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Ask Slashdot: Is there honestly a reason to use Ubuntu anymore?

Trilkin (2042026) writes | about a year and a half ago

Ubuntu 6

Trilkin (2042026) writes "I recently installed Linux Mint on my (non-technically savvy) grandmother's netbook and she's responded very well to it. I'm considering doing the same for her desktop, but my question is this: being that Mint is a fork of Ubuntu, is there any real compelling reason to actually use Ubuntu anymore? It seems so much more bloated. I'm aware that, under the surface, it's basically just a fork of Debian and Linux overall is a OS that can be tinkered with to be the exact environment you need. As an out-of-the-box desktop distribution, though, from my own testing, Ubuntu seems to be the weaker of the two thanks to its continuously growing amount of bloat in order to push its paid-for services. Is there really any real reason to use it over Mint? Outside of the paid-for services, is there anything it offers out of the box that Mint simply doesn't?"

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6 comments

Debian (1)

Spazmania (174582) | about a year and a half ago | (#42827219)

I use Debian. The only reason I've found to use Ubuntu over Debian is that the live CD actually works. (Debian is a real PIA about binary kernel ethernet drivers.) In operation (after I've installed my kernel) I have no use for Ubuntu.

Why should I consider Mint? What does mint buy me?

Re:Debian (1)

Trilkin (2042026) | about a year and a half ago | (#42827287)

Submitter here. Remember that this is a question about an environment for a non-technically inclined person. Maybe as a qualifier, I should've said I have limited time to set this up for her, but I did say that I was comparing them based on the out-of-the-box experience.

So, to answer your question, Mint (and any out-of-the-box-ready desktop distribution) buys you the convenience of your computer 'just working' after OS installation. No drivers to install, no kernel rebuilding, no extra software to worry about (both Mint and its parent, Ubuntu, come with an office suite and almost every common utility a casual web user would ever need) - nothing. Install and go.

"Debian is a real PIA about binary kernel ethernet drivers." is an immediate deal killer there for just straight Debian. That's more work than I should have to put in for a machine that's more or less just going to be used as an appliance rather than a workstation.

Re:Debian (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year and a half ago | (#42827633)

Mint sucks for OS upgrades. They want you to do a wipe and re-install. Ubuntu usually does a good job of in-place upgrades, especially if you wait a month or two after the initial release for real-world testing to shake out all of the corner cases.

Mint does have an unsupported way to do in-place upgrades, but we are talking about non-technical users here. As a technical user myself, it's still enough of a hassle that I'm inclined to go back to ubuntu for my next upgrade just because I don't like the extra effort Mint requires of me.

Re:Debian (1)

Trilkin (2042026) | about a year and a half ago | (#42827653)

This is the type of answer I was looking for. Thank you. That's a SERIOUS thing to consider and I actually forgot all about that little 'issue.'

Re:Debian (1)

Spazmania (174582) | about a year and a half ago | (#42834799)

If it works for you then go for it. Personally, when I install software for someone else I'd like there to be someone they can get support from who isn't me. For a non-technical person, there are only a couple Linuxes that comes close to applying to. Ubuntu is one of them. Debian and Mint are not.

The last OS I saw that was both broadly useful and sufficiently intuitive that a non-technical user reasonably needed little support was the Apple Macintosh's System 7 from back in the mid-90's. Nothing on the market today passes muster.

Which flavor of Linux Mint did you choose? (1)

Artifex (18308) | about a year and a half ago | (#42829269)

I tried several different ones on my notebook: 14 KDE, 14 Xfce, and MATE & Cinnamon from either 13 or 14. Turned out Xubuntu was actually faster for me.
Also, the latest (well, 12.10) Ubuntu lines have "full" disk encryption available during default install, and that's handy. Could be useful if your grandmother stores her bank information on that netbook, but even more useful if, say, you're setting up a(nother) laptop up for an executive who is always getting drunk and losing his at bars.

Beyond that, though, it's mostly a matter of which programs are set up by default and whether you need to (un)install a bunch of stuff in one distro compared to another, to get the programs you want. If I were you (actually, I do this anyway), I'd stick with my current distro for a while but start reading the weekly reviews over at Distrowatch [distrowatch.com] to see what novel things other people are doing.

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