In the Linux world, we all know there are hundreds, maybe even thousands of different distros available for download and install at any given time. Many users, particularly n00bies and Windows fanbois, criticise this fact very harshly. Why not stick to one system for all? That would make it easier for new users to get into the Linux infrastructure and finally get some structure into the whole chaos.
Mhm, yes, I get you and I even sympathize with that notion up to a certain degree. But when you look at Linux and its free and open source roots you’ll quickly see it can’t be like that. It shouldn’t be like that and it’s never going to be like that. You can’t just tell people to stop dreaming up their own distros, desktop environments, window managers, tool kits and apps. Free and Open Source Software is free to grab and do with it as you please. That’s the beauty of it.
Regarding the practical side now, same as everybody is free to “create” the umpteenth Ubuntu clone, so is everybody free to totally ignore it. That’s the beauty of Linux as well, the other side of the medal. Nobody can or would even try to harrass you into installing anything you don’t want on your computer. You may even ignore desperately needed security updates and drive your system against the wall. It. Is. All. Up. To. You.
That brings us to the core point of this post, the boring Orca. Why o why does she only test and review so few distros when there are sooo many to have? And why does she herself stick to the same distro since over three years now? And why does she only recommend not even a handful of distros for us n00bs? And why does she dictate only one single distro for her upcoming instructional Linux installation posts, the super boring Point Linux?
Because reasons. Because the aforementioned critics are right to some extent. As awesome as this freedom to create and play is, as cool and fancy and self-empowering this GNU/Linux playground is for the contributing portion of the Linux community, so confusing and un-helpful it is for the new users. And since there is fortunately no authority to tell you anything, little boring Orcsi took it upon herself to dictate the Point Linux with MATE desktop distro for the paint-by-numbers manual she’s about to write like next week. So we’re all at least on the same page.
Why Point Linux? Oh, I guess I’ve answered that question before, didin’t I? Because it’s super stable, easy to install and super easy to use. It’s a very traditional active desktop, quick and good on older hardware. Can’t expect much more on your first baby steps in Linux.
Here we come to the second reason: You’ve heard of Debian Linux, the grandfather of Linux distros which is around since before the Big Bang, since a time before time. And as far as Debian distros go, Point is probably the most clean, boring and stable one. Sure there are other, more fancy distros to have; distros with blinkenlights, wobbly windows and 3D cubes and the most crazy shiznizz. Half of them will be gone by next year, the other half will be forgotten. Point will still be around and receive the few updates one gets from the very slow developing Debian community. Once you got Point Linux installed and gotten used to it, you won’t need to delete and replace it ever again. Debian is a rolling release model, and your Point will get old with you and always stay fairly up to date and secure as long as you don’t fuck it up.
See, as many Linuxes as there are right now, the good old Darwin is valid in this scene as well. Many distros are just too stupid, too outlandish, too far ahead of their time, too niche or just too weak to survive. Many distros are awesome but not even worthy of looking at them twice.
That’s why boring is good. Maybe not as awesome as a brandnew Linux distro but reliable. And that’s a good thing, particularly in that brave new world that is Linux.