Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Focus on Linux, Debian, EndeavourOS and Linux Mint

 I had a spinning cursor issue with Debian a few months ago. It had something to do with Firefox and Pocket. If I moved the cursor over the Pocket articles, the mouse started spinning and would not stop. Thunderbird was also affected after Firefox started the spinning.

Some time later, Debian updated Firefox and the spinning cursor issue went away. Not sure what Firefox was doing as it wasn't obvious. In the mean time, I wanted to use a Linux that was not having the spinning cursor issue. I was fairly sure the spinning cursor wasn't a security risk, but I prefer not to find out the hard way.

I had installed Mint Linux on a few other computers for new Linux users, and I liked Mint, so I installed Linux Mint LMDE. Linux Mint LMDE, even though it is Debian based did not share the spinning mouse cursor syndrome. I was happy with Linux Mint and used it for about a month. I think Linux Mint is a fine Distribution and would recommend Linux Mint to anyone who wants a easy to use Linux.

I am a big fan of XFCE, even though XFCE generally looks a little course and outdated. For me, XFCE is a matter of convenience. Using Linux Mint, it is move to the menu button, click, scroll to what I want and click again. XFCE on the other hand is right click anywhere on the desktop, scroll and click, done.

Being so picky about the desktop feels a little petty, but Linux spoils us. I prefer clicking anywhere on the desktop to mousing to the menu icon and clicking, scrolling and clicking again. As with anything Linux, we have choices. If I could get Linux Mint with the right click anywhere on the desktop, I would be a very happy camper.

I wanted an XFCE desktop, but not another Debian based as I didn't want to do an install and have the same spinning cursor issue. That made me wary of Mint LMDE even though Firefox ran perfectly.  I also did not wish to go through the tedium of script writing, correcting and rewriting.

I started using Linux when I found Suse Linux on several 3.5 inch floppies. Over the years I have installed and used Suse, Slackware, and other distributions, which at the time needed script writing or script editing to function well.

This go 'round, I ended up on Arch as the best solution. Arch minus the configuration that is. I did an offline install using EndeavourOS which is an XFCE desktop.

I won't bore you with details of the install process for each Distribution. I do think Debian needs the most work to get it where you want to be. However Debian is easy to install, and like Arch, puts you more in control of your system if that is important to you.

Once these three distributions are up and running, Linux is Linux is Linux. Each Distribution having its own few little oddities. On my PC, Debian doesn't like to hibernate even using NVIDIA drivers. Linux Mint is the same. EndeavourOS hibernates just fine, though sometimes does not want to connect to WiFi when I wake it up. All minor issues and not deal breakers. The perfect Linux does not yet exist.

The real difference between these three Linux distributions is simple:

Debian: turn on computer, enter your information. In a few seconds, Debian is ready for use.

Linux Mint: Turn on computer, enter your information. In a few seconds Linux Mint is ready to use. In the next few minutes you may get an update notification.

EndeavourOS, turn on computer, enter your information, wait a few seconds, open terminal and enter: sudo pacman -Syu to complete the upgrades that are going to be waiting for you.

Each of these three distributions are fast and stable. There may come a time when EndeavourOS, now Arch for all practical purposes, fails to load, or freezes. It is manageable, and a learning experience. So far it has been a smooth ride.

So, the big question, which of these three Distributions do I recommend? I recommend whatever Linux Distribution you want to use. For myself, I prefer almost any Linux with an XFCE desktop. Almost anyone who thinks they can install Arch Linux, Linux From Scratch or Slackware, probably can. So all avenues are open for you from those above to the almost plug and play mainstream Linux distributions.

In my experience with the Linux world, unless you are a developer, or have other special needs only a certain Linux distribution can fill, and do not need to have some esoteric bragging rights, choose any of the easy to install, easy to use Distributions with the desktop you prefer. What Linux Distribution you use, you will find, is like getting out of bed. Eventually, you figure out, no one really cares except you.

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