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Monday, November 10, 2014

What GNU/Linux distribution do I use?


What GNU/Linux distribution do I use?

I am sure after reading my blog, you must be wondering as to what GNU/Linux distribution does Rajat use?.

Before I tell you about the GNU/Linux distribution, I would like to tell you something else. I am going to discuss the use case for a user of Linux like me. I am a Linux power user, I was not a power user around 5 years ago when I first met Linux Mint. I was a noob so to say. I had very little or no Knowledge of Linux.
That is when my journey in Linux began. It was a very fascinating for a person who's main OS for all this time has been windows. I know many of my friends are reading my blog, they know what I am talking about.
I was very much excited by the simple fact that there was an OS which I could use for free. I used Linux Mint for some time. As my knowledge of Linux Increased over the time, I realized that Linux Mint was based on Ubuntu. I started searching about Ubuntu and in no time I was on Ubuntu.

I used Ubuntu for some time and it is a very common fact that too much choice can spoil you, and I was no exception. I was in no time switching from one Linux distribution to another. I kept doing like this for a couple of years. I spent 2 months, sometimes 6 months with a distro and then moved on.

The quest for finding out my perfect Linux distribution was like never ending. I however knew that there was some Linux distribution made just for people like me. Linux has so much freedom and so many distributions to choose from so there must be something for me.

As most of my friends know I always enjoy challenges and I always like to do things differently. So I kept on going through the list of distribuitions available on distrowatch.com and I kept on installing them all one by one.

After around 2 years of doing this, I made my list which best matched my requirement, which was simple.

  1. Performance
  2. Games
  3. Elegant Desktop.

The list was small,
  1. Ubuntu
  2. Arch
  3. Gentoo

I enjoyed Ubuntu because of Unity and easy of installing software, software availability and hardware compatibility. I moved on because of something that most people like about, PPAs

The PPAs I used mostly took time to update, sometimes people forgot to update them to match a new release. Also the 6 month release cycle was not something I was happy with, I always wanted latest and greatest software. So I moved to Arch.

I enjoyed the simplicity and freedom arch provided, I learnt a lot from Arch, I got latest and greatest software and I was able to enjoy a lot of different desktop environments. That is where I tried KDE for the first time and I was so happy. I was able to get everything done. Arch has the best documentation in the Linux world. There is a wiki for almost everything, communty is great. However over 6 months my install broke because of updates a couple of time. So my search started again. However by this time, my thoughts about Linux had changed a bit and I had acquired new knowledge.
I had started liking the rolling release model and the flexibility that Arch offers, I wanted something similar. My requirement had changed from latest and greatest to rolling and stable. Most rolling release distributions suffer from the same problems, especially in case of Arch and derivatives. So I tested Debian Testing which I did not like that much, in my eyes Debian is the best Server OS, Using it on Desktop is kind of tricky and requires a lot of tweaking. I also tried Manjaro which I liked a lot, it however had issues installing latest ATI Drivers, mhwd tool is your only way and if there is a beta driver of ATI I can't use it.

So one day I was looking at distrowatch and I came across GENTOO it looked an unusual distribution to me not so popular still not dead. Great history and it is SOURCE BASED. Which means every single program in the OS is compiled from ground up on your system. Which gives great performance. It is very stable and yet rolling and always updated with latest packages. There is only one Caveat using this distro, it can take long time installing and updating if you are running an older hardware with less powerful CPU. Compiling software is a time consuming process and because of this Gentoo can take hours to install or may be days if your system is not a powerhouse.

So I used Gentoo for a while and kept on testing it. Gentoo has some great documentation and great forum. Getting support on Gentoo is not difficult but one has to have patience as the benefits are great.

I am not saying Gentoo is the best. It is best for me, not necessarily for everyone out there. So I have still to find a reason to not use Gentoo, I think after using it for more than a year I can't find any reason to switch to any other distribution.

I use Gentoo, for reasons of my own. It a great GNU/Linux Distribution definitely not for new users. But I use it anyways.

Thanks for reading, I hope you liked my journey in GNU/Linux.

Please do comment and let me know your feedback.