Linux Distro Hopping Dream Page

If you just can’t find enough Linux distributions to try out, or you are bored with what is out there, I found the crown jewel of choices! It resides at Distrowatch under the related links section.

There are enough Linux distros that have not been reviewed or made it into the top 100 of the Distrowatch main page to keep you busy for months, even if you try one a day.

And that is just Linux distro’s. There are sub sections of distro links that are not based on any distro, or even Linux, but stand alone.

The Distrowatch related link page is: http://distrowatch.com/dwres.php?resource=links

I do not have any relationship with Distrowatch, but as a reformed distro hopper, this Distrowatch links page reads pure gold if you are a hard core distro hopper!

Caution advised, some of these distributions are not for the feint of heart, and from what I read, some are not so friendly either.

Linux Distro Hopping, a few Distro Comments

Since I have been checking out a number of new distros, I thought I would post a quick line or two on them. One of the important things for me, is a distro be able to see youtube and Ted videos out of the box, or easily make them play. I also use usenet, so a usenet reader is also on my list.

One finding, or food for thought: Using LVM means you have to backup anything you want from your home directory before installing another distro. If there is a workaround, I did not find it.

I think the simplest hard drive scheme is a 10 – 15  gig root (if you have the space), a swap file that matches your memory or at least four gigs for movies, and whatever space you have left as home – unless you multiboot.

Crunchbang #! (Debian) – see my previous post, is awesome once you understand it, and can get past “Windows way” thinking.

Kubuntu & Xubuntu (Ubuntu 14.04) – This is a very stable, easy to use distro, using the KDE desktop of course. I find myself doing too much clicking when going through the menu for a program, depending on where it is. Uses about 550 mb of ram.

* This applies to all ‘buntu from what I read…If you multiboot, grub occasionally misses all your distros. Also only Kubuntu, though it was installed on sdb, put grub on sda without asking.

Linux Mint (Ubuntu 14.04) – Awesome. A very well thought out distribution. Most of the programs are programs you want to use. The different desktops are for the cpu speed, amount of ram, and hard drive space, although, even if your system is new, you may notice a speed difference between the desktops.

LXLE (Ubuntu 14.04) – Not sure what to think about this one. Comprehensive is a good word for LXLE. It is fast, and very large at the same time. There are enough programs you may never need to add anything. Though I did not notice any that would not get used over time.

Debian 7.5 – Sparse and fast. Installs with the LXDE desktop, which is one of the fastest desktops around. One of the most stable and secure distributions around. Not pretty, you will need to add software, and you may want to tweak the settings. You do have the option of loading any other desktop, and window manager such as XFCE, KDE, or Gnome. I think if you give LXDE a chance, you will like it.

Plays youtube videos from basic install, at least the few I tried. Copy and paste the link below to load flash player so you can watch TED and maybe some other videos.

https://wiki.debian.org/FlashPlayer

A downside of Debian is Debian and Debian users are not overly friendly at times. They are usually experienced users, and have little patience for asked a 1000 times questions.

Kannotix (Debian) – This is a good solid distro. It’s been around a long time. Not a lot of flash, just solid.

SolydXK (Debian) – Close to Kubuntu and Xubuntu. SolydK did not like my Intel video chip set, and gave me a few problems. Solid though, and upgraded just fine. SolydX is awesome, but the upgrade left search the engines option out of Firefox.

Net Runner – Very fast! I liked this distro right away, until I looked for a binary news reader – like Pan. I could not find one. Other than that, it may need to be tweaked for appearance, but it is very fast.

Manjaro – Fast, but too green for me. I became annoyed by the color scheme too quickly. I am not a KDE expert, and playing around with the settings left me wanting someone who knows what they are doing to change the color scheme. Also had a few small problems. This distro may be troublesome for new Linux users. Updates pretty quickly too.

Easy Linux Distro Hopping – Thunderbird and Firefox

One of the good/bad things about Linux is distro hopping. Distro hopping means trying out different distributions of Linux as the mood hits, or an exciting new distribution appears. Some people change Linux distributions monthly. Other people less often. Some people not at all.

A few people have their favorite distribution and try out other Linux distributions on the side, so to speak. I am one of those people. For me the Linux distribution I am using is possibly not as great as the new distro I will take for a test drive. I do not want to miss out.

One of the downsides to jumping Linux distributions is email and web browser settings. Email because I either have to keep email on the server, or I have to ensure I do not need any emails in the old distribution before I delete it for the next latest and greatest Linux Distribution.

There is an easy fix however, if you use Mozilla products which I am a big fan of. I prefer Thunderbird for my email and Firefox as my web browser. If you are using either or both of these, distro jumping becomes much less painful.

This post is for the new distro hoppers. A How To for easily moving your Firefox and Thunderbird email, address book and settings to your newest distro. This works for popular distros as of June 2014.

With [most] Linux distros, all your files are kept in your home directory. Your email, and your browser settings are stored as invisible files in your home directory. This is how Linux keeps everything right in the case of multiple users on a computer.

Each user or account has their own home directory where their personal files are stored.  This makes distro jumping easy. When you want to either try out a Linux distribution or try out a second distribution, keeping your email and browser settings is a fairly simple process.

In your file manager, no matter which manager you have is a setting in preferences for viewing hidden files. This needs to be checked because you want to view hidden files – temporarily.

After setting the hidden files switch, when you look at you home directory, you will see a number of files that have a period in front of the folder name. These are hidden folders. Most folders contain settings and other information for the user based software you have installed.  There are a number of hidden folders, and they tend to clutter up the file manager, so they are hidden and not viewed by default.

Two of these hidden folders you are most interested in are: .mozilla and .thunderbird. These two folders contain all your Thunderbird and Firefox email and settings.

Your new distribution needs to have Thunderbird and Firefox installed. If they are not present, install them both before proceeding.  Copy these two folders, .mozilla and .thunderbird, from your old home folder to your new home folder. Your file manager will warn you that these folders exist and do you want to replace them. Choose: yes.

Tat is all there is to it. I did one jump recently where this did not work for Thunderbird, not sure why. What I did was create my accounts in Thunderbird, and then close Thunderbird before allowing to to check of new email. When I reopened Thunderbird, my old emails, address book, etc were all present.