What is Your Favourite Linux/BSD Desktop Distro - 2014 Q1



  • This question never seems to get old 😉 But it legitimately needs to be asked on a regular basis as things always change. When looking for an open source desktop distribution, what one do people prefer? This is purely as a desktop, not as a server, not as a hydrid, etc.

    Traditionally my favourite open source desktop distro is OpenSuse for many reasons. I like its blend of stability with new features, the general ecosystem around it, it's broad package support, etc. But, the support for Cinnamon, my favourite desktop by far, isn't up to par with Mint yet and that is a big factor for me. In a standalone environment, I think that at the moment, my first choice would be Linux Mint 16 Cinnamon.

    My favs, roughly in order are:

    • Linux Mint 16
    • OpenSuse 13.1
    • PC-BSD 10
    • Fedora 20

    There are so many good choices, it is really hard to say which is best and there are so many factors. But to me these four stand out as the front runners for the bulk of situations. They cover three sub-ecosystems (Debian/Ubuntu, RPM and BSD) and have several different foci and are well suited to nearly any situation.



  • Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon. That was my first real Linux experience. Back before the Unity crap and when GNOME was default and it was good. The new phones that Canonical is coming out with will be interesting to see though. I'm curious to see how they work.



  • Canonical is trying to do with Unity what M$ tried to do with Windows 8. That's the reason they created it.



  • As far as current distros, I haven't played enough to have an opinion TBH.



  • @ajstringham said:

    Canonical is trying to do with Unity what M$ tried to do with Windows 8. That's the reason they created it.

    Windows 8 is the copy cat. Unity was the leader in that weirdness.



  • @scottalanmiller Very true. Unity was out before 8 by a year at least.



  • I'm thinking it may have even been between two and three.


  • Vendor

    FreeBSD R10

    Can't make myself love Linux. Trying once in a while since 1993 or 1995 and no luck so far 🙂



  • @ajstringham said:

    I'm thinking it may have even been between two and three.

    I think so. It was old news before people saw 8. People who knew Unity were instantly like "oh, another Unity clone."



  • @KOOLER said:

    FreeBSD R10

    Can't make myself love Linux. Trying once in a while since 1993 or 1995 and no luck so far 🙂

    PC-BSD does an amazing job of packaging FreeBSD into a really simple desktop distro.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    @ajstringham said:

    I'm thinking it may have even been between two and three.

    I think so. It was old news before people saw 8. People who knew Unity were instantly like "oh, another Unity clone."

    Agreed. Canonical had the concept but obviously, not being M$, was much slower on implementation. Too bad Unity is as bad as it is. It could have been great done right.



  • Canonical was slower?



  • @scottalanmiller Think about it. They are only slated to release the Ubuntu phone here very soon. They had the idea first and parts of it out first but M$ beat them to releasing it all. Tablet, phone, desktop. One similar interface. Canonical hasn't quite hit that point yet. But M$ has far more resources obviously...



  • @ajstringham said:

    @scottalanmiller Think about it. They are only slated to release the Ubuntu phone here very soon. They had the idea first and parts of it out first but M$ beat them to releasing it all. Tablet, phone, desktop. One similar interface. Canonical hasn't quite hit that point yet. But M$ has far more resources obviously...

    I'm confused. We were discussing desktops and how Canonical beat Microsoft by years. You are just saying that they didn't get a phone to market as quickly? One could argue that Microsoft got it to market so quickly that it failed.



  • @scottalanmiller It's a weird hybrid of situations.



  • Pretty much no one joined in on this thread, very odd.



  • I've never used Linux as a desktop, If, maybe when, I need linux servers more I'll spend more time on it. Considering that almost all PCs (OK those you don't build yourself) come with Windows I don't really see the need to push for a linux desktop.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    Pretty much no one joined in on this thread, very odd.

    I do not use a Linux desktop at this time, so did not have anything to contribute really.



  • @Dashrender said:

    I've never used Linux as a desktop, If, maybe when, I need linux servers more I'll spend more time on it. Considering that almost all PCs (OK those you don't build yourself) come with Windows I don't really see the need to push for a linux desktop.

    That assumption only makes sense if you feel Windows desktops are superior to LInux ones. I've never found that. Linux has all kinds of advantages, I much prefer it for most things. And every time you hear someone mention VDI, you have the perfect reason for why Windows isn't the "end all" of desktops. Linux is lighter, faster, cheaper, not encumbered by audits and upgrade issues, more secure, more flexible and vastly lower effort to maintain. There are lots of good reasons to use Windows, but lots of good ones to use Linux too.



  • And the whole Windows XP upgrade issue now really highlights the value of LInux. You can do continuous, free, incremental upgrades without huge licensing costs and big lift and replace upgrades. Linux shops would never face this kind of "We need to stick with Windows XP" issue that a huge percentage of the Windows world faces.



  • @scottalanmiller you're not wrong.

    We tried looking at Open office several years ago (before we had Exchange). It was decided that converting all of our existing Office documents into Open Office files wouldn't be worth the efforts. many of our existing files had formatting issues that looked aesthetically bad.

    I recently broached the topic again and was told that dealing with converting files received from outside sources wasn't worth the hassle, etc.

    The worst part for us is the requirement to use IE for our LOB.



  • Yes, changing an environment from one thing to another is a lot of work. Going from Linux to Windows would have the same complications.



  • I tried moving us to a TS environment about 4 years ago - I couldn't get past the thin clients 'flashing' on websites that used Adobe Flash. When moving between screens on our EMR of the time the whole window would flash white before going to the next screen. I posted about it on SW... someone posted a reason why (can't recall now). Never had the problem when using a Windows machine as a terminal into the TS.

    In the end it worked out since our current EMR strictly forbids TS.