I posted this in the Main Edition forum by accident. It will be better served here!
Greetings, everyone. I hope this message finds you well!
To save myself the trouble of explaining my life story again, I'll give you the quick version:
- *nix user for several years.
- Currently running Gentoo.
- Started out on FreeBSD in the early 2000s. First FreeBSD version I installed was 4.3.
- Wife bought herself a new laptop, I installed Linux Mint Debian Edition on it, immediately fell in love.
If you'd like to read the specifics, I posted my introduction here: viewtopic.php?f=180&p=692735#p692735
I really enjoyed the way everything "just worked," on her laptop, and I feel like that's something I'm missing on mine. While I think keeping Gentoo on our desktop will be fine, I think Linux Mint may really be the way to go for me as far as mobility. I've always been one to compile from source, but my laptop (2.5 GHz AMD64, 8GB DDRIII) can take a while when it comes to larger packages (LibreOffice, anyone?).
When it comes to my desktop, I can deal with the compile times because I can simply step away from the computer and let it do it's thing. My laptop, however, goes just about everywhere with me, and when I need something to work, I need it right then. I don't have time to compile everything a lot of the time, so I find myself doing the work a day before out of preparation. I guess I'm basically getting too old for the whole "but I'm compiling from source! I'm cool!" phase. I'm moving towards speed and efficiency these days. After all, the less time spent installing packages, the more time I have to actually use them, right?
Although it sounds like I've all but made up my mind, I've still got a few questions to lie on the table for you Linux Mint users. I don't really have any technical questions, as I know my mileage will likely vary from what I experienced with my wife's laptop, but moreso, I have concerns that I need addressed before I fully commit to swapping to a more managable distribution:
- On LMDE, how closely is upstream followed? I get that the package management is really provided by Debian Testing, but I'm really asking what the timeline is like vs Linux Mint proper. To use gdmap as an example: Let's assume a new version of gdmap is released (for the sake of laziness, let's just say gdmap-2.0). I get that Linux Mint proper will likely get gdmap-2.0 before LMDE, but would they receive the updates within the same week? Month? This is, of course, assuming a stable release.
- On Gentoo, I use a few overlays for developmental versions of software. They are, of course, built from source, but they follow a git repo. I prefer to use overlays to follow them so that my package manager will keep up with them. Most of these applications have PPAs for development Debian/dpkg sources. Would it be advised to use those on LMDE vs building from from the git repo manually?
- How would you rate the community? Obviously, I could do my own research on this (I'm here, aren't I?) but I'd like to hear from some of you regarding this aspect. The Gentoo community can be 50/50. There are some who are very helpful and want others to succeed, but there are others who have an elitist attitude, and they can really make asking for support a daunting task. The Gentoo community, in general, has really helped me as far as reading the manual and using Google goes, but when it comes to very specific issues, I find my heart skipping a beat before I'm given a response!
- I'm used to rolling releases, and I understand that LMDE is "semi-rolling." Can someone elaborate a little further on this? I've done some light reading on update packs, and I assume that's where the majority of kernel patches, security fixes, etc. come in, but I'm not exactly sure. If I upgrade, will I have to burn an ISO every-so-often and upgrade from it, or would I be able to do it all from the package manager? The package manager route would obviously be preferable to me since I'm coming from a rolling release distribution. I remember Debian giving me several headaches when upgrading from version to version, to the point that I eventually just gave up and moved on to Arch (and eventually, to Gentoo..)
Thank you everyone for your time. I know this was a long-winded post, but I really wanted to cover some bases here. If I think of anything else, I'll be sure to post the questions!