Favorite Linux distro?

t4keheart

Weaksauce
Joined
Sep 24, 2019
Messages
109
Hey guys,
Wondering what everybody's favorite Linux distro is for 2020, and why. I'm looking for opinions on general use distro's (so no Kali, not interested in Arch, etc.).
I generally just stick with Ubuntu, mostly because it's so easy to use, well developed and maintained and has such a widespread user base.

I'm a software dev so I'm looking for suggestions for a new distro to migrate to.. I don't code in vi/vim so something with a nice package manager and access to some nice mainstream IDE's is a plus.

Let me know what you think, and why you prefer that distro!
Thanks for reading.
 

cjcox

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 7, 2004
Messages
1,746
I like openSUSE. It can have its problems. I like the fact they have Tumbleweed which might be the most up to date distro out there (on the bleeding edge).

A lot of this preference was driven by the old SuSE boys. They just really knew their stuff when it came to enterprise worthy computing (unlike you know who).

I prefer KDE, even the greatly unfinished Plasma 5, over Gnome 3.

I use Fedora (and Gnome 3) at work.
 

Algrim

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 1, 2016
Messages
1,696
I decided to pull the plug on Windows for my desktop this year so I chose to use the big daddy of Ubuntu: Debian 10 with KDE Plasma 5. It's a general purpose machine (mostly light gaming at present).
 

DrLobotomy

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
May 19, 2016
Messages
6,736
Debian for gaming. Slax for lightweight/portable distro. OpenSuse for niftiness. CentOS for home lab stuff.
 

Vermillion

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Apr 5, 2007
Messages
4,200
I find Arch to be quite good for a general purpose distro. The AUR gives you any software you want.

That said though...for anything else I use Ubuntu. The wife's laptop is Ubuntu Mate 19.10.
 

x509

2[H]4U
Joined
Sep 20, 2009
Messages
2,175
Back in the day, I worked at a company, long, long, long since gone, and we had a workstation product that used AT&T System 3 with the bsd 4.1 extensions. Then I worked at a company that used Solaris. So I know (knew) UNIX. And I know that today it's Linux, Linux, Linux, and no one cares any longer about Solaris or HP-UX or AIX. (I'm not complaining, just observing and I'm NOT trolling.) But why so many different distros? And what are the key differences? Is the world a better place for all these different distros?
 
Last edited:

Algrim

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 1, 2016
Messages
1,696
Linux is the kernel. A distro is a 'flavor'. Many distros are designed to solve issues, perceived or real, with other distros. Some are designed around ease of use or package management, etc. If you're more into UNIX as opposed to Linux, you can use a more BSD-style Linux (like Slackware, which used to be my favorite distro quite some time ago) or just eschew the Linux world altogether and use FreeBSD.

The nice thing about all of these distros is they're all free to download and use and abuse to your heart's content. With supported hardware you can even run a distro within a distro (KVM) with minimal overhead.
 

x509

2[H]4U
Joined
Sep 20, 2009
Messages
2,175
Linux is the kernel. A distro is a 'flavor'. Many distros are designed to solve issues, perceived or real, with other distros. Some are designed around ease of use or package management, etc. If you're more into UNIX as opposed to Linux, you can use a more BSD-style Linux (like Slackware, which used to be my favorite distro quite some time ago) or just eschew the Linux world altogether and use FreeBSD.

The nice thing about all of these distros is they're all free to download and use and abuse to your heart's content. With supported hardware you can even run a distro within a distro (KVM) with minimal overhead.
My UNIX/Solaris knowledge is pretty much all faded away and in any case, I'm sure that there are better editors than vi, and maybe better shells than csh. And back then, it was still pretty command-line, although Solaris did have a nice GUI.

So I get that Linux is the kernel. Are you saying that the distros add user space components and don't touch the kernel?
 

Algrim

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 1, 2016
Messages
1,696
I won't go so far as to say that the kernel is untouched. Clearly some distros optimize the kernel to their particular focus. Linuxes, in general, follow the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard (FHS) which defines the directory structure and contents in Linux distributions (attribution Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filesystem_Hierarchy_Standard).

I, personally, use the Bourne Again SHell (BASH) instead of the more exotic shells out there. Additionally, I grew up on Vi so I end up using a variation of same: Vi IMproved (VIM); Vi or VIM is available almost universally so being able to edit within it is still a skill to have, especially if you ever have to edit files without the benefit of a GUI or, if all else fails, having to log in remotely.
 

mouacyk

Weaksauce
Joined
Dec 5, 2015
Messages
87
Still ricing in 2020 since 2003, on Gentoo 17.1 now. Can be tailored for general use, but extremely customizable from source using possibly the most comprehensive package management system with a builtin toolchain ready for development. It has slot support, full dependency resolution, and is extensible via hook scripts. I use KDE Plasma DE with KDevelop for c/c++ and VisualStudioCode for c#. Nano is a great CLI editor, complete with syntax highlighting.
 

Mazzspeed

2[H]4U
Joined
Dec 27, 2017
Messages
2,692
KDE Neon. It's like rolling release, but based on Ubuntu LTS. For me it's the best of both worlds and the UI and fractional scaling at 4k is fantastic.
 

ThatITGuy

Limp Gawd
Joined
May 5, 2017
Messages
410
I have PopOS on one machine that is more for gaming, Manjaro (KDE) on my laptop, and BSD (FreeNAS) on a home server.
 

t4keheart

Weaksauce
Joined
Sep 24, 2019
Messages
109
KDE Neon. It's like rolling release, but based on Ubuntu LTS. For me it's the best of both worlds and the UI and fractional scaling at 4k is fantastic.
I'm going to look into KDE neon dev edition... never heard of this distro before... but it looks interesting.

Thanks for the suggestions everybody.
 

t4keheart

Weaksauce
Joined
Sep 24, 2019
Messages
109
I, personally, use the Bourne Again SHell (BASH) instead of the more exotic shells out there. Additionally, I grew up on Vi so I end up using a variation of same: Vi IMproved (VIM); Vi or VIM is available almost universally so being able to edit within it is still a skill to have, especially if you ever have to edit files without the benefit of a GUI or, if all else fails, having to log in remotely.
I'm sure you're aware that VI is a very powerful tool when it comes to efficiency. I know devs who, to this day, refuse to use a proper IDE because they swear by vi/vim. They are so proficient with it that it doesn't make sense for them to use anything else.
 

almalino

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Sep 15, 2009
Messages
1,573
Linux Mint works very well for me as a Enterprise Java and Web developer using Idea JetBrains with Amazon AWS and Docker.

UI is like Windows XP but more configurable. Installation is easy. HD Encryption is one of the first things it asks during installation to protect my precious source code. I like it and I have been using it for last 5 years I think.
 

vick1000

2[H]4U
Joined
Sep 15, 2007
Messages
2,057
Linux Mint works very well for me as a Enterprise Java and Web developer using Idea JetBrains with Amazon AWS and Docker.

UI is like Windows XP but more configurable. Installation is easy. HD Encryption is one of the first things it asks during installation to protect my precious source code. I like it and I have been using it for last 5 years I think.
Finally some love for Mint? I would have to say Ubuntu though, just because I am used to it now. Anything that I can try on my Raspberry that won't cripple it, gets a vote.
 

almalino

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Sep 15, 2009
Messages
1,573
Finally some love for Mint? I would have to say Ubuntu though, just because I am used to it now. Anything that I can try on my Raspberry that won't cripple it, gets a vote.
Probably because Mint is a mainstream distro and not HARD enough for this site ? :)
 

KarsusTG

2[H]4U
Joined
Aug 27, 2010
Messages
3,228
I have several "favorites" for different purposes. Peppermint for extreme non technical people (and it's just a good fun OS really,) MX for my desktop because it's debian stable done right. Fedora/redhat for my laptop because I want the immersion for my rhel cert soon and it's basically like 40-50% of the worlds servers.

I have tried and liked OpenSUSE, but don't use it because I want to stick with what I will actually work with at work. I'd probably use it more if I lived in Europe though.

I tried Intel's Clear OS and it's going to be great once it's matured, not really ready for full time use now.
 
Joined
Dec 1, 2011
Messages
867
I generally prefer Ubuntu (Kubuntu if I need a desktop manager). All the basic niceties of Debian (mostly just little things I prefer over Red Hat-based distros), without the stick up its ass over "non-free" apps and drivers and seem to be faster to adapter to new tech (e.g., Docker/Kubernetes, ZFS). Also, package versions are usually a little more recent than Debian. The fact that Ubuntu is the go-to distro for many others (e.g., Dell, Valve/Steam) certainly helps.

Probably because Mint is a mainstream distro and not HARD enough for this site ? :)
Linux From Scratch or bust!
 

Mazzspeed

2[H]4U
Joined
Dec 27, 2017
Messages
2,692
I tried Intel's Clear OS and it's going to be great once it's matured, not really ready for full time use now.

I honestly think Intel's Clear OS is only faster than most distro's due to it's out of the box performance governor settings. Tweak your distro's governor settings and you'll achieve the same performance.
 

t4keheart

Weaksauce
Joined
Sep 24, 2019
Messages
109
Linux Mint works very well for me as a Enterprise Java and Web developer using Idea JetBrains with Amazon AWS and Docker.

UI is like Windows XP but more configurable. Installation is easy. HD Encryption is one of the first things it asks during installation to protect my precious source code. I like it and I have been using it for last 5 years I think.
Which variation of Mint do you use? I may give Mint a try, not exactly in love with Ubuntu. I used Fedora for a time, but eventually migrated from that, also.
 

schizrade

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Feb 15, 2003
Messages
4,835
Been using Mint since maybe 2012 ish? Before that, Kubuntu, Ubuntu and Debian mainly. My first Linux was Yellow Dog.
 

CrimsonKnight13

Lord Stabington of [H]ard|Fortress
Joined
Jan 8, 2008
Messages
7,347
Manjaro Deepin w/ linux-ck type kernel for x86_64
Manjaro Plasma for ARM64

I'm pondering using the clear kernel for x86_64 & seeing how that goes with performance
 

t4keheart

Weaksauce
Joined
Sep 24, 2019
Messages
109
Manjaro Deepin w/ linux-ck type kernel for x86_64
Manjaro Plasma for ARM64

I'm pondering using the clear kernel for x86_64 & seeing how that goes with performance
Oh man, the more I look into Manjaro, the more that looks like the distro for me. Where have I been all of these years? I've been stuck in the 'ubuntu, fedora, centos, debian based whatever' bubble for way too long. Mint and Manjaro both look very promising and I'm going to give them both a spin.

It sucks because at work I play this middle-man role between a dev and a sys/net admin... so half of my work load are dev projects (python, javascript/node, sql, php) which would live most happily in a linux environment, however I still have all these nagging windows admin tasks that are just so much easier accomplished on Windows. Don't want to re-start every time for a dual boot to switch environments, and I find running a dev environment inside a vm to be clunky and cumbersome.
Any suggestions for that?
 

xx0xx

Gawd
Joined
Oct 20, 2005
Messages
657
I've enjoyed using Manjaro, though I tend to bounce back and forth between various distros when I really should settle on one eventually. Manjaro has always felt very "snappy" to me (though that's true for most distros, but Manjaro has always felt even moreso, might be placebo).

I've used Mint in the past, but no longer as much of a fan. Lubuntu was decent too.

I am thinking about going vanilla Debian though. I have a tough time deciding on WMs/UIs though, haven't found one I love yet, they all tend to have their own quirks that I eventually get frustrated with.

Just talking about this makes me want to spin up VirtualBox and try out a bunch of distros again :p
 

Algrim

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 1, 2016
Messages
1,696
I am thinking about going vanilla Debian though. I have a tough time deciding on WMs/UIs though, haven't found one I love yet, they all tend to have their own quirks that I eventually get frustrated with.

Just talking about this makes me want to spin up VirtualBox and try out a bunch of distros again :p
When I set up Debian Linux this time I decided to use something other than Xfce so I am using KDE Plasma 5. I won't call it perfect but it works well with my video card (I'm using the nVidia binary blob so I have full video acceleration).
 
  • Like
Reactions: xx0xx
like this

schizrade

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Feb 15, 2003
Messages
4,835
Oh man, the more I look into Manjaro, the more that looks like the distro for me. Where have I been all of these years? I've been stuck in the 'ubuntu, fedora, centos, debian based whatever' bubble for way too long. Mint and Manjaro both look very promising and I'm going to give them both a spin.

It sucks because at work I play this middle-man role between a dev and a sys/net admin... so half of my work load are dev projects (python, javascript/node, sql, php) which would live most happily in a linux environment, however I still have all these nagging windows admin tasks that are just so much easier accomplished on Windows. Don't want to re-start every time for a dual boot to switch environments, and I find running a dev environment inside a vm to be clunky and cumbersome.
Any suggestions for that?
A Windows 10VM inside of the Linux host. The other way around limits the linux machine too much I have found for things like ports etc. Windows DGAF.
 

xx0xx

Gawd
Joined
Oct 20, 2005
Messages
657
When I set up Debian Linux this time I decided to use something other than Xfce so I am using KDE Plasma 5. I won't call it perfect but it works well with my video card (I'm using the nVidia binary blob so I have full video acceleration).
I need to do more research but I'm looking for the best WM for my HTPC which is hooked to a 4K TV. I've found that Mint's High DPI options of "1x or 2x" are just not granular enough to make the interface the proper "size" for comfortable use. 1x everything is microscopic, 2x everything is HUGE, and adjusting font sizes really is a messy workaround that looks bad too.
 

Algrim

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 1, 2016
Messages
1,696
I've had eye surgery and my 43' TV/Monitor is sitting 4' away from me so 2:1 works great for me; I've simply set zoom to 'force' my 4K TV to act like a 2K.

There's a system wide font setting in the Fonts section of Settings, including forcing DPI.
 

Mazzspeed

2[H]4U
Joined
Dec 27, 2017
Messages
2,692
I need to do more research but I'm looking for the best WM for my HTPC which is hooked to a 4K TV. I've found that Mint's High DPI options of "1x or 2x" are just not granular enough to make the interface the proper "size" for comfortable use. 1x everything is microscopic, 2x everything is HUGE, and adjusting font sizes really is a messy workaround that looks bad too.
KDE Neon has fractional scaling. I use it at 4k and it works every bit as well as fractional scaling under Windows.
 
  • Like
Reactions: xx0xx
like this

xx0xx

Gawd
Joined
Oct 20, 2005
Messages
657
KDE Neon has fractional scaling. I use it at 4k and it works every bit as well as fractional scaling under Windows.
Interesting. KDE is one of the few I haven't used nearly as much since I usually opt for lighter options, but it sounds like this might be a perfect fit (and my HTPC has plenty of power/memory/etc so a more featured WM would be fine). It's been a while since I've given KDE a shot. Fractional scaling is exactly what I'm looking for- thanks!
 

Vermillion

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Apr 5, 2007
Messages
4,200
Interesting. KDE is one of the few I haven't used nearly as much since I usually opt for lighter options, but it sounds like this might be a perfect fit (and my HTPC has plenty of power/memory/etc so a more featured WM would be fine). It's been a while since I've given KDE a shot. Fractional scaling is exactly what I'm looking for- thanks!
KDE, Gnome, and MATE all have fractional scaling. XFCE has limited scaling. 2x versus 1x is all it can do right now. Cinnamon and Enlightenment also are supposed to have good 4K support although I don't know if they support fractional to the same degree as KDE or Gnome.
 
  • Like
Reactions: xx0xx
like this

Haven

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Oct 11, 2002
Messages
6,290
I've just been using Debian and customizing it for my needs for a long time now.
 
Top