My name is Razz, and for the first time ever, I have Linux on my personal computer.
My hard drive failed on my laptop, and since I had to install an OS on the replacement, I figured it was time to finally abandon Windoze. Which, of course, led me to that first newb decision: which distro? There are so many to choose from! After doing some research and reading some reviews, I decided on Mint. With a strong userbase, and a solid core background while still being at the forefront of new development, choosing Mint was the easy part .... then I find at least FIVE different versions of Mint!!! Yikes!
I (initially) decided XFCE was the version for me .. after so many years of fighting Windoze bloat, a "lightweight and fast" OS seemed like just the ticket for me. And so my journey began ...
I partitioned my new HD (OS, swap, programs, files) and installed XFCE. There I hit my first snag - no wifi. No working drivers for my Broadcom 4318 included on install. Spent a couple days figuring out how to get that working while tethered to a modem not really positioned for comfortable use. That was ... interesting. Welcome to the Terminal. This ain't Windows!
Then I decided that maybe i better dual-boot for awhile until i'm really comfortable with linux. There's just some stuff that I'll be more comfortable with using Windows ( OK, so i didn't take the plunge ... I just sort of waded in here ...) So I go to add another partition ... oops. Forgot. Need an extended partition to have 5 .... delete the Linux swap, create an extended partition, move the others around ... and I can't make a linux swap partition with Windoze ... back out of that, rename 'programs' as 'Windows' .. reinstall Win7. Go to boot and ... no XFCE???? Ooops. Should have installed Win first and THEN Linux. Learn how to repair Grub ... after learnign what Grub IS. Boot to Mint, and fix my partitions much easier from here than Windoze ...
NOW I'm ready to get dirty, right? Well .... I decide i'm not real happy with the XFCE desktop environment. It's just not as customizable as i'd like. Do some more research ... download Mint Mate and play with that for a bit ... don't really like it any better ... so I download KDE and decideI DO like that better. But I don't want to fight the wifi again, i've already synced Firefox, downloaded some software I wanted ... i don't really want to reinstall fesh ....
So, I decide to try using KDE desktop in the XFCE distro. It worked ..... briefly. I ended up trashing everything such that I couldn't login. Ooops. Guess I have to reinstall after all. Some things i don't really like about KDE. The menu sucks, and it's just not as customizable as i'd like. So I download Cinnamon.
Now I've tried all four of the ubuntu based versions. There are some things i like about each one. XFCE IS quite snappy on what is an aging laptop. But then, then they're ALL snappier than Windoze! Even running from liveCD. KDE
is the most customizable, and that's a major point for me. I don't want someone else's theme. I want to be able to tweak things the way I want them. Even KDE is lacking in that respect, but it's much better than the other three. Mate, to me, seemed to be the blandest of the four versions. Well, maybe not 'bland'. More like a store-bought suit. It fits ok, looks ok, and works .. but it's just lacking that tailored quality. Maybe not the best analogy, but .. my impression. Cinnamon is nice ... and i really like the menu.
But ultimately I went with KDE. Primarily because it's desktop was the most customizable out of the box. But also because of the repositories. There are a lot of good packages for KDE that are quite complete and that I wanted to use no matter which version of mint i chose.
I'm not completely happy with KDE. It is a bit CPU intensive at times, but still less so than Win7. I've had more crashes and lockups with the desktop and the software manager than I like. I hope I can figure out how to use the cinnamon menu in KDE. I hope i never, ever click on activities again. I'll figure out how to tweak it the way I really want to. And I need to figure out how to get my /etc/rc.local to run at boot so my mouse buttons are automatically set the way i want them. I may just decide to switch to cinnamon after all. And i need to figure out how to get my games to run in Linux - I haven't had time to play with Wine yet - and find new ways to do all the other little tweaks and things I've figured out how to do in 15 years of using Windows. I'll probably end up keeping Windows around for one reason: Excel. There's just no alternative spreadsheet with Excel's capabilities yet.
There are some general linux annoyances, especially with the Firefox build, but that's OK. They're just different than the
Windoze annoyances, I guess.
I don't know if this will help anyone decide which version to use, (or if anyone will even read the whole thing!) But I thought I'd share my story. (and if anyone can tell me how to make rc.local work, I'd appreciate that too!)