Best Linux distribution for me

Thesis: The best Linux distribution for you is the one which works.

Linux is shooting itself in the foot by continuously pumping out yet new distributions, without instead collaborating and pooling human resource on solving the relevant (and long-standing) usability issues. The shoot a newcomer in the foot as well, because the newcomer does not even know which distribution to choose. Worse yet, they download five distributions, waste five burned installation media, and find that four or five out of the five downloaded, burned, and attempted to run distributions do not work with their hardware.

This means a distribution with the most support available. Which also means the most popular distribution.

Currently, the most popular distribution is Ubuntu. However, the latest release pushes the Unity desktop interface. This interface violates privacy, by sending your typed commands to Amazon, and displaying ads from Amazon in its equivalent of a file manager. They should try to make income elsewhere, not from my typed commands. I will not tolerate this.

Therefore, we will look at a #2 in popularity distribution. That would be Mint.

Mint is unique in one aspect. It tolerates, and includes, proprietary and third-party, non open-source, drivers and codecs. This makes it become actually usable.

Let me tell you a tale of about five years back. Of what it was like installing Linux on a laptop.

I would install it, and get it to work. I would then find out that the following things were not supported in Linux at that time: NTFS writing, battery management, DVD playback, wireless, custom hardware functionality (laptop control keys, hot keys, etc, etc).

I would ask around on the forums about enabling wireless internet. The responses I got were:

Answer: Wireless on a Laptop with Linux currently does not work.

Myself: What do you mean???

Answer: It just doesn't. Why do you need wireless? It doesn't work. So why do you need it?

Myself: Because its A LAPTOP!!!

Answer: You don't need wireless. It doesn't work. Therefore you don't need it.

Repeat same for NTFS, battery management, DVD playback, etc.


So you might be excited about installing a distro, spending time doing so and configuring it. Until you pop in a DVD with a movie into the computer. Totem (player) launches itself to play the DVD, and then stops and gives you an error, saying:

Totem cannot play disc. No reason.

That is a real error message, by the way.

For me that distribution = worthless for newcomers.


Mint accepts the fact that proprietary codecs and drivers are needed when Open Source software hasn't caught on. For example, the only legal way to play a DVD is to use a coded for this technology covered under patent law. Same goes for drivers for modern graphics cards where, for example, the vendor will not disclose in open-sourced code all of their "secret sauce" to their competitors.

Therefore, I recommend Mint (with Cinnamon desktop) to all newcomers to Linux, and those who have only used Windows before.

Note: If Mint runs sluggish, check its CPU utilization in System Monitor. If it is pegged close to 100% all the time, your graphics card probably was not enabled yet with a proprietary driver, or your computer uses built-in video driver. If that is the case, disable all desktop visual effects.

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Page last modified 21-May-16 14:33:19 EDT
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