I'm giving up on Enterprise Linux on the desktop
This is not another post about the never happening “Year of the Linux desktop”. I’ve been running GNU/Linux on my desktop for more than 20 years without ever believing the grass was greener on the other side. However, three years ago, I reluctantly replaced my Slackware Linux installations with the offerings from Linux Enterprise providers Canonical and Red Hat.
Dell XPS 13 7390 with Ubuntu Linux
My Enterprise Linux story began in early 2020 when I received a new Dell XPS 13 7390 developer edition preloaded with Ubuntu Linux 18.04. At the time, Slackware was going through a rough stretch and I did not want to sit on the fence watching my systems bit rot away. A few months later, all my laptops and workstations were reinstalled with Ubuntu for business use, and Fedora for personal computing.
However, coming from a Slackware-based environment where months of uneventful uptime were expected, I quickly learned my lesson to save open files on Ubuntu.
Frequent application crashes and error messages became a usual occurrence, even sometimes accompanied by a white screen of death with a message telling me to contact the system administrator.
Dell XPS 15 9570 with Fedora
On the home front, life was good with Fedora up until the Fedora 37 release a year ago. These days, it rivals the amount of error messages I was getting on my Ubuntu desktop at work. I believe I’ve seen enough systemd-coredump messages for a lifetime. Coupled with silly design decisions like this “requires restart” message after every system update gets old:Nor am I able to activate my wireless card after resuming from suspension. Not even restarting the PCI device does the trick.
Why stick it out for so long?
An excellent question, I’ve ermm.. been busy. Also, I’ve only talked about the downsides. Both Ubuntu and Fedora have a lot of great features that I’ve enjoyed. I guess I’ve been hoping that the next release(s) would fix the issues I’ve been unable to solve for myself. However, after seeing how Canonical and Red Hat envision the future of desktop computing, this is where I jump off the Enterprise Linux train.
What I’m looking for in an Open-Source OS
I don’t ask for much, I only require stability, simplicity, and security. Enterprise Linux delivers security but blatantly fails my other requirements. The complexity of what I (not entirely) jokingly refer to as systemd/Linux distributions is overwhelming. I can’t even seem to fix simple audio-related issues anymore without rebooting the system. I will not point to systemd as the cause of my issues, but even so, any GNU/Linux running on my desktop in the immediate future will not include systemd, or fall under the label of Enterprise Linux.
To illustrate, here is a throwback to simpler and happier times spent with the system that made me fall in love with GNU/Linux. Behold the beauty of Slackware Linux 8.1 with KDE 3:
New adventures in computing
After 20 years on Linux, I think the time has finally come to see how those proprietary operating systems have evolved. Maybe the grass has turned green on the other side. And why stop there, maybe in 2023, it’s even possible to run a BSD distribution on a laptop. Here is the test schedule for the upcoming months:
- November - macOS Sonoma
- December - Windows 11
- January - FreeBSD 14
- February - Alpine Linux
- March - Slackware Linux 15.1 (if it’s released by then)
If you have a recommendation for a great desktop OS, let me know. Until then, how about them apples.