CentOS Stream 8 — a controversial yet boring Linux — would be my new operating system After holding up due to indecision, I went ahead with the Linux laptop rebuild. I decided to give CentOS Stream 8 a try. It’s a “hot” Linux distro. But for all the wrong reasons. I can say now that it’s technically excellent, with the extremely notable exception of an error in the Boot ISO (yes, I filed a bug) that makes it impossible to proceed before figuring out and manually entering a URL for a working mirror and then a regression in Mutter that killed Files/Nautilus for a day or so until I figured out a workaround.
I’m about to put a new hard drive and battery in my main laptop, a 2017 HP Envy 15. Whenever I make a change like this, I like to be ready with backups, Linux install images on USB drives and whatever tools and parts I might need. I’m not as worried about running into problems because I now have a very decent second computer — the 2011 27-inch iMac running Debian Buster — if the laptop isn’t ready right away, I’ll still be able to work.
My 2012 HP Pavilion g6 laptop’s keyboard and touchpad are working intermittently. I’ve already replaced the keyboard twice. They are crazy cheap to buy (and also cheap in quality), but I’m tired of doing it. Not sure what is wrong with the touchpad, but it’s about time to cut my losses. The laptop has run Fedora for a LONG time. It is now on F30. It has gone through many upgrades between about 2013 and 2019.
My test laptop – a 2012 HP Pavilion g6 – is dying. The past couple of OpenBSD installs resulted in kernel panics, and now the keyboard and touchpad keep failing. I’ve replaced the keyboard twice, and now it’s mostly the ribbon connector between the keyboard and the motherboard. I have to pop the bottom off the laptop, take out a screw, then pry the keyboard off and re-seat the cable. It’s probably the same kind of thing with the touchpad.
Debian 10 Buster with GNOME 3: I didn’t expect it to be this fast, but that could be the SSD talking
I don’t know how much of it is Debian 10 and how much is swapping a 5400-RPM hard drive with an M.2 NVMe SSD, but my 2-year-old laptop is FLYING now that I’ve ditched Windows 10 and the 1 GB magnetic drive that came with it. And this is with GNOME 3. The stock or lightly/heavily-favored desktop environment in Debian, Fedora and Ubuntu looks great, runs with no hesitation (in constrast to Windows 10) and doesn’t have me thinking that I need anything else for speed-related reasons.