What linux distribution do you prefer and why?

I have been seriously considering migrating from Windows 11 to linux. As a test I installed VitrualBox to evaluate the different flavors. I was able to test darktable 4.6.1 on all of them as well as my other needed apps. Right now I am leaning towards mint because I like the cinnamon desktop and it seems pretty snappy. I’m curious what the community is running on and why it was chosen.

These are the different flavors I’ve been testing using their latest versions.

Fedora: I didn’t care for their implementation of Gnome and the graphics seemed flaky. The flakiness could be because it was a VM.

Ubuntu: I always liked Ubuntu as a desktop but it didn’t seem too stable this time. It would randomly freeze up. Again, maybe because it was a VM.

Ubuntu Studio: I liked it a lot, everything worked fine but I don’t need all the apps that were installed by default.

Ubuntu Cinnamon: Also worked great but mint seemed leaner and snapper. Plus they are the developers of the cinnamon desktop.

Mint: Everything just worked from the get go. Plus everything I’ve already said above.


Fedora only for me. I tried many other distros - they all have deal breakers for my requirements. BTW you can easily use other DEs on Fedora. I used XFCE until I found 3 extensions that made my work under Gnome tolerable.

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I use Arch Linux mainly because I can configure most things exactly the way I want them. You have to pay for this by learning how to configure them, though. But when you’re done, you know how things are set up and why they are set up those ways.

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Oh boy. Prep yourself for 1000 different answers :smiley: You’ve opened a can of worms :wink:

I personally am using NixOS on everything, desktop, laptop, server.

I use it because it makes it relatively straight forward to build the versions of darktable and its dependencies that I want to run. Right now that is the latest stable of dakrtable, version 4.6.1.

I add my own compile flags to exiv2 to enable BMFF (to support CR3 files, even though I don’t own a Canon camera. I find it useful for processing other’s files from time to time). I also have a custom version of the lensfun library that scrapes the latest lens profiles from the project every time I rebuild my system.

NixOS isn’t for the faint of heart, and it took me a good bit of time to tune things how I wanted them. It’s like a build system for your OS. You can tweak all the underlying things. Since it is declarative, your configuration changes stay with you, you don’t have to repeat or rebuild things when a new version of another thing comes out, the package manager takes care of that for you.

It probably isn’t for you if you’re just getting into linux and don’t have some software building experience, but it works well for me and I don’t think I could switch to anything else and be happy with it now.

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We just had a thread about it which you could have read. There is really no value in having a new thread about this every 2 weeks.

also: Everyone here is wrong. the correct answer is openSUSE Tumbleweed.


Yeah I know the DE can be changed on all of them but, for some reason the fedora graphics would display weird artifacts and a block for the mouse cursor at times. Most likely because it was a VM. I think once I go bare metal I will do another round of testing but with a smaller list of candidates.

As a retired IT manager I am familiarize with linux but it’s been about 5 years since I’ve had my hands on one. I just need to refresh myself. I will take a look at Arch.

Like I said in a previous reply “Retired”. I really appreciate the input but I’m not interested in getting that deep anymore, I just want something that will work out of the box with minimal effort and there are definitely some good choices out there. At my last job we had over 35,000 installations VMs and bare metal. Redhat, Centos, Ubuntu and Suse were the major platforms. These days I’m pretty much over it.

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If you want “out of the box”, Arch ain’t it. I suggest MX Linux.


I guess it’s a decent choice, although I run gentoo on my main workstation, I’ve been running mint on my laptop and setting up mints to all people asking me for a reliable computing experience and in the long run have not been disappointed : it just works

Across the different system I manage it have given me a 0 failure rate and apart from the initial setup and the yearly, non mandatory, upgrade to next version (20min of attention on a SSD equipped machine with a descent network connection) the administration time is 0.

The flatpak integration is seamless and the default backup utility (a gui to rsync) is adequate, if you plan to backup your data and/or your system.

I did setup 2 ark systems and I’d consider switching from gentoo to ark in the future to save some maintenance time but I would not recommand Ark given your expectations. Ubuntu is rather bloated and I’d go with @tankist02 recommendations : if you’re looking for an alternate feel and a snappier experience, Mint is maintaining an XFCE and Mate versions that are both lighter than Cinamon but still adequate feature-wise from a modern desktop environment perspective.


I’m a long-time Arch user but recently discovered openSUSE Aeon. It’s like the complete opposite of Arch - the base system does not assume the user to tinker at all and takes care of itself.

So far I’ve been using it only on a desktop but intend to use it also on the laptop. It’s been working well for gaming and editing - I even got OpenCL on AMD (with rusticl) quite effortlessly working in Distrobox. Not sure if it would work with the Flatpak darktable.


Debian, it just works. I’ve had unstable/Sid rolling for an enormous amount of years on my workstation (actually it’s the same install moved to different hardware). I use rather minimal installs, have no need for full DE.


Siduction, which is more or less the same as @nosle is running a Debian Sid rolling with a KDE Desktop.

I use Manjaro - an Arch derivative. You can configure everything, but you are not forced to do so. The next thing you should consider is, what desktop you want to use. I use Cinnamon, but I think this is a matter of taste…after trying some, this is the one I like most.

Sorry nosle - I used the wrong “Reply” :crazy_face:

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Fedora for the last six years. As far as I know, the gnome you get with fedora is more or less vanilla from upstream. I tweak it a bit and use the dash to dock and some other extensions. I have found it to be stable, I have two machines, a laptop with integrated intel graphics and a desktop with AMD graphics. I gather with nvidia graphics you need to install the proprietary driver to get good performance.

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As a simple user, this has been my experience over a lot of years also.

opensuse for me, been using it for 20+ years. It was the first distro that worked “out of the box” with the hardware i had. I had distro hopped before that, seeing how they worked.

The real issue isnt what someone else uses, but which one works for you. Your bigger issue will be what desktop you wind up using. (KDE, GNOME, etc…)


Just as an aside to this conversation (ArchLinux FTW), the massive choice available in Linux is both one of it’s greatest successes (for people who have the wherewithal to navigate those choices) and at the same time one of it’s greatest failures, since it provides a sometimes insurmountable hump for new users with no idea where to start, and who get all sorts of suggestions from well-meaning techies.


Thanks everyone for the great input. After evaluating a few more options last night, I decided I will go with the mint/cinnamon option. My linux days go back to the 90s and the 30 plus slackware floppies. But now, as a 5+ year retired IT manager I am no longer interested in tweaking and building my apps. I wanted a turnkey option, something that would work out of the box and the mint/cinnamon option seemed the best for me.

Besides my previous testing, last night I looked at some KDE options. So I installed KDE on one of my mint test machines. I also installed kubuntu, manjaro/kde and kde neon. The more I looked the more clear mint was the fit for me to run darktable and my other lesser apps.


Apart from liking the general look and feel of MATE + Compiz + Emerald, this is the Single best thing about it for me: adjustable individual window brightness.

I can set rules for the brightness at opening for any application and many types of window. I can adjust it with alt+mouse-wheel. I can also set rules such as opening full-screen.

Actually, this gift is part of Compiz, which is an over-complex window manager/decorator, but that’s fine: just use the useful bits. Compiz is not unique to Mint MATE, but I don’t know what else comes with it packaged.