Saturday, December 8, 2007

Impressions of Some Linux/BSD Distributions

Before Fall 2002, I was mainly playing with Linux (Slackware, Redhat, Mandrake, Corel, Caldera, etc) but still use Windows mostly at home. I was not using Linux between Fall 2002 and Spring 2005.

I started to try out Linux again with Ubuntu 5.04 and I liked it quite a lot. Then I was trying to 5.10 and it was not as good so I started to look at Fedora as well (Core 4). Soon I fixed the problem with 5.10 and then I found 6.06 LTS a great distribution that I am still running it as the main distribution now. I also tried Ubuntu 6.10/7.04 and they were good as well. Now I have Ubuntu 7.10 installed. Initially it is not good (problem with USplash screen) but I solved it. Firefox 1.5 under Ubuntu 6.06 is not that good but switching to swiftfox seems to solve the problem. Firefox 2.0 under Ubuntu 7.10 initially is very bad but once I remove xgl/compiz stuff it becomes better now.

On the other hand, FC5/FC6 and Fedora 7 were also not bad so I was using Fedora as the 2nd option to Ubuntu. Fedora 8 is a disaster (despite the flawless installation process) that it did not boot after installation due to the bug associated with FreeBSD partitions. So now I do not have a Fedora installation.

I tried to use OpenSuse as well, it is rather sophiscated but I feel it is relative slow. OpenSuse 10.2 installation is not good that it writes the Grub bootloader without asking and messed up my Grub. I have to boot to Ubuntu 6.06 and recover the bootloader. BTW, for Grub recover, it seems that Knoppix is good. OpenSuse 10.3 installation is flawless but trying compiz caused the system not to boot so I gave up.

I tried to use Arch Linux and it is quite good in terms of upgrading (versionless) but I do not find it offer anything more than Ubuntu.

I tried to use Gentoo for two days and it was a pain due to dead mirrors and long compiling process. And since I have FreeBSD installed, I do not need another source based distribution. FreeBSD does offer something Linux does not offer -- a BSD licensed kernel and userland. FreeBSD is not as easy to use as Linux but it is quite usable as well. I am also trying out NetBSD but I feel it is not good for desktop usage.

PClinuxOS looks nice and in the end it does not offer anything better than Ubuntu (maybe KDE is better under PClinuxOS).

So now I have Ubuntu 6.06/7.10 and FreeBSD 7.0 Beta. I will try out other things from time to time.

I still use Windows XP SP2 at home occassionaly but mostly I am using Ubuntu.

No comments: