re: Choosing a Linux distro VIEW POST


Random reminder: If you want more freedom, BSD or illumos might also be considered. Often overlooked, they come with a longer tradition (BSD has been there since the late 70s, illumos was born as SunOS in the early 80s) and a loyal fanbase without the init system war.

If you absolutely want to use Linux anyway, keep in mind that most distributions are interchangeable. They only have different default desktops and slightly different installers but you can mostly do anything with all of them alike.


I love BSDs, actually started programming on it with fluxbox as minimalistic desktop manager but now when considering a new OS I have to rule them out because the lack of docker support.
By any chance, do you know if anything has changed (or planned) on this matter ?


The BSDs had some kind of containers long before containers had this name. You can usually mirror most of what Docker does without using any extra software on them.

I accept that some people desperately "need" Docker for reasons. Generally, Docker exists on FreeBSD (experimentally) and OpenBSD (when run inside a Linux VM) and most (?) of their particular "distributions"/forks. I have not tested that.

Yes I'm familiar with jails and chroot. I find them way better at what they do but this is another topic. Unfortunately it had to be Docker because of external "reasons" that are not giving me much choice :)


PC-BSD was very interesting. But everytime I tried it, it didn't boot to the gui. Because of that I sticked with Linux.


illumos was born as SunOS in the early 80s)

The SunOS that Illumos was born from was SunOS 5/Solaris — originally a SysV-derived OS. The 80s SunOS that was derived from BSD was SunOS 4.

Illumos was one of the projects I played with late in the part of my career where I was Solaris engineer for a a global ISP. A number of us looked at Illumos and Nexenta because Oracle kept throwing the viability of OpenSolaris in doubt ...before eventually killing it altogether. Both were options where we could have Solaris-y systems at home, keeping our work-related skills up, without having to pay to run Solaris.

and a loyal fanbase without the init system war.

Mostly because all of the people that slit their wrists over Solaris's SMF left the field. And, let me tell you, when Solaris 10 (SunOS 5.10) came out, the hue and cry about SMF was similar to that around systemd. ;)


Thank you for the correction. Put it in relation, even today's "BSD" began its life as the Net/2 release, over a decade later...

I came to Solaris too late, in 2017. Still trying to understand some of its deeper semantics. What I can tell is that it is incredibly well-thought. No surprise given the mind power that gave it its life...

SMF does not seem to break my boot process though. ;-)

Sounds like you missed the joy of the post-Berkeley FreeBSD/NetBSD/OpenBSD days. In the waning years of my time at college, those BSDs and Linux were all beta-level offerings. Post college and jonesing for my own UNIX-y system to run at home, I tried all of them. Eventually settled on Linux (with forays into IRIX and Solaris in the mid-90s and then Solaris, AIX and HPUX in the mid-2000s). These days, mostly RHEL/CentOS ...because it's what pays the bills. =)

When SMF first came out, it had a lot of teething pains similar to systemd's. Then again, so did a number of technologies in Solaris 10 (and OpenSolaris). ZFS, LDOMs and Zones all had their joys. Being a tinkerer, I ended up finding a lot of "edge cases" (as their Support group liked to call them). Fortunately, the most frequent "edge cases" happened at home. That said, during my (third-part vendor-partner) consulting days, I had to help one large financial institution that got bit pretty bad by a scheduler problem on a SF25000 attached to a large EMC array presenting a few thousand LUNs.

At any rate, haven't really touched Solaris since I sat for my Solaris 11 SA test. Sun had offered me it, at the time, as a beta test-taker as part of their efforts to get people to adopt Solaris 11. Other than helping customers move from Solaris to RHEL/CentOS, haven't really had to deal with Solaris since 2008.


Very much agreed, I did look into BSD or Illumos but didn't end up taking a liking to either (I'm incredibly picky). I've always loved Linux and used most of the ones above, but finally setting with one was a tough challenge. Don't necessarily need complete freedom I just tend to mess around with things quite a bit when I feel like doing so. Even though they're older Kernels they are great to use if you want to do so.

Plus I found the Mint look really pretty.


Mint is lovely, GFX-wise. I heard that their theme was ported to other distributions though.

I heard the same thing, I believe it's not all from one other distro. But the end layout of it is very nice.

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