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in the Python community, people regularily suggest to learn one programming language a year. The objective is not to quit using Python, but to learn other ways of programming in order to improve your knowledge and to try and learn something to ultimately improve your Python coding.
Likewise, I think about trying another operating system this year in order to improve my understanding of OSes in general and develop new and better habits while administrating Slackware.
Thus I am looking for suggestions what this OS might be. I say "OS", because I this could be another Linux distro, a BSD, Solaris, Minix, Plan9 or whatever might qualify. What is important to me is that this OS is of excellent quality, at least as great as Slackware, and that it runs on 32 bit x86 machines.
Since using slackware, I have always seemed to get around BSD and Solaris machines just fine. I am not saying that this wouldn't be a potentially worthwhile experiment, but I think that this may be a lot of effort where you stand not to gain all that much.
I'm very much in the same boat -- I am branching out into FreeBSD currently, so we'll see how that goes. I'm also debating going with RedHat for a little while, to better work with many companies that use RH exclusively. Slackware will always be my primary distro, but it never hurts to branch out.
If you have some Linux expereince then I would urge you to try one of the BSDs and Solaris. I have used Linux for 7 years now and FreeBSD for about 2. I found it quite easy to use FreeBSD because of my expereince with Linux. I tinker with Solaris and NetBSD as well. There are subtle differences between the OSes but once you learn the basics of UNIX, the skills are transferable to other UNIX and UNIX like OSes.
Thanks for your answers.
My current favorite is NetBSD, because it appears to strive for simplicity and quality. And it's very mature, so there's a lot of knowledge and experience build into it.
Also, portability might be interesting in case I get something else to play with than an Intel or AMD processor.