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Moving to Linux Mint (from Ubuntu)

Ubuntu has always been my choice of operating system for development and regular day-to-day tasks after I started to use it as my primary OS back in 2014. But not anymore! I'm moving to Linux Mint today!

I've come to know of Ubuntu back in 2008; 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex) just came out and one of my friends just got the CD mailed to him for free by Canonical (yes, they were shipping free Ubuntu installation disks all over the world). Actually, my friend was just looking for a free CD (LOL) but out of curiosity we decided to give it a try alongside Windows on both of our computers. It was pretty fun actually; failing, trying, failing again, losing data!! Eventually after many trials and errors, we succeeded!

Given it didn't have shiny UI like Windows, it was refreshing to see a new interface after years and a new take on design. Albeit interesting, it was somewhat troublesome for a complete terminal newbie to go through all the suggestions on Ubuntu forums and apply them -- the GUI apps were not mature at that time.

Later, after the honeymoon period was over, I was having regular problems with running of all academic softwares (which were only available as Windows programs, wine was buggy back then) so it was kind of a deal-breaker at that point. After about 6 months, I needed to go back to the Windows world.

I met with Ubuntu again in 2014 when I took a job as a *nix administrator and needed to use Ubuntu as my primary OS. Since then, I've used only Ubuntu on my work/personal computers.

Today, I'm moving to Mint. There's so many reasons but essentially all of them boils down to Ubuntu desktop being too buggy to use nowadays. Canonical does not care much about Ubuntu desktop anymore, it seems to be a side-project and introduction tool for them as they have shifted there focus on to the cloud business now. I always thought if any GNU/Linux distro can somewhat challenge Windows in the desktop market, it must be Ubuntu. But I can't tell that anymore based on my current experience with it as a regular user.

Currently, I'm using Ubuntu on my 2 laptops -- both are Dell XPS 13. One is 9343 (released in 2014), and the other is 9310 (released in 2020). On 9343, I'm using Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. And on 9310, I'm using Ubuntu 21.10.

Both of them are having regular, very irritating issues. While being a terminal user mostly, the UI is not something I turn to often unless I absolutely have to e.g. for using the browser. Even for me, it's really unbearable. I'm gonna list a few of many issues I'm having on Ubuntu 21.10 (latest stable release at the time of writing):

  • Gnome crashes randomly
  • Snap for packaging (I could write 10 blogs ranting about this!), bloated and it never works!!
  • Firefox crashes randomly (and quite often)
  • Chromium crashes randomly (and quite often)
  • On every update of Firefox/Chromium, the browsers are losing unicode rendering capabilities

Essentially, I don't want to spend 2-3 hours each week just to keep using Ubuntu. Hence, I'm moving to something new -- Linux Mint. As I like dpkg much I was looking for something Debian-based, being a Ubuntu-derivative Linux Mint fits the bill. Also it's a community-driven project and has only one focus area -- desktop.

It's a real pity to see Ubuntu in this sorry state. It's a complete business decision and I can understand why they are moving towards the cloud more but ditching the desktop like this was very unexpected.

I once took pride in being one of the top contributors on Ask Ubuntu, but that seems like a distant past now!

Goodbye Ubuntu, my old friend!


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