Jim Lynch, one of my favorite Linux bloggers, wrote this interesting blog post: The Dark Side of Distro Hopping.
I'm a sort of "distro window shopper," if that makes sense. I always like reading up on the newer distros, especially if they're aimed at making things easier and more user-friendly. But I stuck with Ubuntu and haven't used another variant of Linux yet.
My early experiences with Linux weren't exactly auspicious (I started with Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon). I didn't know about restricted codecs for Flash and DVD playback, my wireless Internet card wasn't compatible, and kernel updates would often break my system. So once I got things to work, I became wary of switching distros.
When I got my new laptop, I was excited to try out Linux Mint and Pinguy OS. Yet for some reason, I couldn't get them to boot from the live DVDs, even after going through the BIOS. In the end, I was thwarted in my attempt to do some distro hopping. But I don't want to turn this into a tech support thread, I'll ask you guys for help at the next meeting :)
Do you guys distro hop a lot? What things do you do prevent any major screw-ups like Lynch talked about?
I've seen that same article and thought it was hilarious! Some of it is definitely useful yet a lot of it was, well, COMMON SENSE if you know what I mean? I used to be a "distro hopper" and had a lot of fun doing it when my job allowed me the time to do so. But, working in an essentially Enterprise environment the last thing I want to do is "experiment" with new server distros that may not be compatible to my existing production server.
I think what is really important to recognize is the fact that many of those creating a new distro are doing it simply because one of the others out there didn't 'fit' their needs. I used slackware for years. I loved it. But after awhile I didn't want to do a lot of the work that it took to "maintain" it. At the same time I was also using Debian. I've been through RedHat, CentOS, Fedora, Mandrake, Mandriva, Mepis (which is really cool for desktops) and of course Ubuntu. Actually there were others but I can't remember them right off the bat. :) The point is this, if you're going to put the work it takes to get the distro the way YOU want it? I'm all for it. Just don't try to force it down my throat is my philosophy.
I love open source and the community therein. So, I'm always open to 'new and exciting'. I will tell you that I use Ubuntu almost exclusively now due to the amount of support available out there for it. I have been using Ubuntu Studio for my primary deskop at work and Virtualize the Windows XP & 7 Environments for those things I HAVE TO support via Windows.
My MacBook Pro(s) are my primary machines. I don't like using windows pc or laptops as a primary machine. Too many things go wrong at the most inopportune times. I need stability in my work. Although I've trashed the hell out of my macbook pros so they keep on working despite the beating they take from me.
Even my macs have Virtualized environments using either VMWare Fusion or Sun's VirtualBox. I've got Windows XP & 7 as well as 2003 & 2008 servers on them. That just works for me! :)
Happy Distro Hopping! :)
Mahalo for your time!