Author Topic: Distrohopping - bare metal or virtual machine  (Read 739 times)

Offline fox

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Distrohopping - bare metal or virtual machine
« on: February 27, 2019, 05:42:05 pm »
We got into this question in a general way in a previous thread, and Buster and I have "mixed it up" on several occasions, with each of us having a preference for bare metal (me) or a virtual machine (Buster). I thought about this some more because when I first started out considering Linux, I was using the Mac OS and I was trying out distros in a VMware Fusion virtual machine. At the time I wasn't sure whether I would convert to Linux or not, so this seemed like an easy way to test it out and decide. Since converting, I have made very little use of virtual machines with Linux guests (as opposed to Windows or Mac guests), but the back and forth with Harry made me think about this some more.

Conceptually, it makes sense to me to separate serious use from distrohopping, which for me means just playing with the distro with no serious intent to use it as a replacement for what I am already using. I'm sure that Harry would disagree with me, since he actually uses the distros he puts in virtual machines, but apparently not enough enough to replace Windows. For me, I actually have three categories:
  • distros I use regularly
  • distros I have installed that are mainly there as backup in case I have to do something to my main distro (mostly to adjust partition size)
  • distros I want to play with
I can now see that a virtual machine is ideal for distros I want to play with because they are easy to wipe out without messing with the partition structure and potentially messing up the bootloader. I still like to play with various distros, and from here on, I'm going to do that in vms.

I would be interested to hear how others do their distrohopping - bare metal, vms or both, and why.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2019, 05:46:40 pm by fox »
Ubuntu 19.10 and openSUSE Leap on 2011 iMac
Linux Mint Cinnamon 19.2 on "late 2015" 5k iMac
Ubuntu 19.10 and 18.04 on Dell XPS 13 2 in 1

Offline Jason Wallwork

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Re: Distrohopping - bare metal or virtual machine
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2019, 06:09:00 pm »
For me distrohopping means using a distro seriously but changing your distro every few months or even every year because you got bored and wanted to try something new, but not just to try it but to actually use it seriously. That is, unless you decided you really hated it and moved onto something else. I try to give a distro at least a couple of weeks of use before I give on it though unless I can't get the software installed I need. But let's use your definition here for the sake of argument.

In that case, I primarily do it with VMs. I prefer Virtualbox over VMware Workstation Player as Virtualbox lets you do system snapshots. I know the commercial VMware Workstation lets you do this as well. Below you can see the testing I've done over many months with mostly Linux guests. There is a Windows install in there, too. It's much simpler in a VM except in those odd cases where some distros won't give you full screen even with installation of VM guest tools.

However, I also use my Toshiba laptop for testing out bare metal installs. These are usually more serious installs in that I plan to do things with time but to be honest, it usually ends up being occasional use as my desktop machine is much nicer and has a bigger screen so I rarely use it. Of course, the Toshiba is great for doing presentations.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2019, 06:11:12 pm by Jason Wallwork »
Primary: Dell Desktop i5 - 3.2 GHz w/ Kubuntu 19.04 / Win 10 Pro
Secondary/Test:  Toshiba i3 - 1.4 GHz w/ Windows 10 Pro and Linux Du Jour (Ubuntu 19.10 right now)
Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra ( Android 8 ) on Freedom
Huawei MediaPad T3 10 ( Android 7 ) on Virgin

Offline fox

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Re: Distrohopping - bare metal or virtual machine
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2019, 12:14:25 am »
Wow; that's one pile of vms. Tell us about Nitrux; that one hasn't been discussed here.
Ubuntu 19.10 and openSUSE Leap on 2011 iMac
Linux Mint Cinnamon 19.2 on "late 2015" 5k iMac
Ubuntu 19.10 and 18.04 on Dell XPS 13 2 in 1

Offline Jason Wallwork

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Re: Distrohopping - bare metal or virtual machine
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2019, 01:18:27 am »
Talking about Nitrux would be a new topic in itself. I haven't played with it much so can't really give a fair representation (yet) but the website gives some good explanations of what makes it different. After I've spent more time with it, I'll report back.
Primary: Dell Desktop i5 - 3.2 GHz w/ Kubuntu 19.04 / Win 10 Pro
Secondary/Test:  Toshiba i3 - 1.4 GHz w/ Windows 10 Pro and Linux Du Jour (Ubuntu 19.10 right now)
Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra ( Android 8 ) on Freedom
Huawei MediaPad T3 10 ( Android 7 ) on Virgin