Distro Confusion

DeaconFrost

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Sep 6, 2007
Messages
11,245
So with the latest release of Ubuntu 20.04, I'm left with some questions. I'm not quite a Linux noob, but I'm by no means a power user on this side of the fence. I've been distro hopping after finally deciding not to stay on the Red Hat/Fedora tree. I get that Ubuntu is based off of Debian, and that underneath, they are very similar. I get that there are many Ubuntu-based distros, and that a primary difference is the DE on top. Kubuntu uses KDE, Mint uses Cinnamon, etc.

So it is all just a matter of preference? Like why would a person choose Budgie? Or Mate? Nothing against them, just curious of the advantages..or what you use to pick. I'm not a big fan of Gnome, because I prefer the menu-style of some of the others.

I'm trying to settle in to using one distro, and I'm struggling to make a choice. I'm trying to look at pros/cons of the different flavors. Eventually, my gaming laptop with an Nvidia card will get this chosen distro, but for now, I'm running them in VMs until I pick one to install on a spare Dell laptop.
 

IdiotInCharge

NVIDIA SHILL
Joined
Jun 13, 2003
Messages
14,712
DEs are a big part of the differences, but Distros also comprise changes to kernel compilation, significant configuration changes, and changes to included packages and their versions.

If you add Gnome to Debian, for example, you do not arrive anywhere near base Ubuntu. And that may be a desired configuration!

Now, with respect to distro-hopping, things like hardware support and how a distro 'feels' in real use are something that you can't really get from VMs. If you're looking for something that best fits you, you'll likely wind up installing more than once on hardware, and that's okay.
 

Chuklr

Gawd
Joined
Nov 1, 2009
Messages
768
So with the latest release of Ubuntu 20.04, I'm left with some questions. I'm not quite a Linux noob, but I'm by no means a power user on this side of the fence. I've been distro hopping after finally deciding not to stay on the Red Hat/Fedora tree. I get that Ubuntu is based off of Debian, and that underneath, they are very similar. I get that there are many Ubuntu-based distros, and that a primary difference is the DE on top. Kubuntu uses KDE, Mint uses Cinnamon, etc.

So it is all just a matter of preference? Like why would a person choose Budgie? Or Mate? Nothing against them, just curious of the advantages..or what you use to pick. I'm not a big fan of Gnome, because I prefer the menu-style of some of the others.

I'm trying to settle in to using one distro, and I'm struggling to make a choice. I'm trying to look at pros/cons of the different flavors. Eventually, my gaming laptop with an Nvidia card will get this chosen distro, but for now, I'm running them in VMs until I pick one to install on a spare Dell laptop.

Most of the distros I've tried/used have given a person a choice of DEs. I tried Budgie, Mate, Gnome, KDE Plasma, and Cinnamon among others. I found that some weren't for me because of the way stuff was structured they didn't make "sense" to me and others, like Plasma, burned out my aging retinas. I tried not to over think it and settled on a distro and DE that I was comfortable with and worked for me from "the get go".

I ended up with RoboLinux (it was Debian based at the time and is now Ubuntu based) as I liked the name and it worked well as a Live USB. This distro comes in three DE choices: Cinnamon, Mate, and XFCE . I went with Cinnamon.

On a repurposed laptop I went with Solus (not Ubuntu based). I comes in four DEs: Budgie, Gnome, KDE Plasma, and MATE. I went with MATE on it after trying the other three.

I'm not a power user and I don't intend to be. When I was looking for an answer as to which distro I would use I tried out 60 or 70 different ones. My decision as to the ones I adopted were based on: did they run on my hardware without issues and was I comfortable with them from the beginning.

My advice, is to go with what you feel meets your personal needs. Unless you're running a distro that had big bucks supporting it chances are better than 50/50 that your distro will disappear when the developer's enthusiasm or money runs out or the team disintegrates and you'll be back to square one. :)
 

AltTabbins

Fully [H]
Joined
Jul 29, 2005
Messages
20,043
I'm trying to settle in to using one distro, and I'm struggling to make a choice. I'm trying to look at pros/cons of the different flavors. Eventually, my gaming laptop with an Nvidia card will get this chosen distro, but for now, I'm running them in VMs until I pick one to install on a spare Dell laptop.

Try some out. I highly suggest making a good backup of your computer and just diving in. You can do some basic testing just using a USB drive and running a live session, but you will really get a feel for a distro by installing and using it. Personally I LOVE Pop_Os. They have gone through and made a bunch of changes that just make sense for regular users and people who want to game. It works out of the box for Steam and Lutris with things like dxvk already installed and Steam available in their store. Even Ubuntu can't seem to get that right and you'll be putting some commands in the terminal to get up and running with some stuff.
 

Vermillion

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Apr 5, 2007
Messages
4,203
So it is all just a matter of preference? Like why would a person choose Budgie? Or Mate? Nothing against them, just curious of the advantages..or what you use to pick. I'm not a big fan of Gnome, because I prefer the menu-style of some of the others.

It's all about personal preference and that's the beauty of it. DEs like Budgie and MATE are awesome but their workflow is different from each other and different from say XFCE or Plasma. I've used pretty much all the DEs at one time or another and I always end up falling back to XFCE because it just fits ME so well. Right now I'm on Plasma and it's very good but there's just little things that will probably make me go back to XFCE when I have the time to rebuild the laptop. While Plasma is "prettier" than XFCE that comes at a cost. So while it's fast I don't find it as fast as XFCE. Nvidia drivers on Plasma are a constant thorn in my side too. There's always some strange bug that annoys. For example right now I have no opacity with my terminal windows in Plasma. It started in kernel 5.5 and is something NV needs to fix. This is the 2nd big bug in NV drivers in the last 3 kernels. I think it was 5.4 where Prime sync was broken so I had tearing on EVERYTHING. God that annoyed. My next laptop will no doubt be an AMD GPU simply because the performance is very good and being open source means faster fixes for bugs.

My son uses Ubuntu MATE on his laptop for school and it's been working really well for him. I chose MATE because my wife does most of the school work with him and I wanted something that has a quick option to make it act like an OS out of Redmond so that it was fairly familiar. It's actually called "Redmond" in the MATE Tweak options. ;)

In the end just use a DE for a week or two. Give it a good try. You'll find out pretty quickly if something really interrupts your workflow or annoys you and at that point it's time to jump to the next DE.
 

DeaconFrost

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Sep 6, 2007
Messages
11,245
I think I'm settling in on Mate, which I didn't realize was pronounced as "Mah Tay". Nvidia drivers are easy to install, Evolution comes with EWS installed out of the box, and it's an official flavor of Ubuntu with a large community.
 

Vermillion

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Apr 5, 2007
Messages
4,203
I think I'm settling in on Mate, which I didn't realize was pronounced as "Mah Tay". Nvidia drivers are easy to install, Evolution comes with EWS installed out of the box, and it's an official flavor of Ubuntu with a large community.

MATE is very nice. If I didn't like XFCE so much I think MATE would probably be my DE of choice because it's workflow is for me is more like XFCE than Plasma is. Plasma is really starting to annoy me so a rebuild in my future is very likely. Sure I can just uninstall the DE but that's a lot of packages and it's simple to just rebuild.

One thing about Ubuntu MATE. It's rise to prominence was because of the head of that project, Martin Wimpress. Wimpy did such a good job he is now the head of the Ubuntu Desktop team. He's done good work so I fully expect MATE to continue thriving and the Ubuntu Desktop experience in general to grow and thrive as well.
 

Algrim

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 1, 2016
Messages
1,698
I was an XFCE user for the longest time but when I set up my Debian 10 system I chose KDE Plasma as my DE. I am really liking it so far.
 

IdiotInCharge

NVIDIA SHILL
Joined
Jun 13, 2003
Messages
14,712
Main reason to use Gnome over anything else is compatibility; if that's not a concern with the desired workflow, then KDE is the other contender for being the most 'advanced'.

Otherwise MATE for the 'Redmond' experience or one of the others if running on slower hardware for whatever reason.
 

JustinC

Weaksauce
Joined
May 25, 2020
Messages
75
I think most people use MATE because they wanted to reminisce about the past of GNOME; GNOME from the days of the GNOME 2 toolkit.
GNOME 2 toolkit was great until they changed the attention towards making GNOME geared towards mobile computing operations.

I know people use Budgie because it is just there and it does not come in your way. It allows you to do things the way you want to.
 
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