The following is an excerpt from my Journey with Linux post which can be found here. This has been separated into its own post for easier reading.
Back in 2015, I started looking into various distributions to switch to on my desktop, eventually settling on Ubuntu (14.04 at the time for LTS) or Linux Mint (17.3 if I remember correctly), as they were easy distros to get into for beginners with lots of help on forums such as AskUbuntu. I settled on Ubuntu as I didn’t want to use a derivative of a derivative system (Mint is based on Ubuntu which is based on Debian). I also noted that Ubuntu had good driver support. This probably wouldn’t have been a big issue at the time anyways, since it was running an Intel i3-4130 with the integrated graphics.
At that time, I didn’t want anything to do with configuring Xorg (or anything for that matter), or compiling software. I just wanted something that worked, and was easy to switch from Windows. That’s one of the areas where Ubuntu still shines. It is a very “mainstream” Linux distribution, providing easy usage for the masses. Driver support is good, the installer works fine, and the computer just works. It is a good starting point, as you get experience into installing programs from the terminal and such. Mind you, you still have to be interested in tech with with the ability to pick things up (like a terminal), so while I realize it’s not for everyone, Ubuntu definitely holds your hand.
Actually, at first, I was very impressed by the ease of software installation in Ubuntu. No need to go to the website, download some .exe installer, press ‘no’ a bunch of times to avoid crapware and the such. It worked, and installed all dependencies with few hiccups. I was equally impressed with the ease of updating software. Unlike Windows where one had to go to the manufacturer website and re-download and install the latest updates, all the programs could be upgraded all at once through 2 commands – a big improvement.
What wasn’t too nice was when you started to run into issues with apt. Either the versions were incompatible or you had to find .deb files to install with dpkg, I personally found that apt on Ubuntu broke a fair bit. In comparison, dnf on Fedora and pacman on Arch had hardly any software issues, not to mention, no need to backport newer versions on which lead to other conflicts. While I also didn’t find Unity appealing at all, I kept with it because it worked!