21 votes

Please recommend me a Linux distribution that is super-stable and never make me install again, but at the same time allows me to have some newer packages with ease (xpost /r/FindMeADistro)

I currently use MX-Linux, which is a great distribution but does require me to reinstall it from time to time. It also comes with all the good/bad Debian legacy, and sometimes things can get really fucked up (okay, I admit it: MX IS NOT PERFECT. But nothing is, okay? Settle down.)

My new Linux Distribution doesn't need to have all the new bells and whistles, but it needs to be able to stay reasonably current with new packages and innovations. I don't mind some manual work, but I also don't wanna spend my days maintaining the system.

This distro is supposed to be a tool to work with, not a hobby to be pimped, riced or whatever. I will occasionally play and edit videos on it (don't worry, it's all AMD, thank you advice for the Tildes ;)

I use the i3wm window manager (not the gaps fork), so native support is a must and current versions are preferable (MX's version is from 2016. 2016!). If there's not a current version of Emacs, I'll compile my own. The same is true for Neovim, dmenu, rofi and the suckless terminal.

Configurations on text files do not scare me, but I don't wanna spend all my time scripting stuff. I don't mind compiling stuff either so Gentoo and other source-based distributions are valid options (as long as they allow me to work on stuff instead of working on the distribution...). That said, I have no preference whatsoever between binary and source-based.

Unstable distributions like Arch and even Manjaro are a no-no. I need my computer to work 99.99% of the time, like a fucking refrigerator. That said, I would like some newer packages and tools such as Gimp, Inkscape and a video editor like Kdenlive. Maybe flatpak is an option? I was never able to get it to work properly.

I'm also open to crazy things like Nix, but only if it'll make my life easier: I have no philosophies on the mater.

Any suggestions?

56 comments

  1. [5]
    hungariantoast
    (edited )
    Link
    Unfortunately, having a stable distribution is directly at odds with having an up-to-date distribution. They're two different ends of a spectrum. Distributions that fall near the middle of that...

    Unfortunately, having a stable distribution is directly at odds with having an up-to-date distribution. They're two different ends of a spectrum.

    Distributions that fall near the middle of that spectrum (reasonably stable, reasonably up-to-date), which seems like what you are looking for, might include openSUSE Leap (though I lived with Tumbleweed, its bleeding edge rolling release, for months and never had any breakage), Fedora, Debian Testing, and NixOS Stable.

    Undoubtedly, there are others, but these are the only ones I'm familiar with enough to recommend.

    Personally, I'd be very surprised if you found a distribution that allows you to maintain the same installation for years without having to perform any manual intervention. Things break, even on Debian Stable.

    My personal recommendation? Don't fight the idea of reinstalling your system, but instead opt for a distribution that makes the reinstallation procedure relatively painless.

    I'm totally biased, since I started using it recently, but NixOS is what I'd recommend if you're familiar enough with Linux. It sits somewhere between Arch and Gentoo as far as difficulty to install and use, plus its documentation is worse than Arch's or Gentoo's, but the Nix package manager more than makes up for that and the documentation situation is getting better.

    NixOS has stable and unstable branches. You can create your own "overlays", which are basically your own package repositories to pull software from. You can also use overlays maintained by other users/the community.

    If you don't know already, Nix allows you to rebuild your setup (installed packages, configurations, etc.) automatically. So, you define your system's configuration in a configuration.nix file, using the Nix functional language, and then you can automatically "provision" your system based on that configuration file by running a single command.

    In the future, if you update the system and something breaks (and the chances of something breaking grow closer to 1 the longer you use a system), then you can rollback any changes made by that update, again using a single command.

    It's a very cool idea and makes certain kinds of workflow, including software development, a lot nicer.

    If you'd like to know more:

    There's also GNU Guix System Distribution, which also uses the Nix package manager/language, but is configured using a GNU Guile front end.

    13 votes
    1. [2]
      Wulfsta
      Link Parent
      I wish I had more time to spend getting NixOS set up with all the stuff I need, it's such an appealing distro. I gave up trying to get PyTorch for ROCm working and just surrendered to Ubuntu,...

      I wish I had more time to spend getting NixOS set up with all the stuff I need, it's such an appealing distro. I gave up trying to get PyTorch for ROCm working and just surrendered to Ubuntu, since AMD already has a repository for ROCm. Bedrock Linux caught my attention a while back, but I haven't had time to look into it at all.

      5 votes
      1. hungariantoast
        Link Parent
        Bedrock is amazing. I used it for a few months, hijacking Arch, Gentoo, and Void. It was an interesting experience, but ultimately I didn't need the functionality it provided. Still, I think it's...

        Bedrock is amazing. I used it for a few months, hijacking Arch, Gentoo, and Void. It was an interesting experience, but ultimately I didn't need the functionality it provided. Still, I think it's an incredible project that deserves more support and attention, especially considering how well and reliable it currently works.

        Also, you can use Nix (the NixOS package manager) on any Linux distribution alongside your distribution's native package manager. You can also use it on macOS. I've never done that, I just jumped straight into NixOS, so I don't know how different the experience will be, but it's something worth mentioning.

        2 votes
    2. [2]
      mrbig
      Link Parent
      This is totally awesome, but learning a programming language to use a distribution a bit much even for me. Besides, everything I read about NixOS gives me the impression that it requires a much...

      Nix allows you to rebuild your setup

      This is totally awesome, but learning a programming language to use a distribution a bit much even for me.

      Besides, everything I read about NixOS gives me the impression that it requires a much higher level of neckbeardness than my own.

      4 votes
      1. hungariantoast
        Link Parent
        Yeah, like I said, it sits somewhere between Arch and Gentoo in terms of difficulty, in my opinion. If not NixOS, then I'd probably recommend Debian Testing next. openSUSE Leap and Fedora are fine...

        Yeah, like I said, it sits somewhere between Arch and Gentoo in terms of difficulty, in my opinion.

        If not NixOS, then I'd probably recommend Debian Testing next. openSUSE Leap and Fedora are fine options as well.

        2 votes
  2. mat
    Link
    Debian testing is pretty solid. You can easily rope in packages from unstable if you want more up-to-date stuff. I've been on the same install for 5+ years now and it's been perfectly usable as a...

    Debian testing is pretty solid. You can easily rope in packages from unstable if you want more up-to-date stuff. I've been on the same install for 5+ years now and it's been perfectly usable as a working machine, very little dicking about needed.

    I've been around plenty of times on the new and exciting distro merry-go-round over the years and I always end up coming back to Debian. It just works, and on the occasions it doesn't, enough people are using it that someone else has fixed my problem and written about it on their blog.

    Mind you, I say that but I have just somehow rendered wine32 uninstallable, but I'm sure I'll sort that out eventually.

    9 votes
  3. [7]
    Litmus2336
    Link
    Maybe Solus? Never used it, but it seems interesting: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solus_(operating_system)

    Maybe Solus? Never used it, but it seems interesting: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solus_(operating_system)

    5 votes
    1. [6]
      mrbig
      Link Parent
      My only worries with Solus ae its young age, lack of packages and userbase. But I'll certainly take a look at it. Thanks!

      My only worries with Solus ae its young age, lack of packages and userbase. But I'll certainly take a look at it. Thanks!

      2 votes
      1. [4]
        edenist
        Link Parent
        Your post made me think Solus too. I now use it as my main desktop linux distro for many of the same reasons. I was getting tired of the 'release' model. Ubuntu LTS sounds like a great idea with...

        Your post made me think Solus too. I now use it as my main desktop linux distro for many of the same reasons. I was getting tired of the 'release' model. Ubuntu LTS sounds like a great idea with it's long support, but by the end of it's life all of the packages and libraries are incredibly old.

        Like you, Arch is just a little too bleeding edge for my liking. I do like the hands-on approach to maintaining a system [I have many FreeBSD systems all built from source], but it seems like breaking and then fixing the system is part of the charm of running Arch.

        Solus I find is a good balance. It uses a 'curated' rolling release model. So everything is tested to work before it goes live. The packages are more limited, but in my experience I haven't found anything missing for my needs. It has both flatpack and snap support, if that's a factor for you as well.
        If you need to check first, their system is well documented. You can search to see if what you need is already there at https://dev.getsol.us/ . The developers are also rather responsive at adding new packages when requested.

        That's not to say it's perfect. It does have a few teething problems which comes with any relatively new OS. But it is maturing fast and certainly capable as a daily driver.

        4 votes
        1. [3]
          mrbig
          Link Parent
          I have no intention to use Budgie. Does it make sense?

          I have no intention to use Budgie. Does it make sense?

          2 votes
          1. [2]
            edenist
            Link Parent
            They release builds with both gnome and mate as well if that's enough to get you going. They have what I believe to be a recent version of i3 in the repos.

            They release builds with both gnome and mate as well if that's enough to get you going. They have what I believe to be a recent version of i3 in the repos.

            2 votes
            1. mrbig
              Link Parent
              Awesome. As a MX-Linux user, Mate would be probably very similar to XFCE and ideal for me.

              Awesome. As a MX-Linux user, Mate would be probably very similar to XFCE and ideal for me.

              2 votes
      2. nsa
        Link Parent
        I mainly use Fedora but I've used Solus. size/age - There was a whole debacle last year when the lead dev basically disappeared (later confirmed he was fine) and they lost control of the...

        I mainly use Fedora but I've used Solus.

        size/age -
        There was a whole debacle last year when the lead dev basically disappeared (later confirmed he was fine) and they lost control of the servers/git repos/patreon, and the current devs seem committed to making sure that can't happen again. In some ways the small userbase is an advantage. If you ask a question on the forum, there's a pretty good chance one of the main developers will answer you.

        packages -
        The devs have been pretty clear both that their repo is opinionated (they only want one good application for each purpose) and that users are welcome to suggest a package for addition to the repo. Outside of that, there's support for Flatpak and Snap packages.

  4. [13]
    Morg
    Link
    Personally I'm a huge fan of Manjaro and, for the more hacky-oriented people, Arch. Arch is definitely not what you want given your post, but maybe Manjaro could work for you. It's basically a...

    Personally I'm a huge fan of Manjaro and, for the more hacky-oriented people, Arch.
    Arch is definitely not what you want given your post, but maybe Manjaro could work for you. It's basically a slightly more stable and user-friendly Arch. As long as you keep packages up to date (basically run a package update command once a week), it has very little chances of breaking on you from my personal experience. And with AUR you get all the latest flashy packages if you really want to gamble on them, just like on Arch :)

    4 votes
    1. [4]
      clone1
      Link Parent
      I still don't understand the arch is unstable meme. Maybe I'm just lucky but it's never been "unstable" for me, on any of the computers I've installed it on.

      I still don't understand the arch is unstable meme. Maybe I'm just lucky but it's never been "unstable" for me, on any of the computers I've installed it on.

      2 votes
      1. [3]
        hungariantoast
        Link Parent
        Me either, to be honest. A week or two ago, after an update and a reboot, dhcpcd wasn't working. Sure enough, I checked its systemd service status and it wasn't running. I started it manually and...

        Me either, to be honest. A week or two ago, after an update and a reboot, dhcpcd wasn't working. Sure enough, I checked its systemd service status and it wasn't running. I started it manually and re-enabled it to start on boot and that was it. No idea why it stopped coming up automatically, but it was fixed in five minutes.

        That's pretty much it, as far as major breakages, in my entire time of using Arch Linux (1+ year).

        I've had other stuff, like i3blocks or pango break, messing up my fonts or just not working at all, but that isn't Arch's fault.

        I think a lot of the "Arch is unstable" rhetoric comes from people not being able to separate package breakages from system breakages.

        3 votes
        1. blitz
          Link Parent
          In a system with a package manager, package breakages are system breakages. The result is the same: I have to spend time troubleshooting the issue. If I’m not interested in doing that, I’m going...

          I think a lot of the "Arch is unstable" rhetoric comes from people not being able to separate package breakages from system breakages.

          In a system with a package manager, package breakages are system breakages. The result is the same: I have to spend time troubleshooting the issue. If I’m not interested in doing that, I’m going to choose a distro that gives me less trouble, no matter where the trouble actually is.

          1 vote
        2. Diff
          Link Parent
          Any unstable distro is unstable compared to a stable distro. I run Debian Sid, and I've run into many breakages. An update to wpasupplicant meant none of my devices would connect to my home Wifi...

          Any unstable distro is unstable compared to a stable distro. I run Debian Sid, and I've run into many breakages. An update to wpasupplicant meant none of my devices would connect to my home Wifi network anymore (other networks were fine, and if I downgraded it was fine). And update to gdm after they made Wayland the default meant I was one of the first to find out that they hadn't added an exception for Nvidia, where Wayland isn't supported, meaning I restarted my computer to a glitchy, looping screen as gdm repeatedly crashed itself.

          Eventually, these were sorted out. I worked with the Debian maintainer and upstream wpasupplicant people through bug reports to get it fixed up, and the gdm problem had already been found and reported by others by the time I figured out what was going on. I'm okay with this, it's half the reason I'm running Sid, to squash these bugs before they make it to the Stable releases that run on my important stuff. But bugs are a fact of life, and rolling release distros will have them in the greatest amounts.

    2. Wes
      Link Parent
      I'm still a Linux novice but found that Manjaro was very stable for my needs. More worked out of the box than with other distros, too. I'm a big fan.

      I'm still a Linux novice but found that Manjaro was very stable for my needs. More worked out of the box than with other distros, too. I'm a big fan.

      1 vote
    3. [5]
      SpineEyE
      Link Parent
      Yeah, /u/mrbig, I would really like to understand what you mean with unstable with respect to Arch/Manjaro. I kind of understand that Arch Linux is not for you since you have to install the right...

      Yeah, /u/mrbig, I would really like to understand what you mean with unstable with respect to Arch/Manjaro.

      I kind of understand that Arch Linux is not for you since you have to install the right packages for your system and also set up a few more config files than say in Manjaro. But when you install an LTS kernel, I think Manjaro's packages are as stable and more up to date and more extensive than those of other distros.

      1 vote
      1. [4]
        mrbig
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        I was never able to install Arch to the fullest because it did not recognize any of my wireless cards, in three different computers. My modem is very far from my bedroom, I don't have a long cable...

        I was never able to install Arch to the fullest because it did not recognize any of my wireless cards, in three different computers. My modem is very far from my bedroom, I don't have a long cable and yes, I'm lazy.

        So I figured Majaro could give me the fresh packages I wanted without the aggravation. But every time I tried, I was met with a torrent of bugs. Some just annoying, some system-breaking. I debugged so much it's not even funny. Making audio work was a nightmare, requiring multiple restarts and consultations to the wiki. Every update brought little annoying changes that added nothing worthwhile, like changing the position of a button or the arrangement of a box. Now I'll just copy what I wrote earlier on Reddit:

        Let the downvotes come.

        I've tried Majaro at least 5 times, on different machines. Little annoyances always drove me away from it.

        The promise: the practicality of rolling-release with the stability of fixed-releases. But little issues always prevent me from using it. Linux for me is a tool, not a toy. I use it for actual stuff that needs to be done, with no downtime, no mistakes, and no bullshit.

        So yesterday I bought a brand new desktop - and an AMD, the kind that's supposed to be better supported. I figured new drivers and whatnot would be good for some occasional gaming and video editing. Install went great. I was able to connect to the internet. Until I hit sudo pacman -Syyu (or something to that effect, I'm writing from memory. Also tried without the extra y) to update the system for the first time. I don't have the error at hand anymore, but Pacman could not get to some repositories. Once again, Manjaro disappointed me. I understand it is 100% solvable, but I don't have time for this. I needed the machine to work right fucking now. So I made a snapshot of my incredibly-trustworthy MX-Linux and, 40 minutes later, the machine was working exactly like the I wanted. Sorry, Manjaro. Maybe next time.

        3 votes
        1. [3]
          hungariantoast
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          Assuming everything else was set up correctly, then your issue was probably that pacman wasn't able to reach the mirrors defined in /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist. If I remember correctly, what you...

          I was able to connect to the internet. Until I hit sudo pacman -Syyu (or something to that effect, I'm writing from memory. Also tried without the extra y) to update the system for the first time. I don't have the error at hand anymore, but Pacman could not get to some repositories.

          Assuming everything else was set up correctly, then your issue was probably that pacman wasn't able to reach the mirrors defined in /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist.

          If I remember correctly, what you typically need to do on a fresh installation, if you're encountering this issue, is edit the file at the path mentioned above and uncomment (remove the # at the beginning of) each line for each server you want pacman to try to contact.

          For instance, I'm in Texas in the US, so I uncommented and moved the mirrors located in Dallas (the closest to me) to the top of the mirrorlist, so pacman will try them first, then I put the rest of the US mirrors below those, then the remaining mirrors below those.

          If pacman can't reach the first mirror defined in your mirrorlist, it will then try the second one automatically, and so on, until it either exhausts all mirrors or finds a working one.

          Mirrors being down or unreachable is just something that happens. As far as I know, all of Arch's mirrors are volunteer ran.

          Automatically managing your mirrolist is pretty easy with Reflector. The Arch website also provides a mirrorlist generator.

          I don't know if those tools will work with Manjaro though. I don't remember if Manjaro uses regular Arch mirrors anymore.

          Regardless, I generally recommend not messing with Manjaro and just using Arch.

          1 vote
          1. [2]
            papasquat
            Link Parent
            Seriously? Why wouldn't it just automatically try to next mirror if the first was unreachable? That seems like an extra step for absolutely no reason.

            /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist and comment out the first server URL by putting a # at the beginning of the line. That makes pacman try the next mirror in the list. Repeat that until it works is the most basic way to fix the issue.

            Seriously? Why wouldn't it just automatically try to next mirror if the first was unreachable? That seems like an extra step for absolutely no reason.

            2 votes
            1. hungariantoast
              Link Parent
              Actually, pacman does automatically try the next mirror defined in the mirrorlist, I just sort of forgot about that. I edited my comment to reflect that.

              Actually, pacman does automatically try the next mirror defined in the mirrorlist, I just sort of forgot about that. I edited my comment to reflect that.

    4. eka
      Link Parent
      Another vote for Manjaro. I like the rolling release model. I also find it to be stable enough for my needs.

      Another vote for Manjaro. I like the rolling release model. I also find it to be stable enough for my needs.

    5. ubergeek
      Link Parent
      Yeah, I'm not sure why Manjaro was excluded. I use it for my daily work driver, and don't have issues with it.

      Yeah, I'm not sure why Manjaro was excluded. I use it for my daily work driver, and don't have issues with it.

  5. [4]
    vegai
    Link
    Ubuntu gives you the stability (especially if you stick to LTS releases), Regolith Desktop gives you a neat i3. Or if you wanna tune your i3 yourself, just install i3 on Ubuntu.

    Ubuntu gives you the stability (especially if you stick to LTS releases), Regolith Desktop gives you a neat i3. Or if you wanna tune your i3 yourself, just install i3 on Ubuntu.

    4 votes
    1. frisson
      Link Parent
      thanks for Regolith-Desktop recommendation, I didn't know about it, it's solving main issues with my hand-made configuration.

      thanks for Regolith-Desktop recommendation, I didn't know about it, it's solving main issues with my hand-made configuration.

      3 votes
    2. [2]
      SpineEyE
      Link Parent
      But it doesn't give you up to date software. Just one example: I'm on Ubuntu 19.04 and when I install digikam, I get version 5.9 while they are offering 6.3 on their website. For up to date wine I...

      But it doesn't give you up to date software. Just one example: I'm on Ubuntu 19.04 and when I install digikam, I get version 5.9 while they are offering 6.3 on their website.

      For up to date wine I need a custom repository and for the latest wine release I needed to install an additional binary of some obscure library that wasn't in either repository (licensing...).
      Don't get me started on snap...

      Stuff like this is why I hate Ubuntu, but unfortunately the current admins where I work only offer Ubuntu when you ask for Linux.

      2 votes
      1. vegai
        Link Parent
        Hatred seems a bit overblown reaction just because not all software is up-to-date.

        Hatred seems a bit overblown reaction just because not all software is up-to-date.

        1 vote
  6. [8]
    Silbern
    Link
    OpenSUSE is the closest I can think of, but what you're asking for is kind of a contradiction. If a distro has packages that are quite recent, then there's inevitably going to be less stability...

    OpenSUSE is the closest I can think of, but what you're asking for is kind of a contradiction. If a distro has packages that are quite recent, then there's inevitably going to be less stability because there won't be as much vetting. I don't know the version of i3 in OpenSUSE LEAP (the stable one), but if it's too old, I know Tumbleweed carries the newest versions of everything but helps to counteract that with extensive automated simulation in virtual machines, which prevents them from pushing unstable updates. I've personally found it to be a little finnicky sometimes (though to its credit, I've never needed to reinstall), but many people swear by it, and I use it myself on my Linux machine and have for years.

    3 votes
    1. [7]
      mrbig
      Link Parent
      You are 100% correct. Let me rephrase: what I want is a stable distro and newer packages are not a requirement. However, I wish such distro didn't make me jump through too many hoops in case I...

      OpenSUSE is the closest I can think of, but what you're asking for is kind of a contradiction.

      You are 100% correct. Let me rephrase: what I want is a stable distro and newer packages are not a requirement. However, I wish such distro didn't make me jump through too many hoops in case I wanted a few newer packages, such as Emacs, Neovim, Kdenlive, etc.

      2 votes
      1. [5]
        Diff
        Link Parent
        Maybe Debian with backports? Doesn't Ubuntu follow a "stable core, up to date applications" philosophy?

        Maybe Debian with backports? Doesn't Ubuntu follow a "stable core, up to date applications" philosophy?

        4 votes
        1. [4]
          mrbig
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          How exactly backports work? Last time I read I couldn't understand shit. I enable the repo. What happens next? It'll always prefer backports? If not, can I (or should I) make it so? How do I...

          How exactly backports work? Last time I read I couldn't understand shit. I enable the repo. What happens next? It'll always prefer backports? If not, can I (or should I) make it so? How do I actually download the backported version?

          1 vote
          1. knocklessmonster
            Link Parent
            When you enable backports, they're given lower priority over stable. Typically, when you want to install something from backports, you would do apt install <package> -t buster-backports. From...

            When you enable backports, they're given lower priority over stable. Typically, when you want to install something from backports, you would do apt install <package> -t buster-backports. From there, if that package is updated in backports, it'll follow that version. Rolling back is generally not generally recommended, but is possible and easy by re-installing and calling -t stable

            2 votes
          2. Diff
            Link Parent
            Hm, that's a good question. I run Debian Sid myself but if I'm remembering right backports are preferred. Or you can at least make backports preferred.

            Hm, that's a good question. I run Debian Sid myself but if I'm remembering right backports are preferred. Or you can at least make backports preferred.

            1 vote
          3. Silbern
            Link Parent
            It'll default to installing packages from the regular (stable channel), but if you specify -t debian-backports (or something like that, it's been a while) it'll check that repo first instead of...

            It'll default to installing packages from the regular (stable channel), but if you specify -t debian-backports (or something like that, it's been a while) it'll check that repo first instead of the older one. It also automatically looks at the backports repo if it finds a dependency not satisfied by the regular stable repo iirc. So basically, for your use case, you'd just leave it enabled and then specifically mark it for the few packages you want new.

            Generally, you want to minimize your use of backports on stable where possible, you can get some spectacular dependency loops if you're not careful and mix the two extensively. It's meant for when you need just a couple of programs but still want to keep everything else stable.

            1 vote
      2. nsa
        Link Parent
        There's always Flatpak - Flathub.org has many popular apps.

        a few newer packages

        There's always Flatpak - Flathub.org has many popular apps.

  7. [3]
    Happy_Shredder
    Link
    I run Funtoo. I think it's great. There are a few tweaks on top of Gentoo that make maintenance a little easier. It's kinda somewhere between versioned and rolling: there are big updates...

    I run Funtoo. I think it's great. There are a few tweaks on top of Gentoo that make maintenance a little easier. It's kinda somewhere between versioned and rolling: there are big updates occasionally, but updating libraries and packages is looser. I maintain my own overlay (think apt repo) for packages a bit too outdated in the main repo.

    It is a bit of work to maintain, but it grants extraordinary customizability, and a systemd free distro (this is important to me). Maintenance is mostly time rather than difficulty; the system tools (e.g. Init, ebuild) are generally excellent, as is the documentation. It's a real hackers distro.

    2 votes
    1. [2]
      alexandria
      Link Parent
      Huh, didn't funtoo die?

      Huh, didn't funtoo die?

      1 vote
      1. Happy_Shredder
        Link Parent
        Yep, it's still alive! There was even a big update a couple of weeks ago.

        Yep, it's still alive! There was even a big update a couple of weeks ago.

  8. Grand0rbiter
    Link
    Fedora. It's a very up-to-date distro, they work closely with upstream and every new release you can upgrade from inside your current one with the package manager. I recommend getting the 31 Beta...

    Fedora. It's a very up-to-date distro, they work closely with upstream and every new release you can upgrade from inside your current one with the package manager.

    I recommend getting the 31 Beta already. I'm using and it's pretty stable.

    2 votes
  9. Crestwave
    Link
    Late to the party, but most of the answers don't really seem to be addressing your specific concern. If I'm understanding correctly and you want a system that is mostly stable as in frozen, but...

    Late to the party, but most of the answers don't really seem to be addressing your specific concern. If I'm understanding correctly and you want a system that is mostly stable as in frozen, but with the ability to get newer packages, Debian Stable with backports or another branch fits the bill perfectly. I myself got i3wm from Testing on a Stable system back when I used it, although I heard that mixing releases (not backports) may cause instability.

    Flatpak can work for some things, but it's sandboxed, so I don't think i3wm and such will run on it. Another option is the Nix package manager; you mentioned above that you don't want to learn the Nix language for NixOS, but you don't have to learn it for this as far as I know. You can install it on a stable distribution and get up-to-date packages from it.

    Another option is Bedrock Linux. It allows you to run multiple distributions at once, (nearly) seamlessly integrated, so you can use most of your tools from a stable distribution and get new packages from an unstable one.

    However, note that it hasn't reached 1.0 yet, so while it's perfectly usable right now (I use it on my main system), it's possible that there will be a breaking update where you'd have to reinstall to migrate to it. But you can still use your outdated system if you don't mind missing out on the new features; I ran the previous major release for a few months before migrating, because there wasn't any update mechanism at all back then.

    2 votes
  10. [3]
    hungariantoast
    Link
    MX Linux is based on Debian Stable and the latest version of i3 in the Stable repsoitory is from January 27th, 2019. Unless MX Linux doesn't pull packages directly from the Debian package repos,...

    (MX's version is from 2016. 2016!)

    MX Linux is based on Debian Stable and the latest version of i3 in the Stable repsoitory is from January 27th, 2019.

    Unless MX Linux doesn't pull packages directly from the Debian package repos, you should be able to do a "full upgrade" of your distribution and all software by running # apt-get update && apt-get dist-upgrade.

    If I remember correctly (it's been a while since using an APT based distro), that should update all of your packages, including moving you to the latest stable release of Debian, which is buster.

    1 vote
    1. mrbig
      Link Parent
      Thanks. I do apt-get update && apt-get dist-upgrade on a regular basis. MX does pull directly from Debian package repositories, but it also has its own repositories. AFAIK it is possible to...

      Thanks.

      I do apt-get update && apt-get dist-upgrade on a regular basis.

      MX does pull directly from Debian package repositories, but it also has its own repositories.

      AFAIK it is possible to configure it to the test repository or even make it full Debian, but the last time I did that I fucked up my system real bad.

      1 vote
    2. mrbig
      Link Parent
      But maybe I should just to straight to Debian 10. It does require reinstalls, but it's got stable in the name!

      But maybe I should just to straight to Debian 10. It does require reinstalls, but it's got stable in the name!

      1 vote
  11. vord
    Link
    Writing this from an OpenSuse Tumbleweed KDE laptop, which I've been running as my primary distro since January or so, with no re-install. While there's a bit more initial configuration required...

    Writing this from an OpenSuse Tumbleweed KDE laptop, which I've been running as my primary distro since January or so, with no re-install. While there's a bit more initial configuration required with OpenSuse relative to MX or Ubuntu, once I got it setup the way I like, I've encountered far fewer problems with it than most other distros, especially relative to other rolling distros.

    The only significant hurtle I've really encountered is third party developers who only package debs and not rpms, especially since I prefer not to compile larger programs if I can avoid it. Another thing is that opensuse uses different naming schemes for many common packages, and since it's a smaller distro userbase it can occasionally be harder to "translate" instructions found on the web written for Ubuntu or Arch to OpenSuse's equivalents.

    The other nice thing about Tumbleweed is its snapper functionality. It acts as a layer of insurance in the event an update does break your system, it's fairly easy to rollback.

    1 vote
  12. [2]
    mrbig
    Link
    I just noticed that no one mentioned the oldest of the dinosaurs: Slackware.

    I just noticed that no one mentioned the oldest of the dinosaurs: Slackware.

    1 vote
    1. knocklessmonster
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      If you want to do some learning, definitely try Slackware. I've maybe used it for a month and could never stick with it, but it's a beautifully simple distro that'll work just as you set it up. I...

      If you want to do some learning, definitely try Slackware. I've maybe used it for a month and could never stick with it, but it's a beautifully simple distro that'll work just as you set it up. I don't know about its upgrade path, but I believe you don't typically have to reinstall. SlackBuilds.org has build scripts for extra stuff, but you'll have to do a lot of building to get stuff not in-repo. It has some great derivatives, as well, such as Zenwalk, Salix, or Vector that have all been around for a minute.

      2 votes
  13. alexandria
    Link
    A lot of the suggestions miss the "reinstall" aspect of your question, which seems to be a fundamental point? Fedora, Slackware, Ubuntu, all require you to regularly reinstall to get the proper...

    A lot of the suggestions miss the "reinstall" aspect of your question, which seems to be a fundamental point? Fedora, Slackware, Ubuntu, all require you to regularly reinstall to get the proper benefits of the new system.

    I know I've just plugged alpine linux in another thread, but I'm on edge and haven't noticed any problems (I just apk update && apk upgrade every now and then) and even with over 6 months without doing that, it still pulled down and installed everything fine. It's mostly bleeding edge, I think? Things seem to be pretty up-to-date, I think.

    1 vote
  14. [3]
    knocklessmonster
    Link
    Debian. Hear me out: Michael Stapelberg was, until recently a Debian dev (I think he's still in the project, but gave up his maintainer status). It should be trivial to compile i3, and while it's...

    This distro is supposed to be a tool to work with, not a hobby to be pimped, riced or whatever. I will occasionally play and edit videos on it (don't worry, it's all AMD, thank you advice for the Tildes ;)

    I use the i3wm window manager (not the gaps fork), so native support is a must and current versions are preferable (MX's version is from 2016. 2016!).

    Debian. Hear me out:

    Michael Stapelberg was, until recently a Debian dev (I think he's still in the project, but gave up his maintainer status). It should be trivial to compile i3, and while it's not my job to tell you what you need, you probably don't need to always have the latest version of i3, but I'm sure you can get help building it in Debian if you ask around (idk how their build system works). Debian will have every package you need, if a bit out of date. While I'm saying use Debian, honestly, you could just stick with MX and have the same/potentially better experience without having to hop around.

    If you want to strike a balance, you could switch to the Ubuntu releases, you'll get the package depth of Debian with something resembling the up-to-dateness of Fedora, and you can get a flavor for any desktop you want, or roll your own minimal system and build from there (not to rice, but to avoid the extra bells and whistles that come with most Ubuntu variants).

    1 vote
    1. [2]
      mrbig
      Link Parent
      I'm currently an MX-Linux (Debian Based) user and mostly satisfied. I just wanted another challenge.

      I'm currently an MX-Linux (Debian Based) user and mostly satisfied. I just wanted another challenge.

      1. knocklessmonster
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Shoot, do Slackware, then. sbo will have most of what you need if compiling isn't an issue, and your system will be rock solid. You'll need to build i3 and kdenlive (or get it from AlienBob), but...

        Shoot, do Slackware, then. sbo will have most of what you need if compiling isn't an issue, and your system will be rock solid. You'll need to build i3 and kdenlive (or get it from AlienBob), but you'll probably get a kick out of the mission, and not have to work at all once it's done.

        EDIT: Crux would be interesting, too, but I know squat about it aside from it being very UNIXy, and source-based.

  15. povey
    Link
    I love debian stable + kde + flatpak. Flatpak gives me the few applications I want (sublime text, telegram) that aren't up to date in debian stable, and everything else is a rock. And it is themeable!

    I love debian stable + kde + flatpak. Flatpak gives me the few applications I want (sublime text, telegram) that aren't up to date in debian stable, and everything else is a rock. And it is themeable!

  16. zaarn
    Link
    If you want super stable but also new, I can recommend to take a look at Alpine Linux. But be aware that it is definitely not a distro for the average desktop user as many things not compatible...

    If you want super stable but also new, I can recommend to take a look at Alpine Linux. But be aware that it is definitely not a distro for the average desktop user as many things not compatible with musl libc won't work.

    Otherwise you can also take a look at CentOS Streams or Ubuntu LTS, the later is somewhat more up-to-date but also fairly stable and compatible with lots of software.

  17. Espionage724
    Link
    Fedora Workstation; keeps packages pretty up-to-date and works.

    Fedora Workstation; keeps packages pretty up-to-date and works.