Linux Distro Switching: Pro vs. Con

Friday Feb 26th 2010 by Brian Proffitt
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Linux users have a habit of changing distros faster than you can say Ubuntu. Does this practice hurt of help Linux's development?

Last week, Jim Lynch wrote what seemed to be a tongue-in-cheek admonition on how the Linux Mint distribution is so darned good, the venerable pastime of distribution hopping would soon be rendered moot.

"Distrohopping is one of the great pastimes for computer geeks. Let's not let it fade away because Linux has gotten too easy and comfortable. Let's keep it alive and thriving and, in doing so, let's preserve the amazing diversity and freedom that desktop Linux has always given us," Lynch concluded.

I'm reasonably sure that Lynch was at once poking fun at the power users' habit of jumping from distro to distro to try to continually improve performance/toolsets/eye candy, while also delivering a back-handed compliment to the strength of the most recent Linux desktop offerings (especially Linux Mint). Cute, but it also got me thinking: is distro-hopping actually a practice that should be discouraged?

Let's be clear: I am not advocating One True Linux Distro, nor am I implying that the choice and diversity amongst Linux distributions for end users is a bad thing.

As all Linux distributions become polished and robust, I've noticed that I personally have become less and less inclined to jump to a new distro. And, when I have migrated in recent years, I have found myself going back to my openSUSE starting point.

The big result for this continuity of distro has been that I have become much more familiar with the quirks of openSUSE and, if not an expert, then at the very least a power user for this distribution. I am sure that countless similar situations exist for power users of Fedora, Ubuntu, Gentoo, and so on.

Read the rest at Linux Planet.

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