For my daily driver, I want a stable and efficient system that supports my hardware well. I'm ok if the hardware is not supported out of the box and I need to do some specific setup for some devices, but I want to do that once for the life time of the computer.
Debian Stable or Devuan are the linux distributions I use in general.
When the hardware is not supported in Debian Stable, I use an unstable linux distribution until Debian Stable works on my hardware.
At work, I use Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Ubuntu LTS (no choice, well windows is an option).
Over the years, I have been using:
- 1996 Red Hat Linux: I gave up Red Hat because I had to install from source many packages not available as rpm. I had also many dependency issues when installing rpms that were taking time to resolve because my internet connection was modem.
- 2002 Debian Testing: Apt has a lot of open source software, it was much faster to install packages than in Red Hat Linux. It was too unstable for me because I was running apt-get upgrade regularly.
- 2005 Ubuntu: There is good hardware support out the box. Packages are split in multiple repositories, which I don't like. Doing apt-get dist-upgrade to get newer version of ubuntu is likely to crash the system or destroy the configurations. The apt repositories disappear after a few years and it is not possible to install packages in old systems.
- 2008 Debian Stable: It works fine. I had problems upgrading from stretch to buster, so now I'm cautious when running apt-get dist-upgrade. When a stable version goes out of support, the apt repository is moved to archive so it is always possible to install packages on older systems. I have a machine that has been running squeeze for 10 years, I'm happy with it.
I occasionally use and tried:
- Devuan is as good as Debian stable, I don't use it because I wanted to watch videos in firefox on a 4k monitor with the machine where it was installed, but with Xorg the frame rate is not high enough. The same machine with Debian Buster, Wayland and Gnome3 can play the videos with a normal frame rate. Also I want to use the ZFS file system and Devuan Chimera (Testing, based on debian bullseye which has ZFS in the apt repository) doesn't boot on my machine
- Linux Mint (debian version), the design is quite sleek
- Arch Linux in VMs, good for running latest software, Debian unstable is as good
- Manjaro is an easy to use Arch Linux, similar to Ubuntu in user experience
- FreeBSD (12) is probably good on servers, I tried using it as desktop, firefox was crashing, so I stopped
- OpenBSD tried in a VM without GUI
- DragonflyBSD tried in a VM without GUI, CPU affinity is enabled by default so the performance is good
- NetBSD tried in a VM without GUI
- CentOS is good for running commercial linux software, the repositories don't have all the software I use, so I prefer Debian stable. CentOS has been stopped by Red Hat and is replaced with Alma Linux and Rocky Linux
- Fedora is ok but not stable enough
- Alpine Linux tried in a VM without GUI, it uses musl libc as system libc.
- Void Linux tried in a VM, the creator seems to be offline often for unknown reasons
- Zorin, stylish linux with a windows like GUI
- Haiku is posix compatible, I don't use it very often because hardware support is limited and the web browser can't display all web pages
- NixOS tried in a VM
- Open Indiana is a bit slow compare to other OSes
- Linux From Scratch gives control over the system, I would like to change to build process to remove the dependencies on perl and python and create a minimal linux system that I would use in datacenters