Distros that did not make the cut

March 6, 2008

I’ve been downloading and previewing several distros.  A lot of them have done surprisingly well.  Others have done not so well.

I think Linux has really arrived at a place where the average computer user can handle it.  And a lot of people will like Linux.

Distros that have not made the cut:

1.       Open SuSe 11.0 – Went black after the splash screen and never returned

2.       Sabayon 3.4 – Same as #1

3.       Mandriva 2008 – Same as #1 and #2.  These were all disappointing but made those that made the cut look a lot better

4.       Damn Small Linux – This one did load but did not find my Ethernet  connection

Distros that made it:

1.       PCLinuxOS 2007 – It’s taken everything I’ve thrown at it in Live CD mode.  It’s real close to getting installed.  I’ll put Minime 2008 behind this as it does work off a flash drive but has a few niggling issues like not using the 8G of space I’ve given to it to expand out like I’d like.

2.       Mepis 7.0 – This has been my distro of choice for a long time, but one slip up and it will be replaced by #1.  It really does work well, but PCLOS seems to work better with more features.  It’s a tough choice.

3.       Ubuntu 7.10 – Killer graphics make this one very appealing, and it is a very mature distro very much ready for the desktop.  For business users, it could be a Vista killer.  Unlike its predecessor, this one is distinctive and out front in many ways.  I can respect people who choose this one over my choices, which was not the case a year ago.

4.       Puppy Linux 3.01 – This has been another one of my pet favorites the past year, but is falling from favor now that I no longer rely on a modem.  It can not connect with my Ethernet and is unreliable as far as wireless.  I found the look and feel of 2.15 to be better than 3.01 but that may be just me.  I’m ready to look at some other lighter distros for older machines.

5.       Linux Mint 4.0 – I need to give this one some more play time.  It did work well for me, but I chose Mepis mostly because of the familiar interface.  Now that I’ve been playing around with other distros, I can make a fairer comparison here.



  1. openSUSE 11 is nowhere near release, it’s still in heavy development. Did you try 10.3?

    Could you link to your bug report for the black screen issue please?

  2. PCLinuxOS is fantastic. They don’t call it the “distro hopper stopper” for nothing. Besides its superb hardware compatibility, you might note subtle tweaks that make it especially responsive and pleasant for everyday desktop usage. I’ve been using Linux off and on since 1997 and IMHO this is the first distro that really satisfies in terms of usability and compatibility. It Just Works. Glad it’s “just working” for you too.

  3. What video card is in your machine please?

  4. Benjamin, the black screen issue is a bit of a mystery for me on that particular machine, as it is a Radeon something or other and relatively modern. No bug report has been created mostly because this was sort of a fly-by review of several distros that I did on my machine at work.

    I later booted the PCLinuxOS cousin, Mandriva, on my older home machine (Celeron 1.8 Gz 620 RAM) machine and got the Compiz desktop functioning. Great, great eye candy but you do pay the price in performance. If I really found a use for the cube, it would rank much higher.

    Yes, Scott, PCLinux is a real winner. I’m wondering if I should wait for the 2008 version or install it now. That’s the thing about having so many choices and relatively short upgrade cycles. It makes commitment a bit harder!

    I’ll have to see exactly what the deal is with the video card, Jack. But these distros are all top 10 Distrowatch selections so they work for a lot of people. The Live CD option is such a cool thing, that way but I’ll have to try these on some different hardware to get a better look at them. See my Mandriva note above.

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting!


  5. I have the same problem, you need to use the noacpi option when booting.

  6. I have put minime on my usb and it booted fine and I made it persistent and it saved all my files but it would freeze when I shut it down and It didn’t find my ethernet adapter or wifi adapter so I couldn’t connect to the net. I know you can download drivers for linux but it is such a pain. I would like to put pclinuxos 2007 on the usb being that my hard drive on my laptop is out and it would be nice to get it up and running again. Have you Had any success with putting 2007 on a usb and being able to save the changes? Im downloading 2007 now but its a slow download. What would be the best linux to use for a usb any update on that?

  7. As far as what to put on a USB, I have not pursued that since committing to PCLinuxOS on my desktop. Another review to surely follow.

    On my laptop, Puppy Linux fits the bill nicely for my needs. While it had problems with my ethernet, it did well with my wireless connection, oddly enough. You can store the pup3sf file on a USB, the hard drive or make the boot CD multisession. I did get Minime to boot fine and as long as your needs are modest (internet) it seems to work well enough. It’s not full-featured by any means, but will keep and store your settings. 2007 is an excellent choice as you’ll see above.


  8. […] not sure why it didn’t work on my work machine (with and Intel Dual core 2.4 Ghz) the last time I blogged it, but it did work on my home machine (an old 1.8 Ghz eMachine) on the live CD. In fact the Compiz […]

  9. Linux philosophy is ideal and community efforts tremendous. Just need to be more stable, in particular, drivers for hardware.

    Some experience with installing distros that booted up:

    Gentoo, Sidux, Fedora, DSL

    Those that booted and liked:
    Muppy Linux, Ubuntu 7.1 & 8

    Plan to test:
    Maybe Pendrivelinux, gOS, Mandrika, openSUSE, PCLinuxOS, Mint

    Muppy or Puppy worked well for my older PC, but even so it is somewhat unstable for ethernet, and sound too. Ubuntu’s too heavy for it.

    Got a new PC with ECS motherboard, pentium. Most if not all tested distros can load but will eventually have no network/sound or both. yes, even ubuntu. Which is why the plan to continue testing with a few more distros, or until tire of it all….from what was said here, maybe PClinuxOS should be next on the test list.

    Nevertheless, thank you Linus and all those who make Linux work! Keep the spirit of humanity!

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