I guess I mentioned it already today that I’m bored, didn’t I? Sadly I’m, also kinda well-rested, so I can’t take a nap to while the time away, so well, why not taking a look for a new Linux distro I can try out and decide it’s crappola? Good idea. So off to DistroWatch I surf and …
Jeezuz! Wotz dat??? Most of these latest distros are kinda special interest and special needs operating systems: Linuxes for servers, for routers, for Raspberry Pi’s, some BSD humbug, special distros for hackers, all that stuff. It’s of no use for us housewifes, is it?
Only general interest distros (mom n pop distros) I find in the list are KaOS, Arco and Makulu. KaOS is a KDE, which I won’t review, sorry. Arco is an Arch Linux, I’ll maybe take a look at. There is a reason for why I haven’t blogged about it yet, I only forgot what that reason was exactly. And Makulu I already tried years and years ago, and found it to be shit. Will give it another chance.
Ok, that makes two candidates, and both aren’t very promising to be honest. And know what? It’s cool. Even super! Such periods of low output are a sure sign of consolidation, of a greater Linux community coming to its senses. It shows us, the end-users, the time of wild experimentation, of whacky ideas, of bullshit for bullshit’s sake is slowly coming to an end. A peek at the DistroWatch Top 100 distros shows us what’s hot and what’s not. And it shows us that cream rises to the top, and heavy bullshit sinks and goes under.
Most of the distros in the list are either absolute top hits or well-established long time faves with a very loyal user group, or both. Just by browsing down the list I can’t find any distro I’d call kak right away. True, most of them aren’t meeting my taste and my workflow, but there aren’t any that are downright unusable, illogical or dangerous anymore.
GNU/Linux, as a whole, has reached an unprecendented level of maturity, which is easily on par with the two biggies. Some distros are even better in all aspects. But who honestly needs a couple hundred Linux distros? Play kiddies, always curious distro hoppers and testers, right. In the usual case most of us only need one operating system. Most long term Linux users have found that out and are staying loyal to a single distro, they only update in a rolling manner or installing new versions every 6 months or 3 years.
This is clearly to see even in the Top 50 list, even in the Top 10: Look how steeply the HPD (Hits Per Day) numbers are going down already after #5 in the list, the inintimidable, undying Ubuntu. And look a the difference that shows even between #1 Manjaro and #2 Mint. 3995 compared to 2306 is a world of a difference. I wrote in an article a while ago, that I think Mint is the “better” system for beginners and everyday usage. But Mint is one of the quiet systems, there isn’t much hullabalo around it, while Manjaro is a loud “disco party” system, and due for a new point release very soon; which explains the hightened interest in it right now. Nerve wrecking fugly hipsters like Orca have been seen using Manjaro, which explains a lot. I guess if we had any info about actual download figures or the installation base, Mint will probably rank far above Manjaro, and Ubuntu’s install base will be even higher.
Doesn’t matter much. Manjaro, and particularly Mint, have reached such a high level of user friendlyness and usability, they aren’t behind WinApple in any way. Behind that we have to deal with a declining level of professionality and manpower to maneuvre the particular distros through hard times of growing demands by the users. Cream rises to the top, even in the small word of desktop Linux and the even smaller group of distros with a user base greater than a couple of hundred freaks.
So, to come full circle with this write-up I guess we can state we’ve seen it all. Apart from more or less big steps and small revolutions Linux is as stable and good as you can wish for. The good top distros evolve steadily; when they are starting to go on a wild slalom course their download numbers will suffer, as we’ve just seen with Ubuntu. They aren’t the hot Linux for Human Beings anymore, and their inability to find a good workable desktop environment for the mothership distro doesn’t help either. No wonder, young daughters Mint and Elementary, stable workhorses like MX and wild children like Manjaro have passed them with hard work and by taking the right decisions. It’s somewhere inside the Top 20, I’d say even inside the Top 5 that you can find your operating system of the future.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t install and play with and test out as many Linuxes as you can; at least for a while. As long as you remember that cream rises to the top everything will be fine and go very ok for you.
And as it so happens, Chris Were was thinking in the same vein. Watch what he’s gotta say:
Very good solid choice there, Chris. 😉