Should Linux Users Discontinue The Practice Of Distro-Hopping?

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Some of my readers are probably wondering, “Huh? What the hell is distro-hopping?”

Well, for the sake of clarity, the term, “Distro-hopping,” is one that is often used by the people of the Linux community to describe the act of switching from one distribution of Linux to another distribution of Linux (Most Linux users are guilty of this type of behaviour).

I would also like to state for the record, that I have done my fair share of distro-hopping.

And, I am going to examine both the pros and the cons of distro-hopping.

Distro-Hopping Helps The Linux User To Find A Distro Of Linux That They Love

The first distribution of Linux that I tried was Ubuntu 15.10 (Codenamed: Wily Werewolf).

Did I like Ubuntu 15.10?

No, I did not!

And, why was that the case?

Back then, I was looking for a permanent replacement for the Windows operating system and Ubuntu’s Unity desktop environment was not to my liking.

So, what did I do?

I ended up switching to Linux Mint 17.3 (Codenamed: Rosa); I went with the Cinnamon desktop environment because it had a look and feel that was reminiscent of Windows 7.

Linux Mint was almost perfect out-of-the-box (And, because of that, I did not have to do much tweaking).

Also, I was most pleased when I found out that Linux Mint came with a wonderful selection of free and open-source software.

In spite of being pleased with Linux Mint, I ended up experimenting with the various following Ubuntu-based distributions of Linux:

  • Ubuntu MATE
  • Ubuntu Budgie
  • Ubuntu Studio
  • Xubuntu
  • Kubuntu
  • Lubuntu
  • Zorin OS
  • Peppermint OS
  • Feren OS
  • Linux Lite
  • Chalet OS
  • Bodhi Linux
  • KDE Neon
  • Elementary OS

And, I also experimented with these Arch-based distributions of Linux:

  • Manjaro Linux
  • Antergos
  • SwagArch
  • Anarchy Linux
  • ArcoLinux

I also experimented with these two Linux distributions that were independent (They were not based on any other distribution of Linux):

  1. Debian
  2. Solus MATE (The one that I have chosen to use as my main distribution of Linux).

The only Linux distribution that I tried that was based on Debian was MX Linux (And, I have to admit that it is an impressive distribution of Linux).

In the future, I might experiment with Deepin OS (Which is another Debian-based distribution of Linux).

In my case, distro-hopping allowed me to figure out which distribution of Linux was right for me (So, my distro-hopping experience turned out to be a very positive one).

Distro-Hopping Is Ideal For The Technology Blogger

Yes, my friend, distro-hopping is ideal for the blogger who publishes technology-related blog posts on their blog.

In the past (the days when I published content on Blogger), I published in-depth articles that were based on various distributions of Linux (That was easy for me because I was eager to find out if the latest iterations of those Linux distributions worked well and were worthy of being used).

There are numerous distributions of Linux; therefore, one cannot run out of Linux distributions to review (And, that places the person who loves to publish technology-related blog posts in a blissful state of mind).

There will also be those people who are interested to know what it is like to use various distributions of Linux (And, this is where distro-hopping comes in).

Are you a technology blogger who enjoys reviewing various distributions of Linux?

Distro-Hopping Can Be A Bit Stressful At Times

One of the negative aspects of distro-hopping is switching to a distribution of Linux that is buggy (Encountering bugs on a Linux operating system can result in the user having a most unpleasant experience. But, one can always file a bug report; which helps the developers to become aware of the technical issue and the developers, in turn, will have them resolved in a timely manner).

And, another horrible aspect of distro-hopping is having the installation process fail on you (For example, Antergos failed to install on my computer twice in a row. However, I was able to get it installed on the third try).

There are people who do not have the patience for the things that I mentioned (And, I would not blame them because it takes people with a strong mindset to deal with bugs and dealing with the failure of an installation of a particular distribution of Linux).

So, you have been warned. If you have intentions of distro-hopping, you will encounter bugs and experience first hand, what it is like to have the occasional failure in the area of installing a Linux distribution on your hardware or on a virtual machine.

There Will Come A Time When You No Longer Need To Distro-Hop

If you managed to come across a distribution of Linux that is compatible with your hardware and works well and meets your needs, there is no need for you to continue distro-hopping (This is something that people who only own one computer should consider).

I have witnessed people complaining in the Manjaro Linux forum about how they left Linux Mint or Ubuntu that they claimed worked well and that they are frustrated with Manjaro Linux.

It was unwise of those people to leave Linux Mint or Ubuntu.

Besides, Manjaro Linux is a different kettle of fish in the proverbial sense; it is an Arch-based distribution as well as a rolling release (Technological hiccups are expected to occur occasionally with any distribution of Linux that follows the rolling release model).

In my case, I love to tinker; therefore I do not mind spending some time resolving technological issues on Manjaro Linux β€” the kind that creeps out of the figurative woodwork.

Unfortunately, there are those people who do not know when they should stop distro-hopping (They are the ones who will continue to have painful experiences in the world of Linux).

Final Thoughts

If you have more than one computer, it is safe for you to continue the practice of distro-hopping.

You can also continue utilizing your ideal distribution of Linux (the one that works well for you) on your main computer without wiping it clean from your hardware (The last thing that you would want to do is hamper your productivity).

There is also the option of experimenting with various distributions of Linux in a virtual machine. However, the experience is a much different one when a Linux operating system is installed on an actual hard drive or a solid-state drive because it allows the user to see as well as to know exactly the way it works.

The God’s/Goddess’s truth is that various distributions of Linux will work differently on numerous types of hardware and believe it or not, there is the rare occurrence where Linux will not work on certain types of hardware.

The good news is that there are Linux-friendly computers; such as:

  • Dell
  • HP
  • Lenovo
  • System76

So, it is up to the distro-hopper to choose their next distribution of Linux wisely.

As I have stated earlier in this blog post, it is okay to discontinue distro-hopping once you have encountered a distribution of Linux that works harmoniously with your hardware.

However, if you are a technology blogger or merely someone who has a deep interest in the way in which Linux works, you are free to engage in distro-hopping.

Do keep in mind, that if your chosen distribution of Linux does not work as well as you would like it to, there are the options of moving on to another distribution of Linux or returning to the one that worked well on your hardware.

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30 thoughts on “Should Linux Users Discontinue The Practice Of Distro-Hopping?

  1. I haven’t a clue about this, but I’m liking it because as usual you write great articles… Maybe sometime in the future I may consider buying a new computer and I could experiment…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. πŸ™‚ Thank you for the kind sentiment, Marts.

      Putting Linux on a new computer sounds like a good idea. However, it is advisable that you research the model of the computer that you are interested in with the intentions of finding out if it is compatible with Linux.

      Thank you for your participation!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Sending it to a tech, having it reformatted and then I got fed up with it. Actually it was not a good buy. I got a cheaper model with windows 8, which updated to windows 10. But now it stalls and hangs more often than not. I suggested to the tech to install Linux on it but he said that if I do that I will loose the original windows.

        Like

      2. πŸ™‚ In that case, it is time for you to say, “Goodbye,” to Windows 10 and “Hello” to Linux.

        I recommend Linux Mint; it would add new life to your laptop.

        Since you have nothing to lose, you could ask your daughter to install Linux Mint with the Cinnamon desktop environment on your laptop.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I dual boot my os. One is Windows and other is Ubuntu 18.04. At one time I switched to Kali Linux but it was really not for me. So I switched back to Ubuntu.
    All I do Is coding so Ubuntu is all good for me. Thanks for giving so much alternative

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Great post, Renard. As you said if a distribution works for you, it is wise to stay put.

    I did settle long ago for Debian, but that has not keep me from testing/experimenting with other Linux distributions: Debian is my everyday distro, and I try other distributions in a different partition or in a virtual machine.

    Linux is a whole fascinating world, and there is a lot of fun to be had by tinkering here and there, and seeing how different distros adapt the O.S to suit different needs. Also the BSD family is worth a try for Linux/BSD enthusiast.

    Now, you make me feel curious about MX Linux, I should start preparing a new, clean VM πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 2 people

  4. There are a few that tend to “run home to” after a few failed or dissatisfying “hops” with other distros. Linux users are a fickle lot, aren’t we? Mostly I hopped because I just wanted to see what the fuss was about over this-or-that distro, or because I wanted to get out of the ol’ comfort zone and try something totally different from what I was used to (like from one of the ‘buntus to Slackware – omygosh). Great learning experience.

    Now I’m down to two, and I dual-boot just for grins and giggles. But I install Linux on old hand-me-down hardware intended for use by complete newbies who know only Windows or Mac, so I have narrowed things down to the newbie-friendly distros that kids and grandmas can use at home or at school, that require little if any support from me.

    Knowing when to quit is very important for compulsive hoppers though. Excellent post!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “I have narrowed things down to the newbie-friendly distros that kids and grandmas can use at home or at school, that require little if any support from me.”

      I completely agree with that. In my early Linux days I did not see much use for ‘newbie-friendly distros’: back then it was commonly accepted that Linux had a learning curve, and those who installed it where mainly people who enjoyed the technical side of it. I started to value the ‘newbie-friendly’ approach when I recommend Linux to newbie users: as you well said ‘newbie-friendly distros’ were sparing me hours of technical support, and keeping the users happy.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. To clarify one point, Debian is the upstream distro of Ubuntu and variants. Anything that uses apt-get is probably a descendent in some way. If you want to try different styles, try Fedora, openSUSE, or Slackware. If you want really different, try a BSD. OpenBSD is a really interesting distribution for a Linux user to try because it shows what a really correct system looks like, which most Linux users have never seen.

    Like

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