This question come surfaces again and again in any Linux community and it is always bias toward that chosen-distro of that community.
So how can you justify between those good intent advices?
I only use two distro to be honest: Debian (/Ubuntu) and Arch. So, I am no expert on distro hopping but after I know below information, my desire for distro hopping really diminished.
I admit that I myself bias to Debian because it is my first and current distro. So, along this writing, you will find that I use Debian as example so much that this is a praise of Debian in disguise. But you also can see it shows my process of going through rational criteria before I have settled with Debian.
“A distribution is all about a certain setup and set of features. The software that comes with it out of the box and in distro related default repos. The package management, the GUI, the applications, the settings, the kernel version and settings,…”
I only tell which is better or worse FOR ME and MY SPECIFIC NEED!!!
Linux has so many distros because anyone can customize it to their own specific purpose (taste/ productivity tools). You just imagine a person after trying several distros and find that each one have some features they like and decide to combine all of theme in a distro, then share it with like-mind people. Eventually, there will be so much distros…
I cannot live without Openbox shortcut keys, tint2, rofi or polybar now. It makes my day-to-day task so much productive.
I also have a specific range of apps I cannot live without.
And ANY distro can be tweaked to have a certain features/ softwares. So, eventually it will come to just the philosophy and the maintenance of software in a distro, which in turn determine how stable vs unstable, how old vs bleeding edge the software, how free vs none-free…, then again, determine how its package manager, how wide-range hardwares a distro supports…
For example, in my case, I value Debian because its Debian Social Contract (https://www.debian.org/social_contract). I know as long as I follow DONT BREAK DEBIAN guide line (https://wiki.debian.org/DontBreakDebian), my set up will remain stable.
What I mean by stable: I expect my OS is just work! Even after going through major release upgradation.
My personal story is I use Debian on my Raspberry Pi (Raspbian), my several personal computers which use AMD/ Nvidia/ Intel GPU and Debian stable feature is the same on every one of them.
Environment (KDE, Gnome, XFCE…): the look and feel of a Linux
Distribution is how linux install packages
apt: Debian base (Debian, Ubuntu, Mint…).
How stable it is
GUI desktop or just plain headless server.
stable vs bleeding edge (security updates vs rolling release)
Old computer or current
For you or for your parent
Free or none-free
Debian is available for many architectures, including alpha, arm, hppa, i386, x86_64, ia64, m68k, mips, mipsel, powerpc, s390, and sparc, whereas Arch is x86_64 only.
In Debian: Debian follows all of the principles of Free Software, and its new versions are not released until they are ready. Developers do not work upon a set schedule and don’t have to rush to meet an arbitrary deadline. People frequently complain of the long time between Debian’s stable releases, but this caution ensures that Debian’s legendary reliability is met: long months of testing are indeed necessary for the full distribution to receive the “stable” label.
Debian will not compromise on quality: all known critical bugs on key packages are resolved in any new version, even if this requires the initially forecast release date to be pushed back. Optional packages whose critical bugs are not fixed, and thus do not meet the quality requirements, are simply dropped from the stable release.
The first time I use Linux is Ubuntu
I pick Arch because I want to learn deeply into Linux.
Now I have use Linux for awhile and Debian is my go to. I am a web developer and I just want a enviroment that just work everytime.
Myth busted in Linux FROM A USER’S POINT OF VIEW:
Freedom, not cost.
If I am not have enough knowledge with Linux, it will cost me time in Linux.
Time is money, not just money it self.
Debian is very stable, it does not cost me time, so it is also free of cost for me :D.
I really find people in Linux arogance (suffer from knowledge illusion…find it easy now and cannot understand why new user struggle so much).
I use to use Ubuntu but from time to time I found weird bugs (which now I think they are not weird any more because I have enough knowledge to fix it myself). At that time, it is really easy for me to just give up and go back to Windows.
So why company do not preinstall debian to Laptop? Because the hardware on laptop is often new, Debian kernel is quite old, hence the mismatch!
All this seem to be a conunrum
popularity is a significant problem for a tech stuff