I’ve been an Ubuntu user for about a year now, and goddamn it’s good. However, it is the first linux I’ve really used. I wanted to try others.
I have a collection of distro’s here to choose from, courtesy of my isp’s FTP service. SuSE 10.0(livecd/installer?), Mandriva 2006.0, FC5, Gentoo 2006.0(livecd/installer), Slackware 10.2 and FreeBSD 6.0.
I first tried running the SuSE livecd, and it went through a great proportion of the booting… then froze. After 3 attempts, I gave up. I have fairly generic hardware (not ati either), so theoretically, it should work. It didn’t.
Next stop, Mandriva.
I am currently writing this from Mandriva, and compared to the Ubuntu installation that I’ve grown to love, it is.. how to say it… a little confusing to install. Nothing like recompiling kernels or such, but confusing nonetheless.
I found the wording to be such that a newbie attempting his/her first linux installation could get confused. As an intermediate linux user, even I had to read things twice. This newbie would have to discern between numerous monitor, vid card and xorg options. As it was, I had accidentally not selected my video card driver – just thought I had.
Other than the installation, I found the menu less useful, and adding applications much more fiddly than Ubuntu. I find that Synaptic’s ‘all-in-one’ approach much easier to use than the 5-part system used in Mandriva, not to mention, a google search was needed to get even basic repositories other than the CD/DVD, which is all you get by default with Mandriva (Ubuntu’s default repo/source list at least has Security repos, even if they do need to be enabled first!).
No doubt, I am biased. I’m not saying Mandriva is bad, heck, it’s really pretty good and other than X/drivers configuration in the install, it’s pretty easy too. Other than the selection issues in install, my comments have really only been about what I miss between this and Ubuntu.