Lini is a Haswell PC for Linuxa a
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#1 Jan 3, 2014
Unfortunately, the leading Linux desktop distributions followed the lead of Microsoft with Windows 8, straight down the "universal interface" tubes. Valves Gabe Newell calls Windows 8 a "catastrophe" and even Microsoft's long-time OEM partners are bailing out of the "Wintel" paradigm, embracing competing operating systems instead.
What's left for those who just want to get work done using a traditional desktop user interface is "lightweight" Linux distributions, which are designed to be responsive on older hardware. This feature, of course, is a benefit when used on any system, as these distributions require minimal system resources, leaving those resources available for use by applications.
For most users, Ubuntu provides the best base distribution. It is the most complete distribution and the most flexible. It also enjoys commercial development and global support. Of the Ubuntu variants, Xubuntu is the best choice going into the 2014 April long-term support release. Xubuntu is, by far, the best organized and staffed Ubuntu variant, rivaling Ubuntu itself. Xubuntu also offers a more robust standard feature set than other distributions that use a dumbed-down "universal" interface.
Debian, upon which Ubuntu is based, now uses the XFCE desktop, just like Xubuntu, lending further resources to development of this user interface.
By contrast, the Lubuntu variant of Ubuntu is in limbo because its LXDE desktop is being ported to the Qt framework. Ubuntu GNOME will probably fold entirely before April. Kubuntu, of course, uses that dreaded "universal" interface. The derivative distro, Linux Mint, is buggy, outdated and insecure, disabling kernel updates by default, for example.
Other distributions are promising, but incomplete at this time. Smaller distributions also tend to suffer from a lack of developer resources, meaning they usually have more bugs, thereby tainting the user experience.
If anyone has a suggestion for another user-friendly, secure, well-staffed and funded distribution with a desktop and not a "universal" interface, please add your suggestion!
For more on Xubuntu, go to http://distrowatch.com/xubuntu
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