I'm still looking for a long-term rolling release distro that suits all my criteria for tech-support of my family/friends linux circle, so I can port my Mimetic desktop settings over and never have to re-install ever again. I'm currently on Lubuntu, which would be the perfect distro if only for that LTS fixed-release issue. I simply cannot deal with the upgrade issues of approx 20 'puters every 3+/- years (the LTS period of Lubuntu), and I sure can't be completely re-installing entire OSes. The whole point of my Mimetic desktop was to create a "something for everyone" desktop that allowed me to focus my efforts on a single target for tech support. And I'd say this strategy has been working wonderfully so far, but sometime in the next 12 months or so, my base LTS will force the issue.
So I've been experimenting with various rolling releases in VBox VMs to see what is viable. I've looked at the obvious candidates, such as Arch and their derivatives. I personally like Arch, and the "vanilla" approach to Arch packages, but I just don't see it as a solution for my tech support requirements. The lack of a GUI software component is a problem, IMO, for beginning users; Octopi and Pacman are excellent, but not sure I can move users to that path. And the frequency of Arch updates is a double-edged sword that I fear will CAUSE more tech support issues than it solves. So, no Arch, nor derivatives... Other source-based distros, such as Redcore, Sabayon, etc... are out for similar reasons.
Which leaves only DEB-based and RPM-based distros. I'm much more familiar and comfortable within the Debian family, and given the prevalence of Debian, seems like that's an easy decision. But Debian and rolling release is a tricky combination, IMO. Debian has to be one of the most conservative distros on the planet...rock solid, but comprised of dated offerings. Rolling release is the opposite....Sid repos seem to be a wild, wild west of cutting edge software...equal parts "quick breakage" and "quick fix". I REALLY like Siduction LXQt, and it's been pretty darn stable for me; but even Siduction devs warn that Siduction shouldn't be used on production machines and to expect some breakage. Furthermore, Siduction's update process to exit to a terminal emulator, login as root and init 3, dist-upgrade seems like a horror movie scenario for my users that will result in either (a) numerous tech support for completely borked systems or ( b ) systems that NEVER get updated. So Siduction is out, no matter how much I like it for me!
It seems my requirements fight each other....until I learned that there are some Debian rolling-release distros based on "Testing" repos! Is this the holy grail for me? Trailing edge software...more up-to-date than Debian's dated offerings, but more stable than Sid repos? This is how I stumbled onto Kali, Mint LMDE, BunsenLabs, and most recently, Sparky!
Tried the first 3 in VMs and all have a deal-killer flaw somewhere in their user-space, IMO. But Sparky...seems like the holy grail?! I've been getting update notifications 2-3 times a week, and they are difficult to ignore. In fact, it's easier to click once and allow the update, whereas it's 2-3 clicks to put it off until later. Furthermore, the updates happen within the GUI of desktop user-space. Could it be any simpler for a beginner-level user to stay up-to-date on their system, and since the Sparky rolling-release repos are based on Testing, and further massaged by Sparky devs, I'm not seeing any updates (so far...knock on wood) that are threatening the desktop. This appears to be a model that emulates the Arch>Manjaro ecosystem, wherein Manjaro is about 2 weeks behind Arch due to the massaging of packages for Manjaro. I actually LIKE this model, as I see an extra layer of stability on a rolling distro..."trailing edge" rather than cutting edge.
Long story short...I'm really digging Sparky so far and am excited about its possibilities. It's rolling release; based on Debian; has an LXQt offering (not quite ready yet, but where I want to go); a software GUI (gnome-software), with ability to use AppGrid, which I prefer; and all the software packages I'm interested in, so far; with the ability to add Debian-based repos and/or install DEB packages for anything I can't locate within Sparky repos. So I've identified MANY pros so far, with the only cons being LXQt-related, which I expect to get resolved as LXQt matures. And I expect the LXQt maturation process to accelerate once Lubuntu 18.10 drops into the real world. Lubuntu has a large user-base, so I'm expecting bug reports, triage, and fixes to happen a lot quicker, as more users=faster pace, IMO.
But back to Sparky...anyone else have experience(s) with this distro? In YOUR opinion, what are the pros and what are the cons? What did you like? NOT like? Are you still driving it? Daily or otherwise? Why or why not? Any and all feedback much appreciated! Thanks in advance!
Edited by Hedon James, 04 September 2018 - 08:47 AM.