HOW do I choose a distro?

Rob Braxman just did a Virtual Box and Linux video as well called “Is Linux Ready for Primetime? Desktop Distro Shootout!”. He them goes on to give his opinion on the most resource efficient and easiest to use for Windows users.

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I installed Mint on Virtual Box to test it out and ended up installing it on my desktop. I thought it was a great way to familiarize myself with it.

I’ve been doing it the Wipe & Install way. I actually just installed my 4th distro, Manjaro Arch KDE Plasma. Guess I’m enjoying myself rebuilding my desktop each and every time.

Ubuntu LTS
Zorin 16 Core
Mint Cinnamon
Manjaro Arch KDE Plasma


@MarkLX - I totally agree and with Scott Bakula showing up as dad - was the ultimate nod. Happy Thanksgiving!!

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@vasileios I just watched the last video in the LMS (Workshop 8). A couple of questions:

  1. If I want to add the KDE GUI, what is the most stable/popular/suggested version to use?
  2. What Distros seem to work better with the KDE GUI ie. Mint, Ubuntu, Zorin…?
    I personally prefer Mint/Cinnamon but am open to trying new Distros if they will be more stable and usable.

I loved that show. I just re-binged on it a few months ago.

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Hi Mark,

The advice I always give is go with the most used and popular, which would be Ubuntu. If you’re starting out in the Linux world, you don’t even know what you want until you know you want it. If you get stuck, you want a larger user base to help you with support. I always recommend Ubuntu first, then after you’re settled in and break through the adoption and learning curve, explore others.

The fallback advice is if you don’t go with Ubuntu, use a derivative, like Mint, as you’ll still have that Ubuntu support base. With your situation, I’d concur with @vasileios that Zorin may be a good start. I’ve never used it, but everyone says it’s solid.

I come from the old days when installing and configuring a Linux distro wasn’t a walk in the park, so by habit I tend to steer newbies towards the more “proven” distros that install like a breeze, but nowadays that’s much less of an issue than it was.

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I appreciate the advice. So far I’ve downloaded Manjaro, Mint, Ubuntu, and Elementary. Quality flash drives were in short supply here in the appropriate size, but I grabbed a larger size and put the Manjaro iso on it. I was surprised at how long it took to do that. I actually wondered if I did something wrong but it was bootable when I tried it. Unfortunately I forgot that I needed a wired keyboard and mouse to do anything, so my project stalled until I could buy those. And then real life intruded and the whole thing is on the back burner right now.

Hey @mclejam1!
There is an Ubuntu flavor that comes directly with KDE. It’s known as Kubuntu and it has official support for this desktop environment.

For Zorin, it’s an extra effort to add it in, while another version that uses KDE quite efficiently is Manjaro - though it utilizes more bleeding edge software, so you might get a few bugs. :slight_smile:

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I’ve seen a little bit of the “holy wars” over the years, which has been a difficulty for me with Linux. I am fairly technical, but not a programmer and not very interested in programming. A Java class toward my Bachelor’s degree broke me.

I first tried Linux in '98 or '99. I bought Red Hat off the shelf. But at the time, there were no drivers for my video card so I couldn’t get a GUI to work. I played with the command line for a while, then formatted back to Win98. I bought SuSE in 2000, which worked with my video card, but I had a hard time getting my cable modem to work with it. Tried SuSE 3 and 4 between 2002 and 2006. I had a nightmare getting my wifi card to work with it. I tried reaching out to some Linux forums for help, but mostly all I got was “Well, THERE’S your problem! You’re running SuSE. You should be running this other distro.” Tried that, hit another wall, rinse and repeat. “There’s your problem! Use this other distro.” I finally gave up and surrendered to Windows and later started buying Macs because we only have 2 choices. I’m giving Linux another go. I have a Raspberry Pi 3 with Raspberry Pi OS running.

As for Gnome and KDE, at one point I preferred KDE. Linux is an x86 offshoot of Unix, which was created by programmers for programmers. At one point, Gnome developers were very resistant to making changes that would make it more usable for non-programmers. I remember reading at a Linux conference, Linus Torvalds himself stopped by a Gnome breakout session and started bitching at them that they need to start taking casual users into account. Shortly after that, Gnome because much more usable so I guess they listened.

I am new and didn’t even know I needed to read this one, but glad I did. Thanks.

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I have been soliciting friends and acquaintances for old laptops that I’m going to convert to Linux and then donate them for a church yard sale.
As I get them I’ve been playing around with different distros but was stuck with putting one on each USB drive. Well, I found a program called Ventoy which is a light OS which you load onto a USB drive. Then the rest of the drive is available for loading ISO files. When you boot the drive, you get a menu which shows all of the Linux distros that you’ve put on the drive. I had a 32Gb drive that I’ve loaded 12 distros and still have 5.1 Gb left. This then allows you to test each of the distros on an old laptop to see what works best.
Just sharing as this was definitely a useful tool.

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After a bit of messing around, I got KDE Plasma DE up and working on an Ubuntu laptop, pretty good. Also, for testing distros, I have used OracleBox before, but just gave Boxes (GNOME) a try for VM’s, and very much a fan. Just building a Zorin VM as we speak, really a lot to like for both Zorin and Boxes. Boxes should allow you to install / create a VM for whatever distro you may be interested in and give it a go. Happy hunting to anyone looking for their favorite flavor!

I’ve been stockpiling .iso files of every Linux distro I can find and storing on an external drive. So much Linux, so little time…

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Last 4 days I’ve been on a VM binge, testing Zorin, Manjaro, KDE DE on stock Ubuntu, Kodachi and building OSINT VM’s (the one in Bazzell’s book, he uses Ubuntu and has a ton of add on tools to install), talk about incredibly fun learning about all these toys!

In Oracle VM, it’s easy to save Snapshots and also to use clones, that way you can simply reset to a ‘clean’ machine between investigations or whatever you’re doing, or if you break something. We had a MS machine running for work to do reporting this week, and I must say I am not missing Windoze at all, Windows 11 is easy enough to use but talk about overloaded junk, it ‘thinks’ for you in everything in the name of ‘convenience.’

Loving not having forced updates, and introducing coworkers to ‘the dark side’, FOSS is our only hope. Been about 6 months since I’ve touched MS machine, hopefully the next time is never. Still really enjoying Pop!OS on my newest machine also, as the daily driver.

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