Which Computer Operating System do you recommend?

replacing a HDD with a SSD does indeed help a lot.

The Debian installer has come a long way and is very userfriendly nowadays, good luck with that.

If you need any help installing Debian, feel free to contact me.


What are the specs of your old Macbook?

I have a Why! running Debian Stretch since the begining. My opinion and advices in simple dots:

  • Have you looked at Purism or does it fit your money range? 100% libre from the BIOS (running Coreboot)
  • Why! laptops have proprietary BIOS and proprietary WiFi card drivers. I can tell.
  • Why! has official iFixit guides, which is absolutely awesome, but I’m currently looking for an updated motherboard and a new battery replacement to really use them. Those things were available online when I bought my laptop, but not now. Beware with future-proof upgrades.
  • Plastic cases are prone to be left marks around the touchpad, because of your wrists’ swear.
  • I’d go with Ubuntu Gnome if you’re a Linux newbie. Saves you some configs and headaches. Also, choose the Gnome flavour because that will be the default desktop from the next LTS release (Ubuntu 18.04) onwards.

I’m very happy with my Why!, but (hope) you all already know by now that I’m a deeply critical kind of person.


Processor: 2,7 GHz Intel Core i7
RAM: 8 GB 1067 MHz DDR3
Graphic Card: Intel HD Graphics 3000 512 MB
OS: OS X 10.9.5 (I refuse to update)

Cool so installing Debian shouldn’t be a problem then. :slight_smile:

I did. The best laptop there, with every specs maxed out (except for the HDs) would cost 2.400€ (without shipping and I guess duty from US), would have 16GB Ram, English Keyboard and a lot of specs are not even shown, but I guess most are worse than the Why! laptop I have in mind that would cost 2500€ (no shipping as my brother would bring it with him next time he visits), 32GB Ram, German Keyboard and lots of other great specs.

Yeah maybe I’ll just stay with Ubuntu until I’m not a newbie anymore and then switch to Debian.
Once I moved all my data from my mac to my Why! I may even try to install Debian on my Mac to compare it with Ubuntu. Whether I sell my Mac a few months earlier or later won’t make a big difference.

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Just my comments to the discussion:
I saw that Debian stable was recommended by different users. I am not a Linux veteran myself, but switched maybe 3 or 4 years ago.
Since almost 2 years I have now Debian testing on my PC, and since a year also on my notebook. Testing runs pretty stable (there were two times when an update broke the GUI of a program, which was fixed by another update 12 hours and 2 days later, respectively). Yet, compared to stable, you are always up to date with software versions. Testing basically offers a rolling release, which I very much appreciate, and from my experience it is perfectly fine for a production system (I use my computers for work).
With open hardware there shouldn’t be any driver issues with Debian. With some hardware, particularly some graphic cards, I could imagine that Debian may cause some headache for someone who just decided to switch to Linux.
I started, and I would also highly recommend this distro for beginners, with Linux Mint, which is an Ubuntu derivate. It brings along many drivers and the installation routine also makes it easy to set up the system with some non-free codecs and drivers. Plus, while being based on Ubuntu, you can still avoid getting Ubuntu. Mint has a lively community and large userbase. Plus: You can always look into ubuntu fora as well if you need to troubleshoot, as the base system is the same (incl. package management). Linux Mint you also get in different flavors. Particularly for users coming from Windows, the Cinnamon desktop might feel quite familiar.

To sum up: When I switched to Linux, Mint made it quite easy for me to get to know a unix system. After a short time I felt confident to switch to Debian testing, which offers a rolling release with up to date software, which I feel is stable enough for a production system.

For whatever distro you will decide in the end: Have fun and enjoy working on Linux!

Thanks for that hint. Wasn’t on my radar before, but their products look pretty interesting!
If to buy a new notebook (I usually buy 2 or 3 year old, pretty cheap which still last for some years), then this would be a quite interesting choice.


Yup, Debian Testing it is. I used Stretch-testing until Stretch-stable was released. Since then I’m in stable, but plan to upgrade again to testing in a few months (I thinks this is a reasonable stable upgrade pattern).
Anyway, I still think of Debian as a GNU/Linux distro for a non-newbie, so Ubuntu (or Mint, I’ve never tried it) should make you familiar with some stuff before.

Edit: BTW, I’ve found completely by chance the manufacturer of Why! and System76 laptops. It arrived to my RSS reader, I wasn’t even looking for it. Although this is offtopic, I’ll put it here for now because I don’t know yet where to share it. The name is Clevo and seems to be a Taiwanese company: http://www.clevo.com.tw/clevo_pro.asp?lang=en (those N240xx laptops match with my Why! N240JU and System76 Lemur)

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Paula can have both.
There is LMDE (Linux Mint Debian Edition) which uses Debian’s (testing) package base instead of Ubuntu.
Can be a good compromise.


and: LMDE is a rolling release.

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@paulakreuzer Since you mentioned you haven’t use Linux a lot before, i definitly recommend Ubuntu!

My reasoning would be the sheer amount of help and tutorial, the very good askubuntu site and because I tried a lot of Linux versions and Ubuntu generally just works.

My second choice, or something if you feel more comfortable, would be Debian.

An the third choice is Solus, a relatively new but very active distribution which has a stunning looking desktop thats really well thought–trough and macOS like (Budgie).


I have to admit that I didn’t follow LMDE closely, but to my knowledge there have been some changes how it updates. Also in your provided link it says:

There are no point releases in LMDE 2, except for bug fixes and security fixes base packages stay the same, but Mint and desktop components are updated continuously.

which I would interpret that only the Mint features are updated on a rolling base whereas the system itself is not. As I understood the concept of LMDE there will be occasional major releases with a new base system, whereas the features and software only are updated on a rolling base.
Nonetheless, I also find it an interesting option, as out of the numerous Debian and Ubuntu derivatives, Mint was amongst my favorites (of the ones I tested).

Without making this decision for you, here’s a consideration to take in mind:
In general, Debian derivatives (Ubuntu included) and CentOS follow a conservative update policy for packages. Rather than following the upstream software projects for updates within a distro, they choose for many packages to back-port only bug- and security fixes. On the plus side this means that if your computer worked when installing the distro, an update is highly unlike to accidentally break things or alter behaviour greatly. On the downside, the versions of software you find in your repositories are often one or several versions behind upstream. Only with a full distro upgrade you will get the newer packages.
Fedora and Arch on the other hand are more proactive in releasing updates that are made upstream. This means that the software you run tends to be better up to date wrt. upstream and has less customisations (back-ports of fixes), but could alter appearance or behaviour after installing just an update. In the past updates have led to systems temporarily breaking in Fedora, but in my personal experience these days the quality of both upstream software and package management have reduced this risk quite a bit.

Which you prefer is up to you, but hopefully this can help make an informed decision!


When you would install Lubuntu on your Macbook (don’t know if that’s possible), then you will be surprised with the performance. Lubuntu works very well with a 512 MB graphics. It’s light so I guess even the ventilation should better cope.


Back when I upgraded to Windows 10, I started to play around with Linux distributions whenever I read a distro name I didn’t know and which seemed to be a promising candidate to switch over, so an easy switch for a Windows user like me was a priority.
While I’m still not switching over anytime soon, these are the ones that positively stuck with me so far, in that order:

  1. Linux Mint Xfce
  2. SolydX
  3. Xubuntu (Yeah, I like Xfce :slight_smile: )
  4. Solus (Budgie desktop looks and feels very good, but lags on my passively cooled AMD AM1, waiting for low-TDP Ryzen APU)
  5. Rosa Desktop Fresh R6 LXQt (Old, I know, but I haven’t tried a current version yet.)
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4 posts were split to a new topic: Coreboot vs. Libreboot

A post was merged into an existing topic: Which computer do you recommend?

I have been using Mageia at work and home since 2006 (then Mandriva).
It have wide hardware compatibility, nice and easy install and configuration graphical tools which do not get in your way if you want to use command line. It boasts 26 (!) desktops - of course Plasma, Gnome, Cinnamon, Xfce… and you can have several installed and just logout/login to another.

Lots of programs packaged, of course all normal desktop tools, but also electric CAD, mechanical 3D modelning, and other speciality programs, Tor server, Nextcloud server… For Fairphone connection i use KDEConnect and Syncthing - very fast and i need not sync files via Google nor phone network.

Regarding laptops i really like old quality laptops. The old T61p with vPro chip and Quadro graphicupgraded with modded BIOS, SSD faster RAM and CPU was really swift until it broke at age of 10 years this spring. Now i have a T400. BTW i read Libreboot works with T400.

The recommendation is of course Trisquel for freedom en security. Xubuntu works also pretty well and fast.
For secure devices and security issues take a look at https://tehnoetic.com/
They make a great job! Excuse me, but also for smart phones.

You don’t want anyone to try an OS last updated on 2014 and run away from outdated software. I used Trisquel for some time in 2015 and moved to Debian after waiting for a no-yet-released update.

Perhaps it’s an idea to get a live-cd offor instance Lubuntu and try it in your Macbook.
Then you can see how it looks like and get a feel without installing.
A live cd doesn’t change anything on your Macbook.
Just go to the distro you want and burn a live-cd.
If you want I can sent you live-cd’s of the distro’s you wish to try.

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Another option would be to use e.g. VirtualBox and try out different Linux distributions within a virtual machine (on your MacBook as well as on your new computer). Be aware that an operating system within a virtual machine may be a bit slow, but it should be sufficient, if you only want to get a first impression of different Linux systems and desktop environments.

Apart from this I would also recommend Ubuntu at the beginning, and Debian for the more experienced User.

Same here. I found it easier to adjust to my liking and it was slightly faster than Ubuntu. Well, under the hood most of it is the same, it’s the graphical interface that is the biggest difference. You can check out different websites to compare, see what you like the most.