Finding the best new Linux distro in 2020 takes time. There are many different flavors of Linux available so which one is the best for me? To answer this question, I need to actually tell you what I am looking for when it comes to searching for the best Linux distribution. It all boils down the just four things.
What I want
- Fresh packages
To me, the top priority is speed and so far, only Arch-based distros seem to have it. Some claim to be fast and faster than but I can tell by running a few power apps. Besides 2D and 3D artwork creating, I also spend quit a bit of time laying down audio tracks. There are some Debian-based distros out there which are popular with musicians but I just can’t see the snappiness. Everything seems slow but that is not how I work.
Almost all software is available for almost all of the different Linux distributions. The only difference is the software version. Surprisingly, many Linux distros come with older, more mature software packages installed which is both, good and bad. Good because older packages are quite stable and bad because they lack the latest features. I prefer the latest versions but not the experimental builds.
If you comb trough the Linux support forums then you’ll quickly see how many users have issues. There is an infinite number of different computers out there and although one can install Linux, there is no guarantee that it would run well. A fast system that has the latest packages installed is useless if the software has issues. I am amazed how much work the creators of the different Linux flavors put in to make sure that the software and all of the dependencies run as expected.
When I find a Linux distribution that I want to use for a while I’ll usually install my favorite theme and icon set. Between that and changing the wallpaper I can make Linux feel home in just a few minutes.
Ever since I bought an iMac back in 2009, I’ve preferred the Mac look. Luckily, Linux is able to take on any look that you want to have.
Will EndeaorurOS be my new daily driver?
Currently, I use two different Arch-based distributions. Manjaro XFCE runs on my laptop because it gives me the best performance for my optimus laptop. ArcoLinux on my graphics and web design workstations. ArcoLinux is very fast, offers cutting edge software packages and most importantly, is stable.
Usually, when these three conditions are met I look no further until I have to. So why am I experimenting with Endeauour OS? Well, on desktops, not all is well. Lately, there are a lot of k? packages being updated although I run XFCE with no KDE software installed. With XFCE is my only desktop environment, I should hardly see a KDE or Plasma dependency. I wonder where they came from and it seems that a recent update introduced them as a dependence.
When it comes to software, I am a clean freak
My last desktop computer was a Dell machine and the default Windows 10 install without any software weight in at around 50 Gig. Mind blowing. In contrast, an average Linux install is less then 10 Gig and already has Blender and Gimp, to name a few, installed. To me, this is enough to wonder what Windows actually installs if it needs fife times more space then Linux.
Space matters because hard drives have, once again, become smaller. Back in 1999 I’ve worked for IBM and will never forget the day when all of us gathered around a shoe-box-sized package that held a 12 Gig Western Digital hard drive. In 1999, most computers maybe had one or two Gigabytes of HD space. Five years earlier. my Atari ST had an external 40 Meg hard drive which cost as much as the computer. The newer floppy disks held 1.4 Meg or something like that.
Hello SSD drive. As I said, hard drives are once again small. Before solid state disks became affordable, it was not uncommon to have at least a one TB (Terabyte) internal hard drive. Why is this important? My first list point mentioned speed. A computer without SSD is simply too slow for serious work. I no longer leave my computers on when I am not in the office and want a boot time of around 10 seconds. An Arch-based Linux distro that is top notch will give me that and if not then I keep looking.
I don’t have EndeavourOS installed yet but am very impressed with the philosophy of those who created this distribution. Those of us who actually work don’t want many packages that hardly ever get used. For web design, I need Firefox which is my go to web browser, Thunar (file browser), Gimp and SublimeText3 which is my favorite code editor. With those apps, I can do all of my work.
For graphics design jobs, I need FreeCAD, Blender and Cura so that I can prepare my designs for 3D printing. All of my work gets automatically backed up on a daily basis. I also create system snapshots with Timeshift. There are a ton of small terminal based tools like firejail and creating RSA keys so that I can mount remote server directories locally.
Windows users would use Cyberduck or Filezilla to transfer files to a remote server. That’s more or less it. Those apps give me everything I need to work. Thunderbird runs on a smaller machine and takes care of all email-related tasks. LibreOffice is my office suite. Every Linux distro has all of the apps I just mentioned and then some but not every distro offers the latest version without issues.
Over the next few days, I will test EndeavourOS or, as I saw some refer to as “EOS” and if nothing strange pops up then I will commit and actually install it. Many years ago, I’ve set up my Linux systems so that they only hold the operating system. All of the work gets backed up to external hard disks. If I am not happy with a specific Linux distribution, I go back to the previous one and copy all of the files back to where they need to be. External hard disks have become really fast which I’ve documented in one of my recent posts.
If you are not 100% happy with your current operating system then I recommend that you download the lasted EndeavourOS ISO image and live-boot it. See how you feel about it. As already mentioned, to me it was the speed and the skinny philosophy of not loading the system with the kitchen sink.
Is EndeavourOS suitable for someone moving from Windows to Linux?
That depends on a few things. The most important thing is that someone who uses Windows is already using opensource software. Most of the above mentioned titles are multi platform which means that they run on Windows, Mac and Linux. So if you already installed Blender on your Windows machine and built up your skill set then switching to Linux would be something that I recommend. The same goes for all of the other apps except Thunar which is the XFCE file manager and thus not available on the Windows platform.
If you have never used opensource software but want to give it a try then check out all of the program websites. Read the forum posts and look at the work the users produce. If you like what you see then switching will be something that you want to do even if it means learning a lot of new things. All in all, most forum communities are rather helpful. To get started, visit the EndeavourOS website and read up on what you get. Their community is helpful and the actual operating system is, in my opinion, the best you can get in 2020.