Desktop Environments Distributions Your Choice

No shame in the Linux game

I admit it. In the past I have done a fair share of distro hopping.

If you’ve seen my recent posts, you see that I still do some OS installations to USB just to try them out. My most recent distros burned to USB are Manjaro and Ubuntu 20.04 main desktop version.

However, I’m down to one computer now. It’s a System76 Gazelle bought in 2017. I bought it pretty loaded up with lots of good features, such as the i7 and 32 GB of RAM.
The hard drive dual-boots Windows 10 and Linux without me worrying about running out of disk space any time soon.

But, one computer (UEFI disabled) still reaches a point where things are functioning well, and as expected with no headaches to occupy your time… You know you can get work done, and you do –no question about it. But, as we all know there is a difference between work time and play time. And right now I gotta get work done. Play time will come later. Or maybe when I replace this computer. Right now too much is working well, and I don’t want to mess with it.

I am curious about how Manjaro works. It’s one of the few popular distros I have not yet used. I used to run KaOs (I think it’s name has changed since) and it is a very cool spin of Arch. I quite easily broke it as I was learning all about pacman and other ways to resolve bleeding-edge breakage. It was fun, but the unexpected twists and turns of “It worked yesterday, but today it’s busted” was less-than fun.

I’m not hating on Arch. No. Arch gets my respect for sure.
But, I told myself that I’d try it out, and see if it could be “daily-driver” material. For me, it wasn’t. Arch style is not what I can depend on for stability for the work of my choice. Yes, laziness is included in my view of it as well. I simply don’t have the same amount of free time to learn by breaking it, or learn by having an update break it. Since Majaro is rolling, I know that when i’m ready to do so I can install it from the USB and that I can bring it up to date.

So here I am today, still running KDE Neon (I mentioned in other posts that it’s so fast). Faster than Pop_OS on this machine in my honest opinion, but that was before 20.04 version came out, so I’d bet Pop_OS is even faster today that previous versions. But for desktop environment. I have learned and retained muscle-memory keyboard shortcuts and what-have-you over the years and I like the way Cinnamon does not force to unlearn so many things such as switching virtual desktops, and having tap-to-click just work.

Plasma is nice, I do use it from time to time. Dolphin is a great file manager, and the available themes are very very nice. Plasma is also a lot faster than I remember it back in the Plasma 4 days too. Maybe it was slower due to the available hardware and RAM I had at the time. Maybe. Plasma is not known to be lightweight, and with 32 GB of RAM on the system, it’s not an issue at all.

So, even with the responsiveness of the computer, why not just use Plasma as a daily driver? Because I like Cinnamon a bit better. It too has some very nice theme choices and customization. The File Manager (Nemo) needs to let users increase the font size of the left hand panel. Other than that it’s fine.

Using Cinnamon made me ask myself why…. and should I feel shame for installing a Plasma system only to “not use Plasma” in favor of an environment that can be found (or installed/added to) many other Linux distributions.

Today I declared “No. There is no shame in setting up the bits and pieces of your computing environment that you use daily to be and work just the way that you want it.”
There is no shame in the game where choice is everything. I chose a rolling distro, and I added a well-known desktop environment and set it up to not get in my way. I update it regularly and I can run virtualbox if I want to check out another distro. Maybe down the road I’ll buy an older machine at a bargain and do some install and tests and funtime experiments. Cheers.