Ubuntu – Debian done well?

I’m still having a few problems with Debian Lenny. I know it’s not stable yet, and i’m downloading updates almost every day, but it’s just not suiting me particularly well. I haven’t got it to recognise the Nvidia graphics card, it still fails to boot unless i choose an older version of the kernel, and for all that Flash is supposedly supported, it crashes quite a lot.

The main problem is, Lenny doesn’t feel that much different from Etch. It doesn’t particularly feel like it was worth upgrading. Maybe it’s time for a change.

I went on the Linux Distribution Chooser test and it recommended to me OpenSUSE, Debian, Fedora and Ubuntu, in that order. A lot of people love Ubuntu, and i was quite struck by Jack describing Ubuntu as “Debian done well”. See, i like Debian a lot, but it does take a bit of work. Right now i just don’t have the time or inclination to sort out the few problems that i’m having. Unfortunately, i’ve fallen into the bizarre trap of believing that Linux is supposed to require a bit of effort, and i sort of have a bad impression of Ubuntu, seeing it as a cop-out solution for people who want Linux but don’t want to have to think about it. Isn’t that weird?! Surely that should be a great big positive for Ubuntu, but in my mind i still have some slight aversion to Ubuntu.

Maybe i’ll try OpenSUSE. I am impressed by their three goals about ease of use and their aim to meet everybody’s needs. They sound like goals i’d like to support. The only reservation i have is that i’ll miss Debian’s package management system, apt-get, which i think is the thing i love so much about Debian!

Other options? Well, despite saying i don’t have time to fiddle getting things to work, i am pretty excited by the idea of Linux From Scratch. The idea that i could build up my own Linux build right from the start, learning about how it all works as i go along, making my personal decisions every step of the way … woah, that’s really exicting to me! But it would be a side project … not for my main computer.

Mac OSX? I like using the iMac at work. I can see why people like Macs so much. It is easy and enjoyable to use. Yes, it has crossed my mind that i could get a Mac Book … but it completely goes against my principle of free software. I don’t think Apple are as bad as Microsoft, but i sort of have the impression that they could be if they had the same opportunities as Microsoft had. So yeah, Mac at work – great! But at home? No chance. Even my desire for TextMate has diminished since i started using NetBeans, which is working out very well for me.

Windows? NO WAY!! Even though i could easily get a pirated copy, it’s not going to happen. The user experience of Vista is so awful, and i hate the account protection nonsense they’ve had to stuff in as an apology for the lack of a proper security system in the first place. I built this computer with my own fair hands, and it has never known Windows except safely contained within VMWare. I don’t intend to torture my little computer (or myself!) with any of that Microsoft rubbish now!

I think it’s a choice between Ubuntu or OpenSUSE.

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