The joys of distro hopping

Whelp, it was a good run with Debian (Stable) this year, but the time finally
came to switch back over to Arch Linux. A week in, and a backlog of new blog
posts to write later, I think I finally figured out why I find distro hopping so

Over the years, I’ve used just about every type of Linux out there. Starting on
Slackware, moving to Gentoo, then off to Ubuntu. From Ubuntu to a jaunt with OS X, then to OpenSUSE, over to Debian, and eventually Arch.

At this point, I primarily go between Debian and Arch, with macOS in the mix as
well. The jumping between Debian and Arch usually boils down to wanting /
needing stability or wanting access to the Arch User Repository (AUR) for every
package I could ever think of.

This year’s journey was all about stability, and trying to focus on being
productive and not focusing on fixing my machine, hence dumping Arch for Debian.

Fast forward 8 months or so, and while Debian was pretty damn stable, I struggled to get certain apps installed, so it wasn’t quite the perfect experience I had hoped for. I could have used something like Flatpak or Snap, but I’ve yet to embrace those things, and quite possibly never will.

So back over to Arch I went. A week later, my system is stable, up to date, and
as previously mentioned, I have a backlog of blog content to write. The backlog
of content is nice, because I do love documenting the little things I’ve run into, primarily because I use my blog as my own reference. Future Josh is always a fan of having things documented.

So that’s the “why” I recently distro hopped, yet again, but not really the “joys” of it. Not spelled out, at least.

The joy of distro hopping, for me, is the initial setup. From installation, to getting the software packages installed. Then sorting through the handful of
errors and issues that may come up.

Doing this on distros I’m not overly familiar with, brings an extra level of enjoyment, as there’s a lot of “figuring shit out”, which is a lot of what I love about software engineering as a whole. Solving problems.

This also became very apparent as I’ve gotten into retro gaming handhelds. I
have a handful of them now, and the “game” I play the most with each one, is the initial setup. Figuring out which OS to run, flashing the microSD card, adding ROMs and BIOS dumps, and eventually loading up meta data and artwork and videos.

There’s a sense of accomplishment that comes out it, that’s a nice bonus. Hell,
I still remember the first time I got Arch installed and booted up. Pretty sure
I posted a picture of it somewhere to mark the occasion.

So yeah, that whole process, to me, is where I find joy in distro hopping. It’s
certainly not for everybody, but if you’re interested in learning about different Linux distributions, distro hopping is definitely one way to do it.

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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