What's your favorite distro, and why?

Nicholas Leippe nick at leippe.com
Tue Dec 3 13:00:24 MST 2013

I currently prefer gentoo. I started with Caldera, then Mandrake, RedHat,
LFS, and now gentoo, with some Debian sprinkled in the middle. Debian used
to be *the* distro of choice for non-x86 arches. Now it's probably
approaching a toss-up between Debian and gentoo, although Debian probably
still wins.

LFS was a fantastic learning experience--which is why I chose to use it for
a while. Gentoo seems to be a very nice compromise between having to
configure and maintain everything (zero package management) and only
configuring what you specifically want to (portage is an extremely capable
package manager--on par with or possibly exceeding apt in some features).

As for compile times on my desktop--I just let it do that while I sleep so
it's already a non-issue--but I rarely do long-running compiles anyways.
(KDE updates at most monthly, and besides KDE no other packages take more
than a minute or two tops anymore with CPUs these days.)

While gentoo is most certainly primarily a source-based distro, it is more
correctly called a "meta distribution" because you can very easily create a
customized repo with binary packages optimized for a specific need for mass
distribution. Give each one a profile name and now you have your own family
of binary distros for each purpose in your network--all with full upstream
package tracking via portage.

At a prior employer I maintained two custom live-cd distros based off of
gentoo, each for 5 different architectures--it really was a breeze.

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