So, I’ve been rather intensively attempting to actually learn something about computers, by way of the following (rather circuitous) route
First, I’m running debian. I am fully aware that there are petabytes worth of other Linux distribuitons around, but fundamentally, all of those distros fall into one of the following broad categories:
In other words: there is Debian and Redhat (“Fedora” is not substantively different from redhat, except inasmuch as it is “community” driven, and lacks the “tech support” offered by Redhat corporation, itself.)
Those are the two primary “base”-distributions from which broad “families” of other distros ultimately derive.
A lot of these other “distros” either begin as somebody thinking “wow, I halfway like Debian/Redhat etc. — but I think such-and-such should be done differently.”
That’s what I’ve concluded: most other “distros” at least start out as “tweaked” versions of either Debian, or Redhat. (Again, I can’t really bring myself to take the “Fedora vs. redhad” distinction seriously).
Now, I’ve used both “families” of distros in the past — Linux Mint, Ubuntu, “Scientific Linux” , MEPIS, etc.
So yeah, I did the (infamous) “distro-hopping” thing.
So, why did I settle on Debian, then?
Quite frankly, it wouldn’t be that difficult to base an entire “distro” — at least the prototype version — by somebody “tweaking” their debian install the way they like it, and then creating an instal image from that. It wouldn’t even ben difficult to continue using debian’s repositories, if you wanted to.
At any rate, yeah, I finally decided to stabilize on Debian, because it is basically the “base” distro from which a mind-bogglingly vast array of more specialized (or straight-out gimmicky?) distros derive.
In fact, that’s the first – and most fundamental — thing to understand if you’re going to go to a site like Distrowatch: probably the first thing to take note of when examining any “distro” is: what do project-leader/project-team regard as its ‘base”?
For example: both Ubuntu and Mepis began as “tweaked” versions of Debian, and — in fact — continue to use the Debian package management (.deb packages).
This is, of course, not to say that anything which began as (merely) a customized Debian variant/”unnoficial” fork etc., will continue to be fully compatible with Debian, itself.
Over time, the amount of “tweaks” done tend to – cumulatively — lead to what I can best describe as “subspecies” — the fact that something which began as essentially a “snapshot” of somebody’s dream version of Debian (or Red Hat) ends up being not entirely compatible (by “default”).
A great example of what can happen with this is even mentioned in Debian’s docs:
Now, here’s the thing:
Outside of the Debian/Redhat “famlies” of distros, there are weird things which I’m personally not interesting (at this time) in playing around with.
The two most obvious are Slackware and Gentoo.
As an added level of precaution/convenience, since my system has two physical hard drives installed, during the last installation, I decided to install the “home” directories on the 500 GB drive, and have all of the “system”-related stuff on the other.
That way, if something goes horribly wrong, I can simply reinstall without damaging my “home” directory, and suchlike.
At least, that’s the theory. 🙂
(Yes, I realize I need to do periodic backups — especially of stuff I don’t want to risk losing).
But yeah…it appears that I am (gradually) doing pretty much what everybody else does, when they leave the Micro$oft “playpen”.