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I've been using Linux in some form for 15 years. Like you, it's been some pre-packaged usable out-of-the-box distro (Xubuntu, Crunchbang, Mint). I've never once compiled a kernel, as I never had to, or saw the need, and it doesn't seem like fun (neither would fixing the compile errors the inevitably come up when I try to compile anything from C/C++). I've never had audio problems that everyone else seems to have, and I don't get the uproar over systemd.

It all seems to work for me. Am I too much of a Linux noob to appreciate these problems?

The important thing: don't feel like you have to compile a kernel, complain about audio drivers, or use a tiling window manager to be part of 'the club'. The only reason I use Gnome3 instead of xfce these days is the eye candy, and I don't feel bad about it.

If you think that stuff seems interesting, go for it. I'd recommend you install Gentoo in a virtual machine for the fun of it, and to learn about things like init systems, filesystems, software dependencies, etc.

The correct way to use Linux is whatever way you're using it.

15 years ago I used to do Gentoo stage 1 builds and fuck around with all that nonsense. Nowadays I slap Fedora + XFCE on my desktop and every 12-18 months I do a major lift and shift upgrade. I run mostly stock settings as well.

No you're not a noob. All the nonsense I used to go through was just that... nonsense.

I used to be a lift-and-shift guy, but Fedora upgrades are painless now. I've gone from 26 to 29 on my main workstation and it's been a breeze.

Even with Nvidia drivers?

Yup. Desktop has a 980Ti in it. One laptop has an MX150. The akmods rebuild and things continue as normal.

Maybe I'll take the plunge this weekend...

Having followed a similar path myself, I'm not sure I'd call it entirely nonsense.

These days it's quite rare I need to dip into that toolbox, but I'm regardless quite glad I learned everything Gentoo taught me. It's often made the difference between "oh that's unfortunate, let me fix it" and "shit, I need to re-install".

I look at my times running 4 OSs simultaneously as a learning experience, not nonsense.

I've been using Linux in some form for about 20 years (starting with Slackware), and use it as my default at home for the last few years now. I also just mostly run stock Ubuntu these days. I had some issues running a "headless" system that I only logged into remotely a few years back which required tinkering with config files that I would have rather avoided, but even that seems to have mostly ironed itself out now. I mostly just use Super+left and Super+right for laying out windows, nothing fancy there. Makes it very easy to have your "input" (editor/IDE) on left and "output" (browser or terminal) on right.

I think I last compiled my own kernel more than 15 years ago, so times have changed...

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