Linux


by N. Kostin

Table of Contents

  1. Intro
  2. Arch/Artix
  3. NixOS
  4. Linux Mint

Intro

I probably don't have too much to say here that hasn't been said before. So instead, I'll just leave a few remarks on specific distros that I've used. That being said, I can point you to a few resources that have helped me along the way:

Arch/Artix

Artix is my favorite distribution. It's pretty much identical to Arch, except for Artix allows the choice of using either OpenRC, Runit, or s6 as the init system.

I maintain a shell script (inspired by Luke Smith's LARBS) that deploys a fully-featured desktop environment on any Arch-based system, thereby saving you from the headache of manual setting up your programs and dotfiles. Feel free to take a look at it here.

NixOS (aka "le shill flake")

NixOS is unique in that the entire operating system (from the kernel to the system packages to the configuration files) are built by the Nix package manager, and all packages are kept in /nix/store. In fact, the directory structure is widly different than on pretty much any other distro.

The entire system is meant to be configured using a single configuration.nix file stored in /etc/nixos/.

And because the entire system is built by the Nix package manager, there's a bunch of cool things that come with using NixOS:

Of course, because Nix builds packages in isolation from each other, there can be some problems. Notably for me, getting compiling my personal builds of suckless software was a huge chore. There does seem to be a workaround, but I've had limited success with this method.

If you want my NixOS configuration, you can get it here.

Linux Mint

Linux Mint is one of my favorite distros, and it's the first distro I used long-term. Mint is a fantastic distro for novices and power-users alike - it comes with a great suite of software, it's easy to customize, it's fast, and it "just werks".

Linux Mint also does not support snaps, which I think is a fantastic choice on behalf of the Mint team.

Linux Mint ships with three desktop environments: Cinnamon (the flagship edition), MATE, and Xfce. I've only used the Xfce DE (which by itself is pretty ugly), but the Mint team does a great job of making it pretty and user-friendly, while keeping it extremely lightweight.

Perhaps my only criticism of Mint is that it installs everything in the kitchen sink. On a fresh-installation, the number of packages clocks in at over 2000 (which I think is a bit much).