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Warm Welcome to Linux

For easiness, let me call it "Linux" and not GNU/Linux/whatever

Ignorance is a Blessing

Trying to live a more minimal life has its ups and downs. Having been out of the loop for such a long time, the world and the years ahead, look different from under a rock. With many breakthroughs in many fields at once, it seems impossible to catch up. To me, none of that matters much, as I prefer just playing with my kids. My off the entire grid life taught me to enjoy the simple things.

Now With More Broken Glass

PC users are having a tantrum spiral as many Windows rumors turn out to be true. Who knew all these wonderful features could be ever more wonderful (/s). Some have even sworn to move elsewhere. As one who has tried to move since Windows 8 (I dub it H8 BTW), I have tried hopping many times over the decade and have stayed with the basic friendly guidelines (common sense really). The year of the Linux (TM) (R) (C) may finally come, maybe.

DistroWatch, I Choose You

The common sense I advocate mainly revolves around DistroWatch. High ranking distributions (indicated by the hits per day chart) are generally more favorable for many reasons; stability, support, user-friendliness, friendliness of other users and so on. Over the past few years, I have usually recommended the three major M named distros; Mint, Manjaro, and MX. They have had high favorability over the past decade. A first impression is a lasting one.

Short Backstory

My first distro into the Linux distros that I fondly remember started off with Ubuntu as it was the first of its kind back in the day. Many distros were too freedom oriented, and preferred not to include much needed drivers, media codecs, filesystem support and so on. This all changed when Ubuntu broke out of the mold. Nowadays, there are only a few that try to stay true to these old teachings. It was revolutionary at the time when even complete beginners could be happy with a completed, ready to rumble install without bloodshed.

My friends also wanted a stab at Linux and asked me for help. They wanted a simpler experience than Ubuntu. After browsing around for a bit, we decided on Mint. The experience was even more laid back, and something that can be better for beginners. After using it for over a year, I wanted to try Ubuntu again, until I heard some funny rumors. Browsing the Mint site, they started to offer a Debian option, and I decided to finally try Debian after hearing they started to ease on their too freedom ways.

As with many distros, having a large repository may not be enough for some, adding custom PPAs (Personal Package Archives, or 3rd party repositories) was the norm. Whilst staying truly Debian, this can add to a FrankenDebian, and might mess up the upgrade procedure. That is when I decided to try a rolling release distro again, but this time it was Debian Sid (I prefer calling it Unstable, and calling the next stable as Testing). My kitchen PC, which I built back in college 2009, with a top of the line DDR2, is still happily running with the initial Unstable I had installed. It really says something, as long as we RTFM.

There Are Plenty of Fish in the Sea

Trying something new is scary, but there are tools out there to ease the pain. YUMI and Ventoy can help with the discovery phase of distro hopping. They are tools we can use to download ISOs onto our USB flash drives. The kicker is, they can support many bootable disks on one installation. The icing on the cake, they support persistency. We can try their default installers, save our persistent data, try something else, and return to where we left off.

Most Linux apps try to be portable (in a different sense of the word, for another topic) by nature and try to be self-contained. Now there are portable app frameworks that try to do more. I am more AppImage oriented as they are truly portable, without the need for additional software.

After some Frankensteining of my own, I have a USB installed MX as a pocket OS that can be used on literally any hardware. Most common factory default boot options tend to favor booting from USB drives as the first boot option. A few years ago, a new storm called Bedrock Linux caught Frankensteiners by surprise, and this is where I am with my daily driver everyday laptop.

Choose Your Destiny

There are plenty of choices in the Linux distro world, too many as said before. Too much of a good thing can be bad at times, and that can split focus on trivial things instead of pushing to what matters more. At the end of the day, don't worry too much about what you choose as most of the time, most distros tend to be the same, it is the nitty gritty details that only slightly set them apart. Of course this was just an oversimplification, as the iceberg is always larger underneath.

So many choices, so little time, so part 2

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