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Netrunner and KDE: final thoughts

May 02, 2019 — Grant Ford

So in my experimentation with the KDE experience, I have opted to switch to a Debian-based KDE version. It is called Netrunner, which I'm sure you all have heard of. So "out-of-the-box" I can feel the Debian base coming through the stylized KDE surface and I love it. In comparison to KDE Neon, it feels like I have a lot more control and I know a lot more about the Debian source. Ubuntu is a good base, but in my experience and opinion it does not compare to the stability of Debian. I know it is really nitpicky, but I also know that after working on an elementaryOS machine (Ubuntu-based) for so very long, I tend to notice all of the little niggles that get under my skin that come from Ubuntu.

So let's get down to the "nitty gritty" of the matter. I'm still not convinced that I will be sticking with KDE for the rest of my computing life, but Netrunner has really helped to win me over more. With its simple design tweaks to KDE and their pre-installed apps, the biggest hurdle of installing and using KDE is bypassed. That, I think, is KDE's biggest fault in winning over new users. Their stock system comes without a lot of default apps already installed. Just yesterday I finished my and my wife's taxes and at the end I needed a calculator. I hit the super key and typed "calc" and nothing popped up. She laughed at me and told me that my computer is so "janky" because it didn't have a calculator. That was simply embarrassing.

Thus I switched my laptop to Netrunner and have only been using it for about an hour, but it already feels more complete without having to spend an hour or two setting up my system. Now I can focus on my work, while making the small tweaks here and there as I go.

If you wonder why I seek a Debian distro so fervently, there are a couple of reasons. The first and least of which is that Debian was my first ever experience of Linux and it is what won me over to Linux. Second, if you haven't noticed, I seek a unity of experience between all of my devices. Debian runs on most of my devices. My home server is Debian-based, one of my phones is basically running a Debian-based environment. Debian is the base for my LibreELEC box as well. The only thing I've been running differently has been my laptop and desktop. They have almost always been Ubuntu-based. I know it is a small little difference to most of you, but to me the differences between the two run so deeply that it just kills me to continue in the vein of Ubuntu. This is a big rant on things that matter to the select few, but I never see anyone writing long-form about it.

The support behind Debian just blows me away. When I started researching controlling the automation of my house without using closed source modules, Debian and X10 protocol was the first thing to show up in my radar. When I want to do any sort of really granular control of my computing environments, Debian really stands out to me because so much can be modified. Debian doesn't prefer one working environment to another, and the .deb packaging is what I am familiar with. So that is the sort of stream-of-consciousness thoughts that I have on why I prefer Debian. Perhaps in later articles I will flesh out each idea more. As it is, I have to go to my job today and don't have time to plan out an in-depth article on the subjects above.

One more thing about Netrunner before I end this little blurb; Skype for Linux is pre-installed on Netrunner. A lot fo you may love that, but it is the only thing so far that just kind of kills me. On their website, Netrunner claims GNU and endorsements from the EFF and other freedom loving organizations. So why did they pre-install Skype? Anyway, that is just a niggling thought and I wanted to put it out there.

As always, if you have any thoughts, please send me a message on Mastodon!