Linux: Your Distro Sucks! 

I just posted an article about my Lenovo netbook. To be quite fair, it is the slowest and worst netbook in the history of computers. And it just had to be my luck to be gifted one when my HP laptop died.

My netbook is so bad, that even a beggar on the streets would bash it on the ground and stomp on it until it broke to pieces.

The only thing worse than owning this piece of Lenovo crap, is death by Covid-19.

But I’m the man who had no choices. I didn’t have money to buy another laptop, so I had to figure out a way to make things work.

The netbook came preinstalled with Windows 8.1. But it was too damn slow. I upgraded it to Windows 10. It was still too damn slow. So I decided to check out Linux.

Linux in general is known for being lightweight, faster than Windows, and able to run on slow and old hardware.

However, times are changing fast, and the latest Linux distros can no longer run well on slow and old hardware, especially my netbook.

Here’s my experience with Linux distros that I’ve tried:

  1. Manjaro: OS did not utilize the SWAP I’d allocated. Running solely on the 2GB RAM made it slow. Package problems showed signs that the OS could break easily during updates, app installations and removal.
  2. Elementary: Loki did not utilize the SWAP. Nice looking distro but too slow on RAM alone.
  3. Solus: Took several hours to figure out how to install. Missing a lot of software.
  4. Fedora: Couldn’t install drivers for WiFi. Hence unusable.
  5. Qubes: Couldn’t meet minimum system requirements to run
  6. Whonix: Couldn’t meet minimum system requirements to run
  7. Debian: Jessie failed to install from Live CD
  8. Subgraph: Failed to install
  9. Sabayon: Failed to complete installation while downloading packages online
  10. Lubuntu: Installed, failed to run, messed up boot options
  11. Krsnah Desktop OS v1.0: Custom Linux build. My first positive experience with an OS on this crappy Lenovo netbook

Recently there an online debate sparked up regarding systemd’s developer using Google for fallback NTP servers. A lot of people were disgusted by systemd and some people had moved to systems with alternative Inits like Runit and OpenRC I checked out forums and websites mentioning the advantages of Runit and OpenRC over systemd. The general consensus is that Runit and OpenRC are faster, more efficient and easier to manage than systemd. So I thought I’d give it a go.I looked up the distros that used Runit and OpenRC and decided to go with the most popular ones.

  1. Artix – based on Arch. I chose the Runit version. Once I installed it, the OS had no visible package manager. I was left with a bunch of preinstalled basic apps and that was it. There’s less than 100 people on the planet who are currently using Artix. The forums are dead, there isn’t much information available for anyone stuck with a problem, and one has no choice but to sign up, wait for admin approval, and ask questions directly to the devs. I realized that the package manager had to be run from the terminal. There is no front end GUI for their package manager. If there is, users would have to install it manually. I didn’t want to go on a learning curve for an ugly distro which looked like it might die any day now. Did I mention the slow boot times?
  2. Devuan – based on Debian. Website hinted that there might be a lack of drivers for WiFi. Beowulf could not begin installation without formatting the old /home partition. I didn’t have time to backup all the data to an external drive and restore it if and when beowulf disappointed me. So many Linux distros can use the old /home partition without formatting it. What makes Devuan/Debian so special? Boo! Waste of my time.
  3. Lubuntu – Weird installation; poorly written website doesn’t provide any information on configuration during installation. Distro is slow as hell. This is clearly not meant for 2Gb netbooks. Booting is slow, login is slow and the LXQt is the ugliest desktop environment I’ve used. False advertisement. The devs need to specify this distro for high end machines.
  4. Elementary OS – Hera looks beautiful, works like a charm. I’m impressed. Unfortunately, this distro needs a minimum of 4GB RAM. The system uses over 1Gb when idle, so there isn’t much left for applications. Poor utilization of SWAP. Even when running multiple applications, the OS fails to utilize SWAP.

And so I reinstalled Krsnah Desktop OS v4.3. Took me a day to install all the apps and configure the OS. It works better than any distros that I’ve tried.

I think the best way to create a distro for low end machines is to build and run them on low end machines. That’s the only way the devs will learn how to utilize the resources efficiently and make the OS fast and fluid to use.

I’m looking into implementing Runit for Krsnah Desktop OS, which currently uses systemd. However I’m not sure if it will indeed make my system run faster and smoothly when I haven’t seen any positive use cases on the distros that I tried. At the end of the day, making your distro systemd-free doesn’t make a difference if your OS is slow and laggy and has a crappy learning curve.