Is distro hopping a legitimate hobby?

I have this constant urge to install new distros not because I need them and not because I think they will be better but just to experience them first hand. It’s certainly fun, educational in a strictly trivial sort if way, and potentially useful. I see a lot of you tube channels doing this which is somewhat reinforcing my behaviour as normal. So, it it a hobby?

Yep, i think you could consider it as a hobby. Many things can be a hobby, so why not this?

Agreed. It can not only be considered a hobby, it’s a great learning experience for those of us that are new to Linux and want to learn more about the infinite possibilities offered by different distros.

Distro hopping is a lot of wasted time. The are only two items defining a distro:

  • the desktop; gnome; kde; xfce etc.
  • the package manager; apt; zyper; dnf etc.

All distro are are a variation on these two things. OK they use different bling bling, like; wall papers; icon; different fonts or colors, but that’s all.
If you insist on wasting your time, just install the distros in e.g. Virtualbox :slight_smile:
You can even keep them and compare them directly each on a different workspace.

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Interesting point of view, I could see trainspotting or stamp collecting (actually any hobby) as a waste of time if its something I don’t want to do. This is exactly why I asked the question, for some people its an obvious yes, for others an obvious no. Thanks for your contribution.

I disagree. Take MX-Linux as an example. That team builds it own tools for things like building persistent live images, and utilities. I think this helps set MX-Linux apart from other distro’s.

Also, most people that distro hop do install the different distro’s as VM’s, or at least that is my experience of what most distro hoppers do.


I don’t distro hop but I do scout distros in VMs.

It’s a great way to window shop all the creative ways an OS can be set up and if I like something i’ll usually add it to my own distro. I’m on Fedora and the PS1 in my .bashrc comes from Debian for example.

Actually hopping would be a lot more immersive though.

On package management I think PatPlusLinux said it best…


Distro scouting is a fantastic description. Hopping does somewhat imply the main distro is being replaced. Scouting is a great word.

While yes I can add features to my own system I am only likely to know those being used elsewhere. Only by scouting did I discover Plank for example.

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Nope, it is a disease…get help immediately

Isn’t it the case with a lot of hobbies, especially for those not into it ?

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hoping distros is a great way to get started, but I found it got boring after a while. Also full on switching out my main system has never felt like a great idea. Working in VMs or on a separate computer that that I dont mind starting over on has been better for me. I think its a mistake to believe that the package manager and the DE are the only things that can change about a distro. Try using tiny core and tell me that it functions anywhere near the way you might expect a general distro to work :sob: