The Linux Tier List

I’d like to hear opinions about the Youtube video " The Linux Tier List" by Chris Titus (Tech) posted a couple of days ago.
He is not quite a Linux guy, his playground mostly is Windows, but this list (video) and explanation is quite interesting if watch it coldly, without emotions.
Thank you

I mostly agree with him after the latest release of Debian. It is now my daily driver, it is also the only thing I use for VMs in my proxmox server, and I am a big fan of OpenMediaVault, which is essentially Debian as well.

I have never tried Arch, but have tried MX Linux, antiX, Fedora, Red Hat, Suse, Linux Mint, and a handful of others as well. The only distro I didn’t see on there that should have been in the Niche category was PartedMagic.

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I’m generally very cautious about such videos. There are a ton of biases involved and, quite honestly, there’s a pretty obvious incentive to create controversy just to drive user engagement up. Therefore shouldn’t be considered as anything close to “authoritative” no matter how many followers, subscribers or views it has.

I mostly disagree with a lot of the reasons given but I like that he mentions that these things change over time. For example both Canonical and RedHat have made a lot of great contributions over time, despite of the bad press they are getting these days. I really wish he had emphasized this more.

Yeah, there’s lots of obvious contradictions and ridiculous assumptions but it’s not even worth discussing…

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I understand and agree with both of you, even when you both have different, opposite point of view.

What could be considered here from my point is that, when the aspect of discussion is Linux - the opinion mostly will be different and that’s understandable, as there is so many options that we, the Linux users have and this is awesome.

One of the best point in Linux is that no one HAVE TO use the apps, tools, components and whole desktop environment any distro comes with, you can remove them and install you favourite ones, or find the distro which brings most of your favourites pre-installed, or install Arch Linux and start from 0.

I am full Linux user it’s 5 years (or so) now. I used 5 or 6 distros as daily driver (not just for test) and I loved them all.

Now I understand that it’s not a particular Linux distro what I like, but the freedom, security, variety of options, the technology learning way etc…

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I looked into his profile a little more and, not surprising, the man literally makes a living out of this, from his channel’s description:

“I quit my job as an IT director to share my skills acquired over 20 years.”

The vast majority of his videos are 5~10 minutes, the perfect format that all major channels use, as commanded by the mighty Algorithm. Despite what he says about himself in the description of his channel, there are very few opportunities to learn from the content he produces.

This makes me appreciate even more channels like Jay’s who genuinely produce quality content, actually informative and without following suit to what is the new acceptable format for content.
Here’s another tier list video that is much more interesting to watch, from someone who also quit their daily job to produce content on YouTube full time:

Arguments are actually made in favor or against and the decisions are presented clearly. You don’t have to agree but at least you get a genuine opinion.

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Welcome to the forum.

I really don’t like Titus that much and especially not the content he makes around proprietary platforms like Windows and Mac. It seems most of his efforts are geared towards debloating windows with weird registry hackery. He is writing his own tool to do so, I have written a few programs for windows myself. I wouldn’t say it’s easy, but it’s not too difficult either.

Anyway, I admit I agreed with all the points he made in the video, except for SUSE “good for business.” The reasoning for that is because I took an extreme approach to denounce any corporate backed distros, including Alma and Rocky. While I understand why some businesses would use RHEL, SLES, Ubuntu, OEL, Rocky and Alma, I absolutely encourage people that don’t need the paid support for SLAs to use community distros like Debian, Devuan and NixOS.

Over the past 11 years, I have daily driven probably half of that list. Now I’m daily driving 3 of the unique category distros (and FreeBSD), each for different purposes. But only one of them is a desktop.

I agreed with both the useless tier and the reasoning for those. The most controversial would probably be Pop!_OS and Manjaro, but I’ve daily driven Manjaro for a few years and it was such a buggy distro even without installing the AUR. I literally only used Firefox, LibreOffice and Thunderbird on a barebones KDE desktop, no AUR, snaps, flatpaks or anything else and the system still managed to get broken, despite upgrading it as often as updates came in (every 1 or 2 weeks, with at least 2GB of crap to download, which was annoying). Arch with the AUR has been more stable than Manjaro to me (although I found the same bugs in both Arch, Majaro and Ubuntu).

As for Pop!_OS, no offense to System76, they made great Ubuntu fork for a while, until their changes got upstreamed. But even before, I questioned System76 for forking Ubuntu instead of teaming up with Linux Mint. I can understand the desire to have more control over your distro, but I don’t see that as a good enough reason all by itself.

They could’ve hired people to work full time on Linux Mint and support the project, like paying for the forum and storage and whatnot. Mint could’ve had a “Pop!” flavor (idk, Linux Mint Pop! Edition), with the classy Cinnamon Desktop and the GNOME Shell Cosmic theme that system76 designs. Pop!_OS is based on interim Ubuntu releases, while Mint is based on Ubuntu LTS. They could have contributed to Mint, make an interim version with 2 flavors and ship the latest version with Cosmic on top on their PCs. Same for later when they switch to the rust Cosmic DE. Support could’ve been provided on the Mint forums under a Pop!_Support thread or something.

I could see a community distro with some corporate backing doing really well. Just look at Fedora (which unfortunately is being backed by the devil). But their direction seems to be going astray (I used to recommend mostly Fedora to everyone). For now, I’m not going to trust corporate-backed and controlled distros, despite their clean past record. I really wish someone from System76 would comment on this. I’m not even a Linux Mint user, or even generally recommend it (unless someone is already using it).


I followed him (CTT) since his videos about “The First 30 Days in Linux” and all his experience, I was using Linux at that time already.

I lost interest when I realized that he was “a Windows guy” anyway, even after all of those cool Linux terminal driven content he was posting on Youtube.

I agree that he does all of this to live on creating content and work from home remotely, as it’s much better than follow someone’s times table from Monday to Friday, or what so ever, but there’s not a lot to learn from this kind of place - I agree, at least not about Linux.

As for that tool to de-bloat Windows, once I commented under one of his videos that the best and easy way to de-bloat Windows is to get rid of it.

Regarding Linux Mint - this was my first distro when I moved to Linux and as I see it’s always one of the top of everyone’s list and with good reason. One day I’ll install it and use again with its Cinnamon desktop.

I know a lot of Linux Youtubers including “Nick - The Linux Experiment”, as when I moved to Linux I always was watching about it at least one video a day to “demystify” Linux structure, and still watching and learning with pleasure.

Creating a distribution to ship along a desktop environment makes perfect sense. The whole point of doing that is to ship your desktop environment nicely packed in an environment that you have control over and can present it in the best way possible. By doing this users can download the ISO and give it a test run very easily.

One thing I dislike about Linux Mint is that they still haven’t made up their minds about LMDE. It’s been a while, and now we have Debian 12 proving to be a suitable choice for desktops, and Ubuntu is getting less and less friendly every year. Both of the upstream bases for Linux Mint are moving forward in directions so, either way, this is the time to finally make a decision on this.

As for System76, I think they are doing great:

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  • GNOME Shell does not have a particular desktop, but Fedora is the de-facto vanilla GS.
  • KDE has its own KDE Neon, but that thing is pretty garbage IMO, it’s more like a test platform / technical preview. Kubuntu and OpenSUSE are better KDE distros. Although KDE Neon never called itself a distro, so there’s that.
  • LXQt is another environment that doesn’t just build an entire distro for itself. Lubuntu and some other niche distros have it presented in very good light.
  • XFCE and Mate are also not doing their own distro, yet there are many distros shipping with them.
  • Budgie was part of Solus, but now they’re separate projects. Technically speaking Budgie has no distro of its own (as the devs are completely separate now), but Solus is kinda the de-facto Budgie distro.
  • Cinnamon is made in-house at Linux Mint (AFAIK) and the distro is basically the place for Cinnamon’s showcase.
  • Then there are window managers, like i3, sway, river, fluxbox, jwm and some other DEs like enlightenment, deepin, pantheon and lumina, none of which have their dedicated distros.

So except for Cinnamon, KDE and maybe arguably Budgie (at least historically), basically no environment or WM had a dedicated distro just for showcase (AFAIA). Why should Cosmic have its own dedicated one? While I loved Unity 7, I absolutely hated the fact that it wasn’t easily portable. Neither was Unity 8. While I don’t see a reason for Cosmic DE to become tightly integrated with Pop!_OS, I still see no reason why a dedicated distro should exist for a DE.

My point still stands for System76 should be joining the Linux Mint team and develop a non-LTS version of Mint, with a new Cosmic flavor.

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What I will credit him for is convincing me to come over from Windows 4 years ago when MS was about to discontinue support for Windows 7. I followed his “30 day challenge” at the time and convinced me to try it out. After dual booting for approx 6 months, I went full time linux and have never looked back.

I found inconsistency in his reasoning by putting Ubuntu, Kubuntu and Lubuntu in separate categories.

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I started with dual boot too, when one day (after 6-7 month or so) I realized that Windows OS was sitting there and taking the space.

I realized that all I needed it for - to edit an image or two on Adobe “Fireworks” (it’s an image editor, like “Photoshop”, discontinued by Adobe), I used that a lot in the past, when developing for web yet.

I decided that this made no sense to keep whole OS just for one app sake and I removed it, switching to GIMP and every time I needed to edit an image - I watched/followed a tutorial to stick to GIMP whatever it takes.

I know how weird GIMP feels after professional Adobe software, but when you “dive deeper” - you see that it does the job greatly and no payment or subscription needed.

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Gnome has GnomeOS Nightly, and with KDE these two make two of the largest, most widely used and actively developed projects dedicating resources for a distribution to ship with and experiment on. It’s not that a DE must have a distribution but it’s useful to have one.
Window managers are not fully fledged desktop environments to I don’t think they are relevant to this conversation.

Until the Linux Mint make up their minds about the direction they want to take, I don’t see a for-profit company investing in them anytime soon. After over a decade, LMDE is either mature enough to stand on its own or it isn’t; it is pointless to have two distributions with the exact same look and feel, a waste of resources. Might as well invest in coming up with a new distribution on their own with far more control and flexibility, especially when you are a hardware manufacturer.

In that case, cheers to that. After all, it’s a popular channel and not everything is terrible content. And kudos to you for trying something new, most people don’t get that far to give Linux (or anything new, really) a fair chance.

I didn’t know about Gnome OS Nightly, thank you for pointing it out (not that I plan to use it, but I like knowing it exists).

If LM took the decision to completely switch to a Debian base, then I’d understand the reason for Pop!_OS to exist, if it’d still be based on Ubuntu. But as they currently both do the same thing (forking Ubuntu, removing snap, adding a few packages and slapping a new paint job), I don’t see the point of having 2 distros based on Ubuntu. And both of them have the OEM version, which you install on a device and then at first boot, the user gets asked to go through a setup wizard for their account.

The only thing they do differently is that popos is based on the latest ubuntu, be it lts or interim releases, while mint only uses lts. But this is just a design choice by mint to limit resources used on building and testing new stuff, which system76 have and are doing. For popos, it’s to support the latest hardware and run the latest kernel. For mint, it’s to have a stable release.

I could easily see a new cosmic flavor of mint being released alongside cinnamon, xfce and mate, with a new naming convention to denote the lts compared to the interims.

However, having a fork of ubuntu seems like a real challenge, because of all the stuff you have to first remove from the system, instead of starting with a cleaner canvas. Which is why I agree LMDE should be the only Mint.

I only recently found out about GnomeOS Nightly, and installed it on a VM for fun and it’s exactly what you may expect: a technical preview of sorts to implement new features and updates. This is probably the ideal scenario for a desktop environment that wants to showcase their development efforts, but on the other hand this the kind of thing that only makes sense when you already have a large enough user base coming from other distributions that have adopted your desktop environment.

As a company and hardware manufacturer, System76 is in a better position to offer certain guarantees and customer support if they control the distribution they ship with their devices. It’s reasonable for them to want to have this assurance from the start to avoid any issues down the road for things like disagreements with the Linux Mint leadership.

Out of curiosity, if having multiple distributions based on the same upstream is pointless, which one would you keep? For me, that would probably be ZorinOS as the Ubuntu derivative, and MXLinux as the Debian derivative.

I’m not saying there shouldn’t be forks, but I concentrated on these 2 because they seem to have very similar goals, so working together might be more beneficial to both the LM community and System76. I know they wanted a top down approach for Pop!_OS, which is why I wouldn’t trust any companies with my OS anymore. System76 has a good track record, but that never stopped a software company from abusing their users, even if they specialize in hardware.

Not all the forks are pointless, but many of the ones in the video are basically just the same thing with a new lipstick.

As for what I’d keep, LMDE if LM team decided to actually dedicate more time into it, not that it’s not a useful distro as it is, else, idk, probably PureOS, because I like the idea of a fully libre distro, especially after Debian decided to allow non-free firmware in the default install, which I’m not a big fan of. Or if Devuan counts as an derivative, hands down Devuan.

For Ubuntu, probably Zorin or Pop!_OS if LM went full Debian and pop stayed Ubuntu based. I would say I’m slightly for Zorin, because of the paid support, but I wouldn’t trust Zorin with my OS either, for the same reason as popos. But I can see the appeal in paying for support.

I believe all these forks need to step up to offer something more than just theme changes and a few preinstalled programs. I don’t know what that would be. Switch the init system, rebase the entire distro on musl, or switch the ssl library to libressl and have the built software use that instead.

I wouldn’t underestimate the challenges involved in working closely with another project. Note that if System76 was to suggest this partnership, they would be the “outsiders” and essentially would be the ones following the direction that the Linux Mint leadership decides to take.

Anything perceived as an attempt to take over the project, any sort of misunderstanding, mistake, disagreement or anything that creates friction between the twp parties, would immediately put System76 in a situation where they are antagonized by one of the largest Linux communities.
That would result in lost of potential customers and damaged reputation, and we all know how reactive the internet can be, and how hard it is to recover lost trust. Put bluntly, there’s nothing to gain and much to lose from such partnership.

While I (mostly) agree with this, I think you are also underestimating the importance of using the right shade of lipstick. Having a good first impression and out of the box experience is critical to have a successful product, Apple being probably the best example of how important looks and a strong branding can be. Which is why distributions like Ubuntu, ZorinOS or Pop!_OS take the time to customize the desktop environment they ship with.

Different distributions have different opinions about what “good defaults” are, and since there are communities around many of those distributions we know people agree with them.
One great thing about open source is the vast amount of choices available, and since there are no shareholders to please there is no harm in having more and more choices.

Me too, I should try Devuan at one point as I’ve never used a non-systemd distribution. I’m also a bit conflicted with Debian about the non-free firmware… I’ve tried it and works incredibly well even on an old chromebook that I have, where everything works (and I’ve tried a lot of distributions for that particular machine).
One distribution that really caught my attention a while back is Guix, very similar to NixOS. I wonder if Jay would be willing to make a first impressions video on something like that.

Here’s what DT posted on his channel:
I am not sure if it’s related to the video content we discussed here (of CTTech), but it could be.

[quote=“hypoiodous, post:3, topic:2839, full:true”]
I’m generally very cautious about such videos. There are a ton of biases involved and, quite honestly, there’s a pretty obvious incentive to create controversy just to drive user engagement up. Therefore shouldn’t be considered as anything close to “authoritative” no matter how many followers, subscribers or views it has.[/quote]

This is the first video from Chris Titus that I have watched, but I don’t think he was doing more than expressing his personal opinion. I didn’t see anything that suggested it was in any way “authoritative”. It kind of reminds me of the old ice cream argument: “vanilla is better…NO chocolate is better”. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, it doesn’t make it a fact.

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I never made the claim that he (Chris Titus) was being authoritative. I said that this video, and others made in the spirit of generating user engagement, are not to be seen as authoritative sources.

The reason I said this is because, whether we like it or not, we live in a world where someone like Chris Titus has a lot of influence. His videos are going to be shared and viewed by many people, many of whom are new to Linux, and who may believe what he has to say without asking for further proof or evidence.

I disagreed with him on the Gentoo being for try hard’s with too much time on their hands and NixOS best for business. I ran it for a while and found that Gentoo was actually pretty easy and stable, yes it can take a while to compile some of the packages but that’s it. I can go from bare metal to KDE desktop with all the apps I want in a about 4 hours, which is actually pretty good when you compile it all yourself.

NixOS on the other hand I just could not get working at all, couldn’t get nvidia drivers going, packages that installed put their systemd service files in a place where systemd couldn’t find them etc and the documentation I found just wasn’t that helpful in that regard. The gentoo wiki by comparison is excellent like the Arch wiki.

The devil tier is just click bait non-sense. Businesses have to make money to pay for development etc and they are going to make decisions to reflect that. Don’t use those distro’s if those choices will effect you.