Distrohopping can be an immense amount of fun as a Linux user switches distributions frequently to try to find that elusive “best distro of all.” Everyday Linux User thinks that distrohoppers might be suffering from what can be termed “cable television syndrome.” While I think this is a possibility, I also think the advantages of distrohopping far outweigh the disadvantages.
More choices are better for distrohoppers
I’m of the mind that more choices are better than fewer choices. One of the best things about Linux is the sheer range of choices that are out there. There literally is a distribution for everybody, no matter how eclectic your taste in Linux might be. All it takes is a little elbow grease and a visit to DistroWatch, and you can find a Linux distribution that suits your needs.
Now compare that to Windows or OS X. With those two operating systems you basically get what you get, and there’s not nearly as much ability to change them to reflect your own preferences. Let’s face it, Microsoft and Apple are in it for the cash not to offer freedom to their users. I like capitalism, so more power to both companies. But I also like the freedom to choose and to customize, and Linux gives me both in a way no other operating system can.
“Cable Television Syndrome” is the act of stating that there is nothing available on any of the 100s of television channels and is a direct cause of too much choice, therefore settling for none of them.
Distro-hoppers clearly suffer from the same affliction. They like desktop A but like the applications in distro B but the installer from distro C. Distro C doesn’t come with Flash yet distro D has Flash and all the multimedia codecs already installed but for some reason can’t run Steam. Distro E can run all of the above but has been dumbed down too darned much.
Don’t get me wrong, I recognize that distrohopping can be a bit of a waste of time if you take it too far. I wrote about the Dark Side of Distrohopping a while back, and I know the downsides to it. But there are ways to minimize taking distrohopping too far while still being able to enjoy it regularly.
I think perhaps the best way to avoid distro overload is to settle on one distribution for your long term use, while still giving yourself the freedom to run other distributions in VirtualBox. That way you can get a taste of what’s happening with other distributions while always keeping one to fall back on when you really need to get things done. And if a distribution really strikes your fancy, there’s nothing stopping you from making that one your main distribution. Just be sure to spend enough time with it before you decide to change to it.
Never give up distrohopping
Of course some would say that the best thing to do is just quit distrohopping altogether, but I don’t agree with that. There are just too many interesting things happening in Linux. Keeping the door open to distrohopping lets you enjoy new features and tweaks that you might otherwise miss if you strictly limit yourself to just one distribution.
So I say keep on keeping on distrohoppers!
What’s your take on this? Tell me in the comments below.