Which Linux distribution should I use (Surface Pro 4 )

TheGuyWithASurface

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Hey, I know this is a very general question but I am so lost.

Before i start I would like to tell you why this is such a hard decision for me.
I have a Surface Pro 4 and I would like to install Linux as Windows is giving me a hard time sometimes.
I already used Karli two years ago at work but I have to be honest I forgot most of the things.

But my real struggle is that I am afraid to lose some features of my surface when I switch to Linux.
I would like to keep the touchscreen function as well as using the surface pen to write things and take notes for example.

I was able to find out that I can use the touchscreen and the pen on Linux Pop and ubuntu.
The thing is that I really like the UI of Kali and I would like to use it.

What also gives me a little bit of a struggle is that i wouldn't really use the features of Kali or use it for the tings it was made to do and I am afraid of giving myself a hard time with kali as it isn't a distribution for beginners.

I would be very thankful if some of you could give some advices or even solutions.
Thank you and have a great day :)
 


Mike13Foxtrot

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Have a Dell touchscreen laptop. Installed Peppermint Linux and the touch screen works, Did not have to manually search for drivers it just works. Peppermint is a good lighter Distro. You could always try Linux before you install. Flash a USB boot into Linux and see how it works.


 

wizardfromoz

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What also gives me a little bit of a struggle is that i wouldn't really use the features of Kali or use it for the tings it was made to do and I am afraid of giving myself a hard time with kali as it isn't a distribution for beginners.
What a sensible young fellow (& I know I am old enough to be your grandfather), and I mean that as a compliment.

You are already being capably looked after by my friends here, but I will throw in a few tips and ideas that may assist in your search for a good distro
  • Kali by default uses the GNOME DE (Desktop Environment) - if that is a part of your liking the UI, then GNOME might be a focal point. Also, historically, GNOME is said to be the most user-friendly DE for touch functions
  • For a broad idea on types of DEs, an old article here that I refer people to is https://renewablepcs.wordpress.com/about-linux/kde-gnome-or-xfce/
  • I use all of the Distros Matsu has mentioned (I run 68 Linux currently on this rig) so sing out if you want an opinion
  • If you scout around our Forums and subforums, you will find Laptops/Netbooks, and that is where tablet inquiries are best handled, if we move you there, you might also get attention from other tablet users with Linux experience
  • If so, a better wording on your subject title is to include Surface Pro or tablet in it, that will help people zero in.
Sing out if you want me to move you to

https://linux.org/forums/laptops-netbooks.149/

and welcome to linux.org :)

Chris Turner
wizardfromoz
 
Last edited:

brickwizard

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Fedora and Deepin are quite popular on tablets, but any disto using the Gnome 3 based desktop should do

Bwiz
 

TheProf

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I recently migrated from Windows to Linux and I went though a similar decision process.

Dont be afraid to try, even if you think the distro might not be for beginners. I believe in choosing a distro that you like the most and figuring things out as you go. You can also deploy Kali in a VM, set it up, get the feel for how it works and what are the caveats of such OS.

Then once you've set it up in a VM and if you still feel that you like the distro, then you can try to deploy it on your surface pro. This way you can try without having to reinstall windows if it does not work out.

For touchscreen, I cannnot comment, but based on what the folks are saying, it seems to work well on some distros.
 

TheGuyWithASurface

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Have a Dell touchscreen laptop. Installed Peppermint Linux and the touch screen works, Did not have to manually search for drivers it just works. Peppermint is a good lighter Distro. You could always try Linux before you install. Flash a USB boot into Linux and see how it works.


Thank you for yours fast answer I already saw this video :)
The thing that i am still asking myself is if it would work on Kali Linux too.
But you are right I completely forgot that I can try out the Linux distro. I think I will do that first of all, thank you very much :)
 

TheGuyWithASurface

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What a sensible young fellow (& I know I am old enough to be your grandfather), and I mean that as a compliment.

You are already being capably looked after by my friends here, but I will throw in a few tips and ideas that may assist in your search for a good distro
  • Kali by default uses the GNOME DE (Desktop Environment) - if that is a part of your liking the UI, then GNOME might be a focal point. Also, historically, GNOME is said to be the most user-friendly DE for touch functions
  • For a broad idea on types of DEs, an old article here that I refer people to is https://renewablepcs.wordpress.com/about-linux/kde-gnome-or-xfce/
  • I use all of the Distros Matsu has mentioned (I run 68 Linux currently on this rig) so sing out if you want an opinion
  • If you scout around our Forums and subforums, you will find Laptops/Netbooks, and that is where tablet inquiries are best handled, if we move you there, you might also get attention from other tablet users with Linux experience
  • If so, a better wording on your subject title is to include Surface Pro or tablet in it, that will help people zero in.
Sing out if you want me to move you to

https://linux.org/forums/laptops-netbooks.149/

and welcome to linux.org :)

Chris Turner
wizardfromoz
Thank you for all the helpful tips.
The website you posted was really helpful, the time I worked with Linux I never worked myself very deep in the subject so it is nice to have an overview on the different UI designs :)


And you are definitely right, I should have mentioned what kind of device I am working on, thanks :)
I will definitely check out the subforums
 

TheGuyWithASurface

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Fedora and Deepin are quite popular on tablets, but any disto using the Gnome 3 based desktop should do

Bwiz
Thank you very much, how can I find out if the distro is using GNOME 3?
And for me it is not really about the touch function, i am looking for a distro where I can use my surface Pen on, but as far as my research went I found out that any distro with touch support also does support the Surface Pen
 

TheGuyWithASurface

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I recently migrated from Windows to Linux and I went though a similar decision process.

Dont be afraid to try, even if you think the distro might not be for beginners. I believe in choosing a distro that you like the most and figuring things out as you go. You can also deploy Kali in a VM, set it up, get the feel for how it works and what are the caveats of such OS.

Then once you've set it up in a VM and if you still feel that you like the distro, then you can try to deploy it on your surface pro. This way you can try without having to reinstall windows if it does not work out.

For touchscreen, I cannnot comment, but based on what the folks are saying, it seems to work well on some distros.
Thank you very much.

I will definitely try kali before installing it.
But I am not sure if a VM will do the job as I would like to try if the surface Pen works fine on Linux but I dont know if VM supports the pen. But that is the easiest thing to find out i guess ;)

And referring to your opinion about choosing a distro.
I think you are completely right, I was just afraid not getting the help I need when I bump into a problem but when I see how many people answer here, the fear is gone :)
 

brickwizard

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TheGuyWithASurface

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Hey guys, a little status update coming from me again.
I decided to keep this post up to date as i thought that maybe someone will go through to the same struggle and then maybe this post can help.

I decided that I want to use Fedora OS as my distro. The reasons are that it is very easy to use, has many different designs and because it is based on Ubuntu it should be able to work with the touchscreen and the stylus.

But of course there is a problem.
The touchscreen and the stylus aren´t working at all.
I tried using inxi -Fiz in the console but the touchscreen isn´t showing up at all.
I am looking into the problem but most people say that it should work completely fine with ubuntu or an ubuntu based distro.
If somebody here has an idea on what to do i would be very pleased.

I also found an article on GitHub but I am not sure if this is what I am looking for. If someone could explain this to me I´d be very happy :)

Thanks guys :)
 

wizardfromoz

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Thanks for the update.

As I indicated at #3, this is better placed in Laptops/Netbooks, where Tablet inquiries are more visible, so I am moving it there.

Also, please note that Fedora has nothing to do with Ubuntu, they are different families. If you read this Wikipedia article, you will get an idea.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Linux_distributions

Cheers

Wizard.
 

TheGuyWithASurface

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So here we go with another update on my situation and my current problem.
As I already said in my last post i found out that the touchscreen should work completly fine on ubuntu,
so I decided to give that a try.
And now there comes the big surprise even under Ubuntu the touchscreen doesnt work at all.
I really dont know what the problem is. In the boot manager the touchscreen and the pen are working completly fine but as soon as I boot into Linux they stop working :(

If somebody has an idea i would be very thankfull.

Cheers

TheSadGuyWithASurface ;)
 

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