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Old 03-19-2020, 10:58 AM   #1
Basslord1124
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Distro suggestions for Dell Latitude E6540


This is a reference back to my laptop thread:

https://www.linuxquestions.org/quest...id-4175670126/

Settled on a Dell Latitude E6540 (2.8Ghz i7, 12GB RAM, 500GB HD...which I will probably swap out for an SSD) which should be here by the end of the month.

In a general sense, I would assume that most distros out there now could handle this hardware without any issues, but of course I won't know until I start testing.

I mainly have been more of a Debian user...both the main distro for quite some time as well as Linux Mint Cinnamon on my other laptop. Linux Mint was sort of my step back into desktop Linux again and I actually like the Cinnamon desktop environment.

With the new laptop, I figure I have a little more horsepower than my current laptop, so looking to either some new distro OR new desktop environment suggestions and if there are any pros/cons. I don't mind switching outside of Debian-based just as long as the distro has a good package management system and that I can still download/use some of my favorite apps (Libreoffice, ardour (music studio), Openshot video editor, FreeCAD). I also would prefer a distro that doesn't require tons of hours of install/setup time (no Gentoo or Arch).

I know this type of topic probably gets beat to death sometimes and it being more of a "personal" choice. But I have some time before the laptop gets here and will be doing some research on different current distros, desktop environments, etc. PLUS I welcome any input that others wish to provide on the topic. And I just like hearing what other people use and why they like it.
 
Old 03-19-2020, 02:02 PM   #2
fatmac
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AntiX is my distro of choice, if your machine has older than 6 months hardware on it, it should work, (try it 'live').

https://antixlinux.com/

Another is MX Linux, probably worth looking at, (again, try it 'live').

https://mxlinux.org/

Both Debian based.
 
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Old 03-19-2020, 03:16 PM   #3
Timothy Miller
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You are correct in thinking that that laptop will now handle anything you can throw at it. Even Gnome could run on that (after the SSD)!!!

Since you like Cinnamon desktop, why not just run Debian w/ Cinnamon desktop?

Otherwise, what are you looking for in a new distro? Are you looking for something more modern than Debian (Arch?)? Something with less handholding (Slackware?)? As stated many a times over, Debian and Arch are my #1 & #2, so since you're a Debian user, I personally think you're already using the best there is. So while you might do DIFFERENT, you won't be able to install BETTER IMO. As far as DE's, I'm a big Plasma fan. It's good looking, has ok defaults, plenty of options, and very complete and functional, while still managing to be fairly svelte (if you don't go crazy turning on effects) and efficient. However, obviously DE is far more of a "personal preference" than anything else.
 
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Old 03-19-2020, 04:02 PM   #4
Basslord1124
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fatmac View Post
AntiX is my distro of choice, if your machine has older than 6 months hardware on it, it should work, (try it 'live').

https://antixlinux.com/

Another is MX Linux, probably worth looking at, (again, try it 'live').

https://mxlinux.org/

Both Debian based.
Of the 2, I may try out MX. Nothing against antiX (I've sampled it before), it's just I'd definitely put antiX on a machine with slow hardware. And since, I've got breathing room with this laptop, I figured I could get a little fancier with it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Timothy Miller View Post
You are correct in thinking that that laptop will now handle anything you can throw at it. Even Gnome could run on that (after the SSD)!!!

Since you like Cinnamon desktop, why not just run Debian w/ Cinnamon desktop?

Otherwise, what are you looking for in a new distro? Are you looking for something more modern than Debian (Arch?)? Something with less handholding (Slackware?)? As stated many a times over, Debian and Arch are my #1 & #2, so since you're a Debian user, I personally think you're already using the best there is. So while you might do DIFFERENT, you won't be able to install BETTER IMO. As far as DE's, I'm a big Plasma fan. It's good looking, has ok defaults, plenty of options, and very complete and functional, while still managing to be fairly svelte (if you don't go crazy turning on effects) and efficient. However, obviously DE is far more of a "personal preference" than anything else.
Debian with Cinnamon is a possibility so I'll definitely keep that in mind. Ya know, funny you mention Plasma...I tested some distro (can't remember which) and it had Plasma on an older laptop. Loved the look and feel of it, but it must've had issues with the hardware b/c it would freeze up sometimes. So, I'll look at options that involve Plasma. I like some eye candy, but I don't want something soooo over the top that it loses sight of being functional. I kinda used to be anti-KDE in the early days when hardware was slower...but I've been pondering checking out the new KDE offerings.

As far as handholding...I'm at the point (and age now) that I'm sort of middle road. I am usually fine with lengthy detailed installers (I've done Debian and Slack installs before) as long as it boots me to a usable system fairly easily. I don't want a system where I have to wait and compile things or do a bunch of text only commands just to set it up. Like with Gentoo or Arch for example. So I'd say Slack/Debian are about as hardcore as I want to go...and then of course on up to like the Ubuntu type installers, etc.

I'll save the super hardcore stuff for just test machines that I have sitting around.
 
Old 03-19-2020, 04:15 PM   #5
Timothy Miller
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Basslord1124 View Post
funny you mention Plasma...I tested some distro (can't remember which) and it had Plasma on an older laptop. Loved the look and feel of it, but it must've had issues with the hardware b/c it would freeze up sometimes. So, I'll look at options that involve Plasma.
Depending on how long ago it was, that might have just been plasma. It was essentially unusable until 5.8, and even then, wasn't "day to day" stable until 5.10 or 5.11. Then 5.12 is when the dev's started cleaning up the code, which helped improve the efficiency MASSIVELY and also helped to improve stability as well.
 
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Old 03-19-2020, 05:03 PM   #6
anticapitalista
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On that laptop almost any fancy desktop environment will slow it down for you ...

Why not give KDE neon a try.

Last edited by anticapitalista; 03-19-2020 at 05:04 PM.
 
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Old 03-19-2020, 05:40 PM   #7
ChuangTzu
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anticapitalista View Post
On that laptop almost any fancy desktop environment will slow it down for you ...
 
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Old 03-20-2020, 09:39 AM   #8
Basslord1124
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anticapitalista View Post
On that laptop almost any fancy desktop environment will slow it down for you ...

Why not give KDE neon a try.

Well, I'm going to try to keep it reasonable in terms of resource usage, performance, etc. I could very well end up back with Cinnamon which is a little less resource hungry than some.

Thanks for the suggestion on Neon, I may give it a try.
 
Old 03-27-2020, 01:24 PM   #9
Basslord1124
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SSD will arrive probably on Monday. I've test drove a few distros in the mean time and hardware detection has been good. KDE Neon seemed pretty nice and is definitely worth considering. Performance has been good too for what I have seen. Much nicer than my old laptop.

Manjaro is another one I've just slowly started to sample. On some level, I am wondering if I should mix it up and enter the Arch world with trying out Manjaro.

I also sampled Fedora KDE and Fedora MATE...I had used Fedora in the single digit version days. It seemed good as well.

Got some others downloaded to try out. I am kinda thinking too, that on the surface it's just too difficult to find all the subtle differences between each distro I am sampling and that the real difference is what's under the hood. And with that I wonder, if that really is going to be a big deal to me. Tinkering is fine, but at the end of the day, I just want it to run my programs.
 
Old 03-27-2020, 01:30 PM   #10
Timothy Miller
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Arch is fantastic once it's installed. I personally despise the installation. It's not hard, it's not difficult. It's just SLOW and you have to make sure not to skip steps since it's fully manual process, there is no "installer" per-se. There are plenty of distro's that simply take Arch and add an installer though. Anarchy is my personal preference. If done correctly, it doesn't even add any packages of it's own, no repos of it's own, just an Arch install done through a simple text installer.

As mentioned earlier, Arch is my #2 OS, so if you don't mind the bleeding edge nature (if upstream dev package releases something that causes it to break, it'll be broken on Arch), then it's quite a nice distribution. Very up to date, easy to manage, and really gets out of the way and lets you decide what to have running, it doesn't auto-enable services and such. Doesn't overwhelm you with GUI management add-ons (you can install them if you choose), just a very simple distro.
 
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Old 03-28-2020, 03:17 PM   #11
Basslord1124
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Thanks for the reply Timothy Miller...yeah I've only briefly seen the installation and at the time, it just wasn't what I was wanting. I was wanting to be able to set up the system fairly quickly and start using it. I've got an older machine, I may try Arch on.

Do you (or others) have experience with Manjaro? Seems like it's geared to be an easy-to-use version of Arch. I am kinda thinking of just sticking with a Debian based for this new laptop and then save the Arch tinkering for my other not-as-critical laptops/PCs. I've been using Debian for a long time now and feel fairly familiar with it.

Man I wish the SSD was here, already...love to see the performance of it.
 
Old 03-28-2020, 04:01 PM   #12
Timothy Miller
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I've used Manjaro. In my experience, it actually has more issues than Arch proper. Arch > Manjaro every time for me. Download Anarchy Linux, use the "custom" kernel (mainline, mainline+dev, LTS, or LTS + dev (my choice)) during install (it should be called clean kernel, as it just causes Anarchy not to add the anarchy packages or repo), you'll have Arch booting in 10 minutes with your desktop of choice already installed.

If you like using Arch after a while, I do suggest everyone do an Arch install the "Arch way", just for the experience as it is interesting, but as a standard practice...Anarchy to install it.

Last edited by Timothy Miller; 03-28-2020 at 04:02 PM.
 
Old 03-31-2020, 03:52 PM   #13
Basslord1124
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Well I ended up on Debian Buster 10.3 with KDE Plasma. SSD is installed and makes it run very nice and speedy! So far so good...just need to transfer my files and install more programs.

Turns out I ran into one little issue that I was able to figure out. At least for my server, I would usually download and run the Debian net installer and let it grab the software over the net. That process worked fine to get my server up and going. For this laptop, I didn't get so lucky. It complained early on needing a non-free firmware file for my wifi adapter (iwlwifi-6000g2b-6). So I ended up downloading a "non-free" iso of Debian and installing it that way. After that I was good to go.

I think on my other older laptop, I may install Anarachy OR Manjaro to sort of get a feel for Arch based distros. And then I've got a much older non-critical desktop that I may try "official Arch" on.
 
Old 03-31-2020, 03:55 PM   #14
Timothy Miller
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Just have one of your newer laptops open to the instructions while installing the Arch way. Very good to have an active machine instead of JUST the instructions!!
 
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Old 04-01-2020, 12:53 PM   #15
Basslord1124
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Yup, that's the plan for when I do get around to Arch. Funny how I started this thread regarding my newer Dell laptop and it has led to Arch for another computer I have.

So far, I think I made a good choice with Debian on the Dell. While the other packaged distros are nice for starting out, sometimes I think they just load a bunch of crap on them that I never use.
 
  


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