You may have read my previous posts Three weeks of running Manjaro Arch and Moving from Ubuntu to Arch Linux. In each post, I talked about my move from Ubuntu to an Arch-based Linux distribution. Part of the move was philosophical, as I have major issues with the spyware that is packaged in the Ubuntu-unity desktop interface. For those who are unfamiliar with unity, the interface includes a search that sends data to the developer (Canonical), who then relays the search to Amazon so that Amazon can “recommend” products based on the search. I realize that Canonical is doing this for revenue and they have to pay their developers to create free software. However, this kind of revenue generation stinks of the slicked-hair, used car salesman with a contract full of fine print. There has to be a better way to fund Canonical.
My second reason for moving to Arch was the desire to try out bleeding edge software. I salivate at the though of getting my hands on the latest and greatest Linux software, and Arch has the reputation as THE place to go for those new applications. With that in mind, I installed Manjaro, and Arch-based distro, and looked forward to having the latest and greatest.
LibreOffice 4.2 was release on January 27th, and I was all set to give it a try. I searched the Arch repositories, I searched the Arch user repositories (repositories compiled by the Arch community)…no LibreOffice 4.2. Guess what distribution had the software first? Yep, Ubuntu. Granted, it was a ppa that had to be added, but nevertheless, Ubuntu-based distros had the software first. Then openSUSE. Then Fedora. Last time I checked, Arch STILL doesn’t have the latest version of LibreOffice. Where’s the bleeding edge software?
So I decided to leave Arch for another distribution. (Yes, I know that I could have compiled LibreOffice myself, but that would mean I have to re-compile EVERY time the software updates…I just don’t have the time.) First I tried openSUSE (KDE desktop). The instal went fine, and then after reboot, I couldn’t connect to the internet. I played with that thing for hours and could never get the internet working. Strike one.
Fedora is another distribution that is considered to be head-of-the pack when it comes to new software, so I thought I’d give it a try. Once again, the installation went smooth. I rebooted, and this time my keyboard wouldn’t work. Not a keystroke would record. I spent half the afternoon searching Fedora forums looking for an answer to my problem. Nothing. Nada. Fedora…strike two.
So that left me at a bit of a quandary, as I still had my issue with the Unity search, while at the same time I know Ubuntu runs well and problem free on my system. At that point I had a bit of a revelation. In short, I’m too busy to troubleshoot all of these installation problems. An Ubuntu-based distribution may be my best bet. Yes, I have issues with the spyware embedded in Unity, but there is no reason I have to use Unity, as there are tons of distros based on Ubuntu that use KDE, Gnome, XFCE and so forth.
In the next few weeks, you’ll see a lot of reviews of Ubuntu-based distributions…and none of them use Unity. Right now, I’m playing around with Ubuntu Gnome 13.10, and a really neat spin on Ubuntu called Zorin. Zorin is designed to look like Windows 7, and it has some really cool graphic effects that make this a fun to use OS. Keep a watch for reviews on those two distros…I should have them up and running soon.