Exploring the open universe - my upcoming adventures!

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Roland Taylor
published March 23, 2019, 2:22 p.m.

As you know, things have been rather quiet around here. Most of us 2buntu writers have become very busy, and many of us have moved on. That said, I cannot thank the team enough, especially Nathan and Joshua, who have been keeping this site alive, even in my (obvious) absense!

If I ever get rich, I owe some people big time 😉

So... what's the deal?

Well, I've recently added a couple hard drives to my workstation, and one of them I've chosen to "dedicate" to a new "project" of mine. For all of the years I've been using Linux (since probably 2005 or so, and full time since 2007), I've only ever used a a handful of distributions outside of Ubuntu and its derivatives, and to the best of my memory, I've only tested one on real hardware.

In other words, I'm rather naive when it comes to the Linux desktop world, outside of the familiar environment of the Debian/Ubuntu family. That said, I've gained a wealth of knowledge over these many years, and I don't feel like I'd be completely out to sea, should I try my hand at anything else.

So why haven't I used anything else?

In a nutshell, time, money, and resources. If you're fortunate enough to have grown up with access to either the money or the resources to have computers to throw away, then you may not be able to relate, but for some of us, hopping distros for fun is not an option. I won't go much further into that subject, but it's just something to consider, if you can't relate.

I've long wanted to try other distributions, even just for the experience and the knowledge, but with limited CPU power, RAM, storage space, and time, it just wasn't feasible, even with virtualization technology. The few times I did try other distros in Virtual Box or otherwise, let's just say, the experience wasn't the greatest. I quickly learned that if you don't have what it takes, it's probably best to leave that stuff alone.

Besides, the best place to get a good, well-rounded, experience is on real hardware. There's nothing like trying to get your soundcard or graphics driver working to get you deep into the realms of knowledge. Back in the early days, that's how I learned much of what I know now.

My plan going forward:

Now that I have access to relatively reasonable hardware, including some extra storage space to play with, I'm going to take a journey exploring what the open source operating system world has to offer. From Linux Distros to ReactOS, I want to try them all!

Okay, not all, obiously.

I do, however, want to take a look at, and review, some of the more popular, and even some of the less popular, open source distros and operating systems.

Along with the general experience of installation, configuration, and first use, I want to take a look at the overall user experience, and give you my run down of the good, the bad, and the "in need of some improvement." I try to be fair, and I don't really like to be biased, so you can at least hope to expect a straight-forward approach and a straight-forward report of my findings.

1st On my radar are the following distributions and operating systems:

  1. elementary OS: I've used elementary many times in the past, but due to various limitations, I have not been able to in recent years. The closest I've come was in using the elementary PPA, but came with numerous drawbacks, and created conflict with other desktop environments. Also, I wasn't able to get that "fresh out the box" experience that comes with a clean install.
  2. Fedora: As one of the oldest "friendly rivals" to Ubuntu's dominance in the Linux Desktop universe, Fedora is an obvious choice. I'll be especially interested to see how easy it is to tackle proprietary drivers compared to the experiences of times gone by.
  3. React OS: Being the only free, open source Windows "clone" in existence, I'm especially interested to see how well React OS performs on real hardware. I've seen the Youtube Videos, but it's time to try it out for myself.

I'm also looking forward your suggestions!

As you can see, my shortlist is short.

That's where you come in! If there's a distro or open source operating system you'd like me to try (and review) on real hardware, let me know in the comments. If your suggestion is chosen, I'll let you know, and I'll include your comment in the related article.

Just be aware, I can't, and won't test every suggestion. I'd love to, but I can't 😉!