First published on November 7, 2016
DistroWatch.com lists over 200 operating systems, or distributions (distros), built on top of the Linux kernel for many different purposes – older and smaller laptops, multimedia production, data rescue, security, and more. “Distro hopping” refers to whenever a Linux user switches from one Linux distro to another – same concept as ditching Windows for an Apple computer but you don’t need to buy new hardware, you have more options, and its free. Linux users distro hop for many reasons. I have five.
1. Different distros have different terminal commands
Like many others, I started with newbie-friendly Ubuntu-based distros (Mint and deepin) and stayed in that realm for quite a while. When I tried Fedora-based CentOS, “yum” CLI commands kicked my butt. But I learned. Installing the distro on my hard drive, versus a Virtualbox virtual machine, helps me learn more about the command line differences between Fedora, Debian, Arch, and other independent variants.
2. Different Communities
Many distros garner special communities of interest based on their niche. Ubuntu Studio’s #ubuntustudio-offtopic IRC channel has been a great place for networking and learning from other creatives. If I have issues with any software, it can be a one-stop shop for help.
3. I learn more about Open Source Software
Each distro includes different pre-installed software. UberStudent and Ubuntu Studio have so many useful apps for college students and creative artists respectively, I’ve yet to use them all. Here’s my video rundown of all the pre-installed apps on UberStudent:
4. I learn more options that could help others
As of now, I’ve used at least one distro I could recommend for the basic, power, old computer, netbook, Chinese, and creative computer user. Personal experience with these distros and the many desktop environment options allow me to write reviews and tutorials and create videos to help others get more comfortable with options and working faster.
5. Distros for Every Experience Level of User
I’m working toward the day where I can use the CLI more than a few times a day on a distro with minimum frills. Distros for advanced users include Debian, Gentoo, Arch, Slackware, and CentOS.