In the mood for something new

Linux for blind general discussion blinux-list at
Tue Nov 23 19:03:04 UTC 2021

For the most part, even Debian testing isn't that great for desktop users. Much 
of it is still older than Ubuntu, except maybe at the end of the release cycle, 
and it tends to mix desktop component versions, meaning for example that you 
could have some parts of GNOME 40 and other parts of GNOME 3.38 at the same 
time. I found this phenomenon occurring even in Debian experimental, which is 
supposed to be more up-to-date even than unstable.

I've had the best luck using Fedora, as even the 6-month release cycle has newer 
packages than Ubuntu, and many times software gets updated to upstream current 
versions during the release cycle, which I haven't seen with Ubuntu, and 
certainly not Debian. Of course you can always either upgrade a stable Fedora 
release to Rawhide, which is the rolling release version that never needs to go 
through the upgrade process once you're there, or you could install the Rawhide 
iso, which you just install and keep updated. This is not for everyone though, 
so most people may feel more comfortable with the release cycle. But either is a 
good choice for keeping your system updated with close to the latest software 
and getting access to a wide variety of available packages without having to do 
tons of manual setup work.

Solus is another option on some hardware, but I found that its version of espeak 
made a rather odd growling sound when I tried it. Strangely, I found this 
problem both on my bare metal and on a virtual machine, and never was able to 
diagnose the problem. But you may have better luck. I definitely liked how easy 
it was to go through the installation process and get a system running.

I know some people who are using Void Linux, and it is said to be very good, 
though I'm not familiar enough with it to give you any pointers on how to set it 
up. Looks from what I've read like it will be something closer to an Arch setup, 
although an xfce version is said to be available. Not sure whether it has a full 
installer or if it needs to be set up manually, although there is said to be an 
xfce version available. If this version ships with Orca, you could possibly get 
an install going fairly easily.

Over the years, I have had fairly long-term experience with Slackware, Red Hat, 
which later became Fedora Core, Debian, Ubuntu, Arch and the latest Fedora 
release and Rawhide, as well as short-term experience with Mint, an Ubuntu 
derivative, Manjaro, an Arch hard fork, and Solus, which stands apart because it 
is not derived from any other distro, and my experiences with recent Fedora have 
been the best, with the possible exception of Arch, which does work pretty well 
once you get past the setup process.

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