You know, I've been thinking about why I've switched from the Linux (or GNU/Linux, if you prefer) distro I was primarily using, and why I chose what I chose to step into the breach.
OK - Ubuntu
- a fine servant, and I've been using it (relatively) hassle-free for a
few years now, pretty happily. Indeed, my main desktop still runs Kubuntu as the base OS, with everything else in VirtualBox VM's. And Lubuntu is great, too.
- some of the direction decisions that Canonical/Ubuntu are taking just
seem increasingly odd. I mean, Mir?! And that whole Edge thing, and the
ridiculously defensive stance that they took (supported by the Ubuntu
True Believers (TM)) just turned me off.
I flirted with Manjaro for a while, but the, er, approach of some of the Arch forum denizens put me off, although it is a rocking distro.
moving away from Linux, sadly failed to really gel on my old laptop,
and hung for a while whilst running from USB which put me off that as an
option, nice though what little I saw of it working was.
I also tried Salix, Chakra, CentOS, AntiX, Gentoo and others, but they just didn't suit me.
My two final choices are precisely that for two sides of the same coin:
comes stripped back, and you have to get yourself into a particular
mode of thinking - basically planning what you want to achieve before
you hit the keyboard, which is an approach that I think many computer
users have lost in recent years. This tabula rasa approach is really
refreshing, and means that, as I found with my NetBSD VM on the desktop,
you end up with a superbly quick, lean and flexible system that does
what YOU want, the way YOU want it. But you have to know what you want
Conversely OpenSUSE comes with KDE pretty tightly
integrated, and every fundamental covered with pre-installed
applications. IRC? Got it. Torrents? Got it. Image editing? Got it. And
so on. After a few weeks of using it I haven't had to install a single
additional application. Some will accuse it of bloat, but you could
equally argue that it's providing a flexible out-of-the-box system,
albeit in a different way than FreeBSD.
Overall I reckon between the three - Kubuntu, FreeBSD and OpenSUSE - I've got a cracking little set of systems.