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Old 08-20-2018, 10:03 AM   #1
audiojunkie
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Default What DE is everyone using?

I've been using Gnome3 for the past year, with hopes of eventually going fully touch screen in the near future. However, I've found some things that irk me to the point that I'm shopping around for a new Desktop Environment to see if there might be something I like better (even if it isn't as touch screen friendly.

For example, I hate that installed apps are just thrown into a list and not actually grouped and kept together. I know that I can select to have my favorites for the session show up instead of all apps. I also know that I can select to have a menu show up like other desktops (and while I DO have it set up with that, it defeats the purpose of having the Gnome3 interface that gets out of your way).

The other thing that bugs me is that with a modern system that supposedly is future thinking and forward thinking, there isn't a built-in tool for creating your own custom launchers. (Again, I recognize that there is a tool that I can download that will help me do this, but it frustrates me nonetheless). I also know that I could do it manually with a text editor, but it still bugs me.

The third thing that bugs me, and probably the thing that bugs me the most, is that the developers have hidden-away useful options and features so that one has to remember an obscure key command to do something as simple as showing hidden files, for example. It makes me feel like Gnome3 is going too far with their quest for simplicity and they are "throwing the baby out with the bathwater". These little quirks have irritated me and left me to explore options (which is what Linux is famous for :-) ).

In addition to the frustrations above, after doing a bit of research, I've come to find out that WINE doesn't work with Wayland, but has to go through XWayland to make things work, because there is no true Wayland support, and there is not likely going to be. It doesn't work as optimally as it would going straight through X. And, since there are so few Linux-only plugins, I suspect I will need to supplement my Linux plugins with some Windows plugins. So, proper functioning WINE use is likely to be a must.

What Desktop Environment(DE) are you guys using? Does your system use Wayland/XWayland? Are you going straight through X? What are your experiences (positive/negative)?

Thanks in advance for your input!! :-)

Last edited by audiojunkie; 08-20-2018 at 10:09 AM. Reason: TLDR & Clarification
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Old 08-20-2018, 11:38 AM   #2
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What Desktop Environment(DE) are you guys using? Does your system use Wayland/XWayland? Are you going straight through X? What are your experiences (positive/negative)?

Thanks in advance for your input!! :-)
It's probably hard to beat Xfce for a combination of usability and being fairly light on resources. It's compositor doesn't tax resources too much, so if you want some transparency, etc., it doesn't effect performance much. There's a reason both Ubuntustudio and AVLinux use it.

Personally I'm a big fan of KDE Plasma. It used to be too heavy for audio work on my systems, but in the last few years it has become lean and mean (far leaner and quicker than gnome, and almost to the mempry/cpu use of Xfce). So I use that now. I use KDE Neon user edition, which is currently based on Ubuntu 16.04 and uses Xorg. I think I read somewhere that Wayland might be used with the coming move to a 18.04 base.

I'd recommend either of them. Maybe Mate as a third option. Anything but Gnome,
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Old 08-20-2018, 11:58 AM   #3
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XFCE via Ubuntu Studio here, been using it for most of a week with few complaints.

- Apps are installed in a big list that you can have sorted by category, or favorites, or recent. By default Meta+R brings up a searchable list of everything as well.

- There are a number of different places to look for settings, but they're usually semi-obvious - Settings Manager, Settings Editor, Keyboard, Window Manager, etc.

- WINE is behaving fine here so far, though I admittedly only have it handling a few VSTs.
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Old 08-20-2018, 12:11 PM   #4
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OSX user here thinking hard about migrating to Linux.
What DE will give me the equivalent of the Finder, hot corners, spaces, and an app dock?

Or... Has anyone plagiarized those from say 10.6.8 (before they broke spaces)?
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Old 08-20-2018, 12:15 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by serr View Post
OSX user here thinking hard about migrating to Linux.
What DE will give me the equivalent of the Finder, hot corners, spaces, and an app dock?

Or... Has anyone plagiarized those from say 10.6.8 (before they broke spaces)?
Not sure about hot corners, but for the rest: Basically all of them. None of those are new features no matter how much Apple likes to hype things.
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Old 08-20-2018, 12:24 PM   #6
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Like the sound of that!

I haven't followed Apple's hype since they broke spaces and stopped making pro machines...

So, are trackpad gestures are old hat too then?
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Old 08-20-2018, 12:33 PM   #7
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OSX user here thinking hard about migrating to Linux.
What DE will give me the equivalent of the Finder, hot corners, spaces, and an app dock?

Or... Has anyone plagiarized those from say 10.6.8 (before they broke spaces)?
I haven't tested it for a few years, but I think Elementary Linux, which is Ubuntu based with a custom desktop environment, is OSX inspired. And you could add KXStudio repositories for audio goodness.

https://elementary.io/docs/learning-...ing-the-basics
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Old 08-20-2018, 12:59 PM   #8
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Personally I run KDE on my systems. Doesn't seem to affect my audio work at all. The only memory hogs I have seems to be chromium, firefox & clawsmail that have to be killed and restarted every few days, otherwise I slowly run out of RAM. But I have the bad habit of leaving many browser instances open with loads of tabs, I suspect it depends on what the web pages do too...

KDE has a nice way to launch programs, just alt-space and start typing the program name and it will populate into a list for easy starting.
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Old 08-20-2018, 01:35 PM   #9
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I like the Enlightenment de. For a barebones debian install,
Bodhi linux uses the Moksha version of E, for a full
enchilada, for linux audio feasibility testing, iognulinux
uses the standard E, with RT,
audio/video apps, and the usual audio configs in play,
and will run from a live dvd, with several options,
like run-in-ram.

If you like detailing your gui in long config sessions,
E is hard to beat. Fast, light, and as gorgeous or plain as desired.
Cheers
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Old 08-20-2018, 01:57 PM   #10
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Maybe this is useful: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compar...p_environments
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Old 08-20-2018, 04:02 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Winter View Post
Personally I run KDE on my systems. Doesn't seem to affect my audio work at all. The only memory hogs I have seems to be chromium, firefox & clawsmail that have to be killed and restarted every few days, otherwise I slowly run out of RAM. But I have the bad habit of leaving many browser instances open with loads of tabs, I suspect it depends on what the web pages do too...

KDE has a nice way to launch programs, just alt-space and start typing the program name and it will populate into a list for easy starting.
Isn't there some problem with Plasma with Wayland where it grabs your mouse and you have to press Esc for 3+ seconds to get it to release?
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Old 08-20-2018, 04:04 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4duhwinnn View Post
I like the Enlightenment de. For a barebones debian install,
Bodhi linux uses the Moksha version of E, for a full
enchilada, for linux audio feasibility testing, iognulinux
uses the standard E, with RT,
audio/video apps, and the usual audio configs in play,
and will run from a live dvd, with several options,
like run-in-ram.

If you like detailing your gui in long config sessions,
E is hard to beat. Fast, light, and as gorgeous or plain as desired.
Cheers
I'm a fan of Enlightenment, as well as Bodhi. What a light system!!! However, when I last checked, the Bodhi repos were very scarce. How do you go about getting the Ubuntu and Debian repos to work?
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Old 08-20-2018, 04:09 PM   #13
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Yes, quite useful. But isn't this just comparing X Window system DE's? Some of these systems have implemented Wayland. I'm largely concerned with how WINE reacts with Wayland through XWayland. I'm also concerned with anything that could reduce the experience--the rumored KDE Wayland mouse grab, etc. KDE is my main choice for the beauty and configurability of it all, but I want to avoid save as much time as possible, rather than going through each with live distros of each and testing myself. :-)
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Old 08-20-2018, 04:11 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audiojunkie View Post
Isn't there some problem with Plasma with Wayland where it grabs your mouse and you have to press Esc for 3+ seconds to get it to release?
I believe you are right, but it's supposedly a feature

I'm still using X as IMO wayland isn't ready for primetime, atleast for KDE which by now is my poison of choice
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Old 08-20-2018, 04:16 PM   #15
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I believe you are right, but it's supposedly a feature

I'm still using X as IMO wayland isn't ready for primetime, atleast for KDE which by now is my poison of choice
I totally would too, if I was at your level of Linux acuity. :-) As it is, I'm stuck with prepared distros. But I am trying to do the whole Roll-your-own Audio setup rather than using AVLinux, Ubuntu Studio, or KXStudio. So, with my (current) knowledge limitations, I'm basically stuck with the Ubuntu family and their Desktop Environments and their Low Latency kernel in their repos. :-) I've been using Gnome3 because I was really planning on trying to build my own tablet device and going all touch screen with it. But it has become less important to me lately, and I'm just looking for something that won't irritate me as much as Gnome3 but will work great for Linux audio with WINE. :-)
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Old 08-20-2018, 05:00 PM   #16
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Surely you're not married to Ubuntu, must be several distros around that are easy to install and which allows you to run an up to date KDE on X?

A lowlatency kernel is good and will get you low latency. The tweaks needed to setup low latency audio are not many and not all that difficult to achieve..
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Old 08-20-2018, 07:39 PM   #17
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Surely you're not married to Ubuntu, must be several distros around that are easy to install and which allows you to run an up to date KDE on X?

A lowlatency kernel is good and will get you low latency. The tweaks needed to setup low latency audio are not many and not all that difficult to achieve..
I'm only temporarily "married" to Ubuntu because I lack enough knowledge to get a harder distro up and running. I'd like to use Debian, but I've got to get my test computer hooked up so that I can experiment and get comfortable with it. Eventually, I'd love to get to the point where I can use Arch. :-)

A better way to put it would be that Ubuntu is my first girlfriend, and I haven't had enough experience to find my true mate. :-)
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Old 08-20-2018, 07:40 PM   #18
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By the way, why does everyone seem to like the Debian branch for audio? I never see Fedora or Red Hat or CentOS or some of those popular operating systems mentioned with audio usage. :-)
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Old 08-21-2018, 02:55 AM   #19
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Gnome3 in Fedora, love it!!!

The only negative is that for weaker machines it can have poor performance as it is not really optimized. The next version in a months time GNOME 3.30 is set to solve that.
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Old 08-21-2018, 02:37 PM   #20
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I'm using Awesome WM.

Super light weight tiling window manager which can be configured with Lua.
Since I got the hang of it I would never go back to a regular window manager.

Here a nice gimmick for power users, guess what it does:

Code:
apt-get install mpv
then put this to your ~/.xsessionrc:

Code:
VIDEO_POS=$(( $RANDOM * 100 / 32767 ))
mpv -speed 0.1 --loop=inf --start=${VIDEO_POS}% --audio=no --vo=gpu --video-sync=display-resample-desync --interpolation --no-sub-visibility --wid=0 "<path_to_a_movie>" &
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Old 08-21-2018, 05:07 PM   #21
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I'm a fan of Enlightenment, as well as Bodhi. What a light system!!! However, when I last checked, the Bodhi repos were very scarce. How do you go about getting the Ubuntu and Debian repos to work?
Hi, there are repository lists kept in /etc/apt/sources.list
I would install synaptic, if it's not a default, and change it's settings
to keep downloaded package files in the cache (so you can horde them against
some dark day in the future)

You could probably grab the list from running a ubuntu/mint live dvd,
or ask someone at Bodhi forum to post them. I'm doing backups
prepping for a recycled computer to arrive.
for the next 10 hours, but I can post them later, if needed.

Here is a link to directions to add the kx studio repositories,
which you would want for populating audio/video/utility menus
with mostly the newest builds, just copy/paste a few
command lines...

http://kxstudio.linuxaudio.org/Repositories

Cheers
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Old 08-21-2018, 05:42 PM   #22
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Collectiog .deb and .rpm packages can occassionally save your bacon.
Sometimes you might need a missing, older, or newer package
as you modify or setup new systems, and can manually install a package,
and any dependencies with dpkg -i or rpm -i commands.

There is a command called alien, that can covert between package formats,
handy when something is standard in kx-studio repositories,
but missing from a distro suited mainly for non-musicians,
and when compiling is not a happy campsite.

I did a test install of Bodhi, and copied 12 gig of debian packages,
into /var/cache/apt/archives, (where downloaded packages are kept)
and much of what I installed didn't need to be re-downloaded,
handy if there is limited bandwidth available.
Cheers
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Old 08-22-2018, 10:15 AM   #23
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i'll just recap my own experiences in experimenting with migrating to linux. i run reaper and davinci resolve. for that reason i'm using ubuntu studio. i picked that as it seemed to strike a balance between the apps i run and community support.

i originally intended to run kxstudio but ran into problems. some included applications refused to run as a limited user and required i run them as su, which i was advised against doing for security reasons. it turned out to be related to kde. for that reason (and also that i liked the lightweight nature) i switched to xfce. (i tried MANY, if not most, other de's along the way, too.)

xfce has presented its own problems. i do use it but had to spend a LOT of time on some not very satisfying workarounds. since i do a lot of work with picture i have multiple monitors, four. one is up on the wall and three stretch across my desk. i turns out that xfce is hardwired to place desktop icons, something i'm very used to using, in the upper left of the space it defines as the desktop. that puts my icons up on the wall-mounted monitor. that monitor is mainly used for video so i can never see or use the icons as they are always covered by video output.

i spent a ridiculous amount of time researching this and, since kde didn't work either, persued it until i found that i could place panels on the desktop and locate them wherever i like, unlike icons. i wound up making a script that would place something like 50 panels on my lower-right monitor and make them transparent. each of these panels holds a category of icons i use all the time. would be much easier to just drag icons to the monitor and position i want but xfce doesn't allow that. kind of a ridiculous solution but, by the time i figured out the problems, it was not that much farther to go to get this working.

a couple of additional wrinkles are that panels are 'always on top' so i had to come up with a script that sends them to the back after i boot. otherwise, every window i have open on that monitor would be covered with icons. second, a lot of windows open by default on the upper monitor. that calls for another script. if i do something that opens a window and i don't immediately see it, i run a script that moves the active window to my lower-right monitor. that gets the new window off the video monitor and onto my visible desktop. it's a one-click solution but an annoyance nonetheless.

one often hears the phrase, 'just save it to your desktop.' to get that to work in this setup, after saving, you have to go to your panel settings, place a new icon on a panel, and link it to the new file. otherwise the new file would be lost behind video on the upper monitor.

some people use their desktop a lot more for organization than i do and for them i'd say, if you use multiple monitors, forget xfce. if you're on a laptop, though, and use only the laptop screen you can probably ignore all of this. if you have a studio workstation, though, be wary. once up and running, the system has been great but finding all of these kinds of snags has been something of a nightmare.

thanks,
BabaG

Last edited by babag; 08-22-2018 at 10:28 AM.
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Old 08-23-2018, 11:18 AM   #24
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These are all great tips and things to think about!! Thanks everyone!! What about LXDE/LXQT? Are there any Pros/Cons with that DE vs XFCE?

Also, How is XFCE with just two monitors--side by side?
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Old 08-24-2018, 04:10 AM   #25
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Works great. Here is the XFCE screen configuration dialog. You can move the screens to the other side or on top of another.





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Old 08-24-2018, 08:46 AM   #26
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Also, How is XFCE with just two monitors--side by side?
I'm using it with a 40" main and 24" side monitor. Works great for me.
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Old 08-24-2018, 11:16 AM   #27
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Excellent! Thanks guys!! It looks like I may be using XFCE (at least until Wayland/XWayland/WINE work better. :-)
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Old 08-25-2018, 10:37 AM   #28
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I like XFCE. It is pretty light for what it provides, although maybe not the most attractive out of the box in terms of modern desktops. I think Manjaro does a pretty good job in making XFCE look nicer.

I don't use touchscreen, and so I don't like the phone-like gui of Gnome 3 with the giant buttons and the lack of traditional desktop layout. Every time I tried KDE, I had desktop stability issues, i.e., running some particular application or changing some setting would crash the desktop.
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Old 08-25-2018, 11:24 AM   #29
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I've been running KDE for years without any bigger problems. Bugs come and go, and maybe there have been more for instance when there was a new release. But really nothing that has annoyed me too much. I hear that KDE on Wayland is a pretty miserable experience..
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Old 08-25-2018, 11:54 PM   #30
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Threads like this are dangerous for me as I start fiddling instead of doing something productive.

However it was great to sample the other de's after a year of gnome.

I expected kde to annoy the shit out of me but it was pretty smooth. Ditto xfce and mate.

I still prefer gnome for a few reasons.
Interestingly my terminal setup with ohmyzsh with the beautiful hack font looks out of wack on konsole and xfce.

How do you guys setup your terminals theme wise?
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Old 08-26-2018, 02:32 AM   #31
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I'm only temporarily "married" to Ubuntu because I lack enough knowledge to get a harder distro up and running. I'd like to use Debian, but I've got to get my test computer hooked up so that I can experiment and get comfortable with it. Eventually, I'd love to get to the point where I can use Arch. :-)

A better way to put it would be that Ubuntu is my first girlfriend, and I haven't had enough experience to find my true mate. :-)
Bear in mind that a common journey is to start with one of the *buntus and then move on to something like arch and then maybe gentoo, and then eventually back to something debian/*buntu.

There's nothing wrong with Arch but it's not necessarily any better than Ubuntu. Think about specific things that Arch can do for you rather than thinking that it is the next level/hardcore distro. I didn't find arch very convenient for music because it meant having to compile most audio stuff via AUR, and even though it is mostly automated (not like manually downloading sources, tracking dependencies and compiling), it's still a bit of a hassle and if your main focus is audio then you might as well go a bit further and compile your whole system in a similar semi automated way (gentoo).

I arrived at KDE Neon after going quite deep in to this journey. It is a minimal base with solid and always up to date Plasma. Just adding kxstudio repo means that I can download binaries for all audio stuff.

Learning linux as a hobby is fine but, for me, I realised that I spent more time creating custom kernel configs and stuff like that rather than actually making music. If you want to 'learn linux' then you don't have to use another distro, doing so often means you are learning that distro rather than anything transferable and/or useful.
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Old 08-26-2018, 02:42 AM   #32
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How do you guys setup your terminals theme wise?
~/.bashrc
https://bpaste.net/show/bfbadcc80540

I have a load of aliases and stuff but the last section is the prompt/look.
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Old 08-26-2018, 05:10 AM   #33
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~/.bashrc
https://bpaste.net/show/bfbadcc80540

I have a load of aliases and stuff but the last section is the prompt/look.

I like it.
It's a roll your own setup
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Old 08-28-2018, 04:02 PM   #34
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Bear in mind that a common journey is to start with one of the *buntus and then move on to something like arch and then maybe gentoo, and then eventually back to something debian/*buntu.

There's nothing wrong with Arch but it's not necessarily any better than Ubuntu. Think about specific things that Arch can do for you rather than thinking that it is the next level/hardcore distro. I didn't find arch very convenient for music because it meant having to compile most audio stuff via AUR, and even though it is mostly automated (not like manually downloading sources, tracking dependencies and compiling), it's still a bit of a hassle and if your main focus is audio then you might as well go a bit further and compile your whole system in a similar semi automated way (gentoo).

I arrived at KDE Neon after going quite deep in to this journey. It is a minimal base with solid and always up to date Plasma. Just adding kxstudio repo means that I can download binaries for all audio stuff.

Learning linux as a hobby is fine but, for me, I realised that I spent more time creating custom kernel configs and stuff like that rather than actually making music. If you want to 'learn linux' then you don't have to use another distro, doing so often means you are learning that distro rather than anything transferable and/or useful.
You make really good points! I'll definitely keep them in mind. :-)

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Old 08-28-2018, 10:25 PM   #35
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There's nothing wrong with Arch but it's not necessarily any better than Ubuntu.
The big deal with Arch (and it's spinoff distros) is having the latest software available, where other distros are often years behind in available software versions (newest software features). It would be like using Windows and having the latest Reaper version available at all times vs. having to wait a couple of years or more before seeing a new version (which has since become years old) available in the package manager.
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Old 08-29-2018, 05:44 AM   #36
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The big deal with Arch (and it's spinoff distros) is having the latest software available, where other distros are often years behind in available software versions (newest software features). It would be like using Windows and having the latest Reaper version available at all times vs. having to wait a couple of years or more before seeing a new version (which has since become years old) available in the package manager.
I understand that but it's not always a good thing. It's possible to have the latest audio software and pretty much any others you want in ubuntu with PPAs. It means that you can have a solid and (mostly) reliable base with up to date software that you need.
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Old 08-29-2018, 09:13 AM   #37
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I'm a long time arch user, and IME arch with it's rolling releases is more stable than ubuntu ever was for me. Hopefully this has changed, but a rolling release doesn't automatically mean buggier, all IMO of course!
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Old 08-29-2018, 11:04 AM   #38
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I agree with what Jack said above. I had many buggy issues with Ubuntu desktop over different versions, but not so much on Arch. Maybe Ubuntu has improved in that respect. I havne't tried it in a while. The tradeoff for me was in getting Arch set up initially, where setting up Ubuntu is dead simple. But after setting up Arch a couple of times, it suddenly seems like much less of a chore and more of a feature, providing a means for customizing most everything.

It isn't really about running a more 'hardcore' distro. I think every distro probably has it's merits, and we should each use whatever best fits us personally.

A distro that kind of strikes a balance between Ubuntu and Arch is Manjaro. It is both easy to set up like Ubuntu (installing as a sort of generic Arch, rather than Arch's approach of a customized install), and it has Arch's benefits of latest software.
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Old 08-29-2018, 12:30 PM   #39
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I agree with what Jack said above. I had many buggy issues with Ubuntu desktop over different versions, but not so much on Arch.
Define buggy issues for me. I've only been running Xubuntu for a little over a month, and that was after trying a bunch of different distros, including Arch, Manjaro, AVLinux, and a few others I didn't like for some reason or other.

Bear in mind that I was not going for a dedicated REAPER OS, but an everything else OS, as I planned to dual boot to Windows for REAPER. Turns out I won't have to do that very often if at all now, but other than a few Pulse audio anomalies after getting tweaked for REAPER, I've not had any real problems with Xubuntu.
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Old 08-29-2018, 10:51 PM   #40
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Define buggy issues for me. I've only been running Xubuntu for a little over a month, and that was after trying a bunch of different distros, including Arch, Manjaro, AVLinux, and a few others I didn't like for some reason or other.

Bear in mind that I was not going for a dedicated REAPER OS, but an everything else OS, as I planned to dual boot to Windows for REAPER. Turns out I won't have to do that very often if at all now, but other than a few Pulse audio anomalies after getting tweaked for REAPER, I've not had any real problems with Xubuntu.
What I said above applies specifically to Ubuntu versions and before the move to Gnome. The desktop slowing and locking up at times, pulseaudio misbehaving, things working intermittently such as wireless (and audio). I didn't move away from Ubuntu in search of something more 'hardcore linux'. I felt that it just wasn't a quality desktop distro. Debian by comparison felt much more, quality. Slackware, too. And Arch. Trying Slackware for a while was about learning a little more about Linux in general. And having used Debian from a minimum net install, without a desktop to begin with, and adding and trying things from there (attempting to keep things minimal and feeling personally managable) naturally lead into trying Arch and finding out what some of it's merits are.

And I didn't go back to see what might have changed after the privacy issues were implemented in Ubuntu (desktop searches going through Canonical, Amazon partnership, comments from Shuttleworth). That just isn't the sort of thing that I expect from a linux distro, and I think it was a disservice to the many people working on and using the distro. Even worse was that Unbuntu was aimed squarely at naive linux beginners. It looked to me that Ubuntu was on a fast path going in a bad direction.
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