Changing Distributions

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tech
Index
1 A new distribution
2 Salix, first try
3 Packages and their problems
4 Live
5 Install and config
6 Packages and some remarks
7 Conclusion
\"cover\"

Index Next: 2. Salix, first try

1. A new distribution

1.1. The problems I have

I have always been a fan of RedHat, Fedora Core and Fedora. However, I am becoming more and more frustrated with Fedora. My main problems are

I am more and more depending on my computer. It must work, otherwise I have a problem. And I do not feel like updating this often anymore. So I need a more stable distribution.

There is a lot of controversy about systemd. Proponents say it is the future and that anyone avoiding systemd is stupid. The only argument that proponents uses and that has any substance is that it should speed-up boot times by starting things in parallel. My observations about systemd are, that boot-times are significantly longer with systemd.

In additions, from Fedora23 on, I have all kind of problems (most of the system hangs, devices are not recognized when plugged-in, NFS troubles, etcetera), and the solution is always systemctl --system daemon-reload , which works, but if I have to reload systemd more often than I had to reboot Windows, something tells me that this is not the way to go.

What annoys me the most is that the vast majority of pro-systemd arguments are ad-hominen arguments. People that don't like systemd are "Luddite", they "are afraid to learn", "go away, you’re clueless, we know better than you, and besides, we have commit privs and you don’t, so go away", while the vast majority of the anti-systemd arguments are based on technical content (except, possibly, for the rants directed at Poettering/Sievers). The reason whys, for example, Archlinux went to systemd is even worse: "We had problems and we stopped thinking.`"

Another thing is security. In the discussions about systemd, it is often said that systemd is less secure because it is more complex. For me, the complexity is not really an argument; complex systems may be secure. However, if we compare the number of CVEs in the last 10 years, we find that systemd has 27 CVEs and, for example, SysV init has 0.

In stead of the simple logic of Unix-like systems, Fedora is apparently seeking to make things a complex as possible. Many undefined inter-dependencies make it, at least for me, harder and harder to get things done. For example: I have not been able to make the combination of Dracut, systemd and the propriety NVIDIA drivers working consistently. For me, it meant going back to the Nouveau-drivers and booting in text-mode.

1.2. Selecting a new distribution

So, a new distribution.

I have used many different distributions: Debians (x86, NSLU2, Pi), Fedora, Mint, Puppy, Slackware. I have even used Soft Landing and a version that needed to be cross-compiled (ACME's Foxboard). I have a slight preference for the KDE-desktop.

The table below is my short-list of Linux distributions. The short-list is, admittedly, a bit arbitrary. But also the criteria "complexity" and "desktop use" are more my personal opinion than an objective criterion.
distribution
release cycle
systemd?
KDE?
complexity
desktop use
Arch
rolling
yes
yes
high
yes
SUSE
12 months
yes
yes
high
no
Ubuntu
6months/2yr LTS
yes
yes
high
yes
Mint
6months/2yr LTS
yes
yes
high
yes
Fedora
6months
yes
yes
high
yes
Puppy
2yr lts
no
possible
low
yes
Salix
long/rolling
no
yes
low
yes
Slackware
long/rolling
no
yes
low
no
PCLinuxOS
rolling
no
yes
low
yes

The results of this table are that I should give Salix and PCLinuxOS a try. It is worth noting that Salix is basically Slackware with a user-friendly sauce over it.

Looking at PCLinuxOS, I did not like it. I don't know why. No technical reason, just my preference.

So, Salix it is.

Index Next: 2. Salix, first try