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So... been around linux for a number of years, beginning with Slackware, Redhat (before Fedora existed), SuSE, Debian, etc. Last few years I've been using Ubuntu - both Unity and XFCE.
Lately I've been wanting to go back to an RPM based distro... no concrete reason, just a feeling.
I'm kind of torn between Fedora and openSuSE... both should support the newer hardware that I need, hopefully with minimal hand-editing of config files. Part of me leans towards openSuSE, because 'back in the day' it was one of the first Linux distros I really really liked (something like v.5.2 or 5.3), but a while back I had a less-than-positive experience with 12.1 on my last laptop. The other part of me leans towards Fedora because openSuSE doesn't really have a fully supported LTS version (yes I'm aware of the efforts behind 'Evergreen') and I'm mostly... curious.
It sounds like both distros have made the leap to systemd, and may or may not have all the kinks worked out of that transition. Otherwise... given a powerful new modern laptop with lots of memory, hard drive space, and processing power to spare... which would you choose and why? Primary uses will be routine web activities (browsing, mail, news, etc.), some light web development and gui coding, running various other distros via VirtualBox, and occasional routine desktop work via LibreOffice. Oh, and the odd game or two
I can't speak to the gaming stuff...but I think CentOS is about my favorite free Distro, probably because Red Hat is my favorite distro. Fedora is fine also, but I am not a big fan of the new Gnome desktop. I know it can be replaced, but I am trying to see if it grows on me. In my opinion, CentOS is a good, clean, and well maintained desktop solution. I have tried many different versions, but I always seem to come back to it.
I switched to CentOS because Fedora was getting too changeable and the 13 month support period was too short. I also love the powerful configuration tools in the Red Hat family.
SUSE is very hit and miss. It always works well once you iron out the problems, but 12.3 took me 2 days! You'd probably do better: I think it's just the 32-bit version that's not properly checked.
You might like Fuduntu. It was forked from Fedora, and keeps the Red Hat tools. It's rolling-release without being bleeding-edge. They pay particular attention to laptops and don't neglect the gamers: they've just added Steam.
I've looked at the CentOS 'pimping' articles over on http://www.dedoimedo.com/ a few times... definitely interesting. I was under the impression that the 'older' kernels, such as used in CentOS currently, are not as good at laptop power management as more recent kernels. Battery life is a reasonably important concern for me... are you guys using CentOS on a laptop by chance?
I'd seen Fuduntu a few weeks back and had started looking into it for exactly the reasons you mentioned. I was a little surprised at the apparent vehemence with which some of the Fedora forum members regarded Fuduntu... sounds like theres been a split and not for the better?
One thing I'll say for Ubuntu... pretty much everything, including all the hardware switches and special Fn keys for sleep, lock, brightness, etc. worked no problem
I've used primarily Debian and Debian-based distros for a long time, although I've recently switched to using Slackware on the desktop. However, on my laptop, I have really been enjoying using Fuduntu (formerly Fedora-based). I've never been partial to RPM distros, which frankly seems terribly slow compared to .deb and apt-get. But everything works really well, regardless, and I appreciate their focus on netbook/laptop power management.