Re: [dev] Operating system choice

From: Markus Wichmann <>
Date: Thu, 20 Nov 2014 21:18:54 +0100

On Wed, Nov 19, 2014 at 12:19:15PM -0600, Josh Lawrence wrote:
> So for those of you that participate in the suckless community in some
> way: What do you run on your computer, and why?

Debian testing on my laptop and Windows on my PC. Because I use my
laptop for working and playing around with stuff, and for programming,
and I use my PC solely for video games (it's about the one thing where
Windows is still better than Linux).

Anyway, regarding my choice of distribution: I've started out on SuSE
Linux, but that basically killed itself when I deleted HAL (ah,
nostalgia...) Since then I've shopped around a bit before settling on
Debian, because:

Plan9: When I heard about it, it was pitched to me (by the fine folks at as the greatest OS since sliced bread. However, the fact that
it wouldn't even install in a Virtual PC instance (the error message was
"I/O error". Gee, thanks, that tells me exactly what to do!) quickly
turned me off.

Gentoo: I like the basic idea of compiling everything yourself, but
since you can't change a few fundamentals, like the choice of libc or
compiler, you aren't reaping all the benefits of that, leaving you only
with the drawback of watching a complicated package install itself,
taking bloody ages! (I wanted to install xmonad. I aborted after an
hour, because of course it had to install ghc first.)

Ubuntu: Didn't get it to work. I don't know what went wrong, and now I
don't much care anymore.

sabotage/Morpheus/ All great ideas, but since they're lacking the
sheer manpower the major distributions boast, they can't possibly have
the same library of packages. Now, I wouldn't mind if they had
everything or even most of what I need, but they don't. Also, missing
even a possible glibc support, it is unlikely for me to get Adobe Flash
running in those distributions. Which is a shame because surfing
youtube/ is most of what I do in my free time.

Debian: Simple enough that you can install it on pretty much anything
with a display, but boasting a huge package library so you can make your
box as blinged out or as spartan as you like. It's a binary
distribution, so package installations are fast, and unlike with SuSE I
never really managed to break it. I had a brief infatuation with
ReiserFS, back when you didn't get the "murderous performance" jokes for
that, but when I learned that having another ReiserFS image in a file on
your ReiserFS means that the most agressive fsck option would eat
itself, and that your file system can be relied upon to get into that
state with just a few poorly chosen power outages (a problem on a laptop
that would have to run for hours without an AC connection), I switched
over to XFS, which of course meant having to reinstall. Oh, and there
was that one time where I tried to upgrade from 32 to 64 bit. I somehow
managed to upgrade everything except libc, leaving the system

So, yeah, it's Debian, because I managed to have it run for years on end
without breaking, no matter what crazy stuff I did with it.

Received on Thu Nov 20 2014 - 21:18:54 CET

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