Linux

How often do you switch OSes or distributions?

Does your OS or distro choice change with the weather? How fickle are you when it comes to operating systems or flavors of Linux? Take the poll.

I was reading through some of the Linux headlines for the week and found a blogger who talks about his "seasonal" changes between Windows and Linux. He admits that when he gets fed up with Windows, he'll bounce to Linux, and after awhile, when he finds something that gets him down about his distribution, he'll pop back to Windows for awhile. It made me wonder how many people go through the same cycle. Between work and home, I pretty much tinker around on all three -- Windows, Linux, and Mac -- simultaneously. Since I'm still auditioning Linux, I've tried Ubuntu, Fedora, and Mandriva, and I've just recently dumped my last VM to start out new with something else on VirtualBox (this is usually where I'm playing around with Linux).

If you'd rather eat dirt than ever use Windows, do you find yourself switching often between Linux distributions as well? Does the grass always look greener over in the next ISO image? I guess we can all be as promiscuous as we please with virtualization, but everyone still has their go-to, non-virtual standby. How often does that change? Just for kicks, take the poll, and feel free to add comments on your OS loyalty vs. "whatever works that day" attitude.

About

Selena has been at TechRepublic since 2002. She is currently a Senior Editor with a background in technical writing, editing, and research. She edits Data Center, Linux and Open Source, Apple in the Enterprise, The Enterprise Cloud, Web Designer, and...

29 comments
potter67
potter67

I am using Windows at work (XP and Vista) but at home we are more and more booting on the Mandriva 2009 distribution. My next goal is to do the same at work, again with Mandriva. I am closer and closer to do it ... and right out the box (i am a basic user even if I am the CIO :-)

Ambercroft
Ambercroft

When I add a computer I load it with Linux, usually Slackware. So far the hardware has always died before Linux without reinstall. If its old enough ( '286 ) it stays in its grave.

damian205
damian205

I use what ever I need twhen ever I need it. My home server is based on Ubuntu, my network box runs on Vector Linux, my accounting package runs on XP and my out and about laptops run Xandros (eeePC) and Vista Ultimate. I really couldn,t give a stuff about about what the OS is as long as it does whats necessary.

Tig2
Tig2

I like OS X just fine. I have a Windows box that only runs XP and I have done some Linux testing. But my Mac is my one true love.

john3347
john3347

I maintain a Windows XP Pro as a stable, permanent station. I also have sampled Vista on a couple of occasions, and didn't like what I saw. I also maintain a 'permanent' Linux box that I play with and every few weeks or months switch to a different version. I just have not found any Linux version yet that is any threat whatsoever to Windows. I switch between Windows and Linux with a KVM switch. I find nothing that I can do in Linux that I cannot do, and usually do better, in Windows; but much that I can do in windows that I cannot do in Linux. (edited to correct grammer)

lefty.crupps
lefty.crupps

Where is the option, I keep my current Linux distro because it works just fine??

lastchip
lastchip

I use Debian Etch 64 on my desktop and PCLinuxOS on a laptop. Both rock solid, so why change?

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

Only as often as I have to. Don't fix it if it ain't broke.

jdclyde
jdclyde

I wish I had the time to sit around reloading systems just because. And I still have a few of my home systems running win2k. If it isn't broke, don't fix it.

Jaqui
Jaqui

since I prefer from source builds, it takes a week to install the os and desired packages. use pre-built binaries? nope, I'll stick with my no bloat source builds.

jlwallen
jlwallen

that i switch around a LOT. but mostly i do this on a testing machine. i probably switch it up monthly to make sure i am up to date on the latest of each release. my testing machine is somewhat older now so eventually i am going to have to upgrade that box. but mostly i tend to stick with Ubuntu on my desktop.

CPPCrispy
CPPCrispy

I play with Windows and Linux at the same time. My favorite Linux distribution is Fedora but Ubuntu is ok.

PRIMEREBEL
PRIMEREBEL

Well, I used to change from distro to distro, trying new things but once I found elive no distribution could hold my attention for very long and I kept going back to elive. In a few months, when Elive 2.0 comes out, I'll be installing it on a partition on my laptop and using it exclusively unless I come across something that absolutely needs windows. I think that will be rare because every application I use at home works on all three platforms.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"I switch OS only when a new application requires me to do so." "I run whatever comes installed on the computer, and switch OS only when I buy a new box."

ME
ME

Very often I find myself in the position where a new Linux Distro appeals to my taste. I DO try it first as a Virtual OS only to find it even more interesting. Once I am convinced that it is stable enough, I proceed and format the PC to get an in-depth look with all the risks included. After tweaking and playing around, I am rolling with it until I find some other interesting Distro. It is a very nice cycle that keep me on my toes and up-to-date and since I keep my data on a server, I have no worries... Just a quick note... Ubuntu and Fedora have been the best Distros so far. I measure how good they are by the time it takes me to get everything to work as it should. If it takes me to long to take the OS to an everyday usage level, I remove it and move on.

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

If one of my many systems gives me cr@p, I back it up (if need be) blow it away and rebuild. On a test XP system, probably 2x or 3x a year. On a main XP system, about every other year. On my Vista system, its only a few months old, not used too much for testing, however its on the list of soon to be rebuilds. On Linux, only after a HDD crash, or wanting to try another distro.

santeewelding
santeewelding

Lulled, are you. What do it take? Someone front-row center heaving a brick through your picture window? Couldn't resist. Scramble.

Selena Frye
Selena Frye

That was what I was going for. As I've spent about 99% of my computing life with Microsoft products, I feel entitled to tweak its nose on occasion. And if you are part of an organization that supports Windows, one often feels rather slavish to the upgrade schedule.

DualWolf
DualWolf

My option would be that I always run Linux until I require to use software that isn't supported on Linux, then I borrow someone's Windows laptop or run the application at work. It is extremely frustrating that Linux is not yet a commonly supported OS for software. I recently purchased a certification book that had a CD with a sample exam on it, that required Windows to run... Why??? Why would someone opt to limit themselves to a Windows ONLY development tool???

gmiles023
gmiles023

I have a particular Linux distrobution I like, and I pretty much stick with that. You know, not all Linux users change distrobutions all the time, and even a lot of the people who do eventually find one that they can "settle down with."

Jeff Dickey
Jeff Dickey

...or the "OMFG! NO!!!!!!" response.... The only safe way to run Windows ? ANY Windows ? is in a properly locked-down, snapshotted VM; I have XP and WIn7 two clicks away. Also about 20 Linux and BSD variants installed for testing, three of which see daily use...all from within the nice, stable usability of one of my two modern Macs. Fusion 3 FTW! (and I look at the competition about once every 6 months for my own clients.) Fusion, as great as it is, isn't perfect; there's still one Linux distro that I've only ever been able to get working nicely on real, bare-metal hardware. If anybody has any tips on Slackware 12/13 under Fusion, I'd be very grateful.

nedvis
nedvis

I've been playing with Linux for more than eight years and I found the best replacement for Windows wuold be PCLinuxOS 2007 which powers my Pentium III 550 MHz Optiplex desktop since May 2007. Second Best Linux to me is Debian Etch 4 which will soon be replaced by Debian Lenny 5. My third very friendly OS is PCBSD 1.6 although I tried latest PC-BSD 7.0.1 which is great but to sloow on underpowerred machines ( anything less than 1 GHz + 512 Mb RAM ) Honestly, Windows is still very good and , what I found very interresting is how good Windows Server 2003 it is a personal workstation on my Athlon 2600 + machine. To me distro hopping is not a big deal since I have six computer under my desk (only) and least used machine that I have is Dell Vostro 1700 laptop with Vista Buc=sinnes on it. I still enjoy swapping hard-disk drawers and changing my (net)working environment almost daily. I know I'm OS eclectic but that's part of my job ( WEB hosting company with havy mix of Unix/Linux and Windows servers ) where you really need to be operating system aware.

yschoo1
yschoo1

for more than 8 months now and I just upgrade it to 8.10 2 days ago and I love it. As for Fedora, I only had it for 3 days and I gave up because of its fuss with multimedia applications.

glgruver
glgruver

Although it has been a while since I tried Fedora.

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

Indeed, the picture window is in need of repair.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

When Redmond says, "Jump!", I start gluing my shoes to the floor. We've still got systems running 9x and Office 2000.

Jaqui
Jaqui

sorry boxy I didn't know that was YOUR window when I attacked the windows. ;)