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Old 27. Dec 2011, 08:26 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 12 months of pleasure and pain

I made a concentrated effort during 2011 to educate myself about Linux as a true alternative to Windows. This exercise was somewhat limited by my own technical abilities and the amount of free time I had. Nevertheless I feel I've learned a lot and made some enjoyable discoveries. A few things have stood out for me during this journey such as the realization that not everything "new" is also "improved".

I refer specifically here to Gnome3 which although I'm sure will evolve over time, is IMO no where near an effective replacement for what is provided by G2.

I won't include my dislike of Unity here because this is very much a personal thing and I fully appreciate that a lot of folks, especially those who are mobile orientated, will love it.

Overall, for the best experience as an ex. Windows user I have to say that KDE delivers the most. There is however a price to pay for all this glitz which might not be too relevant for modern machines, but will still be a consideration for many users. Kororaa tops my list best KDE distros not just for what it achieves over it's Fedora parent, but for stability too. Unfortunately, especially when forced to use my mobile broadband, resource use is way above what I'm happy to subject my machine to. In looking at some lighter KDE alternatives I liked PCLinux OS although it's inconsistencies with video playback forced me away. No doubt users with different cards will not experience the same issues. I also loved Siduction but the learning curve was simply too great. Ultimately, and having followed the Mandriva fork since its inception, I settled for Mageia although doing so highlighted another typical Linux problem. The 2011 install of Mageia from the live CD was simple enough to do as a dual boot with my Windows 7. The result was a completely stable operating system using a fraction of the resources demanded by Koraraa. Immediately after though, the update required no less that 486 packages, the result of which broke my network and created several other system errors. Issues with the KDE network manager are almost legendary and other distros have also managed to wipe out user connections via their update process. Ultimately, even though Mageia doesn't recognize my mobile broadband out of the box, I decided to reinstall 2011 and not update it. My cable connection is now more consistent than it used to be so now in the event of a failure I just boot into Windows.

Having already expressed my dislike of G3, I feel that Mint 10 Juila holds that unique position of being so good, what could the devs possibly to to improve it without making it worse? In this respect, I think versions 11 and 12 prove a point.

Zorin continues to make good ground in the usage stats and it's blatant targeting of Windows users makes it an attractive option. I experienced just a few minor niggles when all the bells were switched on, but nothing to detract from the overall experience. I also liked Pinguy at first look but the latest version on my machine had all sorts of stability issues.

This then leaves us with the lightweight alternatives.

I feely admit that although I appreciate the development ideals behind xfce and lxde, they will always look like a poor relation of something else to me. No functional reason for anyone not to use this desktop, but just my personal opinion.

I loved Bodhi from the start and appreciate the work put in to make this truly different distro work. It's just unfortunate that yet again the latest release has introduced some function and stability issues which were not there previously. The sound breaks on my system after a few day use and although this is likely a card issue, or a suitable work around exists, this is not what folks expect to experience. The so called module improvements have also removed the ability to create a secondary side panel at say 120 px width displaying just the open windows which is something I liked to do. There are a few stability issues also being reported with the new version although these are not too drastic for anyone who feels inclined to stick with it. These guys also need to be commended for their forum support and wiki.

Overall then in this section IMO Peppermint is the outstanding choice in terms of looks, functionality and stability. I appreciate that Puppy also has a high standing but I couldn't work out how to connect with either of my methods, so didn't use it.

So that's it for me then – Mageia (without updates ) and looking forward to 2012.
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Old 27. Dec 2011, 04:38 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Hi MC

thanks for sharing your experiences with us here. It is very helpful. I am a Linux literate. What does G2 and G3 stand for?
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Old 27. Dec 2011, 05:02 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Hi MC

thanks for sharing your experiences with us here. It is very helpful. I am a Linux literate. What does G2 and G3 stand for?
Gnome 2 and Gnome 3.
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Old 27. Dec 2011, 06:11 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Did give Gnome it's full title just below the top but maybe should have stuck to this throughout. I honestly haven't met a single person here who actually likes version 3, but they sure love Ubuntu Unity in this neck of the woods.
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Old 29. Dec 2011, 03:10 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Did give Gnome it's full title just below the top but maybe should have stuck to this throughout. I honestly haven't met a single person here who actually likes version 3, but they sure love Ubuntu Unity in this neck of the woods.


Are there really folk who like Unity? The name clearly implies they wish to unite people in unanimous and unambiguous repulsion, or so I thought.

Thanks for all that work you put in checking out distros, it is daunting facing the number of choices out there. Having recently done some relatively serious work with linux involving trying numerous distros, I had a similar experience to yours, one will be great for X, but blows Y, the next does these fine, but can't do Z, and the next one might or might not do XYZ better than all but I can't figure out how to configure anything. So try another one, and it seems to be OK, but just doesn't feel right, like everything you do is uphill. Or the next one, does great but it won't play nice with some driver/hardware...etc etc.

As I was re-installing my fallback/preferred Kubuntu, I began thinking that all these choices, the ever-growingarray of distros, is killing linux. There is only a limited group of folk who work on developing the linux OS, and the applications, and a limited number of users who will use/try to use it. If they want to grow the user base, and usurp windows users, wouldn't it be better if all the talent went to fewer, but better supported, distributions, with maybe more attention to consistency? How many times did you go looking for help and find your question asked in 3 or 5 or 10 different forums, with different answers, and having to figure out witch distro and witch version of witch distro each applied to, and that wasn't always apparent?

I spent an insane amount of time working at getting an old PC to be my router, DHCP, DNS, mail, etc server, so I have essentially my own ISP and with samba4 going, it can work as a windows active directory controller, and it nearly killed me and was for naught other than educational value [I got plenty of that, caveat wishtor], as the main reason I did all of this was to be able to have the same ID on all my systems, it can do this, but the added hassle of all the added and unneeded security etc made it overall not worth it. In the process I installed or re-installed kubuntu latest 2 releases, same with ubuntu, OpenSUSE, debian, fedora, knoppix, and maybe one or two more got flailed at. It was intensely fun/torturous/fascinating/infuriating, and at times I would gladly have put out a contract on both Bill Gates and Linus Torvald. And now, back to my therapy, the anti-psychotics are finally kicking in.
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Old 29. Dec 2011, 03:58 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by crank
As I was re-installing my fallback/preferred Kubuntu, I began thinking that all these choices, the ever-growingarray of distros, is killing linux. There is only a limited group of folk who work on developing the linux OS, and the applications, and a limited number of users who will use/try to use it. If they want to grow the user base, and usurp windows users, wouldn't it be better if all the talent went to fewer, but better supported, distributions, with maybe more attention to consistency? How many times did you go looking for help and find your question asked in 3 or 5 or 10 different forums, with different answers, and having to figure out witch distro and witch version of witch distro each applied to, and that wasn't always apparent?
During my brief encounter with Unity I was thinking if there would be a day of reckoning in which the light bulb switched on and Unity would suddenly make sense.

Somehow I'm still very comfortable with Gnome2 and have no desire to switch to Gnome3 or unity.
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Old 29. Dec 2011, 05:51 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I just noticed my little witch problem, wonder if that was freudian....
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Old 29. Dec 2011, 07:22 PM   #8 (permalink)
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It was intensely fun/torturous/fascinating/infuriating, and at times I would gladly have put out a contract on both Bill Gates and Linus Torvald.
Glad you enjoyed the "trip" too

There's also a lot of misinformation circulating, like KDE is more system intensive than Gnome right? Well, mostly it is and yet Mageia looks pretty much like Kororaa yet uses less CPU and RAM than the latter and also half that of Pinguy x64. I guess ultimately it's all a matter of balance.

For sheer elegance Gnome2 wise I don't think you can beat Pinguy, but each to their own.
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Old 31. Dec 2011, 05:21 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by MC
Did give Gnome it's full title just below the top but maybe should have stuck to this throughout. I honestly haven't met a single person here who actually likes version 3, but they sure love Ubuntu Unity in this neck of the woods.
So does it mean our wishes is secondary to their interpretation of progress. Sounds like a 'take it our leave it' scenario. I wonder if the developers are doing what makes them happy instead of their users.

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Old 31. Dec 2011, 06:07 AM   #10 (permalink)
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So does it mean our wishes is secondary to their interpretation of progress. Sounds like a 'take it our leave it' scenario. I wonder if the developers are doing what makes them happy instead of their users.
Difficult to say I guess without confronting them directly. There certainly is this Lemming like rush to bring out something "new" because to stand still with something that is already great must be wrong or preventing progress

I remember from my business management training days I just couldn't keep up with the new pitches coming mainly from the US. No sooner had I written a presentation for one "kill 'em dead" method, than another flavour of the month was arriving.

My tech supports Ubuntu big time because for home installations it gives him zero issues so he can sell service contracts and not lose money. Certainly of the two, Unity is much more appealing to me than Gnome3. Looking at say Pinguy though, if anyone wants a traditional desktop layout what better can you get than this? Instead of having to add stuff, users may want to remove some of what comes packaged but this truly is a complete system in a box. Of course Gnome3 will continue to develop and in another couple of years Gnome2 will likely be buried for good. It's just that this transitional period is doing Linux no favours in the battle with Windows at all. Having said that, in another couple of years maybe desktops will be dead and buried too
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