End of last year, I’ve quit Ubuntu, after more than 7 years, to find out what was the best GNOME 3 Linux distribution. I’ve selected three major distributions: Ubuntu 11.10, Opensuse 12.1 and Fedora 16. I spent more than a month with each. Here’s what I’ve found and learned.
What I’m expecting from a distribution
Before asking yourself what is your distribution of choice, maybe you should start by clarifying what you really expect from a distribution. In fact, the list is quite short for me:
- I expect a good GNOME 3 experience, as close as possible from upstream.
- I want an easy way to install/manage software.
- I want all the software easily available and upgradable. This includes proprietary codecs, flash plugin, games, etc.
- I want the latest versions of those software and quickly after they are released.
- Be easily installable.
- Good default: the less I’ve to do when reinstalling, the better.
- Other than that, stay out of my way. No specific configuration tool. GNOME should handle that.
But that’s not all. Being a Linux evangelist, I install Linux for a lot of people. Which add completely different requirements.
- There should be a stable version with a long support time so I upgrade those people as rarely as possible.
- The stable version should be stable and as trouble free as possible. This include incremental upgrade and they should be prevented to make a complete distribution upgrade (because it is never trouble free).
- The stable version should be smart enough to update important things like hardware drivers, major versions of Firefox, etc.
- The installation should come with a selection of pretty wallpaper, good default, most needed software. (the less I’ve to do when installing, the less I forget something which may block them as soon as I leave the room).
- Installation process have to look sweet and requires the minimal input from me. I will be installing it when drinking tea with them.