I was all ready to crack open the HP Envy 15 laptop this afternoon, pull the 250 GB NVMe M.2 SSD and replace it with a 1 TB model. While in there, I planned to replace the battery, which has a dead cell.

But I decided to press “pause.”

I started running Linux on this particular laptop in 2019 (??) with Debian Stable (then Buster), replacing it with Testing (Bullseye) maybe a couple of months ago.

Debian has been good to me. But I thought that maybe it’s time to try something new.

CentOS Stream 8 is newish, and even though many users think the end of CentOS Linux in favor of Stream is the end of the world, I’m excited by it becoming more of a community project while still offering more stability than a lot of other operating systems.

While there are a lot of applications available for CentOS/RHEL, one of my must-haves is gThumb, which I use for most of my photo editing. Linux in general is VERY poor at handling the captions in JPG images, and gThumb is a true lifesaver for Linux-running journalists who have to work on photo captions. GIMP has promised full IPTC functionality for years, but it’s not there yet, and I don’t think it’ll ever be there.

Fedora has gThumb, but the EPEL project hasn’t built gThumb since RHEL/CentOS 7. There is no Flatpak either.

I’m sure I could somehow make it work. I’ve used old RPM packages before and had decent results, and maybe it’ll work this time. But there’s no CentOS or RHEL live image I can use to test this before I commit to an install.

You can install and test quite a few things in live environments before the whole thing goes pear shaped. I just confirmed that the Vivaldi browser works in Fedora 34 Beta with this “technique”.

While running the Fedora 34 Beta live environment, the fan was spinning up a bit. I could do an install, and it would probably resolve itself one way or another, but I really don’t know.

There is no live image for Debian Bullseye yet, though I’m running it right now, and it’s as cool and fan-quiet as any Linux I’ve ever used. Debian is a known quantity. And it works.

So I’m taking some time to think before I decide on a Linux distro for my 1 TB M.2 SSD. It could honestly go either way. There are a lot of interesting features in Fedora 34, I’d love to see how CentOS performs for my use cases (development and writing/editing), and Debian has been rock solid. Even Testing.

What should I do?

Next: Decision time. And drive/battery installation time.