch.

You don't get crap unless you install it.

Offline Roquen
« Reply #27 - Posted 2014-04-03 05:26:09 »

Three reasons Linux is perfect for developers:

- The shell. A great shell is central for developers and science/engineering types....<snip>
Cygwin64.  The only iffiy thing is when you're mixing and matching cygwin vs. non-cygwin app with symbolic links.  And that might have been fixed.

Quote
- Repos: A large base of software is available through the repo system which just makes installation much simpler. None of the headaches associated with Mac/Windows installers.
If you're spending more that statistically zero percent of your time install stuff on any OS...rethink your workflow.

Quote
- Clean and hyper customizable: None of the crap that Apple/Microsoft and various peripheral vendors want to put on your system. Linux is ideal if you like a lean, clean, elegant system. The GUI is minimal and that's great.
End user think.  So Dash doesn't show me a bunch of crap if I type something in it?  I must be confused.
Offline gimbal

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« Reply #28 - Posted 2014-04-03 08:08:23 »

Dolphin's a perfect example of what I hate about it Sad Seems that the UI is deliberately all over the place and wastes space wherever possible. Anyone remember Directory Opus on the Amiga? Sigh.

Cas Smiley

Yay the Amiga Smiley

Directory Opus still exists by the way, only on PC nowadays. New versions come out quite frequently. It must be one of the most persistent programs ever.

+1 for Arch.

You don't get crap unless you install it.

Agreed, Arch is "the best" in my experience. But I don't install Linux outside of VirtualBox nowadays, so I wouldn't know how it holds up when you install it as the main OS.
Offline princec

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« Reply #29 - Posted 2014-04-03 09:50:24 »

I realise I am discussing this with someone thoroughly converted to Linux, but I have to maybe offer my viewpoint at least:
Quote from: gene9
- The shell. A great shell is central for developers and science/engineering types. Windows cmd.exe is absolutely horrible. Microsoft tried to one-up the UNIX shell people with PowerShell, but it sucks and only appeals to the ultra-Microsoft types. Most of the Java ecosystem is designed for shell use. You should be using the shell for your primary build with a tool like Gradle or SBT (Maven is the dominant tool but it is not as good). You should be using the shell for git. You should use the shell for browsing files. Also Matlab/Octave/R/Python/Ruby work all are designed to be run in shells. Macs do have the same high quality shells that Linux does, but Windows is terrible for shell use.
I like the Linux shell, it's pretty nifty indeed, but I'd much rather not need to use it when I'm just monkeying around finding files and moving a few around and so on. I definitely don't ever want to have to touch it to do anything mundane like change any settings for something or install something.

Quote
- Repos: A large base of software is available through the repo system which just makes installation much simpler. None of the headaches associated with Mac/Windows installers.
I have not once ever encountered any trouble whatsoever installing Windows software, so I'm not really sure what you mean. I just double click ... click a few "Nexts" and it's done. The rare times it doesn't work are when Windows tries to do something like Linux, ie. Windows update. That frequently barfs with obscure error codes.

Quote
- Clean and hyper customizable: None of the crap that Apple/Microsoft and various peripheral vendors want to put on your system. Linux is ideal if you like a lean, clean, elegant system. The GUI is minimal and that's great.
Clean I like; customisable I don't. Why is that? Because I like stuff to be right straight away. My Windows desktop has a single customisation: a magnified mouse. The reason is that I don't like to feel uncomfortable when I use another system; if it's all at defaults, I don't need to adjust anything to feel right at home.

Quote
I'm not sure what you mean by "ugly desktops"?
I mean the decoration and widgetry surrounding the window manager really. Two things I detest about Linux desktops:
1. Resizing window borders appear to be 1 pixel thick. The mouse flickers in a terribly ungainly fashion when attempting to hover over a border or corner. It just feels utterly rubbish. I do a vastly better job of it myself just in my game code. Why they aren't able to get this right beggars belief.
2. The systray widget spacing and the widgets themselves; the multiple desktop widget especially. I don't quite know how they manage to uglify this but it seems as if they aren't aware of how to lay out UI elements so they don't just look like a mess.
3. Flickering, mysteriously untactile mouse cursor. Not sure quite how but it always feels like it's lagging and accelerates in just the wrong way. All desktops I've tried.
4. Don't get me started on Unity.
4a. Actually I'll start on Unity. If anyone ever suggests putting the menu back in the top of the screen again, hang them by the foreskin until they are sorry. Rant over.
4b. Actually resume rant. Scrollbars. WTF. After your foreskin ordeal I will roast what remains of your genitals with a small candle for a number of hours.
5. The Windows start bar with a quick launch section is probably the most useful piece of desktop functionality I've used in all OSes, ever. The one in Win7 is actually brilliant now you can drag the tasks to rearrange, and stack them. Quick preview is useless though, as is pinning.

Quote
If you need to resize an image or convert from one format to another, a Windows user would use a point-and-click app. A Linux user would just use a command line utility, which is far simpler and batchable if you can think that way.
Not "a Windows user", just "an ordinary user". Like me. I do commandline and batching... but I prefer not to.

Quote
BTW, I'm a fan of Canonical's Unity as it minimizes the point-and-click GUI elements, which are probably the worst part of desktop Linux. I want to use a shell window, IDE, or web browser, and I want the rest of the computer to disappear.
Then for the sake of all things sensible why does the window manager not simply have a widget on the windows that does that instead of forcing everything to??

Cas Smiley

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