I come from a science background as I am a Pharmacy student from Australia. I merely use Sabayon and other Linux distributions in my free time, I am not an expert at programming or any aspect of computing but I have picked up the odd bit of programming and computing experience over the past three years I have been using Ubuntu. The reason I choose Linux over Windows (which was the first operating system I ever used and the one I have probably spent the most time using, overall) was that I believe that quality software should be available for free. Part of this is because I think that we should be free to share information, as it is a natural extension of the freedom of speech and part of it is that software (especially web browsers, office software, document viewers, etc.) can be used for educational purposes and I believe education is a fundamental human right that should be freely given.
Software I use the most
The following pieces of software I use the most often and I know can be run on Sabayon Linux and most other Linux distributions:
- Chemistry software: MarvinSketch, PyMOL
- File browsers: Nautilus, PCManFM
- Gaming software: GNOME Mines, RuneScape Unix Client
- Mathematics software: GNU Octave, SageMath and Scilab
- Miscellany: VirtualBox
- Text editors: Atom, GNU Emacs, GNU Nano and SciTE
- Web browsers: Firefox, Google Chrome
- Wiki software: MediaWiki
Linux distributions I have tried
The following Linux distributions I have tried using VirtualBox:
- Antergos: granted I have never managed to install Antergos on a VM before (despite making two attempts in living memory), I have just managed to run it as a live session on a VM. It is an Arch derivative FYI.
- Arch Linux. Arch is way over my head, I am at best an intermediate user of Linux (probably more accurately a novice user) and while I have managed to install Arch Linux on a VM I spent hours trying (unsuccessfully too I might add) to install a desktop environment on said VM and eventually just gave up on every using Arch Linux.
- ArchBang. Another user-friendly Arch derivative I can boot a live session for using VB, but I cannot seem to install due to installer issues.
- Bodhi Linux. A lightweight Ubuntu derivative that uses its own desktop environment, Moksha (which is based on Enlightenment 17). I have fairly little experience with this OS, but it is based on Long-Term Support (LTS) releases of Ubuntu.
- CentOS 7. One of the few user-friendly distributions, after than Arch derivatives, I could boot live but could not install on a VM.
- Chakra. Another Arch derivative that I can boot live but not install on a VM. It is unlike the others in that its release cycle is half-rolling (meaning most software is rolling, that is, updated frequently but core components of the system are not) and it can only run on 64-bit machines.
- Debian 8.1. I think everyone in the Linux community knows of this distribution, the child of Ian Murdock and named after him and his then girlfriend Debra Lynn. I found it easy to install, but a nuisance as far as its package manager APT and its sources file,
/etc/apt/sources.list, as I had to constantly switch between unstable, testing and stable repos to get the software I needed causing several package breakages. I have managed to install MediaWiki on it, rather easily too. Although this is probably because I had prior experience installing MediaWiki on Ubuntu.
- deepin 2014.3. A Chinese Ubuntu derivative that is developed by a commercial entity and has a desktop environment with a similar appearance to OS X. I found it difficult (very laggy) to run in VB.
- elementary OS 0.3 (Freya). An American Ubuntu derivative that is also developed by a commercial entity and has its own OS X-like desktop environment, Pantheon.
- Fedora 22. I found this distribution easy to install on a VM, in its 32-bit flavour, but a pain to install in its 64-bit flavour. I did, however, eventually manage to install 64-bit Fedora 22, after I switched my ISO to the live LXDE version (which I got here). I would probably rank Fedora as my 4th favourite distribution. This is because it is updated frequently (once or twice a year), uses the latest system software (including kernel and desktop environment) and has a user-friendly package manager, DNF. Rather ironic that I started using Fedora just when the latest release, Fedora 22, was made as it was the first release of Fedora to use DNF as its default package manager (all previous ones used yum, by default). What looses it favour in my eyes is that its non-system software (examples I have personal experience with are GNU Octave, Node.js [used to install Atom] and SageMath) often lags significantly behind the latest releases, plus I found it impossible to install MediaWiki on it, as the available documentation online (like on the Fedora Project Wiki and mediawiki.org) was fairly minimal. I have also managed to install it on a removable hard drive.
- Korora 21 and 22. I found this Fedora derivative easy-to-use and to install and the fact it was originally developed by Australians made it appeal to me in particular. I personally have not found any objective benefit of this system over Fedora, but I have not used the system enough to make such an observation.
- Linux Mint 17.1 and 17.2. I found this Irish Ubuntu derivative easy to install and while I did not bother using it much after I found it impossible to install MediaWiki on it, following the MediaWiki guide for Ubuntu systems, I did enjoy using the Cinnamon desktop environment developed especially for it.
- Mageia 5. I found this Mandriva derivative easy to install, but it was difficult to install Atom on it, as the build instructions for Atom do not include details regarding how to install it on Mandriva derivatives like Mageia. I did manage to install Atom on it, but my installation does have a few bugs.
- MakuluLinux 9. Not much I can really say about this South African Ubuntu derivative as all I did was install it and give it a brief look over. Did not really grab my eye as a distribution worthwhile using beyond just a quick try.
- Manjaro Linux 0.8.13 and 0.8.13.1. This European Arch derivative was the only Arch derivative I have successfully managed to install on a VM. It is definitely one of my favourite distributions (within the top three favourites, the others being Sabayon and Ubuntu) as while it is user-friendly (with different "flavours" coming with different desktop environments, although there is also a netinstall version that comes with no desktop environment for advanced users) it has the power of Arch Linux. When you get down to the system software and the file system structure of Manjaro, you quickly notice that it is essentially identical to Arch except with a few additions (which means that the information provided by the Arch Linux Wiki is usually also applicable to Manjaro Linux). Namely it includes the graphical package managers Octopi and Pamac, along with the Arch command-line package managers pacman and yaourt, and it includes its own command-line tool mhwd (Manjaro Hardware Detection). mhwd can also be used to install the latest kernels (as opposed to the older ones used by Manjaro, by default). I have also installed Manjaro on my removable hard drive.
- OpenMandriva 2014.2. Another French Mandriva derivative, that is easy to install but I have even less experience with it than I do with Mageia. I have not even attempted to install Atom on it. I gave more attention to Mageia than OpenMandriva as Mageia is more frequently updated and popular than OpenMandriva.
- openSUSE 13.2. While it uses RPM packages like the Red Hat Linux derivatives (such as CentOS, Fedora, Mageia, Mandriva and OpenMandriva) do it (or its predecessor, SUSE Linux) was never forked from Red Hat Linux. In fact SUSE Linux was originally forked from Slackware Linux.
- PCLinuxOS 2014.12. Another Mandriva derivative, but unlike Mandriva and most Mandriva derivatives it does not use the urpmi package manager, it uses APT-RPM instead. I have used it a few times but it does not really appeal to me, personally.
- Puppy Linux 6 CE (Tahr). I have managed to boot Puppy but not install it on a VM. I found it was certainly not designed to play nice with VB as mouse integration was not possible and neither was installation onto the Virtual disk.
- Trisquel 7. This Ubuntu derivative is designed to be free (as in freedom, i.e., the Free Software Foundation's-definition of a free GNU/Linux distribution) and uses the Linux-libre kernel. It uses a customized version of GNOME 3 as its default desktop environment, although a "Mini" version running a customized version of the LXDE desktop environment is also available. I found it difficult to tell the difference between it and Ubuntu 14.04 (as Trisquel is based on LTS releases of Ubuntu too), besides the aesthetic differences due to the customized desktop environment. This is the distribution used by Richard Stallman and the GNU Project.
- Vector Linux 7.1. The only non-SUSE Slackware derivative on this list. I have managed to install it on a VM, but I did not do much with it beyond installing it.
- Zorin OS 10. An Irish Ubuntu derivative that includes commercial (for pay) editions. Its desktop looks like that of Windows 7, but otherwise unremarkable.