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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

How to stop distro hopping?!

How to stop distro hopping?!

This is the million dollar question. There are many Linux users out there who have a habit of installing a new Linux distribution on their machines just to check out the new stuff. This is very good if you are new to Linux and are trying to get yourself comfortable with Linux. Many people just like to tinker with their systems so they switch Linux Distributions often. Since Linux gives you the freedom you deserve, you are free to use whatever you want, and modify anything about your system.

Switching to a new Linux distribution for some really genuine reason is great. For example you wanted the latest version of a software and you can't get get it in the repos of your current Distro nor could you find any third party repo for your software. You are not able to compile it as well since its dependencies are too many to rebuild you would rather rebuild the whole system. In this case switching to a new distro where things are better would make sense. I appreciate this kind of distro hop. I have done it in the beginning and so did most of us.

Distro hopping is not a problem in the start of your journey in the Linux world. It is just a way to find the best Option for you. There are however times when people would switch distributions just because they feel to. Or they feel something is not working in the current distro and they came to know from somewhere that things would be better if they used a different distro.

Distro hopping can be frustrating at times when you find out that the very reason you switched from your earlier distro is still there. You can't get rid of the issues even with the new distribution, or may be your perception of the new Distro was actually not true. There is really not much difference between your current Distro, and found this only after spend a good couple of hours installing and setting things up for yourself with this new distro.

Many times because things did not fix by distro hopping, many people begin thinking as to whether they should be using Linux in the first place. The reasons behind distro hopping are always justified by the user, mostly because they are not able to do their work because of an issue and their perception that distro hopping is the only solution is the motivating force behind this behaviour. If distro hopping does not solve the issues or causes new issues but resolves the old ones This kind of forms a vicious circle and the end result is frustration.I am saying this from personal experience. There were times when I almost lost hope and wanted to go back to using Windows which I had already paid for while buying the hardware.

I have been using Linux since past 5 years. I have seen Linux on the desktop evolve to what it is now. I have been distrohopping all along these years. I have been mostly attracted by the urge to use new software and then Try different desktop environments.. I have used almost all the top 50 distributions on distrowatch. I liked one thing or the other from each of these distributions. It took me time to understand the philosophy behind each distro and then to realize the same while using them on a day to day basis.

I have finally settled down with Ubuntu 14.04.3 LTS. Because of practical implications. It is stable and will be supported for a long time. I have no pressing need for getting the latest and greatest of all software I use. Most of my favourite software are on their most recent versions via 3rd party PPAs. Overall the System is stable and I love Unity Desktop Environment.

So How did I stop distro hopping?

My distro hopping was literally becoming my only OCD. I could' not stop thinking about how other Linux distros are better than my existing one. No matter I what distro I was using I always felt there was something better out there. I always thought I cloud do better with a different Desktop Environment and different Distribution.

I would format my Laptop almost every week. This happened for around 1 year. Over this period of time, my brain kept filtering the thoughts behind distro hoping. I was able to think only in terms of two distributions in the end. Ubuntu based and Arch Based.

I love Arch Linux and Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, I have been hopping from one to another over the past year. I must say both have their strengths and weaknesses. I don't want to compare both however I want to lay down a few points which could help you stop hopping distros.

Here is how this worked in my case

-- Since you have been distro hopping already for some time you should be able to write down the top reasons for switching from the current distro.

-- Then you should be able to figure out top reasons for switching to the new distro.

-- You should know your favourite Desktop Environment, In my case I like Unity and KDE.

-- You should know how comfortable you are around adding and removing software from a system. I mean whether or not you are more than a new Linux user. Do you understand the inner working of the distribution you are on currently and the new one you plan to switch to .

--Do you know your way around the System, package management etc.

--Does your current distro have all software you need in their repos, or is it easy to get a third party repo for it or even compile it from source?

-- Do you prefer a stable less changing system like I do or do you like to have the latest an greatest of everything and are not afraid of occasional breakages.

However the Only big question to ask yourself is this.


And if there is , should you not rather fix the issue than changing to a new distribution? You would learn more things about the distribution while fixing your issues than installing a new distribution.

And if there are no ways to fix the issue, Should you not reinstall the same OS again and try, if not what is the assurance that the new distro will not give you the the same pain.

At the end of the day, We need our computers to do some work, Like I am writing this post, If I had to do a new Linux Distro installation every day, or every week, When would I be able to do productive work? I say no, Because so far I have only been formatting my system every week. sometimes 2-3 times a week, It was total madness !!


Considering all of the above I made a decision to use Ubuntu 14.04 until Ubuntu 16.04 comes out. I am sure that I will not switch OS anytime soon.

I would however miss GENTOO!!

Thanks for reading and I hope this helps you in stopping distro hopping.