Which Linux distro?


We use Xubuntu (Ubuntu with XFCE). It’s stable and safe to update for non-geeks. The XFCE desktop mostly just gets out of your way and lets you work, while giving some handy features like snap-to-edges and such.

There are some minor annoyances with XFCE though, notably

  • The default file manager Thunar has some crashes, e.g. on copy-paste. The XFCE people are aware, but it’s certainly taking some time to fix
  • No built-in support for colourd; you’ll have to do some extra work for calibrating
  • The HiDPI theme is not very nice (but then HiDPI in general tends to be badly supported)
  • No touch screen support for window move/scale (the way Unity lets you move/scale windows with touch screens is actually very handy)

But all in all, XFCE has the fewest annoyances for me, and also is both easy to use for non-geeks and scriptable enough for geeks (so I can dogfood what my gf uses).

I’ve used Arch Linux before; it was fun, but on every upgrade you have to read the fine print, and although pacman is great and AUR has lots of nice packages, recompiling them whenever a dependency updates is a real drag. With Xubuntu that worry is gone, and because Ubuntu is the most used distro, there are PPA’s (and soon snaps?) for most stuff that’s not in the official repos.

(Flössie) #22

As I know that is still coped with in 12264.

I can only second that. It’s also interesting to see that most of us use XCFE on Linux.

(http://4232.cf) #23

LXDE desktop is best for art!!


Ubuntu Studio looks kind enough for grumpy old men, feels a little Windows sevenish. I have just switched from a VM to dual boot, mostly because of darktable. It deserves the complete computer.

(farid) #25

Working with multimedia and graphics you need the latest versions of programs and that is why I use a rolling distro. Started with Archlinux and now using Antergos (which is the same but with an installer). I am considering switching to Solus next year after it gets more stable and Budgie 11 gets released, just because I got lazy of having to configure some things manually.

Darktable Lens correction module for Fujinon 23mm F2 WR

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS on my main machine. For the programs that I want more recent versions of, I either use a ppa (i.e. dt) or an appimage (i.e. digikam). No regrets so far. Tablet is supported and display calibration with dispcalgui is a breeze.
I use another computer as try-out-machine: So far I also liked openSuse Leap and Ubuntu Mate a lot. Next to play around with are Solus and Elementary

(srowed) #27

I’m on Kubuntu 16.10 and am happy with it. Switched from Mint Cinnamon so I could get digiKam and Kdenlive working properly.


It depends on your taste as well as on the hardware you are going to run Linux on. For example I really like ubuntu studio and have been running it in VM for years but it is too buggy when I installed it on my laptop, lotsa little XFCE issues. Fedora Design Suite is very nice but I had issues with setting up wifi, writable ntfs drives, etc. I try new distros once in a while but always come back to Mint. It’s a polished ubuntu, everything works out of the box, stable and looks pretty. I have been on MATE and Cinnamon for years but recently tried Mint 18.1 KDE and loving it. I installed Ubuntu Studio meta packages on it so darktable, GIMP, etc. are all installed at once.

(Mike Bing) #29

I’ve never been able to come to terms with either Debian or its derivatives such as *buntu or Mint. I have been running PCLinuxOS for the past 12 years because of its great hardware detection and solid package management (rpm packages through Synaptic) but have done most of my image editing over the last 2 years or so on ArchLinux which I find easier to keep up to date with bleeding-edge Gimp, Rawtherapee, Darktable and Digikam builds.

But hey, any distro will do perfectline fine. An OS is but a platform to run your favorite applications on and Linux, any distro, is a great way to do that. I’m forced to use Win7 at work and am always happy to get home and fire up my preferred OS - sigh of relief really!

(Brian Innes) #30

Linux Mint for me. I’ve tried other distros (including a quick install of Fedora 25). I just seem to get on well with Mint! OK, so it may not be the most up to date of distros, but it’s pretty straight forward to add appropriate ppas for my favourite software.


I used Ubuntu from 7.04 and now Ubuntu Gnome edition because I don’t like unity, I prefer Gnome funtionality.

(David LaCivita) #32

I’m just a “user.” My command line skills are minimal and I stick with Ubuntu. I don’t know if it’s the best but it has the most support. A simple Google search usually answers any questions in the top result. I mostly use darktable and occasionally GIMP so I didn’t need to add too many repos. I think @RileyB makes a great argument for Fedora Design, though so give it a try. That’s the great thing about Linux!

(Filip Bunkens) #33

I have antergos/arch on my main machine and on my laptop. I use them with the awesome window manager.

I’ve put my girlfriend’s laptop on solus os as I’m around to maintain it, but it doesn’t require much maintenance for her. Also she needs up to date inkscape, gimp as a designer.
The laptop of my sister in law is on elementary, as it looks good, is based on ubuntu so stable and is not too bleeding edge. They also don’t need much in terms of usage.


Wow - 33 posts and about 44 different recommendations :slight_smile:
It reminds me of a question from the 1980s:
Which word processor is the best? and people quarreled about emacs and vi.
The correct answer was The one which you know the best.
I know Ubuntu/xfce, that is why I prefer that combination.
It works fine for me, but might not work for you. Test a few & judge for yourself.

Have fun!
/Claes in Lund, Sweden

(Gord) #35

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS here, with PPAs to stay current on the photography apps and a couple of others. I don’t love the Unity desktop, but it doesn’t bother me sufficiently to cause me to take the time to switch. Overall, it’s been rock solid.

It’s been a few years since I tried any other distros. I used to use Fedora and OpenSUSE, but at least at that time they seemed to like to include every piece of software that they had ever heard of. I just got tired of wading through piles of stuff that I never used.

@Claes bringing up editors…playing with fire! :smiley:


Me (modestly): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHnAM6xb18I
And I do stick with my answer The one you know is the best.


I’m rather pleased with the variety of response I got from the question! If nothing else I have replaced Unity with the much easier XFCE. When I get really brave I may change and try something else out.

Like someone else said I installed Linux just so I could use Darktable, which I have to say is rather enjoyable. Its clearly written by artists!

(Brian Innes) #38

Linux Mint user here. I can’t remember the reasons why I installed Linux Mint rather than Ubuntu, certainly I wasn’t a fan of Unity which seemed to be installed as standard on Ubuntu.

I have used Xubuntu in the past, which I found quite pleasant to use.

So perhaps I may go back to that when I do a reinstall from scratch, which I like to do once a year to keep things running nicely. (That’s the advantage of having a separate /home partition, you can reinstall to the root partition without losing any data stored in /home)

I have tried other flavours of linux, such as Fedora, Open Suse, but Ubuntu and its siblings tends to just work well for me! :slight_smile:

Certainly things are looking up for linux photographers, now that gimp is heading towards a full 16 bit capable release :smile:


Since asking this question I’ve settled on OpenSuse because its file manager Dolphin gives me so much more flexibility than Ubuntu et al. Of course I may change again as I get more used to linux!

(Pascal Obry) #40

The distro is one thing, but if you want to benefit from OpenCL (darktable for example) you want to stay away from AMD. Sadly the situation with their Open Source driver is quite bad regarding OpenCL.

Otherwise I’m an happy user of Debian/unstable since years.