Finding the Right OS

Quite often, I use the Pareto principle of spending 20% of the effort to get 80% of the results. On other occasions, I spend far too much time to get something just right.

From DOS 1.0 in 1981 to Windows 8 and Linux today, I’ve installed dozens of micro and minicomputer operating systems over the years. To me, an OS needs to fit like a glove, which is why I’ve spent considerable time looking for a version of Linux that will complement my Windows 7 desktop environment. Being on a tight budget, I use Oracle’s VirtualBox instead of VMWare Player as it includes a Snapshot facility.

The VPS I rent for my web sites uses CentOS 5, so I thought I’d use the popular Ubuntu and CentOS distributions as my starting point. Unfortunately, both desktops had issues with VirtualBox, and I don’t have the patience to fiddle around with a host of settings and updates.

This was followed a raft of distributions such as Kubuntu, Mint, Suse, Debian, Xubuntu, Fedora, Elementary, and more. In addition, there were Gnome, KDE and XFCE options for several of these.

Currently, my top pick is Mint 15 with Mate. With the Kernel updates disabled, Mint runs smoothly out of the box under VirtualBox, and provides excellent support for VirtualBox’s seamless display mode. It also doesn’t require the installation of VirtualBox’s VBOXADDITIONS package. That being said, I DO perform the updates, but not before taking a snapshot and doing so in a controlled manner.

I continue to read threads about the pros and cons of various Linux distributions and would love to find the perfect fit. In the meantime, Mint with MATE works well enough for me and I need to start getting some work done.

Update 2 years later: Am continuing to use Mint 15, although I should get with the Mint 17.2 program. In addition Centos 7 now works very well with VirtualBox, so I expect to make some changes in the near future.


Update 2.2 years later: Have now moved almost completely over to CentOS 7 (minimal install). Have installed/documented it. Have migrated from Mint 15 server as well as my Debian backup server. Of course Windows 8.1 is my desktop environment.

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