Confessions of a distro hopper

Hi, I’m Josh, a born again Linux user that somehow became a distro hopper.

Sadly, I’m not entirely sure when I had lost control.

If you look at my track record prior to switching back from OS X last year, I
had only really used two distros (Slackware and Ubuntu) for any notable stretch
of time.

Hell, I’ve never even used a *BSD!

I guess this was to be expected though. After my time trapped inside the walled
garden that is Apple, I wanted to make sure that my next stop was the right one.

Coming back to Ubuntu was the obvious choice, so that was my first distro back.

It was familiar and still as solid as I remember it out of the box. I went with
vanilla Ubuntu because I wanted to see what Unity 8 was all about while using
GNOME as my daily drive.

Unity still sucked, Unity 8 seemed like a shoddy alpha release so I went ahead
and switched to Ubuntu GNOME.

But not before trying out Arch!

I was able to overcome the learning curve and get Arch up and running, but ran
into some issues running multiple monitors that scared my ass back over to
Ubuntu this time by way of Ubuntu GNOME.

Still not happy with the bloatware that is Ubuntu or the fact that I had to run
a flavor of Ubuntu to get a solid GNOME experience, I started to get antsy once

I’m also still pretty bitter that Canonical sunsetted Ubuntu One 😉

Longing for a rolling release, I decided to give openSUSE Tumbleweed a try.

I only ran it for a week and was pretty damn impressed with the installer and
how feature-rich it was. Like Ubuntu, it still seemed pretty bloated to me.

Not to mention the fact that I was battling quite a bit of self-loathing because
I was running an RPM-based distribution.

Instead of running back to Canonical, I decided that I should finally take the
plunge and run Debian.

Debian had the package manager that I already know and love, but also seemed
quite trim in comparison to Ubuntu. Trim, but not quite as trim as a base Arch

Debian also has the MO of not having the most up to date packages… err, I
mean, being stable. In effort to have more current packages, I went ahead and
ran Debian Testing which was just before Stretch at the time.

I would have went with Unstable/sid but I didn’t like what I had read about how
security updates worked for the unstable branch. Testing seemed like it would
get me a bit closer to bleeding edge.

Well, not really.

Sure, it was stable as fuck, rarely giving me any issues, but I was still behind
on the latest version of GNOME even at the time of this writing.

I was cool with Testing being frozen and then becoming Stretch for the major
release, but I assumed that the moment after the release that packages would
have been updated to something closer to the current releases.

One feature I really wanted was Night Light in GNOME. I had a version of GNOME
that included it in every other distro that I had tried with the exception of

Fast forward to today. I’ve been running Debian for a few months now and love
the familiar package manager and the stability that I have had, but it’s not
quite up to snuff for me on the desktop.

I had somehow convinced my longtime friend Dean to give Arch a try and
was subsequently re-inspired to give it a shot myself.

A lot of the issues I had ran into in the past with Arch seem to be resolved, or
I am just a bit more ahead of the curve than I once was.

I have had Arch on my beater laptop for a month or so but have decided to give
it an honest shot as my daily driver for the week.

If all goes well, my distro hopping days should be a thing of the past. I
haven’t seen much out there in distro land that’s interested me and my major
pain points (bloated and lacking the latest versions of software) are both
satisfied by Arch.

I still wouldn’t dare to run Arch on a server though. Debian Stable all the way
for stuff like that!

Would love to hear about what distro(s) everybody is running and why, comment

Josh Sherman - The Man, The Myth, The Avatar

About Josh

Husband. Father. Pug dad. Musician. Founder of Holiday API, Head of Engineering and Emoji Specialist at Mailshake, and author of the best damn Lorem Ipsum Library for PHP.

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