Notes from my thoughts on the current state of several major Linux Distributions. I am partial to the least mouse clicking and movement over how a distribution looks. I can modify the default settings if I wish to make a desktop into what I want it to be. These Distributions are cream of the Linux crop of distributions I have tried out lately. The Linux Distributions are listed in no particular order.
Voyager Linux – Ubuntu with XFCE Desktop, some nice added touches really classes up XUbuntu. This is probably the most elegant of recent Linux distributions. If you enjoy a pretty desktop with functionality with added Desktop and Browser modifications, Voyager is for you.
Xubuntu Linux – Ubuntu with a XFCE desktop. Well mannered, fast, fairly light, easy to use, and feels to be less mouse movement, clicking than when using KDE, Mate or Cinnamon Desktop. Needs a few wallpapers added for a personal touch.
One modification I do with stock Xubuntu is is add a few pet programs and remove the bottom dock and replace it with Docky. I like Docky as it adds a little fun and eye candy to the desktop. I am thinking about adding some Conky too.
Mint Linux – I am not sure how I feel about Mint Linux. Mint is a great product. Mint is on the pinnacle with the best of Linux distributions. Mint comes in several Desktop flavors, from KDE to XFCE. Mint also has a Debian version using Cinnamon and Mate Desktops. Consistency is a virtue of Mint Linux. No matter which Desktop you choose to use, they are all configured as much as possible to mimic each other.
The different desktop look the same, and as much as possible operate in the same way. The menus pretty much contain the same programs. The only differences will be programs and settings for the desktop environment you choose to use.
Personally I am a fan of Mint LMDE – Linux Mint Debian Edition, as I have always been happy with Debian. Mint is not Burger King however, you can not have it your way on the desktop. If you start modifying the desktop, you risk breaking your Mint install.
Debian Non Free live CD – I am surprised to be writing this. Debian Linux has a live CD that contains non free software. I tried Debian live with both the LXDE and XFCE Desktops, and everything I love about Debian without the Debian hassle is present.
Debian is light, fast, and to the point. If you are a mainstream user who is not into elegant desktops, Debian is an awesome distribution. I have used Debian on and off for over a decade, and Debian never disappoints.
Debian it seems wants to be a behind the scenes Linux distribution and not a spotlight player. Debian is one of the most carefree distributions around, but as a desktop it does not always play well.
As long as the software you want is in the repository, you are okay. If you want to use a program not in the repository, in my experience, you will spend time hunting down dependencies to make your program work. Same goes for support. You are mostly on your own.
As much as I want to stick with one distribution, something happens where I end up trying out a handful of Linux distributions. Recently it was Crunchbang Linux who closed their doors while working on a new Crunchbang.