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"Parent" Distributions

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What with Debian celebrating 25 years of service to the Linux Community I thought it might be fun to discuss how many of the "parent" Linux distros we have tried and stuck with. Here's my list:

 

Red Hat - I have tried Fedora back in my distro farming days but the closest I ever got was a lengthy run of Mandriva/Mageia.

SUSE - tried Open SUSE in Virtual Box but never got anywhere with it.

Slackware - I've installed it once or twice but never stuck with it. Not sure why. I used Vector Linux a lot though - great on real old hardware.

Arch - now we're talking. Arch is the one parent distro I would use in preference to its spin-off distros like Manjaro. Still have it installed on one of my machines.

Debian - I'm all over this. I use Debian and at least 3 of its derived distros. Debian isn't as interesting as Arch though.

Gentoo - No. Just no.

 

To sum up - if I had one parent distro I'd choose above all others it would be Arch.

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I started with Slackware and used it for about 5 years before switching to Archlinux in 2007. Currently, I use CentOS on my servers which is a 1:1 clone of RedHat Enterprise (does that count?) and Archlinux on all other machines. I also run Debian Jessie as one of my main VMs.

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My list would be too long to type. I was a distro farmer for quite some time in my early days with Linux. I started out with Ubuntu at the behest of Urmas and a couple other friends. I latched on the Slackware quite soon after that, though. While Slack became my primary OS almost immediately, I multi-booted (for testing reasons) MANY distros in the next few years. For a list, see about 90% of the distros listed on Distrowatch's website. ;)

 

There are a few that I didn't try (successfully, anyway): Gentoo (and Sabayon derivative), LFS, etc. They required too much work, in my lazy ... er... humble opinion.

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SuSE was originally a Slackware derivative which itself derived from SLS. Mandrake was a Red Hat derivative.

The only parent distro I've used is Debian, which I still have installed along with derivatives MX, siduction, AVLinux and KXStudio.

 

 

Timeline seriously needs updating as it ends at 2012. I'll pass on that chore! :o

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Maybe "parent" distribution is not the correct term to use for some of these very influential distros that served as a basis for many others. Possibly I should describe them as "base" or "mainline" distros. You get the idea.

Looking back on my initial choice of a distro to run for a while, I am struck by my shallowness as a user. Basically, I picked my distro by default desktop - GNOME and later Xfce. I always had a preference for GTK and its apps. Even with Mandriva I used the GNOME setup - even though it was buggy and less polished than KDE.

Another factor included the ease (or lack of it) in setting up wifi. I was an early wifi adopter to avoid stringing cable in my basement and punching holes through the walls. Remember how much fun it was to set up wifi with WPA in 2007?

Later on the choice of APT vs RPM became important. Also whether the distro worked well on crappy old hardware - which I seemed to have a ton of back then.

Today it's about how user-friendly a distro is. My four-year-old granddaughter does just fine with Linux Mint Cinnamon. Most machines I have around today can cope with any desktop.

The bottom line? The more experienced you get, the more the under the hood choices matter to you. And it seems that all the GNOME vs KDE wars have gone away, thankfully.

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Debian isn't as interesting as Arch though.

 

Ha-ha! Yeah, Stable is kinda boring compared to Arch.

 

The more experienced you get, the more the under the hood choices matter to you.

 

Yep. Early on, I spent a lot of time with distros like Mepis, Kubuntu, and Linux Mint. And at first, I mainly used KDE (even with Mint!). These days, I'd say that "user-friendly" has everything to do with the skill level of the user in question. For example, Debian takes a little longer, and takes a little more work to set up, than something like Ubuntu or MX Linux, but after those things are taken care it's smooth sailing and, in my mind, the "parent" distro is perhaps even more "user-friendly" than the derivatives/spin-offs.

 

And, I run both Arch and Antergos. Antergos was a lot easier to install and set up than Arch. But when it comes to maintenance and keeping the system updated, I prefer the "parent" distro; I can simply rely on the Arch wiki and I don't have to concern myself with what's coming from the [antergos] repo, with what things Antergos does differently than "straight" Arch.

 

I like to take a look at the repo setup. I keep finding that I prefer a distro that has a repo setup that's as close as possible to what I'd find in the "parent" distro. Debian's sources.list file is cleaner and simpler than what I see with any of its derivatives. Lol, compare Ubuntu's sources.list file to Stable's; and, MX includes some other files in the /etc/apt/sources.list.d directory that you don't find in the default Debian Stable setup. Same sort of thing with Arch, compared to any of its derivatives. So for me, that's a different spin on the "user-friendly" idea, I guess -- I want that repo setup to be simple and clean, and that's one reason why I end up finding that I have a preference for the "parent" distros.

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. . . Suse......only because of the lizard.

When I was self-employed years ago, I purchased SuSE to help support them (according to my accountant, it was a business expense). Along with the software and manuals, I got a plastic decal of the SuSE lizard that I move from machine to machine--it's still holding up.

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I like to take a look at the repo setup. I keep finding that I prefer a distro that has a repo setup that's as close as possible to what I'd find in the "parent" distro.

that's one of the attractions of siduction. The only repos it adds is "extras" from which the kernel and a handful of tools comes, and "fixes" which is a rarely used repo for when siduction devs fix a dodgy package before it hits Debian Sid repo (these usually end up being adopted into the Debian Sid repo).

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