First and foremost I must say that Distribution choice doesn’t really matter, all that much, really. When you choose a distro to call home you’re mostly stating that you like the defaults of that distro more than anything. Any (mostly any at least) distro can be made to be like any other distro (for the most part). The real choice you must make is whether you want a rolling distro, or a release point distro.
Right out of the box, Kubuntu is my favorite distro. Both of my next favorites are rolling releases. I seriously wish kubuntu was a rolling release, but it isn’t (although I have figured out how to almost make it a rolling release distro, more on that later). Why? Because I just like the defaults they set for me. It’s clean, easy to use, and is mostly as kde has it from upstream. They take the rock solid base that is ubuntu, and replace the garbage DE with one of the best DEs and create a great work of operating system art. PPAs for ubuntu are completely compatible and all snaps made for ubuntu work the same as ubuntu. Last but not least, most of the google searches for help, tips, and/or tricks come up for ubuntu which will work the same in kubuntu, as ubuntu.
What about Manjaro? This one is a pretty new kid on the block. They take Arch and make it user friendly and easy to install. I want to use Arch, but I’ve tried 3 times in 20 years to install it. It isn’t necessarily hard, I just don’t have the patience. When one step in the process takes as long as installing, upgrading, and setting up another distro… Yeah, no thanks.
Manjaro is based on Arch, but is a breeze to install, easy to update and maintain, and defaults to having gaming in mind. So why don’t I choose it as my distro of choice? It isn’t cutting edge enough. Yep, believe it or not it isn’t as cutting edge as the Kubuntu I run, as I’m always on the development version of Kubuntu (more on this later). If you compare the screenshots above you’ll notice that Manjaro is the furthest behind of the three (mostly). Also, I have one laptop that Manjaro seems to not be able to make the wifi work (yep, broadcom). The drivers install but it never actually becomes functional, and, I am Low Tech Linux and I just need it to work.
Of OpenSuse Tumbleweed
That brings me to Tumbleweed. It’s obviously the more cutting edge of the three. So why not Tumbleweed? Because the default settings are maddening. There’s two places that keep me from using it. You can’t even setup a damned printer without the administrative password!! It’s the only distro I know of like this and it’s seriously stupid. My issue #2 is VirtualBox in OpenSuse is stupid. When you install VB you have to manually add yourself to the user group VirtualBox, log out, login, blah blah. Also stupid. No other distro I’ve tried makes you do extra stuff to just run a damned VB. In Kubuntu I install VirtualBox, and it runs. That simple. Last but certainly not least…. VirtualBox in OpenSuse won’t allow me to have 64 bit virtual machines. 32 bit only. Again, this is the only distro that does this to me. If it were only for browsing, and gaming Tumbleweed would be my distro of choice. Issue #3 (consider it a bonus issue) is there are two control panel/system settings. Somethings you have to adjust in one of them, some things in the other one. Discover doesn’t work because Yast takes over, etc.
And now, of Kubuntu (always development version)
Kubuntu as a Rolling Release? What?? Pretty damn close. If you stay on the development version, it’s always updating just like a rolling release, and it’s AWESOME!!
By running the develpment version I get the defaults I want of Kubuntu with the bleeding edge of a rolling release. If you want to try development version all the normal caveats apply. It might break, make backups, be ready to reinstall, blah blah. And it might just be all that, but in 10 years of running the development version I’ve had to reinstall 3 times, and none in the last 4 years. If you take that chance it’s on you. And it’s as easy as…
sudo do-release-upgrade -d
The “-d” specifies that you want the development version. Happy testing 🙂