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My Journey

Posted: Wed Aug 15, 2018 9:22 am
by stevedude
After getting fed up with Windows, I was constantly repairing my PC that had some sort of virus or malware. A frined of mine mentioned Linux, which I had never heard of. I looked into this and at the time, Ubuntu seemed to be popular and it also seemed to be supported well so I took the leap of faith and installed Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron. I stayed with Ubuntu for awhile, learning more about Linux but I didn't like the fact that every 6 months an upgrade would come through and would mess up my system. Many times I just had to do a fresh install of Ubuntu for it to work properly for me and that became a real pain over the years.

Then I heard about Deepin, and I fell in love with the new 'Bling' it had. One of the best looking desktop environments and I loved the panel setup. Deepin would not work properly with my graphics cards (NVidia GTS 450) and it had issues recognizing my USB external drive. I stuck with Deepin for a few iterations hoping the bugs would be fixed and they weren't. By pure accident I heard the Manjaro made a Deepin version, so I hopped over to Manjaro and unfortunately, my problems persisted.

Since I was already on Manjaro, I tried Manjaro GNOME. Not the most resource friendly Desktop Environment, but it had what I need and I really started to like the pacman package manager and all of the software available in the AUR. Every single program I needed or wanted was there along with any driver I ever needed so I was getting high on my software crack. Then as of the last few updates, Manjaro started borking my system and the resource usage of GNOME just made my system slow and lifeless. The last update borked my system so bad, I could't even boot into it. Next I tried Solus, I heard it was an 'up-and-comer' so I installed it and noticed I had gained some speed moving from GNOME, but immedoately it bacame apparent Solus could not fill my needs. The software selection is very limited and the software I needed was not easily install-able because of their eopkg package manager. I just grew tired of Ubuntu, then Deepin, then Manjaro, and Solus constantly messing up my system after an update/upgrade and/or not having the drivers and software I need. I was ready for something new.

I looked over Distrowatch and saw that MX Linux is #5 (at the time of this writing). Elementary was #4 but I had tried that in a VM earlier and although it's beautiful, doesn't meet my needs. A Youtube channel that I subscribe to and respect reviewed MX Linux and gave it an "A+". Other reviews were very complementary so I decided to fire up a VM and give MX a spin. I was amazed how fast the system installed, like 10 minutes from installation start to booting into the system. I could not believe how snappy MX was even in a VM environment. I checked the repositories and all the software and drivers I needed were either there or available at the manufactures website via a .DEB package.

I never worked with XFCE before but I find it very customizable and surprisingly intuitive. I took the plunge and installed it on my system and love that I got my old system back. Everything runs fast and it literally took me 20 minutes to get back up and running with all of my files and drivers that I needed. And oh, this is really important! I never experienced an installer that recognized my Home folder and asked to retain the Home folder info as the system is being installed. What a time saver!

The support here has been active and very helpful. The manual for MX is second-to-none, very well written and thorough. I've already gone through a few updates since my system was freshly installed and so far no issues. I am very impressed. I just want a system that works and works well and so far all of those boxes have been checked by MX Linux. I consider myself a "tweener". Somewhere in-between a newbie but not knowledgeable enough for many thing Linux. That is why I am so impressed with the MX Tools and other custom developed utilities. I can follow a guide to get things installed, or changed, but the tools make it so convenient and time-saving. Thank you for all of your efforts, I will proselytize everyone I come in contact with to extol the virtues of MX Linux... :number1:

Re: My Journey

Posted: Wed Aug 15, 2018 9:37 am
by dolphin_oracle
Thank you and welcome!

Re: My Journey

Posted: Wed Aug 15, 2018 7:46 pm
by Artim
What a journey! Thanks for sharing it.

Re: My Journey

Posted: Thu Aug 16, 2018 1:11 am
by asqwerth
Welcome! We're glad you like MX Linux and it suits your purpose.

I don't like to be the one sounding a cautionary note, but it must be noted that Manjaro is a rolling distro and does expect a small amount of reading and checking from the user before each update. Similarly, while the AUR is vast, it was made for Arch users, and Manjaro is slightly behind Arch in updates. So at certain points in time, the version of packages and dependencies used by AUR packages might clash with the current versions in Manjaro. There is also a warning that the AUR packages are provided by 3rd parties so you have to trust that their packages are properly built and/or not malicious. If you don't check them yourself before installation of AUR packages, you take the risk and the more the AUR packages, the more potential for problems.

Thus, if it was not your usual SOP before installing an update to do any checking or reading, and the distro got borked as a result, that might not completely be the fault of Manjaro or its devs.

Unfortunately that's the price of wanting a distro that you only need to install once and which gives you the latest and greatest software all the time. Some manual work needs to be done by the user.

Compare with Solus - it's also rolling but the reason you can install updates with a simple click of its package manager without doing any reading up or checking, is because the Devs keep tight control over what is allowed in its repositories. So they can check and make sure all the packages and updates allowed into their repos work properly with each other. The price is a limited repository of packages compared to Arch or Debian.

MX is a fixed release distro, in contrast.

When Debian moves to the next Stable base and MX releases a new version based on the new Debian base, your existing MX installation based on the older Debian base won't be upgraded to the new base unless the distro is reinstalled (although MX's installer is quick and can preserve Home partition). Alternatively, the MX Devs might be able when the time comes to provide a list of manual commands which you can follow in order to move up to the new Debian base and then install the massive amount of packages for the new base. The point is, because MX is not an ordinarily rolling distro, moving to a new base will take additional effort when the time comes.

So that is its price for stability and easy updates in the meantime.

Lesson: There is always a price to pay or a compromise to make, depending on what type of system you want.

Disclosure: I have all 3 distros installed on my multiboot machine.

Re: My Journey

Posted: Thu Aug 16, 2018 7:31 am
by stevedude
asqwerth wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 1:11 am
I don't like to be the one sounding a cautionary note
No, I'm not bothered at all. I appreciate full disclosure. I learned much of what you shared the hard way and this is actually really good reference for anyone reading this and not having familiarity with the different distributions. I hope my tone was not that of being negative of any one distribution. I love Linux and what it can do and the fact that the developers spend extraordinary amounts of time and talent to provide a user like me the opportunity to use their product is humbling.

One example of the dilemma's I faced was using a particular distribution, I was told that using their distribution, that I could not utilize a particular version of the NVidia driver. Also once they upgraded past kernel 4.15, my system would not even boot. Here on MX Linux, I'm on kernel 4.17 and using the latest NVidia driver. It's those types of issues that frustrated me. I realize I am very ignorant and problems are always a 2-way street plus the fact each distribution has their own nuances. Like Solus for example, a very fine distribution, I love their ideals, its just that I have certain software that I like to use or need that I couldn't install there. I thought I had done my due diligence by testing it first, but some things you just can't mimic in a VM. As you said, each distribution or spin has a price to pay which, is a reasonable expectation. Once my system, drivers, and software is installed, I don't change my system at all. I chose MX because it is based on Debian Stable.

Like the old addage states, it's not the destination, it's the journey that matters. I've learned what I know because of the journey. :-)

Re: My Journey

Posted: Thu Sep 06, 2018 9:38 am
by kc1di
A great encouragement to others who may be thinking of try MX - Thanks for posting.