stable Linux. Truth or Myth?

Link to this post 11 Oct 11

I want to know if there is any such thing as a stable desktop Linux distro, or is it just a myth? Since I started playing with Linux I've probably tried more than a dozen different flavors on about a dozen different platforms. I can't be real specific because each one had its own problems; but for example, I've just re-installed Linux Mint 11. Within an hour, Firefox crashed without warning or explanation and shortly after that, The OS itself crashed hard and I had to restart the computer. These are typical problems I've had with Linux since I started playing with it more than 10 years ago. I would really like to use Linux to replace my Mac, but so far I haven't found one that I can count on. Is there a reliable distro? Or is there a way to make a buggy distro more reliable? So far I've tried most of the popular ones: Red Hat, Fedora, openSUSE, Ubuntu, Mint, Linspire, and a few others that I can't recall at the moment. Of all of them, Mint 6 was my favorite, but each successive version seems to get more buggy.

Link to this post 12 Oct 11

I have been using Slackware for 8 years now and have not had any stability issues that were not caused by me. Honestly I have tried all the distros that you listed and rejected them because they are not as stable as I want them to be.

The issues you had with firefox crashing then having the crash effect the OS sounds very strange, have you verified that your hardware is working properly by running a memtest and running a Hard Drive test to confirm that neither of those are damaged?

Link to this post 13 Oct 11

Ubuntu 10.04-11.04 is extremely stable, since it's based off Debian, i'd guess Debian is as well. Fedora is also stable. My recommendation is try them all and see what you like the most.

Which operating system, has no flaws? Answer: Whether it's Linux, Apple based or Microsoft the answer is None.

Link to this post 13 Oct 11

I need to correct you. Debian is stable because they are very conservative on their stable branch which often uses very old software. Ubuntu is based off of Debian unstable and pushes many beta level software which leads to many short lived bugs and increased instability.

The most stable and secure version of Linux distros are very conservative and generally have longer release cycles, such as Red Hat (not Fedora), Debian Lenny and Slackware. In general the version meant for desktops tend to push packages quicker to compete on what is the latest and greatest, when in comparison the distros listed above wait longer and test packages more before pushing them to the customer which is why they are most often used to productions servers.

Now, I do have to agree about all operating systems having flaws. As with anything in life, you must choose the right tool for the job, if any operating system does not do exactly what you need and/or expect then spend some time researching and testing alternatives to make an informed decision.

I have chosen Slackware because in my experiences the auto-dependency resolution and package managers of the other distros tend to do more harm than good by making assumptions which can be wrong. Slackware does not do that, it expects the user to manually manage all dependencies which requires more research and leads to increased knowledge about the core system, which is why some people say that any problems with Slackware are your fault because you mis-configured something.

Link to this post 13 Oct 11

Let me re-phrase extremely stable, it has been extremely stable for myself. What mfillpot just said is good advice. Keep trying different ones till you find a good fit =)

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