Open Ballot: Distro hopping

Distros

Distros are funny things. We love some, we love to hate others and we're pretty ambivalent about a few. However, underneath they're based on basically the same code base. Most distros have a similar choice of desktop environments and the same applications, so they should all be pretty similar right? What we want to know this fortnight is: what causes you to leave a distro and install a new flavour of Linux?

Is it that you just fancy a change; the digital equivalent of itch feet? Perhaps you find something lacking, or hardware support that's just not up to par. Has your distro of choice changed as you've gained more experience in Linux, or has a new distro appeared that eclipsed your previous favourite?

And a bonus question for any distro maintainers in the audience: What caused you to create your own distro?

As always, let us know your thoughts in the comments below and we'll read out the best in our podcast later in the week.

(Hat tip to devilment on IRC freenode channel linuxformat for the question)

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Your comments

Distro Hoping

I am currently using Ubuntu and Lubuntu is my preferance because of less RAM usage. I will be migrating to Debian because I have a module (operating system practice) in UNISA (South Africa) to take this semester.

I wish to gain skills to custom build my distro in order to build a day to day desktop that is Less RAM hungry and is able to be better customised.

Distro Hoping

I am currently using Ubuntu and Lubuntu is my preferance because of less RAM usage. I will be migrating to Debian because I have a module (operating system practice) in UNISA (South Africa) to take this semester.

I wish to gain skills to custom build my distro in order to build a day to day desktop that is Less RAM hungry and is able to be better customised.

distrohopper

different distro's for different purposes:

- scientific linux as free alternative to redhat linux for webshops etc. I put more confidence in RHEL / SL for security reasons. Note that I avoid centos, because SL has more money behind it. (I think so, being maintained by Cern)

- ubuntu: for my gaming machine, I switched because of the support by steam, otherwise I love to hate ubuntu :)

- mint, yes, it's ubuntu somehow but less controversial in some regards. It is quick and feels more responsive. I like mate altough I'm more a KDE person. Also for htpc, my wife is most comfortable with Mint/Mate.

- fedora core at work to be a little consistant with rhel etc but it has more interesting newer stuff, a look into the future of rhel/sl as far as that goes. (the future looks great but is uncertain system-d-linux anyone?)

- gentoo: moved away from it. I took it as a challenge but compiling takes more time. very flexible system however, learned a lot from it.

- I did try mageia but did not feel like learning another packaging system etc. (not yet maybe in near future) I got a colleage who works on the mageai team so I am interested.

- moved away from debian 'cause of the "this distro is dead" feeling. Although I know it's far from dead. I have more faith in RHEL/SL/CENTOS for security. And it's not a desktop home system, not bleeding edge enough.

- NEVER will use oracle/unbreakable linux out of principle; everything they (oracle) touch turns to SHIT! I HATE THEM profoundly. :)

- SUSE: also feels like an enemy cause of the microsoft affiliations. Although I have seen it in quiet a few appliances like vcenter from vmware and the lefthand storage systems from (now) HP.

- slackware: my first linux (not so long ago mind you) Back then I did not get the packaging-systems so compiled mysql and apache by hand. Abandoned it when I moved on to Debian because of the fancy apt system.

Not sure if I forgot some distros except a lot of one-timers or live-security-distro's like knoppix, backtrack, ...

different reasons each time

I started out with RedHat.

Then I moved to Linux From Scratch when I was feeling braver and wanted to learn more.

Then I moved to Gentoo when I missed package management.

Then I moved to Ubuntu when I wanted to try out video games on Linux (when Steam was released, it's still very Ubuntu-focused).

Then I moved to Fedora when I missed up-to-date packages.

Then I moved to ArchLinux when I missed not having to deal with RPM / yum.

I'm pretty happy with ArchLinux. It's hard to predict what will make me wander again. I do want to play with whatever replaces yum, so maybe I'll give Fedora 20 or 21 a go.

Unity

Love it, simple as.

The modern desktop metaphor is getting a bit long in the tooth, I grew up with computers and never had a physical desktop that didn't have a computer on it. So many of the graphical metaphors used in the traditional WIMP paradigm I have no common reference point as to why they are what they are.

A desktop based on rapid searching and collecting the most common things I use and making it available to me instantly suits my work habits, even if I do have to turn off the Amazon shopping lens first.

Arch

Reason I switch to Arch:
-large repo.
-light and highly coinfigurable(follows KISS principle)
-good package manager
-great community
-bleeding age
-and also good compiz support

I had tried other distros. But due to above reasons I am satisfied with Arch. If I had prefered stability over bleeding edge, I would have choosen Debian.

Hopping around on my netbook

On my desktop I have been using Ubuntu since 8.04 and can't see myself leaving Ubuntu anytime soon.

However the only reason I have distro hopped in the past was to find the perfect netbook distro. I tried many Ubuntu versions, Bodhi Linux and finally settled on xUbuntu 13.04 which works really well since the core of Ubuntu 13.04 was optimized for mobile/less powerful devices.

Mint

Mint xfce (ubuntu version of mint) with compiz. Full stop, end of story !

One reason would be a

One reason would be a compelling new DE I really wanted to run, or failure of old distro to support new hardware.
But I've discovered over time that there's only about 4-5 distros worth the bother. It's not really as diverse as we like to think here in Linuxland.

Many reasons erupt

1. The distro has to support my hardware. Once it doesn't, I have to switch. I had to migrate my BeagleBoard-xM from a flavor of Ubuntu over to Debian Jessie.

2. Support is also key. Going all in for one DE that I don't use over all others led to me leaving openSUSE and wandering for a little while.

3. Tiny Core Linux is great but you end up feeling a little boxed in. It does seem to run on nearly any x86 hardware. Having it run on the Raspberry Pi was a nice switch from Raspbian briefly.

4. The goal is to find what works.

This penguin never consciously hopped ...

I have never consciously "distro-hopped" because everything I do is data-centred - I always use non-proprietry and open-standards data storage, and the precise distribution becomes fairly insignificant. (Except when a distribution becomes a coercive, non-free entity).

I choose to use two very different distributions on my laptop and my desktop (at present it is Mint on the laptop and Fedora on the Desktop). It makes a lot of sense to have two different package managers and so on, to test that things I do will work in any environment.

Most data ends up in old standards anyway - you can't go far wrong with text files, CSV and other work-horses for stats and text processing. Audio, images and video are a slight ethical problem, but in practical terms there are open-source solutions to handle most widely-available formats - and we are stuck with a huge legacy of proprietary, non-free encodings, but they work.

Mint Cinnamon

I started experimenting with Linux when Microsoft came out with Vista. I went through about 100 distros, always trying to see which was "a little better than" a previous try, especially for hardware support, networking (including VPN), multimedia, and getting out of the way so I could work and play. I kept coming back to Mint because it "just worked" on almost every computer or stick I tried.

Then the fiasco with Gnome started. I didn't like KDE because of the confusing app names and its relative slowness - I like a relatively simple, but full-featured, DE. I tried Unity (hated it), XFCE (nice, lightweight, but not as plug-and-play as I like), LXDE (even more work, but lighter and faster).

I built a pretty decent Arch desktop, but the maintenance overhead, although fun, was to time-consuming for me.

I tried Mint Debian because I like the idea of a rolling distro. But the latest versions seem to be more rough-edged than previously.

So I'm back to Mint, with Cinnamon. Feels at home (for me).

KDE & Other WM's

Every time I try and get the urge to try to use KDE in Ubuntu 12.04, it generally ends up hosing my setup and then I'm back at the command line after booting, so then it's off to restoring Unity.

I've now gotten into the habit of trying different distros and window managers by booting them from USB to try out the OS/WM, and it's worked quite well (except for that time I accidentally wiped my OS by typing the wrong command that one time - ended up on an unfamiliar distro for a couple days).

Only a few times

I started off with Ubuntu, but switched to Fedora after a few months (can't stand apt and Ubuntu's color scheme).

I stuck with fedora for about 1.5 years, and distro hopped every other day until I settled on Arch. Yum is still my favorite package manager and I really liked fedora's security & stability, but I wanted something that was even more bleeding edge and had the repo size/app support that Ubuntu has. Arch's user repository, when combined with a wrapper like Packer makes installing and trying any linux app pretty easy.

I've switched a lot

A few times it's been because of hardware support (though that was years ago), but more recently it's because I stop finding a particular distro...fun to use, for lack of a better phrase. I know that sounds ridiculous, but as I do a lot of programming and I stare at a computer for hours on end I don't want to have something that I despise using.

Whoops

Probably should have put my current distro in that comment; right now I'm using Bodhi. (I love Enlightenment.)

less hopping these days...

I tried many distros over the years, but I settled on Ubuntu about 7.10 - 8.04.

I stuck with them until I started to get sick and tired of them changing everything without the approval or consent of the user base. I know they don't have to do what the users want, but they sold themselves as caring about the community.

Unity was the final straw for me. I switched to Mint with Mint 11. Other than playing on Virtualbox with the occasional distro, I mostly move desktop environment. Currently that's KDE on my main pc and MATE on the laptops.

One word

UNITY, swapped to mint haven't looked back

Mint

Was a happy Ubuntu user until all the installation agony of Unity and Mark's drive to become the new Apple, still experimenting with distros on my multi-drive box but Mint 14 beats all the rest hands-down (IMHO)
Often play with Fedora...but why is it always such a pain?

Yes! No!

In the beginning, it was curiosity. I just had to see the latest shiny from the latest distro.

Nowadays, it's bugs. I've been using KDE-centric distros because KDE is obviously the best desktop. However the awful bugs in Kmail forced me to switch to Gnome 3-centric desktops. More bugs in Evolution - and the fact that Gnome 3 truly is horrible - have led me to XFCE, thanks to the recommendations in the last podcast.

I'm now happily using XFCE on Sabayon Linux, and I use the ever-reliable Thunderbird for my email.

Arch

Hello,

Norfolk Penguin here, just got back from a fishing trip and popped in to tell you my Linux tail.

I came back to Linux a few years back and over about six months tried Mint, Fedora, SuSE and ended up using Ubuntu. Then I broke Ubuntu, re-installed it and a few weeks later a new version was released.

By this time I'd pretty much decided to give a rolling release distro a try and ended up using Arch ever since, it works great for me and I know how to fix it if it breaks which it never has.

Well I can't stand around jabbering all day, best get back to catching some fish, squark, squark (thats the noise Norfolk Penguins make when saying Cheerio) Splash!!!

In search for a better shed...

My first Linux Distro was Ubuntu 8.04 as a WindowsXP update stopped my dial-up internet connection from working and installing Windows takes forever!

Stayed with Ubuntu whilst I moved from a laptop to a desktop.

Then after getting an Acer Netbook, removed Linpus in favour of Ubuntu Netbook Remix because of the screen size and greater choice of applications.

Then when Ubuntu Unity came out and not liking it (as the interface gets in the way to me being productive), so switched to Xubuntu. But that was after trying other distros, but they didn't seem to work well with my NVIDIA graphics card (installing graphic drivers seemed to be a whole lot harder on none Ubuntu Distros) plus I needed Dropbox and Skype to work out of the box.

Later tried Gnome 3 but didn't like that either (same problem as with Unity as far as I'm concerned). Now I'm playing with Debian as I also have a Raspberry PI and thought that might help me get into Raspbian. It was an eye opener to see the Debian installers approach to partitioning the disk prior to installation when compared to Ubuntu's (I'm only glad I have more than one computer so that I could search for help with the installation).

I did like the look of Meego for my netbook, so I await Tizen to see if it will run on my Acer Netbook (or even sailfish OS: in my dreams may be), the netbooks screen size 1024x600 seems to be an issue, with the GUI's not adapting to the screen size so for some dialog boxes I can't even see the buttons OFF the bottom of the screen.

Basically I see a Distro as my computer shed, the shed is just where my computer tools (apps) are kept. I want easy access to my computer tools and my old tools should still work (ie. the software for my Lego Mindstorm NXT brick should still work, but alas it doesn't). So my Distro hopping is my poor attempt to find the best computer shed.

Change

After finding experimenting with different distros about a decade ago I ended up with Ubuntu and GNOME..a better look and feel and things worked with Ubuntu. And all those annoying K-names weren't amusing, either. But heavy handed change from those in control before things are ready helps to drive people away: Unity for me, the changes to KDE some years back and, more recently, GNOME 3. These major shifts before the glitches are worked out messes up the your experience. I'll be with Cinnamon now until they mess that up. A second reason for change has been the proliferation of low spec / old computers; I now have more than one computer and use Enlightenment to run a netbook. And yet one more reason that has me thinking about change: the convenience of a rolling distro.

Distracted by Distro Decisions?

Having used a wide variety of distros and desktop environments I could never see how Windows users could manage with just a single, consistent, reliable, intuitive desktop interface that was the same where ever there was a Windows XP PC. Seems that the diversity, API inconsistency and that innate ability to break something that works we have always enjoyed in Linux distros is finally being adopted by Microsoft...

As for distros, I always keep a Puppy on a stick, use Raspbian and Arch on my pis, Ubuntu on my and my daughter's computerd, Mint on my Dad's. Key driving factor for me can be summed up by one word. .. LongTermSupport

Distros Dumped for Different Reasons

I left Quantian for Ubuntu via WUBI because development stopped

I left WUBI for a full install of Ubuntu

I left Ubuntu f I went to CrunchBang.
or SUSE because my computers were too old to run Unity

SUSE had a great KDE implementation. I left it because it was unstable in my equipment, and the system tools would not allow me to figure out why.

I went to Gentoo to see if I could get it running, but I didn't have a plan for my system. I never knew what to do next. So I moved to CrunchBang.

I've tried Slackware during a period when the CrunchBang installer didn't work on an upgrade. I also discovered SlackerMedia at that time.

Now I run CrunchBang and Slackware. They work on my hardware, and they don't fall over when I want to get something done.

Finally settled...I think

Started with Ubuntu, then Mint (Gnome), PCLinux (KDE), Puppy, back to Ubuntu, Mint (XFCE), and Xubuntu. I am currently using Solydx & it has everything that I have been searching for: XFCE, Debian based rolling release model. I love the freedom of not having to worry about 6 month reinstalls, MIR, & all the other issues that have arisen in the Ubuntu families.

Hop around a lot, always come back to CrunchBang

I hop around a lot, just to see how things are done differently, get exposure to a different set of programs running default, but I always end up going back to #! Because of the community and the flexibility of the distro.
The true beauty of Linux is the CLI works the same in all of the various flavors of Linux I've tried, so your never stuck for long with a DE you hate.

Make it work!

I started with boxed SuSE years ago. I loved it and stayed until an update crashed and I had to reconfigure everything. The end of SuSE. The distro that loaded and ran everything I wanted was the choice.

Then Ubuntu can along and that worked fine until the same thing happened. I'm now with Mint. I dread the time when I have to upgrade. I HATE upgrades. If you can't make it seamless, don't release it in anything but beta. I need to work, not install OSs. I know you geeks love to stick your willy in a pencil sharpener, but I've better things to do.

Got it?

Si me canso de Linux me paso a OpenBSD

The first distro I used was Gentoo, ~1 year. I left it because it was sort of too complex and I was too green at the time. I wanted something simpler so I switched to Slackware, it was exactly what I wanted, it was easy to use, simple, any kind of online info was useful... but after 5 years I was tired of compiling software, and doing everything by hand. So, I switched to Debian. I realised immediately it wasn't what I wanted, it was *too* complex and bloated, but I already installed it and I am a lazy person, too lazy that I stuck with Debian 2 years. Now I'm on Arch, ~6 months... there are things I like, things I don't like, at least it's simple, no opinion yet... for now I'll stick with it.

Distro hopping

When breaking a distro from experimenting to much, I change to a new one.

Distro Hopping - My Own

I have my won DIY distro called AnitaOS based on Puppy Linux 4.12 Barebones and it is an updated version of this with new Glibc libraries etc. I was previously with Slackware.

I got fustrated with dwindling support for older hardware. How slow and ram hogging some of the new Kernels are. Relying on a developer to update my distro so decided to take matters into my own hands. My distro is aimed at real old hardware and sports an old 2.6 kernel but can run an up to date Browser.

I have designed it so you can take the basic barebones Puppy Linux 4.12 ISO and make your own DIY distro. You'll find information about this at the Puppy Linux Murga forums - how to section. More up to date than Damn Small.

Horses for Courses

I use different distros for different use cases.

My laptop runs Ubuntu 12.04 with Unity.

I have two Raspberry Pi’s attached to my sound system running Squeezeplug.

I have one raspberry pi as a dedicated VPN downloading machine running Raspbian.

Two set top box type computers run OpenElec for my TVs.

My home server/Mythbox runs Ubuntu 12.04 Server as does my AWS backup machine.

I am currently looking for a good low system requirements distro for an old laptop for my daughters use.

Unity

Ubuntu with Unity is where it is for me. I stopped distro hopping when Ubuntu 5.10 came out and been a happy Ubuntu user since then.

Everything must work

My main criteria is that everything must work without taking too much of my computer's resources. Well we run applications not distributions/desktops, they are a means to an end.

No matter which distribution I use, I always change the default theme/colours anyway.

I started with openSUSE 10.3 and then went to Mint. Now I'm hanging on to SolusOS 1.3 in the hope it isn't too long before version 2 is launched. Mind you I am tinkering with xfce.

Most current desktop environments today use too much of our computers resources and, let's face it, they are only there to enable other things to run.

I Hop Because I Can

I found Linux a couple of years ago when trying to figure out how to load XP onto a USB for a reinstall on a laptop with a bad cd drive. Ubuntu live came up in my google results and I made a boot stick just to see what Linux was about. This was right after Ubuntu switched to Unity. My laptop booted right up and I thought to myself, "wow, this looks really cool." I started playing around with it and thought to myself, "wow, this really kind of sucks." Being a total newb I thought that this WAS Linux. Luckily I found out about different desktop environments and distros and found some that really were cool in looks AND function before I wrote Linux off for good. Now I hop just because I can. To me that is part of the "putting the fun back in computing" that Distrowatch promotes. There is so much out there to try, all free (as in free beer), all different in some way, some cool, some useless. I won't know until I try.
In addition, my personal hobby is building working computers from non working junk and parts and giving them away to friends and family and people who can't afford a new one. I always make them a dual boot of the original Windows and Linux (unless they're pre-XP, then it's just Linux). Not all distros play nice with all hardware so a little hopping is in order to make a viable system. Which makes my hobby that much more fun.

Distro hop hop

First of all, I tried Debian for USB install. Installation went good and everything was fine. However at the time, the installation went up<reloaded> to the hard disk(SATA 500GB Hard drive)and I have to install Ubuntu. then, I erased Ubuntu, and that rendered to an error of a missing OS. as a result, I have to reinstall it, and as a result of re-erasing, I finally left up to my C: drive merged(being 500GB as a result) and leave Windows. Next time, when I am allowed to erase Windows partitions, then I would try Arch Linux If I could. I want latest items as well as the best technologies ever exist.

Couple

Man there were a couple of hops since 2000

Started off with SuSE, Slackware, Debian.

Went back to SuSE , then RedHat, Mandrake, BSD, Aurora Linux.

Then Fedora, Ubuntu,Archlinux, back to SuSE.

Since Knoppix was out i have a CD/DVD in my bag.

Right now i using Mint. Quite happy with it, but lets see maybe the sun shines brigther somewhere else....

Have fun with whatever distro you like....
alex

Ubuntu, OPENsuse, Mandriva

I tried Ubuntu because I read several magazine articles about it and its Wubi installer didn't require repartitioning my hard drive. Then tried (Ubuntu) Ultimate Edition. Tired of Gnome, and even though Ultimate Edition includes KDE, you have to wait until after they create the Gnome version to get a KDE version (and other DEs). Tried OPENsuse, but had hardware problems. Used Mandriva for quite a while. Really liked their admin tools. Good hardware support.
Always maintained Windows dual boot because my scanner wasn't supported by SANE (or anything else). Gave up on Linux because I couldn't find similar software in Linux as several freeware tools I used in Windows on a regular basis (and couldn't get them to work with Wine)

I'm too old for that crap

So tired of banging around on computers trying to get things to work. I hate to sound like an Apple customer but I want stuff to just work. Ran Kubuntu from 8.10 to 13.04 but then gave up and went Mint 15, which has been hassle-free so far except for the keyring popup I can't get rid of.

I'll leave the bouncing around to you young'uns; I'd rather work in the shed or play with my daughter.

Its horses for courses

My first Linux distro was a Knoppix live CD in 2000; because it was stuck on the front of a PC mag and I was curious.

I started again with Ubuntu Greasy Goose or whatever the G release was. I fell out with Ubuntu when they started removing useful things like % battery remaining and moving buttons around.

On my work laptop I use a Debian VM when I need Linux for scanning or using command line tools on files; because its consistent and reliable.

I use Centos when I'm trying stuff out in Virtual Box for Red Hat deployments; because its 'just like' RedHat.

Fedora for my non-work laptop; not sure why really just wanted to see what all the fuss was about, it was a pig to get all the multimedia working. I'll move it back to Crunchbang when I upgrade, I'm getting fed up with Gnome 3.

I recently installed Crunchbang for my TT-RSS server, its a nicer way to run Debian. Corenominal for the win.

Fedora for my son's laptop, he's OK with Gnome 3 and I'd worked out what to do to get the multimedia stuff running by then.

Mint/Mate for my daughter's netbook; Ubuntu was too heavy for it's GPU and didn't support the max screen resolution.

PartedMagic as my goto rescue disk; its got all the tools to hand.

Tried installing Gentoo once but ran out of time and patience.

I built a Linux From Scratch VM, because there was no Internet on the train, and I was bored of just reading on the way to work.

No better option now

My first distro was Mandriva and I tried others because of poor software management. None of the others were any better until I changed to my present distro several years ago. My only concern now is that the distro seems not to attract strong developer support and its survival and success largely depend upon one person. Nevertheless, I am unable to find a distro as good.

The main features I like are:
1. It is a semi-rolling distro
2. It has a script which enables you to create an iso which backs up your whole system and can be used to create a live disk or usb stick including an installer.
3. KDE is the default desktop.

Distro Hopping

I started way-back-when with a boxed early version of Red Hat (tried to partition my drive so I could dual boot and accidentally wiped Windows 95 off my PC - a prescient act as it turns out).

When Red Hat re-organised I moved to Fedora and was very happy. I liked the philosophy behind it and always managed to install proprietary drivers when I needed them - though I do try to use Free Software drivers where I can.

I was very happy with Fedora, but then my wife's Windows PC just gave up the ghost under the pressure of constant virus software updates and I finally convinced her to try Linux. I installed Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon because it gave her a vaguely familiar interface and user experience and she was able to use her media files "out of the box". She loved it and has never looked back. Further, I was very impressed with Ubuntu and started using it as my main distro. Installing and updating software just seemed so much easier than it was with Fedora.

Several happy years past, then Unity happened.

The paradigm shift of Unity and Gnome 3 was too annoying for my wife to cope with so I installed Mint with Cinnamon - a very pleasing user experience was had by all.

For me, I like to keep up to date with new developments so persevered with Ubuntu and Unity but was uneasy with Ubuntu's development of another desktop so moved back to Fedora with Gnome 3, which made me realise how much I missed tinkering with my operating system - I like getting under the hood and making things work, though I'm lacking in confidence to take the plunge with Arch.

I do, though, have an older machine that I use to try out the odd distro like Bohdi or CrunchBang but seems to have settled on Lubuntu, which I do quite like.

That's my potted history of distro hopping. I'm quite conservative about these things and tend to stick with a distro that I've managed to get working how I want as my focus is about actually doing things with my PC and earning a crust.

distro hoppin

I never seem to be able to last three months without having to change distros - each one Ive tried always seems to have its own niggling bug or problem. I'm limited to light resource aimed distros because I still have an old machine with only 2gb ram and on board graphics plus and this is the main caveat to what I run : my wife and daughter use this box as well and I have to have it set up so they can easily work out how to access programs etc when im not around. At the moment we are all very happy using crunchbang with openbox ( which I have tweaked with such things as desktop icons) and I love the fact that when I boot up my ram usage at idle is only 70mb! Great to hear you guys every fortnight to.

distro hoppin

Just keep hopping on back to Gentoo.

update cycles

Although I tried a few distros, I was a happy Mandrake/Mandriva user for many years. But I changed because of two things. First, Mandriva seemed to be moving towards catering mainly for unsophisticated users who mainly wrote documents, listened to music, processed their photos, sent email and other such consumer stuff. Second, the update cycle became annoying: I wanted to try out new software but would often find that it depended on the latest releases of certain libraries, whereas the current release only included older versions and updating them ahead of cycle became ever more painful. So I eventually switched to the bleeding-edge, rolling-release Arch and have been very happy with it ever since: excellent forums, excellent community support, no significiant problems.

Distro Hopping

Have been on Arch for some time, as it offers the greatest degree of customization and up to date packages. However, over the last year there have been a couple of times when they decided to dig up the foundations and move the whole building a few feet down the road e.g. moving all binaries to /usr/bin, which has caused a bit of grief. Luckily my building didn't fall down, but lots of others did.

hopper from way back

Since beginning with linux some 20+ YEARS ago, I have tried in various forms: RedHat, Suse, Turbo, Debian, Ubuntu, Mint, and most of the potential tryout distros offered on LXF and other mag discs over the years (And BTW, thank you very much for putting those together, I appreciate it).

My last change from a decent working system which was Mandriva (yes, mandriva, with KDE 3.5, iirc :) ) to a Mint system, it was Julia, I know the name may have connotations, but actually it was about the best distro I have yet had working on my rather low spec lap (desk) top - unfortunately the support was withdrawn as Mint went to 11, 12, 13 and now 14 and 15.
It left me with a mostly working and reasonably attractive desktop system but that lacked follow-up support and found me changing from the Mint 10 Gnome based system to mint 14 which was totally over whelming my graphics and left me dissatisfied because I could not get a 1024x768 desktop.
It was a fraught issue and perhaps says soemthing about my abilities to deal with what used to be a simple issue by dealing with a text file and simply entering the appropriate information, but since the kernel changes and some stuff I don't understand (and dare I say LXF had not really articulated) that it was virtually impossible not to
return to an earlier version, so I wound up going with Mint 12 LXFE and it is really quite (forgive me) shit.
It is really not what I was hoping, and left me considering whether I want to ever install linux ever again.

EVER AGAIN. Man, am I serious: I strongly suspect I am going to have to create my own distro in order to get what I want. I shouldn't have to do that - should I?

Any advice from the readers here, in regard to suggestions for a decent looking desktop system that isn't overtaxing a rather low level "laptop" Acer 1700 - will be really appreciated.

I might add for the sake of argument that "Arch" is one distro I have not yet tried, that or gentoo.... but I did at one point manage to compile and install my own kernel, and in fact actually compiled my own version of a famous encryption package. So I'm not entirely useless. Maybe it is just that time has marched on and I have lost my ability to understand what exactly is going on.

Was it that the kernel changed (as I suspect) that I could no longer get my desktop to work in anything other than 640x480 mode? Does anybody understand or has anybody had similar problems to me?
I'm sure I'm not the only one...

but then again.

umm typo

It was LXDE, not LXFE, just to assure those who are about to round upon me and swear. Mint LXDE 12 is shit. I haven't anything to say about LXFE. Actually I should probably download and try that out. Apologies to anyone I might have inadvertantly offended. Of course to those I intende to offend ... YMMV.
I am not going to give up on linux just yet. In fact I expect to try out a few more distros over the weekend.

Probably Bodhi, or one of the enlightenment desptop ones.
What can I say? I actually like the principle behind enlightenment, and wanted it to stay the same since trying it way back in 1998. or was that 1999? Greets to the developers if they are listening. Always felt I could consider Ras a friend.

There is no such thing as a problem
without a gift for you in its hands

Distros

Right now on this computer have Slack14; Slack 13 because I'm too lazy to delete it and copy everything to Slack 14; Xubuntu 12.04 which is where I am now but am actually IN fluxbox; and Arch which with moving everything into /usr and a new start up system neither of which make it run any better is commencing to become a pain in the ass. For me Slackware is always the absolute you can stake your life on it choice, however it requires some work to get everything working Eg. printing etc. but it does not go for change for the sake of change and whatever worked for the last version will usually work for this version. So why Ubuntu? It is easier to try out new programmes and more stuff just works, and sometimes gives me a hint about what to do in Slackware. And Arch is just a toy.

Hopping for Fun

I have had to hop in the past to accommodate unsupported hardware, Namely somewhere around Ubuntu 11.04 my old dell DT just couldn't handle it anymore. Ran an older version of Ultimate Edition for a while, then upgraded hardware, went back to standard Ubuntu and Kubuntu, and just found I didn't like it anymore. Tried Mint (in many different flavors), various slack-types, and just wasn't feeling right. Then I found Bodhi with E17, and after I got through the growing pains of learning a very different desktop environment, I am in love with it. I run the 64-bit build on my main desktop, with AMD FX Black quad-core, on-board GPU, 8GB RAM and it is screaming fast, the DE is beautiful (as I have customized the heck out of it), and I love the minimalist approach. I defy any random Windows user to figure out how to open even a web browser though! Not an Icon or Start button in sight! I also have it installed on my daughter's old P4 custom build, in the 32-bit flavor and have her desktop customized for her (a windows refugee) so that she can easily get to everything she needs for school and social media. And it is running nicely on my Dad's little Dell Mini, customized for his use. Mom still runs Ubuntu on her netbook, and doesn't seem to mind Unity at all. My main PC still has a couple of other distro's on it for when I feel like playing around, Namely Mint 14 KDE and PCLinuxOS 4 Full Monty KDE. Those 2 are definitely more resource hungry, but they do just fine on this machine.
Mihaly, I would definitely recommend Bodhi for your older slower machine, it uses very little RAM (around 128MB after initial installation) and CPU, and does not require a heavy GPU. Poke around on their website in the forums and the wiki pages for all the little tricks to get it running nicely on your machine.
In the meantime, I generally download every new live DVD I can find just to test drive, and some are great tools for figuring out what is wrong with all my friends' buggy windows machines. Some are not very fun, some are really fun. For now, Bodhi is my main choice, and the community is excellent at providing help when I break it (only every couple of weeks now!)

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