The Big Purge

I reduced my distro usage to two distros. This has been on my to-do list for a long time.

The big reason for purging is reducing time required for maintenance, administration, and backups. The desired result is to reduce personal stress.

I purged the laptop of Fedora, CentOS, LMDE, and Xubuntu. I settled on Slackware and Ubuntu MATE as my distros.

My server is running Slackware. I am loathe to converting the server mostly because I prefer to let sleeping dogs lie. That is, the server is working the way I want.

My office desktop runs Slackware too and now has Ubuntu MATE 16.04 installed as a second system.

Continuing to use Slackware as one of my distros was an obvious decision. While the other distros on the laptop all had ways of paper cutting me daily, I find that Ubuntu MATE 16.04 is more tolerable.

Included in the purge was deleting respective RSS feeds. Information overload contributes to stress.

Some seldom used virtual machines are now history too.

The short back story.

For me Fedora moves too fast. Fedora is designed for technology enthusiasts. I grew weary of being a member of the kernel-of-the-week club. Despite the target audience and while much software is updated routinely, Firefox usually is not updated in a timely manner. Replacing yum with dnf was a mistake. The six month life cycle is relentless, although that can be extended to about 13 months by ignoring every other release. Although in the works, there is no GUI method to update to each release. The strict free/libre repo policy is frustrating without third-party repos.

CentOS moves slow and is favorable for those who do not want rapid release, bleeding edge, or leading edge. I much enjoyed that aspect of CentOS. Yet as the name implies, CentOS is designed for enterprise users, which leaves non enterprise and home users cold without additional third party repos, such as the Nux repo. Occasionally there are conflicts with this mixed repo approach and the user is dependent upon waiting for the third party repo maintainer to fix the conflicts. I could be comfortable with CentOS as a primary system if only there was a more robust and active non enterprise repository. For whatever reason, CentOS 7 is not supported in RPM Fusion.

LMDE had potential. In my opinion, which counts for squat, the developers moved LMDE to Debian Stable allegedly as a way of providing stability and reducing maintenance. Based upon my remote observations, I suspect the reason was to move LMDE out of their way. Using Debian Stable moved most administration and maintenance to the Debian devs. Even with Debian Stable as a base, which significantly reduces distro-specific maintenance, Firefox usually is not updated in a timely manner. Likewise with the Flash plugin, although receiving Flash updates from the Debian multimedia repo moves more dependably. From my far away observation point, the Mint developers are spread too thin. They want to be players in the desktop environment field as well as maintain distros. They also make design decisions that I disagree, such as populating /usr/local/bin with their own apps.

Initially I liked Xubuntu. Then something happened. Among other things, the menu started opening with significant delays. This single paper cut irritated me much. Additionally, wireless started acting weird. While I liked Xfce, in the final balance there were more paper cuts for me with Xfce than MATE.

Ubuntu MATE 16.04 is causing me less stress. Firefox and Flash are updated timely, which is an improvement over the other distros. MATE is a classic desktop and comfortable for me. Being a Long Term Support (LTS) release means fewer potentially reckless updates and better stability. Being LTS means a user can just use the computer for a few years rather than be forced to play sys admin every few months. While the early days of a LTS release likely will expose a few bumps, I expect nothing dramatic and eventually bugs to be quashed.

The big purge succeeded. Stress levels are already much lower.

Posted: Category: Usability Tagged: CentOS, Fedora, General, Mint, Slackware, Ubuntu, Xubuntu

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