I started off on this holiday weekend expecting to write about a simple text based calendar/scheduler program I can run from a Linux shell. This was “calcurse”. It’s a nice simple program that works for me and is in line with the “Keep It Simple” philosophy.
Well, that was the plan.
I didn’t stick to the plan.
I got sidetracked playing around with a few Distros and ended up spending more time than I should have with some old computers and the latest releases of AntiX, Ubuntu Budgie, and Netrunner.
It’s fairly easy to while away the hours setting up and trying out multiple Linux distributions.
I wouldn’t say it’s a waste of time because I always learn something new tinkering with my computers.
These are all very solid Debian based Operating systems, but that doesn’t always work out to being perfect for the systems I have – most of which are fairly under powered compared to some of the newer hardware that’s on the market.
Ubuntu is getting better, and the Budgie Spin is probably my favorite looking desktop. Netrunner is very elegant, the Debian based version at least.
AntiX is probably the fastest and probably the best suited for older hardware. MX has been my daily driver for a while now, and very close to AntiX, but AntiX does almost everything I need and feels a little faster. For a minimal approach I’d have to give the edge to AntiX, but I’ll continue to use MX for now on my main machine. I duel boot NetRunner and Ubuntu Budgie on my more powerful laptop – mostly as a testing setup.
While going through this exercise I found myself thinking I was still looking for a total replacement for Windows 10, and should probably install Microsoft on one of my machines to see how the latest update compares, but I usually don’t keep Windows for too long before getting disappointed. The only saving grace is PowerShell, which I admit is probably the most interesting thing I’ve found useful on any Microsoft OS machine.
I even tried getting GhostBSD running this weekend – and it does work on one of my older laptops, but it’s not something I would really use as a daily driver.
I do recommend trying it out if you have a spare machine to install it on purely for learning how Unix compares to Linux based distributions. Distro hopping can be fun and insightful, but it can also be frustrating if you can’t find an operating system that meets your daily work requirements. Worse yet is the realization that you often find that you’ve wasted a lot of time. You can go the Virtual machine route, but I never consider that a true test unless you dedicate all your machines resources to the operating system your testing. That’s just my own personal opinion of course. I know a lot of people run Virtual Box on Windows machines to test Linux Distros.
That’s just not my thing. Duel booting seems to be a little more realistic, but that sometimes can be an issue if you tend to encrypt your hard drive.
Someday I may settle on the one perfect Distro, but not today. I should probably schedule these testing forays with a decent text based scheduling program.
Oh ya, that’s what I started out doing. I wonder which Linux box I should run that on.
I can appreciate all the time and effort developers put into each of these projects. These are very good options, or should I say alternatives to what I have used in the past. I can get a lot of work done without adding very many new applications. Everything I need usually comes included in the distribution, and anything I usually need to install is available from the main repositories.
I am looking forward to the next major Ubuntu LTS, but until then any of the latest Debian based spins could work for me, as could the various Ubuntu flavors. I will probably not use the KDE desktop, but will continue with Xfce on most of my systems mostly because it always seems a better fit for how I navigate around the system. KDE looks great, but Xfce looks good to me also.
There’ll be more interesting distributions to try, and I probably will test drive a few in the hope that the unexpected is more dazzling than the expected.
None of these Linux distributions will replace my Chromebook. If all you need is a laptop to write with, a Chromebook is so simple and fast, you’ll spend less time tinkering and more time creating content. That was something I did not fully expect. I still will use Linux full time – except when time is limited. Maybe what I’m really looking for is a Linux/Chromebook hybrid. They might just be working on that. We shall see. One more thing, my Chromebook has a real nice calendar app that’s perfect for scheduling