As I mentioned in my last entry, I decided to embark on a journey to the mythical Lands of Linux, because I needed something in my computing life to change. I was overly annoyed with the bloat-ish nature of Win 7 and was quite unwilling to try either Win 8/8.1 or Win 10 in the future. Mac OS X was out of the question for obvious reasons – costs. Linux seemed like a good, inexpensive alternative. It also potentially offered what I was looking for – lightness.
When I was browsing through the Internets I encountered an immediate roadblock on my path to convertion:
Linux is not a single operating system.
When it comes to computers and other ‘geek activities’ I have huge problems taking decisive actions…
Programming in Python or Perl?
Role-playing as a priest or a warlock?
My staff should give off a blue or a green aura?
And suddenly I’m forced to choose among hundreds of Linux ‘flavors’ (distributions). Completely confounded I decided (ha!) to limit my choices to so-called ‘lightweight’ distributions. Although not a category per se, many development teams strive to offer fully functional Linux variants for people using both old and new hardware. After a few hours of searching and reading I drafted a list of potentially worthwhile lightweight Linux distributions:
– Crunchbang (Waldorf 11) – a relatively simple distribution based on Debian (the predecessor of the popular Ubuntu). It doesn’t really use a desktop environment, like Windows or a lot of other distributions do. Instead, it utilizes the incredible flexibility of the Openbox window manager. The desktop can be freely altered and adjusted. As it is based on Debian, it is very stable. Unfortunately, it also requires a basic knowledge of Linux commands, which I did not have. Probably not the best choice for a greenhorn like me.
– Lubuntu (14.04 LTS or 14.10) – a variant of Ubuntu designed for older computers. The LXDE (Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment) desktop environment looked simple, yet quite attractive. It had a feel very similar to Windows. However, Windows was something I wanted to avoid at all costs at that point in time. Nevertheless, as it is a branch of Ubuntu, it is bound to have great community and development team support, including regular updates. Thus, I decided to leave it for later.
– Peppermint Five (14.04 LTS) – a distribution based on Ubuntu Mint. According to common Linux knowledge – ‘the Lubuntu of Ubuntu Mint’. Just like Lubuntu it utilizes LXDE, however with added eyecandy. Peppermint is often advertised as an internet-centric distribution, meaning that most applications are related to Internet activities or rely on browser-based components (like Adobe Flash Player). Although, the developers claimed that one can use Peppermint locally as well. Later perhaps?
– Bodhi Linux (2.4.0 or 3.0.0 Release Candidate 1) – based on the current Ubuntu LTS (2.4.0 relies on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, while 3.0.0 on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS), Bodhi strives for lightness. It was clearly designed as THE lightweight distribution. It also had that underdog feel to it – like a rebel among other ‘proper’ Linux distributions. Interestingly, unlike Crunchbang, Bodhi didn’t sacrifice visuals for lightness. Bodhi Linux uses the unique Enlightenment (E) desktop environment. E17 shipped with Bodhi Linux 2.4.0 offers a number of themes to choose from initially, while additional ones can be found online. The moment I saw the beautiful Enlightenment desktop and read the Bodhi’s Path to Enlightenment guide I knew what my decision would be…
*To be continued in Part 2…*