Tag Archives: operating systems

The Slacker’s Fav Linux List

Here’s what I like. They’re all good. However, like anyone, I have my personal favorites. Here goes…

My Top Five GNU/Linux Operating Systems and Why

  1. Slackware Linux – To me, Slackware just fits. Folks have heard me say for years now that Slackware is the only Linux operating system that comes pre-packaged with ATTITUDE. It’s a biker’s Linux. It’s not all-inclusive. It’s not warm and fuzzy. It’s not even user friendly, at times. When you kick that baby over, though, it RUNS… and it runs hard and long. Slackware is the oldest surviving still maintained Linux. Its age grants it bragging rights. It is a survivor.
  2. Debian – Debian is old; not as old as Slack, but close. It’s also “old school”, kinda’ like me. It’s there when you need it. It’s nothing fancy, really. It’s the Sears Craftsman of Linux operating systems; dependable, steady, and ROCK-FRIGGIN’ SOLID. I use Debian on my desktop machine as a secondary operating system. It’s fully operable and synch’d with my Slackware primary OS. No better fall back can be had.
  3. Arch Linux – While I’m not nearly as experienced with Arch as I am with Slack and Deb, I still have had some experience with it. I’m MOST impressed with Arch’s Support Community. I capitalize those words because in Arch’s case, they deserve to be capitalized. Most GNU/Linux operating systems out there have extensive and informative support apparati; Arch’s is superior. Their wiki is the best I’ve ever run across.
  4. Zenwalk – Zen’s parent is Slackware. Because of this, Zen has all the stability and reliability of its parent with a more mellow attitude. It’s a bit lighter than Slackware; as if Slack were anywhere near being called “bloated”. I ran Zen many times on my systems. I don’t currently have it installed because Zen doesn’t yet have an x86_64 architecture. I’m patiently waiting, though.
  5. CentOS – I installed Cent because I had already run Fedora Core and was looking to get as close to RedHat as possible without having to spend money to do so. CentOS is the answer. It’s as close as you’ll get to RedHat without the monetary outlay. It’s sharp, clean, stable, and very usable as a primary operating system. For you RPM fans, this might be a good choice.

Those are my five most loved GNU/Linux operating systems. However, I really love them all (with a couple exceptions that we won’t go into here); and with that in mind, here’s an honorable mention list (in no particular order):

  • Ubuntu – Why? Because this is the one that got it all started for me. I had an old stack of Mandrake floppies that someone had given me years ago, but I had never installed them on anything. Ubuntu was the first Linux I ever installed. It took away my Linux virginity and stole me from MS Windows all in one shot.
  • Ark Linux – Ark is a main line (not a branch) Linux operating system. It’s been around for quite some time. While development is sometimes a bit slow in coming, Ark is still alive and well, as I was recently updated by one of their beta-testers, the Borg_Queen. Ark is a good, solid Linux.
  • Vector – An impressive Slack baby. Stable and very usable. Needs an x86_64 version, though
  • OpenSuSE – Always impressive.
  • Fedora Core – Great community. Strong and secure operating system.
  • Foresight – Another one with a great support community.
  • Mepis – A great Debian offspring.
  • Mint – The Rock & Roll loaded Linux, based on Ubuntu.
  • Mandriva – A solid and well supported Linux.
  • Aptosid – A bleeding edge Linux based on Debian’s “Sid” branch; still very stable and usable. Great support community.
  • PCLinuxOS – A friendly and very usable Linux.

My Favorite Pocket Linux

  • SLAX – the Slackware-based pocket rocket. Load this baby from a thumb drive and run in pure RAM mode… the FASTEST operating system you’ve ever seen. Handy for fixing your friends’ toasted MS Windows systems, too.

My Favorite Desktop Environment/Windows Manager

  • Xfce – the little mouse that roared. I run Gnome here and KDE there, but Xfce is my absolute favorite of them all. It’s not near as polished (read as bloated) as KDE nor as user-friendly as Gnome, but it works. And for me, it works well. I love that little mouse.

Next week, 10 things I love about MS Windows. HA! Just kidding. Had you going there for a bit, though.



Image credits: Xfce logo © Olivier Fourdan

What’s So Bad About MS Windows?

A little musing on the perceived competitiveness between commercial and non-commercial operating systems by a user of both types.

Just a few moments ago on a forum that I frequent, a comment was made by a poster whom I have interacted with for quite some time and have much respect for; someone I would definitely call “friend”. This individual was replying to a comment I had made on a thread discussing MS Windows and Linux “us and them” mentality. The thread was initiated by a posting of a blog article called Linux users are hate filled criminal hackers by Locutus on it.toolbox.com.

Closing remarks from the Locutus’ article:

Do you think Linux advocates are really thought of like this by windows advocates? Why would they think this way? Do we project that image in our enthusiasm for Linux? Do we really hate windows that much?

His article is actually a reply itself to an anonymous commenter who had some rather unfriendly things to say about Linux users.

A snippet of the anonymous commenter’s post:

It always grates me when the discussion gets down to how rotten Windows is because of all the viruses etc. when it seems obvious, at least to Windows users, that most of that crap is written by Linux devotees. It seems hard to deny how obvious that is and a great part of the reason that Linux doesn’t suffer from it is because these guys are not going to ‘shit in their own back yard’.

Wow! With the tapping of a few keys, myself and the entire Linux community is suddenly stuffed into the same pigeon hole with the pimply-faced thirteen year old kid who just spent 11 days with no sleep so he could manipulate his botnet to attack the Girl Scout’s website because his chocolate mints arrived three weeks late.

Umm… cookies! Er, but I digress…

I commented on the thread discussing Locutus’ blog post, which had entered the typical MS Windows vs. Linux why and wherefore stage, by stating:

I have a system out in my shop right now that belongs to a friend who asked me to dual-boot Win/Ubuntu for him. He’s tired of Windows. He wants to try Linux. My list of converts is growing.

And yes, I do convert people to Linux. I don’t run around evangelizing on street corners or send SPAM emails about it. Usually, the folks come to me. They’re frustrated and tired of poor performance or corrupted system issues with their MS Windows and they’re looking for respite. I offer them some… in the form of Linux.

Is MS Windows bad? Is it an inferior product? No. I don’t think that on either count. Microsoft has created and marketed an operating system that is the primary operating system for personal (and many business) users the world over. Does it have some security issues? Yes. Is it perfect? Absolutely not. Is Linux perfect? Hell no. In my opinion, though, and for my needs, Linux performs the job better than MS Windows. That’s a personal choice.

There seems to be this underlying user angst (fan loyalty?) out there when it comes to operating systems. As I explained to my friend on the forum, I don’t care what you use for an operating system any more then I care whether you like Ford or Chevy automobiles. If MS Windows works for you, more power to you. If Mac is the apple of your eye, so be it. The perceived competition between commercial operating systems (MS Windows) and the non-commercial ones (Linux) is just silly to me. Linux supposedly controls 1% of the personal PC market right now. Ooooh! I bet MS is shakin’ in their Skechers®

I’ve said this before… use whatever works for you. Life is too damned short to be worried about what operating system weird uncle Bob uses when designing his tinfoil hats.

Have FUN… whatever you do!