I’m over tinkering with my OS. So I’m looking for a distro that “just works” out of the box for my laptop. Also I want to test an “easy” distro I can install for my grandpa.
I don’t care for immutability, declarative config, being fully FOSS or having the newest stuff. I don’t want snaps, or a software center that relies on them. So no Ubuntu.

What I do want (ideally out of the box):
Important:

  • as few annoying visible bugs and crashes as possible (looking at you, Ubuntu)
  • Wayland support
  • good package selection, so no independent fringe distro
  • fluid YouTube videos, streaming, pre-installed codecs

Less important:

  • ideally with Gnome
  • encrypting the hard drive from within the GUI installer
  • nice font rendering (used to be a problem, but I guess not anymore)
  • installing Steam with a button press
  • pre-installed sane-airprint and sane-airscan (automatic setup of my networked printer-scanner-combo)

You get the idea. The usual stuff (low-end gaming, browsing, streaming, printing, scanning) should just work. I don’t have any hardware that poses a problem.
From what I’ve read, Mint doesn’t yet support Wayland and doesn’t ship with video codecs anymore. (Or am I wrong?)
What are the other options? Is Zorin king of the block now? Is Manjaro good now?

Thanks for any and all input.

    • @KISSmyOSFedditOP
      link
      592 months ago

      Hmm, now that I think about it…not a whole lot. I’ve been running it stripped down to the bones for so long I just got used to it being like that, but by default it does tick all the boxes.
      I may have over-thought this one.

      • kbal
        link
        fedilink
        13
        edit-2
        2 months ago

        Yeah Debian meets all those requirements except that I don’t know about sane.

      • @czardestructo
        link
        42 months ago

        I’ve gone rogue at work and formated my windows laptop with Debian which I’m also extremely comfortable in with stripped down servers. Running Wayland and using Microsoft teams and tools via the edge browser (mandated) has been absolutely pleasant. There are still initial headaches initially setting everything up and getting the drivers to work and thunderbolt docks to work but now its awsome. Best part is the 10 second shut down time when I run between meetings.

  • @chronicledmonocle
    link
    19
    edit-2
    2 months ago

    Debian ticks all of these boxes.

    Stable release

    Wayland or X Server

    It’s Debian, so literally everything is built for it, except maybe some obscure arch packages

    Has options for any DE you want

    Steam can be installed via Flatpak

    Only thing I’m not sure about is your air print stuff. I’m sure there is a package that a quick apt install would get, though.

    • @[email protected]
      link
      fedilink
      2
      edit-2
      2 months ago

      Yes Debian and use Flatpak for any app you need with a recent version. You can also use a Distrobox with Fedora or OpenSUSE Tumbleweed or Debian Testing if you need system packages that are more modern.

      I dont know if Debian Testing is rolling, but Distrobox basically doesnt work with release distros if they need to system upgrade via a reboot, like Fedora. So Fedora Rawhide (dont) or Tumbleweed, Arch etc. are best.

  • @[email protected]
    link
    fedilink
    112 months ago

    I’ve had a pretty good experience with OpenSUSE Tumbleweed, with a pretty similar use case / criteria.

    I’ve done my share of tinkering, and while I learned a lot, and enjoyed Gentoo, Arch, Debian, NixOS, and others (Mandrake, Ubuntu), I sometimes I just want get my work done…

    With Tumbleweed, there are a few packages that you’d need to install for codecs, but that’s easily done via the CLI zypper package manager with a single command.

    I’d definitely recommend checking it out - its been a solid daily driver for almost 3-years now with very few issues, and lets me focus on getting stuff done. I wonder if this is due to their QA build process (OBS)?

    Anyway, good luck & have fun whatever you choose!

    • @KISSmyOSFedditOP
      link
      2
      edit-2
      2 months ago

      When I tried it a year ago, printer setup failed with a permission error until I disabled the firewall, and I had to install a community repo by a random person and manually edit a text file to get airprint and airscan working. Half the YaST modules didn’t seem to do anything or work correctly, or duplicated KDE settings. That’s what I consider to be “annoying visible bugs”.
      I also find their software selection to be limited (without said random community repos), and you can only update Tumbleweed from the command line. It felt like an unfinished mod of their flagship LEAP distro.

      • @[email protected]
        link
        fedilink
        22 months ago

        I just switched to tumbleweed with gnome and I was shown firmware updates, package updates, and flatpak updates all from gnome software. Also there’s a whole gui in yast for searching and installing packages. I haven’t needed to print anything yet but i haven’t run into any difficulties elsewhere.

    • @KISSmyOSFedditOP
      link
      32 months ago

      Which parts of those immutable distros are actually immutable?
      To be more specific, on Debian I usually copy the Android Universal Debloater and other bins from Github into /usr/local/bin so they’re in my PATH. Can I still do that on those distros?

  • Presi300
    link
    English
    72 months ago

    You are literally just describing fedora. So yeah, give that a try.

  • @[email protected]
    link
    fedilink
    72 months ago

    Fedora might be a good option, but it might require more setup with an Nvidea GPU. They use Wayland now, are a Gnome based distro, support full disk encryption. For me the package mangar has been fine, and they do support flatpak. It is a very large distro with backing from RedHat. So it should generally be stable.

    Pop_OS! Seems to be the great distro if you just want to game and watch videos without any issues arround setting up the drivers. It has been a quite stable distro for me and it is quite similar to Ubuntu. Unfortunately this distro doesn’t have Wayland yet.

    Manjaro is an Arch based distro, but it had some issues with using packages from the AUR. They do run Gnome on Wayland by default.

    • @KISSmyOSFedditOP
      link
      42 months ago

      I didn’t consider Fedora cause last time I used it it did have a strong FOSS focus and put barriers in your way if you wanted non-free software.
      Is that not the case anymore? Does it come with a GUI software center for rpm and flatpak? I’ve been on Debian and Arch so long my knowledge of other desktop distros is severely outdated.

      • Responsabilidade
        link
        fedilink
        Português
        52 months ago

        Fedora comes with Gnome, so it has Gnome Software Center installed by default. Mostly of packages from Fedora is also Flatpaks from Red Hat’s server (not Flathub). They also has Flathub enabled by default

        About RPM, I don’t know if Gnome Software Center is able to handle it, cause I don’t use Fedora myself. But at least you may try and see

        • @[email protected]
          link
          fedilink
          2
          edit-2
          2 months ago

          Mostly of packages from Fedora is also Flatpaks from Red Hat’s server (not Flathub)

          That’s not true. Fedora used to have a Fedora flatpak repo but now they simply ship with flathub enabled by default.

          About RPM, I don’t know if Gnome Software Center is able to handle it

          Yes, it can

      • @[email protected]
        link
        fedilink
        52 months ago

        Fedora asks you to enable third party non-foss repos like Steam and Chrome, but still you have to manually enable rpmfusion. Plus idk if new install of Fedora ships codecs pre-installed.

  • @[email protected]
    link
    fedilink
    62 months ago

    Dont go for Mint, Zorin or Manjaro. Old stuff. Keep it to Fedora, Opensuse, Ubuntu or Endeavour.

    • @KISSmyOSFedditOP
      link
      13
      edit-2
      2 months ago

      Debian. I had run such a stripped-down version for many years, I forgot it now has everything a beginner distro needs in the default install.

  • @[email protected]
    link
    fedilink
    52 months ago

    And that’s how I decided to install Debian as my next Linux VM (just got back into VMs in the past week with Proxmox). We’ll see how it does replacing my former favorite, CentOS, now that IBM / Red Shat have borked things up on that end.

  • Bobby Turkalino
    link
    fedilink
    42 months ago

    I know Gnome is in your less important list, but Wayland is in your important list, so I’ll recommend KDE Neon. It’s Ubuntu without snaps and moronic auto updates, so it really just feels like a more desktop-ready Debian

  • @InternetCitizen2
    link
    42 months ago

    I got my start with Ubuntu and feel its still quite solid. Many say that Mint is a better Ubuntu than Ubuntu these days. Personally running popOS as I have their hardware.

  • AChiTenshi
    link
    fedilink
    32 months ago

    Out of curiosity why do you not want snaps? I consider myself a beginner with Linux and would love to know what makes you not want to use them.

    • @bigmclargehuge
      link
      7
      edit-2
      2 months ago

      Performance issues/bloated disk usage and their forced use within Ubuntu.

      The performance issues come from the fact that they run via virtualization. Similar to running a game on an emulator. This helps with compatibility, ie being able to run a Snap on an ARM computer when the native version isn’t available, but again, performance can take a hit.

      Bloated disk usage is a result of each Snap including all dependancies with the base package. For example, if two Snaps rely on the same font, you get two copies of that font. If two native packages rely on the same font, you get one copy, and they share.

      The forced usage literally boils down to this; on Ubuntu, typing “apt install example-package” actually runs the command “snap install example-package” (Edit: I should note this isn’t the case with all packages, but there are some pretty high profile ones on the list, ie Thunderbird). Canonical A; isn’t up front about this, therefor leading users into believing they are getting native packages when this isn’t the case, and B; make it frustratingly difficult to disable this behaviour and get only native packages

      IMO if a company creates a product and then feels the need to force and trick their users into adopting it, that alone is enough to discourage me from ever choosing it over the alternatives.

    • @KISSmyOSFedditOP
      link
      22 months ago

      I don’t have personal experience with them, but I keep hearing they’re very slow to start.
      And I dislike them on principle, because Canonical tries to push snaps as the main distro-agnostic way of installing software, but they are hard-coded to only work with Canonical’s servers. It reminds me of the embrace-extend-extinguish strategy of Microsoft.

      • @[email protected]
        link
        fedilink
        2
        edit-2
        2 months ago

        I’m far from an enjoyer of snaps BUT snaps do support other custom stores and aren’t tied to the snap store, contrary to popular belief.

        Also, the fix for making snap startup times has been developed and released but most existing snaps haven’t patched their snaps to support it (last I heard, the only notable exception (aka the only known snap to have good startup times) is the Firefox snap).

        • @KISSmyOSFedditOP
          link
          52 months ago

          snaps do support other custom stores

          From what I read they only support one single snap store though, so if you don’t use the Canonical store, you lose access to all the third party software that’s actually the point of snaps.

          • @[email protected]
            link
            fedilink
            English
            22 months ago

            Snap does theoretically support other stores, but the code for the canonical store is proprietary so you’d have to reverse engineer a snap store and hope that canonical doesn’t break it with an update. Also apart from Ubuntu nobody uses snaps so why would anyone make a snap store? Btw they have improved snaps with faster start times and such, so they aren’t that much slower than packages or flatpak.

      • @[email protected]
        link
        fedilink
        English
        2
        edit-2
        2 months ago

        Snaps aren’t that slow anymore. They closed the gap a couple of months ago. (I still dislike snaps and ubuntu for pushing them)

  • Rustmilian
    link
    English
    22 months ago

    Cinnamon DE has preliminary Wayland support.