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Old 05-31-2017, 02:27 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by JeremyBoden View Post
Try LMDE - it's a rolling update of Mint; but based upon Debian, rather than Ubuntu.
You won't get the latest and greatest (because its based on Debian Stable/Testing) - but you will get stability.
I second this, LMDE is my goto version.
Originally Posted by ailhorns View Post
New linux user here. Clean installed Ubuntu 17.04 on a new laptop and new desktop, having stability issues and general unreliability and inconsistent behavior.

My goal is to setup the machines and not have to do a lot of care and feeding.

Here are my priorities:

and to run/configure the following:
whole drive encryption
a firewall
private internet accesss (PIA) VPN
and virtualbox with extensions.

I've tried the Live CDs of Debian stable with all the flavors available, and I like Cinnamon the best.

If I do Debian stable, will I be able to upgrade/update PIA or Virtualbox or syncthing as newer versions come out?

What major distros would you guys recommend, given my desires? I say major distros to maximize my ability to search for help online.

Any help would be appreciated!
I don't know about all of those, however truecrypt is no longer supported.

Then you have both firefox and chrome. Any particular reason for this?

Meanwhile, ... Linux is secure as far as I'm concerned.

You can encrypt your drive, the whole drive or just the data portion. Myself I prefer to not encrypt my system portion and only encrypt my data.

I do is I boot over live media and then mount my encrypted data drives.

No crazy reason, I encrypted my data because it has things like personal stuff and correspondence.T he main reason I live boot is because the hard drive long ago died and so I boot off of a USB stick.

I manually mount my encrypted data drives each time I use them. This means I'm current with my schemes which I use, I have to remember the secrets all the time as well as the options with which I created those drives. Meanwhile my system has no memory about these drives.

First thing I usually see about "how-to" guides for encrypted drives are: (1) how to do it, (2) how to mount it, and (3) how to set it to be automatically mounted at each boot!!! Whereupon I sort of cringe and wonder why bother if you're going to have information stored on your system to "remember" this drive and settings, you've given up some portion of the way to break into it, and saved that data on a permanent drive.

My personal recommendations are to start with a version of Linux or two, determine what you "like" and run those for a while to determine stability. We can tell you all we want about what we like, but I feel it really matters what works for you.

The only added thing, which many have already cited is to avoid edge distributions, like the version 17 of Ubuntu which you've started with, it is not their LTS. Same for any versions of MINT.

Other distributions, for instance those which are constant rolling distributions, you'll have to see if you like them and like the terms under which you use them. I do stick with what works for long times, I do upgrade, but also do that in a measured process. And believe me, I loved truecrypt, but also do realize that while you still can get it, it is outdated.

Start with a basis of "a" distribution, you want stability, then find what you consider to be stable. Then grow from there by adding software. I have NEVER encountered any distribution of Linux where I can't add software <insert-name-here> to it, where I can use that same software on most other Linux distributions. There is software which is hard to install and run, but for things like Chrome, or Firefox, they usually run on most, if not all Linux distributions. You only run into trouble if you most desperately desire to stay back 18 versions or something because you prefer it some exact way.
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Old 05-31-2017, 03:57 PM   #17
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I've never yet encountered a Linux distro that I considered to be unstable . . .
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Old 05-31-2017, 04:39 PM   #18
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Mandriva - 2010(??) was a bit unstable for me...

If I do Debian stable, will I be able to upgrade/update PIA or Virtualbox or syncthing as newer versions come out?
But if you go for a stable distro, such as Debian, but update some applications before Debian does, then it could cause trouble because you will be running an untested distro.

Either accept that a stable distro is probably not going to have the latest versions of programs, or go for a slightly less stable distro (such as a Ubuntu based one).

I would install any reasonable Linux and then install several Linux's as VM's and decide which you prefer.
Old 05-31-2017, 07:39 PM   #19
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Debian Sid was unstable way before they made an experimental branch. Things like openoffice would be broken for what seemed like six months at a time. But 1GB of updates a month over dialup was a bit rough to keep up on.
Old 05-31-2017, 09:31 PM   #20
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Many thanks for the added insight about rolling releases vs stable releases (I think I'd prefer stable releases), info on how backporting works (I think this will be helpful), and various tips and opinions provided by @JeremyBoden, @DavidMcCann, @Shadow_7, @wpeckham, @rtmistler, @sundialsvcs, and @RadicalDreamer (also, in response to your question RadicalDreamer, the hardware are both new with processors released in 2016q4 and 2017q1).

I've downloaded and installed the RC4 for Debian Stable 9 on my laptop to evaluate. I installed the cinnamon and the LXDE desktops and strongly prefer cinnamon - the good news is that it seems to be running quite stably on this system.

I plan to evaluate it thoroughly and then do a fresh install when Debian Stable 9 is officially released.

Installing this OS has brought up several new questions, and I'm sure more will come about the more I experiment with this temporary install. I will research them individually, and if I can't find a definitive answer or need clarification, I'll put up questions in new threads.
Old 05-31-2017, 10:12 PM   #21
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I doubt many would agree with me, but I use and like Fedora. It's been extremely stable for me over the last few years.
Old 06-01-2017, 02:09 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by JeremyBoden View Post
I'm still using a kernel released 3 years ago.
Holy Moly, all the cools kids are using 4.11.0 or better.
Old 06-01-2017, 02:54 AM   #23
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I'd use one of the red hat breed, fedora, centos, because it has the best security and everything else you want.
Old 06-01-2017, 05:54 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by ailhorns View Post
I plan to evaluate it thoroughly and then do a fresh install when Debian Stable 9 is officially released.
Why fresh install? Assuming you don't add non-standard repos or packages to it, the first updates you install to your 9 pre-release after the 9 release announcement would make your existing installation exactly equal to the official 9 release. The vast majority of packages you now have installed will not be changed for the official 9 release.
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Old 06-01-2017, 06:11 AM   #25
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In the past, I've chosen MATE over Cinnamon because it was supposed to be more reliable.

I also installed Scientific Linux as one of a few distros on one netbook. Just hearsay, but I'd read that it was ultra reliable.
Old 06-01-2017, 10:51 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by wpeckham View Post
The most stable distributions are very conservative and are stable and supported for longer periods.
Think Debian stable with the oldest desktop out there. (Value in avoiding the newest, but go for the oldest supported desktop). Examples of stable distibutions: suse (paid), RHEL (paid), CentOS.

These maintain stability be using an older kernel with backports only for security. They use older application packages that have a proven record of stability instead of trying to keep up with the latest options. They are excellent, and both perform and serve well: perfect for business use.

In the free and far more exciting distributions you can either sacrifice a LITTLE stability for significantly newer and more powerful software options on a more recent kernel, or sacrifice a LOT of stability to run the cutting edge versions and newest kernel.

Most people go for the compromise, some of us live on the cutting edge, and a few run multiple environments: selecting the amount of risk we are willing to live with for each different install and purpose.

In your case, Debian Stable (the pending release) or CentOS 7 seem excellent options. With CentOS I would stick with the default desktop and always take the most default options: this gives the greatest stability. (And the most boring desktop, but if you want stable then that is the right option.) With Debian I would go with something like GNOME by default if I have lots of memory and CPU, but for a thinner and faster desktop that uses less memory perhaps LXDE.

Personally, I run the most stable distributions on servers WITHOUT a desktop (no or other xwindows replacment). When I build a workstation or laptop, I am willing to go for a bit more risk and get newer and more exciting options.
For a little risk and different desktop options think Void, Sparky, Q4OS, Elementary, Mint (I prefer MintDE, but all mint is good), VSIDO, Fedora, or any of a dozen others that make an excellent and attractive desktop with SOME stability but also some risk of instability. But I like loading and reloading new distributions every little bit. (YMMV)

I hope that helps.
This ^^
Old 06-01-2017, 11:45 AM   #27
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I highly recommend Slackware for stability, security and usability.

It is un-fooled around-with; software is provided with as little tinkering as possible; you get what the developers intended, there is no branding. For example, Firefox comes without any distribution branding and works as inteneded. You can add the NoScript add-on to it so you don't have to deal with Java Scripts. And you'll like the look and feel of it.

You can download Slackware from LQ, you can buy a subscription so that, when a new release is ready you'll receive a DVD that you can load and go (see the Slackware Store).

There are a great number of additional software packages available at ready to go.

The default window manager is KDE (which I do not care for, I prefer Xfce for its clean, efficient and fast features. KDE is bloateed, full of eye-candy, Xfce is not. Your choice during installation.

I've been running Slackware for years, have no troule and am a happy capmper that does not want to go anywhere else, simply because I don't need to go anywhere else.

Hope this helps some.
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