The story so far
I am a technical writer operating out of my home office. I call myself a Micro-Enterprise. Not a clueless newbie anymore, yet far from a guru. For more than three years I have been jumping from one Linux distribution to another, trying to find my holy grail of the perfect small office/home office distro that just worked. Never found it of course, because the perfect SOHO distro does not exist. Finally I decided to pick out a single distro that I could live with and be done with it. But which one?
After much thinking and tinkering, I decided that a debian option was the best way to go for me. Not pure debian, I am not quite ready for that yet. I am not a programmer. I like having those handy little user tools that save me time and effort. When they work. I like having a *Commercial* distributor do the grunt work so I don't have to. I am willing to pay for that.
I am not saying that there is anything wrong with any of the other types of distros. Don't send me any hostile email please. If you like them, use them. I am only saying what I chose for my purposes.
I know that I should theoretically be able to find what I am looking for in any of the more popular debian based distros. But unfortunately, not all are created equal. So I am installing each distro for a period of two weeks and using it exclusively for my daily activities. At the end of the two week period, I will replace it with the next candidate.
The criteria for these reviews will be a bit unusual. I am looking intently at some things that other reviewers don't seem to care about, while many aspects that ordinarily get covered in a review will be brushed over, if I mention them at all. For instance, ease of installing the OS is a non-issue for me. It took me a while to get here, but I believe I can install any modern OS, given enough time and motivation. I don't care if it has a GUI, or command line, or is carved in mud with a sharp spoon. All I ask is that it work. I will only describe the installation if it causes problems.
Ditto for applications. I really don't care what comes bundled with the OS. Unless of course, it comes bundled with more than I need and removing some of the excess tears up the system. Flexibility is supremely important.
Speed. Stability. Durability. Does it not only detect my hardware properly, but does it also know what to do with it once it finds it? Does the company stand by their product and treat their customer with respect? Does it provide practical benefits? Pretty alone doesn't get it. I need solid. Will this distro let me get my work done without driving me crazy or breaking my budget?
*Commercial* Linux advocates are swearing up and down that their cherished brain child is ready for the mainstream. Not as a hobby anymore, not a niche toy for the insiders. The *Commercial* Linux vendors are vowing that their product is ready for the big time. Ok guys, prove it to me. My skills and experience are mid-range. My hardware is mainstream, and every single piece of it is documented as working with Linux. Show me what ya got. This is where the hammer meets the steel.