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.