Forbes Tries To Game on Linux

Discussion in 'HardForum Tech News' started by AlphaAtlas, Feb 14, 2019.

  1. AlphaAtlas

    AlphaAtlas [H]ard|Gawd Staff Member

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    Thanks to Valve's Proton Initiative and related development efforts, gaming on Linux is faster and easier than ever, but just how easy does that make it? Forbes reporter Jason Evangelho decided to find out, as he (seemingly) used Linux as his primary PC gaming platform for 6 months. Jason said that availability and usability aren't huge issues anymore, as Proton officially supports thousands of games while unofficially working with many more, and Lutris makes setting up Windows-only clients like Origin a breeze. But interestingly, the journalist dedicated almost all of his article to one specific issue: setting up graphics drivers. Jason believes that the process of picking, downloading, and in some cases, compiling the right graphics driver for any particular setup is still well beyond what the average gamer is willing to put up with, and failing to use the right driver can lead to unacceptable performance, assuming games run at all.

    But here's the first problem: is this all common knowledge for new users? I'm willing to bet it is not. Even if they've been told the differences between open source and proprietary drivers, what happens when they do navigate to this area of Ubuntu and update? Maybe they'll be eager to check out what all this fuss is about Steam Proton and playing their favorite Windows games on Linux. Not so fast. Valve lists the graphic driver requirements for Proton as Nvidia 415, which is several months newer than Nvidia 390. Now users will need to add a "PPA" which is a software repository not built in to Ubuntu. Will that have the right driver? How do they know without extensive googling? Is that going to update automatically, and as often as Nvidia's Windows 10 drivers do?... For as user-friendly as Linux has become, gaming still requires some guesswork, which I've only navigated by completely immersing myself in it. And the direction changes dramatically based on if you're using Team Red or Team Green. It changes based on what flavor of Linux you're using.
     
  2. ManofGod

    ManofGod [H]ardForum Junkie

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  3. criccio

    criccio Fully Equipped

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    You've never read his work, clearly, so why jump to being negative?
     
  4. Darunion

    Darunion 2[H]4U

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    How long will this thread stay unlocked lol.

    Hopefully linux gaming does get to the point where it is a competitive contender. I used to use linux more often but then when I was always keeping a windows partition for gaming which is what I did 95% of the time on my pc I felt that i would stick with windows. Perhaps it is better now, it has been about 8ish years since I gave it a try.

    It just is stuck in a catch 22 because not enough game on it so companies won't devote resources to it, and because not enough is put into it, not many game on it.

    That said maybe I will put it on a spare drive, is ubuntu still the go-to? I might have some redhat or suse disks around here somewhere maybe even a corel distro in a book as well...
     
  5. mufcfan

    mufcfan Limp Gawd

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    Had the same kind of issues in 2007, with three different distros. After I got the drivers to work, performance was much worse than with XP/Vista.
    It got better, but it is still not worth the hassle for me.

    It feels like this has come to a junction now and hopefully takes a turn for the better!
     
  6. darckhart

    darckhart Limp Gawd

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    eh the users of linux are a self selecting crowd anyway: they know there's going to be a fair amount of google-fu involved. especially if they have the intention to play recent "graphics heavy" 3d games on linux. choosing and installing the drivers is not the terrible chore the author makes it out to be. rather it's the inevitable other issues that will deter the casual users. oh you need to fiddle with the monitor EDID? oh your window manager on the desktop doesn't quite behave nicely? downclocking or idle mode or sleep mode makes you lose video signal? etc

    frankly, linux gaming has come a long way. I usually get one game working at a time and pray everything else keeps working until I beat the game!
     
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  7. /dev/null

    /dev/null [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Not really sure what his issue is. If he goes AMD it's built into the kernel. If he goes Intel, it's built into the kernel. If he goes Nvidia, install the correct repository & grab it from someone who has already done the work for him. DKMS is a thing.
     
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  8. Cantroy

    Cantroy Lurker

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    Get my WoW running well on Linux, preferably a redhat-based distro due to the privacy issues with anything based on Debian, and I'll give it a solid shot. In the meantime, I am on 10, which is about the worst privacy-rated OS there is, if not THE worst. Yay for Tor browser, VPNs, and other privacy options out there.
     
  9. Armenius

    Armenius I Drive Myself to the [H]ospital

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    Erik Kain is a generally good contributor for Forbes. I don't think I've ever read work from Jason Evangelho, but it seems like he's describing his personal experience and not generalizing Linux gaming as being bad. I think his conclusion is spot-on. Personally, I think the future for gaming on Linux is brighter than ever. I would love to completely ditch Windows.

    Now, I am not most mainstream gamers nor PC users. For as user-friendly as Linux has become, gaming still requires some guesswork, which I've only navigated by completely immersing myself in it. And the direction changes dramatically based on if you're using Team Red or Team Green. It changes based on what flavor of Linux you're using.

    Here's the bottom line, and I hope that everyone involved in the development of every single Linux distributions hears this: It's still far too complicated for the average user. The education is lacking and the documentation that's out there is often difficult to understand.

    I want the gaming ecosystem on Linux to continue improving -- and it's truly fantastic once you have it all figured out -- but there is still serious work to do to appeal to all those folks becoming disenchanted with Windows 10. It all just needs to be simpler.
     
  10. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    So, I've been a linux user for a long time. I am a HUGE fan of linux, and have used one distribution or another as my primary desktop since 2001.

    I still dual boot to Windows for games.

    Here is why:
    • For gaming, you typically want the newest fastest fanciest hardware. This hardware usually takes a while before it has good reliable well performing drivers in Linux. By a while, I mean it can take more than a year. The Ryzen 5 2400G APU i bought for my Fiance still isn't fully stable under Linux. I've gotten the hard freezes down to only the occasional level, but they still happen. It's been out for over a year now, and is based on a CPU architecture that has been out for almost 2 years and a GPU architecture that has been out for a year and a half! Sure, product cycles have slowed, but I still remember a time when a year old CPU or a 6 month old GPU was slow, and a two year old CPU or a year old GPU was damned near practically obsolete. I don't consider this acceptable for game purposes.
    • Most titles don't have native Linux versions, so you are running them in Wine, which even with the fancy DX to Vulkan wrapper (DXVK) is a hack at best.
    • Even native Linux titles tend to have graphical quality and performance hits on Linux compared to Windows, and they are not small.
    • DXVK is a great improvement, but it still has a performance hit.

    In the end, in our modern NVME era, booting a PC takes almost no time. Why sacrifice all these things when you can have the best of both worlds and just dual boot to Windows?
     
  11. mullet

    mullet [H]ard|Gawd

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    If we could all game on Linux, all the worlds problems would melt away and that stupid old guy that claims he doesn't pay enough in taxes and that he doesn't deserve his wealth would fade away like a thumb drive in a seals poop.
     
  12. ManofGod

    ManofGod [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Then there would be one single distribution produced, all the games would Linux Native and we would all hold hands and sing we are the world. :D
     
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  13. ChadD

    ChadD 2[H]4U

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    The main thing keeping Linux from taking over. Is Linux people suggesting stupid distros.

    I have nothing against Ubuntu or Mint or Fedora but they are the wrong distros for most people.

    Ubuntu makes a fine workstation enterprise workstation rollout distro. Fedora is great if you really really want to run a 100% free and open source platform. They are not great end user distros in regards to games. People hear that valve targets some ancient Ubuntu libraries and assume wrongly that Ubuntu must be the best gaming distro.

    https://manjaro.org/

    Is the hands down best option for gamers. It is semi rolling.... (done the way windows 10 should be done) its based on arch but they hold releases for additional testing when needed and skip initial version releases. So a software bit like say MESA (AMD and Intel 3D libraries) wouldn't sihp 18.3.0 to manjaro stable repos... they would wait till 18.3.1 releases at least... unless testing shows they should wait for 18.3.2 However it still is using the latest greatest kernel without having to install extra third party repositories. Same thing for the open source 3D stacks latest greatest delayed by a few weeks for testing.... not months in the case of say Ubuntu unless you install third party PPAs (personal package archives) to by pass the distros intended releases.

    Manjaro installs from a Live USB an has official installs for every major DE... who cares if you like KDE or GNOME or XFCE or Cinn... the DE isn't important really run what you prefer.

    If your running AMD or INTEL GPUs.... when you install Manjaro select "Use free Drivers" and done.
    If your running NV... when you install Manjaro select "use non-free drivers" and done.

    That is it .... on modern hardware Manjaro will take 5-10 min to install and reboot into your new OS,. Steam is installed by default... log in and go to steams settings to turn Steam Play on for all titles. And that is it. Do your updates install your games and GO. If you want things like Lutris its an easy one click install. But the major stuff like drivers... latest kernels ect ect are all taken care of out of the box. And will continue to update once per week forever. With 3 layers of testing... which makes Manjaro one of the most stable distros I have ever used. +

    Forget workstation distros like Ubuntu... forget 100% open source enterprise testing distros like Fedora.

    Manjaro is the best gaming distro, the best new user distro.... and it also happens to be perhaps one of the best power user distros as well. The other "major" distros people yak about and suggest at nauseum are all developed by companies looking to sell support to large Enterprises... as such they are aimed at Enterprise users. They have their place... but its not on a new too Linux gamers drive.

    And before anyone says look a Linux user pointing to more distros.... 1000s of distros is a good thing. There is a Linux distro for every use. The only real issue is figuring out which distro fits the users current needs. So back to this Forbes story... every issue they complain about, boil down to a shit choice for a gaming distro. Latest kernels... latest drivers... non need to use third party repos for basic stuff, all stuff that is sorted by selecting a proper rolling distro. If gaming is your think looking at feature frozen workstation distros first is stupid.
     
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  14. BloodyIron

    BloodyIron 2[H]4U

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    Okay let's break down what you said here...

    1. nVidia has had _DAY ONE_ drivers for graphics card releases for years. AMD will have _DAY ONE_ drivers for Radeon VII, and this is where we hit parity on that part. As for the APU line, what distro, Linux Kernel version and driver are you using? Did you switch to the AMDGPU or what?
    2. So what if it's a hack? You get massive FPS, the gaming details render correctly (with certain game exceptions). I've been playing Overwatch for many months now like this, even competitive, and it doesn't detract from the gaming experience whatsoever. Furthermore, this aspect is continually improving at a development rate faster than DirectX's development rate. I mean, have you even TRIED DOOM (2016) this way? It's literally 1:1 to Windows in FPS and detail...
    3. I'm sorry I simply don't agree with native Linux having graphics quality and performance hits. There are SOME like that, but many that aren't. If you want examples of native games that run like champs, look at Feral's entire library (Hitman, Tomb Raider, and more), Alien: Isolation, Avorion, Bioshock Infinite, Cities: Skylines, ALL of VALVe's titles (CS:GO, DotA 2, TF2, L4D2, etc, etc), Insurgency/Day of Infamy, F1 series, and so much more...
    4. DXVK in many regards is not a performance hit. Sometimes it is, but the majority of examples, it isn't.

    The only games that really aren't feasible within Linux currently, are those that have anti-cheat that don't work on Linux. Like PUBG, Fortnite, and the ilk. This is particularly frustrating because 90%+ of the engine is NATIVE LINUX. Epic just needs to do the last mile with the launcher, and publishing streamlining. UE4 has been NATIVE LINUX for like 5 years now, and this is one area I do find frustrating, but the fault does NOT lie with Linux, it lies with Epic.


     
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  15. Armenius

    Armenius I Drive Myself to the [H]ospital

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    Bill Gates hasn't been CEO of Microsoft since 2000 and he ceased to be majority shareholder in 2014.
     
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  16. katanaD

    katanaD [H]ard|Gawd

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    YEP. My threadripper system takes 17 seconds to boot. 14 of those seconds are from hitting the power, to the BIOS splash screen finishing. the last 3 are windows actually loading.

    I
     
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  17. BloodyIron

    BloodyIron 2[H]4U

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    A rolling distro leads to instabilities from bad commits. If we want to look at "bad Linux distro advice" it's recommending a rolling distro to a Linux newbie.

    Ubuntu is the best distro for a new user to use. And there are other good ones too, sure. But for gaming, Ubuntu has THE MOST people working on and against it, including dev shops like VALVe.

    I have to run, so I didn't read all you wrote here, but at least half of it is already in Ubuntu, with all major DE packages, live USB boot, etc...

    But hey, the thing about Linux is, you can do it youuuuurrrr way!




     
  18. ChadD

    ChadD 2[H]4U

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    BS >.<

    End users need to install Linux and have it work.

    Manjaro is NOT a GIT rolling release. Its a ringed release model... just like Windows 10. Only being open source and having 100s of eyes on code means they don't have the issues MS has making that work.

    Arch pulls some stuff from GIT direct... but most has a bit of testing by them.

    Manjaro pulls the arch packages... and holds them. Only releasing major packages after further testing... and minor ones after a MIn of one bug only release has dropped.

    In my experience Manjaro is 10x more stable then Ubuntu or Fedora. Both of those distros get less and less stable as time goes on... as some packages stay frozen... and others get replaced by users with PPAs and RPMs of newer software. Yes the package managers these days do a better job of ensuring dependencies are updated if needed. However its still a PITA that leads to instability as time goes on. Ubuntu is rock solid on day one of release. On day 200 of use with 100 PPAs installed cause the user wanted the latest drivers the latest libraries for games... and perhaps a new version of Libre ect ect. No it gets down right unstable.

    Trust me install Manjaro on a testing machine... see how stupid easy it is to be up and running on the "almost" latest greatest software. From install to gaming in under 20 min on any decently new machine.
     
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  19. PenGunn

    PenGunn Limp Gawd

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    Wow. All I need windose for is Fallout 76. Everything else runs, and runs better quite often, in my Slackware64 install. Winetricks for the drivers folks. ;)
     
  20. piscian18

    piscian18 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I gotta take his side. Im just not that invested in "troubleshooting". I think as far as home use goes, Linux is a platform for people who enjoy learning things the hard way, poking and prodding. You know I'm clapping for you all the way. You get'm FUCK WINDOWS! and all that jazz, but my goal when I get home from troubleshooting network issues all day fighting centos and redhat bugs and what not I wanna go home, make a white russian and play my fuckin game. I want that immediately, not an hour after when I'm throughly drunk and still fighting launch errors. When people point me at github with no tutorial I'm ready to flip my monitor and just go to a bar. Its that kinna shit that makes people abandon the PC Master Race.
     
  21. ole-m

    ole-m Limp Gawd

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    Same story here.

    Altough I've had much better luck with graphics drivers, they just... work somehow.
    Sometimes I want the massive performance uplifts amd driver team constantly push out and feel the distro's are slooow, I don't like bleeding edge but give me a monthly good update atleast!

    So, you add ppa's and then you run into conflicts with the distro.
    For AMD that is the only issue for dedicated gpu's, and on raven ridge I have no clue how they've messed that up so badly.
     
  22. BloodyIron

    BloodyIron 2[H]4U

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    1. Install Ubuntu
    2. Install STEAM.
    3. Install and play games

    IT DOES WORK. Try it some time.



     
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  23. purple_monster

    purple_monster Limp Gawd

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    i was going to put thought and effort into another long comment, but decided to save some time and just spring $100 for a windows license.
     
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  24. BloodyIron

    BloodyIron 2[H]4U

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    More time is spent troubleshooting Windows and hunting drivers than for Linux. Side by side comparisons demonstrate this, especially for updates.

     
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  25. Darunion

    Darunion 2[H]4U

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    Google certainly doesn't do linux any favors for newbies looking into it, way to show off all the newest titles.....

    30 Best Linux Games On Steam You Should Play in 2018
    • Subscribe to Humble Monthly.
    • CS: GO (Purchase)
    • Left 4 Dead 2 (Purchase)
    • Borderlands 2 (Purchase)
    • Insurgency (Purchase)
    • BioShock: Infinite (Purchase)
    • HITMAN (GOTY)
    • Portal 2 (Purchase)
     
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  26. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    I've been using either Ubuntu or Ubuntu-based Distributions (like Mint) now for ~12 years. I have never even once seen this problem. My system has been rock solid in all of that time.

    Sure stupid people break stuff by doing stupid things, but in the end the key is to remember this. There is little to no value in always having the latest software. It is much better to keep older stable branches that are patched for long time viability. New features are almost never worth it.

    I went through enough years on Gentoo to know that I never want to do a rolling release with the latest packages again. Shit was always breaking and requiring troubleshooting and fixing.

    These days I always use LTS releases, and not even the newest ones. I keep them installed until they are just about ready to have support dropped, and then update to the next version. So, today, most of my servers are still on Ubuntu 14.04. Support ends in April, at which point I will be migrating to 16.04 LTS. This means that by the time I install 16.04, everything will be nice and tested for years and those pesky little bugs will have been combed over and worked out.

    On my desktop I stay a little bit newer. I am currently on Linux Mint 18.3. I see no need to rush and update to the newer versions. I prefer my nice and stable software. I'm not talking about the distribution becoming unstable if you go too new. I'm talking about problems in upstream packages and software.

    Unless you absolutely have to for newer hardware drivers, or some feature that you absolutely have to have (which is rarely the case) it's better to sit back, breathe and stay away from non LTS releases and PPA's.

    The exception then is my Fiance's build I built her last summer with a Ryzen 5 2400G. I have it on the latest Mint 19.1, and I've even installed upstream vanilla 4.20.x kernels, and done special BIOS tweaks (something about the PSU, can't remember) and it still has occasional random hard freezes. They happen much less often than when I first set it up with the later software and kernels, but it still happens. At this point I have no idea if it is the CPU compatibility, the GPU drivers, or something else.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2019
  27. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    Agreed. I have been using them for years.

    Correct me if I am wrong though, but since we are talking about gaming on Linux, much of the recent focus of Linux gaming has been AMD focused since AMD apparently has better DXVK support or something like that.

    Now, while Nvidia's binary blob drivers are usually their best drivers, and their open source drivers generally are lackluster, on AMD the opposite has been true for at least the last 10-15 years or so. Their binary closed source (FireGL?) drivers are generally regarded as being pretty poor, unstable and buggy, and their open source drivers are generally the preferred ones for best use. The open source drivers are not available eon day one though.
     
  28. /dev/null

    /dev/null [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I've had to wait an hour + with win10 updating & games updating & have given up....

    I've learned to never expect to jump right into a game if I haven't played in a month.
     
  29. Darunion

    Darunion 2[H]4U

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    Which really is the model for any platform now sadly. Not sure what the solution is if any, I mean I suppose auto updating could always be enabled and with access but that is scary too.

    Turn a ps4 or xbone on after a few months of it off/disconnected and don't expect to game that night lol.
     
  30. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    I don't understand this.

    At least with Steam (I don't use any other platforms) your game is either installed, in which case it is kept up to date daily, or it is not installed in which case you download the whole thing over again.

    Now I am lucky, I have gigabit internet and Steam is usually able to max it out, so I rarely spend more than 10-15 minutes for any game download, but I do realize I am in the lucky minority here, but hours for an update doesn't make sense.
     
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  31. ordray

    ordray n00b

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    Or if you don't have Steam open on startup, then nothing gets updated. You also have to deal with data caps in certain areas and speed limitations (20Mbps and 40GB/mo before throttling to dialup speed.) Solution would be to just turn off auto update if you don't want to deal with it and just update when you want to or have the time.
     
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  32. Vercinaigh

    Vercinaigh Gawd

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    Because it's not Windows content. Just read post history XP.
     
  33. awawa

    awawa n00b

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    I must say all your talk gave me the itch to try, so I will. That said, why is Manjaro's logo so God damn awful?
     
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  34. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    I don't think its a stretch to say that Forbes isn't the first publication to come to mind for tech articles.

    They are primarily known as a business and finance news source, and not a very good or accurate one at that.
     
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  35. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    I'd argue that's just a matter of preference. I kind of like the straight line block based simplicity of it.

    I'd give Manjaro a try, but honestly, I have no desire to ever use a Distribution that isn't built around the Apt package manager ever again.

    I don't even want to have anything to do with Snaps, Flatpak or AppImage.

    I try to never install anything on my systems that is not handled in th emain package manager, nothing manually compiled or distributed via binary installers (unless those binary installers are managed by the package manager, like Nvidia drivers are on Ubuntu based distributions)

    Be 100% Apt based, or go away :p
     
  36. awawa

    awawa n00b

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    Ubuntu is apt based yet pushes containers more than all the others for the Desktop version. At least that's what I got when I tried to install some programs from the store (using the GUI). It was confusing. Why on earth would I want Nextcloud-client on a container?

    Debian is quite polished after you sort whatever driver issues you'll have, because non-free isn't even an option unless you use advanced setup with 3000 menus. I understand why they do that, but I like to get cozy with something I can make a plan to mass-install. I have quite a few machines and I can't resist playing with all of them - all the time - so that means frequent reinstalls. I had time - and the nerve - for 3000 menus in 1997. Not anymore.

    Fedora works great out of the box on most machines. However, stability seems to be going downhill recently. I know that's expecred, but it is there. Also, the XFCE flavor went downhill, so I had to go GNOME. After 238921821 plugins it is quite nice, and my current daily driver. Still, I like the fact that XFCE can be nice out of the box, and it doesn't need all the 238921821 plugins to become reasonable.

    So I am off to try Manjaro XFCE. :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2019
  37. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

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    Yeah, I used to really like Ubuntu up until ~2011 or so, but after that they really went down the wrong path on the desktop (their server editions are still good)

    This is why I switched to Mint. All the parts of Ubuntu I like, without any of the parts I don't.
     
  38. awawa

    awawa n00b

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    I may have had terrible luck, but Mint was awfully slow on my machines. The best one is an i3-4170, and most of them are sticker-modded Xeons (771 to 775, Core 2 Based), so there's that. Still, Fedora runs great on them, even with GNOME
     
  39. horskh

    horskh Limp Gawd

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    Last I saw Windows could be had for $35. But your soul, well, how much of a price do you put on that?
     
  40. Stoly

    Stoly [H]ardness Supreme

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    Or even better, just use windows
     
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