Monday, December 30, 2013

purely subjective

In his article "In search of the Best KDE Linux distro of 2013: A comparison of 19 leading KDE operating systems," Arindam Sen (one of my favorite Linux bloggers) went to a lot of trouble to provide a detailed analysis of different KDE distros/spins to come up with a conclusion about which one he thinks is "the best."

The article is informative, and that alone makes it worth reading. His conclusion (spoiler alert: he went with Netrunner) should certainly be taken with a grain of salt.

Sen only used one computer for the comparisons, and he only used 64-bit operating systems. Notably missing from the list: Sabayon (due to hardware issues) and Slackware (and anything based on Slackware).

His criteria:

- Installation (20% weightage): Installation time required and installation complexity
- Aesthetics (20% weightage): Including graphical boot splash and differentiation in KDE plasma desktop
- Hardware Recognition (20% weightage): Includes automatic wifi and touchpad recognition along with setting up bumblebee for hybrid graphics. Touchpad recognition also includes automatic 2 finger scroll & single/double functions.
- Pre-installed Applications (10% weightage): Checking if office, PDF viewer, browser, email client, download manager, torrent client, IM, Skype, Photo viewer, GIMP, Screenshot app, audio/video player, CD/DVD writer, Live USB creator, Wine, etc. are present or not. An OS may include a lot more additional applications but my testing was limited to the aforementioned packages.
- Performance (30% weightage): RAM/CPU utilization at steady state under similar conditions on the same machine and time to boot are the two main criteria for performance check.

Nothing about package management, how well-stocked the repos are, the strength of the development teams, available documentation, how long the distro's been around -- things that I would consider when choosing a distro. The applications that a distro ships with? That part might not mean much to me when I've got, for example, the Debian repos available to me. Installation time and complexity might not be a big factor when you're installing a rolling-release distro like Arch Linux or PCLinuxOS (in theory, you're only gonna have to install it one time) (Sen didn't include Arch, which doesn't really have a KDE spin -- with Arch, you choose whatever environment you want at installation time).

Anytime I see the word "best," alarm bells start going off in my head. I would have preferred that Sen simply provided the data comparing even these same distros and left out the part about trying to conclude which one was best. Any conclusion of that sort can only be purely subjective because for different users there will be different things that are most important in a distro.

I'd probably go with Debian KDE or Kubuntu, based on a different set of criteria. But that's just me.

No comments: