I've been an avid Linux user now since nearly the time of its inception in 1994. But, to be quite honest, it wasn't until 1996 that I truly got into Linux as a daily operating system for performing tasks, accessing remote devices, and just having fun.
Linux is one of those operating systems-well, it's the kernel anyway of Gnu/Linux-which has become widely accepted as the Linux operating system-that you fall in love using the more you play with it.
I want to talk about my latest distro of Linux that came onto the scene around 2002. I'm referring to Arch Linux. Now, Arch is one of those Linux distros that for many years only a Linux geek could truly understand or appreciate. Arch started with a Command-Line Interface (or CLI) only with no Graphical User Interface (or GUI) to support those who weren't CLI-savvy or shied away from dark Terminals that spit out only text. Most people like pictures (graphics) and like to have their hands held when they come into an operating system. GUIs can do that for us, but one drawback to such environments is that they're extremely limited.
My wife once told me, "I use Windows (now MacOS) because like most drivers of automobiles, I don't have be an automotive engineer to drive a car. I only need the basic knowledge required to drive the car, not look under the hood to see how it works." And, you know, there's a lot of truth in that statement. But for me, having knowledge of what's under the hood while using an operating system like Arch Linux is somewhat akin to driving a stick-shift vehicle as opposed to an automatic. I have-or at least feel that I have-more control over the vehicle and, hence, in my case, over the operating system. Let's face it folks, there are things that can be accomplished in the Terminal (CLI) of Linux that can't be accomplished in the GUI or much better, faster, and more effectively otherwise. Call me a geek because I'm a CLI-kind-of-guy.
So, over the years, I've used many distros of Linux and there are hundreds if not thousands of them. The favorites that I've used since 1996-the dark ages of the Linux desktop-are: SuSE, Red Hat, Debian, Arch, Slackware, Fedora, CentOS, Ubuntu, and more. My favorite has always been and continues to this day to be Arch. Yes, I've installed Arch Linux from source code, compiling the kernel and the necessary files to build my own Arch framework from the Arch Linux handbook taking as much as 5 hours or more to accomplish and feeling as though I'd given birth afterwards. It's a painful experience, but if done properly can be a very rewarding and much appreciated experience-not dissimilar to giving actual childbirth, I suppose. But, now, for me, Arch Linux is here to stay. I use it daily on my Dell business laptop.
I recently installed Arch Linux with the Xfce4 Desktop Environment (DE) which is very lightweight and uses the Calamares installer to perform this feat. I have used ArchLabs's installer to install ArchLabs Linux and this was quite a fun and very rewarding experience as well. The operating system that I use on a daily basis-I call this my "daily driver"-is Silent OS by its developer, Silent Robot in the UK.
I encourage you to watch this video which is my recent review of Arch Linux Xfce4 Edition on YouTube. I can't say enough good things about this distro. It just suits me and meets my daily needs in an operating system, whatever that means:
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