What's your favorite distro, and why?

S. Dale Morrey sdalemorrey at gmail.com
Tue Dec 3 13:45:15 MST 2013

I've been feeling some serious hate towards modern distros as of late.

I have what I thought would be a portable desktop, i.e. Quad Core
processor, high end graphics, oodles of ram etc.
I've tried Ubuntu & friends, RH & friends, Gentoo etc.
All seem either bloated and slow, or a PITA to get up and running, some
just choose not to run at all.

The major problem has been UEFI support.  My bios can disable it, but then
the distro(s) still hiccup and refuse to come fully alive after install.
 This is true even though the live cd's work fine.

If the distro supports UEFI it will at least install and boot.

Ubuntu has been the worst on this laptop, I literally have a "System Error"
dialog box that pops up every 30 seconds no matter how many times I dismiss
it.  I'm hardly a noob.  I've been using linux actively for over a decade
(literally since 1998 and exclusively since 2002). I should know how to
make this go away without wiping it, but sadly I can't seem to track it
down.  It seems to be something coming from power management, but I really
don't have the time to track it down at the moment and there is no way to
just make it shut up and go away.  No it's just got to throw a system modal
dialog box in my face within 1 minute of dismissing it.

At the moment I have a 10 minute boot time, most of which is spent on a
black screen with the words "scanning for btrfs file systems".  But even
after that point, boot up and time to a working desktop are so painfully

This laptop is 1 year old today.

I've been looking at Suse lately and it's been running like a top on all of
my EC2 instances, seems significantly faster than ubuntu server and much
easier to configure than RHEL.  Haven't tried it on my laptop, but when I
do my quarterly wipe / reinstall I'm planning to make the jump.  If that
fails I think I'll just put win8 onto this laptop and give it to someone I
don't like.

On Tue, Dec 3, 2013 at 12:00 PM, Nicholas Leippe <nick at leippe.com> wrote:

> 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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