I am now running off Debian Linux.
It is quite a change from Mandriva Linux. Very different. I have not put the distribution through its paces yet, but I am working on it. I have Debian running in a virtual machine on my MacBook Air. Here are my first impressions.
This distro is running fast. It helps that the host machine is a very fast machine. My MacBook Air runs off flash memory, so disk-access is nearly instantaneous. I also allocated a full gig of RAM for Debian, as well as 20 gigabytes of hard-drive space. More than enough.
For web browsers, I am currently use Chromium (typing in that now), which is the basis for Google Chrome. It is very fast. I also have Epiphany and Iceweasel installed. Epiphany seems to be a good browser as well.
OpenOffice for my office suite. I have used OpenOffice Writer and OpenOffice Calc a ton in the past, so no surprises there. They are good programs.
I have a lot of the standard games installed - Frozen Bubble, SuperTux, etc. I also have some educational apps for the kids installed - like Tux Math and Tux Typing. I've always felt that Linux and Linux applications are better for kids than the stuff on Windows or Mac. There is something simpler and easier about them.
As to the headache in Linux - installing and configuring new software, Debian has a very good solution in Software Center. At least I haven't run into any problems yet. The solutions I have used throughout the years in Mandriva have been buggy, and I have often had to go hunting on the web to find files to fulfill the dependencies. That, at least so far, has not happened in Debian. I hit install, and the programs are installed.
Using VirtualBox, when I hit "Command-F", I go full-screen into Debian. That is also how I get out of it :) So when I go full-screen, I am using what feels like a pure Linux system. Which is cool.
There is one weakness so far. In Chromium, when I tried to run a YouTube video, it is very laggy. I think that if I was running Debian right on top the hardware, this wouldn't be a problem. But it isn't. I am running Mac OS X Mount Lion, and in that I am running VirtualBox, and it is inside VirtualBox that I am running Debian. That has to sap some hardware power, and bandwidth. So, unless I can solve that issue, if I want to watch YouTube videos, I will need to drop back to OS X.
Finally, I haven't done any programming yet. A couple of quick taps at the command line tells me that I have perl and gcc readily available. I can get a lot done with that. I'd like to be able to use Eclipse, and do some Android programming in it, but we'll see. I will update this blog with the results when I try that.