…that the Linux distributions are many. But there aren’t actually that many of them. Sure, there are literally thousands of so called “distributions” that quite a lot of software developers complain about, but if you look at them, almost all of them are spin-offs (and compatible ones) of just a few major distributions.
How did I come to this conclusion? I became bored and wanted to try something new. But when I looked around, I didn’t see anything new. Here’s a short list of my experiences with Linux distros:
Slackware. The love of my Linux life. My primary distro I use at home and used to use on a server (why aren’t there OpenVZ templates for the latest stable?).
Arch. Often compared to Slackware, and partly it’s true. Not anymore, though. It went
systemd(’nuff said) and got rid of its installer which for some reason gave it l33t status, even though there’s nothing l33t about it, except fixing relatively often crashes caused by untested updates, but that’s what you get for the most bleeding edge distribution. I got tired of fixing those crashes (they are not as difficult to fix as they are annoying) and returned to Slackware. Its AUR is good, though. If only the contributed packages were reviewed like SlackBuilds…
Ubuntu. I started with it and used for about 1.5 years. It used to be a very good distro until 10.04 came around. Don’t even want to look at the current versions. Just one word: bloated.
Debian. Ubuntu is actually Debian’s fork, but Debian is much more stable and mature system. Ubuntu just has been around so much that it’s now like a separate distro. Anyway, packages are too old for my liking, and package building is too much of a hassle. Although I use it on both my VPS because of its stability and more or less “not standing in the user’s way” policy.
OpenSUSE. Heard a lot of good about it, but every time I wanted to try it, something went wrong. I definitely could’ve fix those problems, but I think it’s a sign when the system’s installer screws up. I guess the fate itself doesn’t want me to use OpenSUSE.
Fedora. Too slow for my liking. Partly because I only tried it on my old HDD (actually, I tried Korora)… But there’s also
yum. Nice ditro, popular enough to have a lot of packages for it, has good reputation, bleeding edge but not too much. Cons:
anaconda(the worst installer ever). Maybe I’ll give it another try. RHEL/CentOS are basically stable Fedora with really old packages.
Gentoo. Very configurable. Installation is more involved than I would like to, but in the end you really can tailor the system to your tastes. For example, remembering Slackware’s experience, I build the whole system without
PAM. And it was one of the most stable systems I tried. But then I decided to not exclude
PAM. And all hell broke loose:
emergecame with a lot of errors after building my setup, so I couldn’t even upgrade my system anymore. Also it takes a lot of time to build stuff, especially big ones (like
emergeis generally pretty slow. Ebuilds writing is more complicated than people say.
And that’s it. There are no more new distros to try, because any of those distros (except a few which are not very popular) are forks of the distros I mentioned above. Forks most of the time are compatible with their parent distributions and in most cases differentiate only with the default DE, themes and a set of pre-installed software. And there are no guarantees those forks will live long lives. Forks die regularly. The “big shots” live for decades. If I want a Linux distribution to try, I would try one of the “big shots”, because they provide their users with stability of how things are going (more or less) and regular updates, unlike one of thousands of forks where there’s no guarantee it would live for even a year.