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  1. #1
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    Default What's your favorite Linux distribution?

    I've decided to partition my hard drive and venture out into the world of Linux. Any suggestions as to what flavor I should try first? What Linux distribution do you use and why do you like it? Any tips for a newbie?
    The zebra's stripes are lacking hues,
    They don't compare to you-know-whose.
    Orange, black and white is what to wear!
    It's haute couture for those who dare.
    It's camouflage, and stylish too!
    Yes, tigers look the best, it's true!
    -Bill Watterson

  2. #2
    Senior Member torrin's Avatar
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    Well you're actually asking a couple of questions here.

    My favorite distribution is Debian because it doesn't get in the way and the package managment is excellent. I think that by far, Debian is the easiest to maintain. The problem is if you want newer software, you'll have to install the unstable version. There is a big can of worms about why stable doesn't get any new software package (only bug fixes) after it's released. You probably don't want to get into that.

    I think the best distro for a newbie is Mandrake. Why? Because it has graphical tool for everything. If you don't want, you don't ever have to seen a command line. My wife (who is not a computer geek, like me) uses it and loves it. If you do decide on Mandrake, please buy it and support the company. I hate to see Mandrake die. I buy all the ones my wife uses.

    Does anybody have any comments on others? I used to use Red Hat, but I have moved on because I didn't like rpm. Now that there is apt4rpm, maybe I'll give it a try again.

    Have you looked at any of the others? Gentoo? Suse? Knoppix? Oh yea, Knoppix. You should download a version of that and burn it to cd. It's a distrobution that runs entirely from cd so you don't have to install it.

    Which version to use really depends, I guess. You should try a few different ones and see which one you like best. For me, I find myself dropping to the command line all the time (by habit) so Debian is perfect for me. As for newbie tips, be sure the use the net for help when you need it. More specifically the linux documentation project.

  3. #3
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    I just installed Mandrake for the first time and it was a piece of cake. I still can't get my sound card to work, but it was way more fun to install then redhat 6.
    ------------------------
    I have grown 2415 times smarter since then.

  4. #4
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    Okay, here's an update. I started with Knoppix, just because it was easy to boot off of a CD. I couldn't get it to recognize my keyboard. (It is a generic USB keyboard that came with my Compaq). Next I tried Gentoo, but with the same result. It didn't recognize my keyboard either.

    I'm now running Mandrake 9.1 and everything seems fine. I especially like the idea of multiple desktops. I'm sure Microsoft will steal it eventually. My only complaint is that it takes a while to repaint the windows when I move them, which gets annoying after a while.

    Any suggestions about what to do/explore?

    Also, anyone using 9.2? I've considered trying it out, but I'm also wary of anything beta.
    The zebra's stripes are lacking hues,
    They don't compare to you-know-whose.
    Orange, black and white is what to wear!
    It's haute couture for those who dare.
    It's camouflage, and stylish too!
    Yes, tigers look the best, it's true!
    -Bill Watterson

  5. #5
    Senior Member torrin's Avatar
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    Default Knoppix and Mandrake

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyger
    Okay, here's an update. I started with Knoppix, just because it was easy to boot off of a CD. I couldn't get it to recognize my keyboard. (It is a generic USB keyboard that came with my Compaq). Next I tried Gentoo, but with the same result. It didn't recognize my keyboard either.
    Yes, linux distrobutions have difficulity with detecting (and being able to use) USB keyboard and mice, when the driver is not built into the kernel. I'm surprised knoppix is that way. Usually, knoppix is very good about being able to detect hardware. It's run on everything that I have thrown it at, short of my Pentium 90 laptop. Some hardware is too old and slow for it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyger
    I'm now running Mandrake 9.1 and everything seems fine. I especially like the idea of multiple desktops. I'm sure Microsoft will steal it eventually. My only complaint is that it takes a while to repaint the windows when I move them, which gets annoying after a while.

    Any suggestions about what to do/explore?
    Hmmm . . . I haven't seen the problem before. What window manager are you using? If you're using a heavy weight one like gnome, you should either switch to something more light weight, or get more ram. How much ram do you have? Gnome is slow but usable on my wife's computer with 128 megs of ram.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyger
    Also, anyone using 9.2? I've considered trying it out, but I'm also wary of anything beta.
    As a beginner I'd hold off on beta versions for now, I use Mandrake fairly extensively (since about 8.1) I currently have 2 9.0 machines and one 9.1 machine (and one running cooker.) If I were you, it might be less of a hair pulling experience to wait for 9.2 final.

    That much said, they are (at the beta stage) fishing for bug reports... so if you're in a mood to bear with the bugs and report them, you might look at http://qa.mandrakesoft.com Personally, I wouldn't recommend that until you have a little more comfort with the system though.

    Avery

  7. #7
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    In response to Torrin, I have 384MB of RAM, which I would assume would be more than enough.

    I am using Gnome at the moment. Is KDE different/better?
    The zebra's stripes are lacking hues,
    They don't compare to you-know-whose.
    Orange, black and white is what to wear!
    It's haute couture for those who dare.
    It's camouflage, and stylish too!
    Yes, tigers look the best, it's true!
    -Bill Watterson

  8. #8
    Senior Member torrin's Avatar
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    Default 384MB of ram

    Yes 384MB is more than enough. It sounds like there is something else wrong. I'm using Debian Stable and gnome seems to run fine. No repainting problems. Is it just one application? Or are all of them very slow to repaint. It's kind of hard to diagnose from a far.

    As for KDE, I've only used it for about 2 weeks, but I do remember it being a little leaner and faster than GNOME was. Not to mention, it does have lots of integrated applications like koffice (MS office clone), and konqueror (web browser). It may be worth a try for you. Does Mandrake come with KDE? I'll have to look when I get home.

  9. #9
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    Default Favorite Linux distrib

    I must say that Mandrake is by far the easiest for a newbie to learn and Suse has a lot of bells and whistles. RedHat always is very powerful but harder to master. I've also toyed around with the BSD distribs and found them not as friendly as Linux but far more secure. OpenBSD had me stopped solid. FreeBSD is definitely the easiest of the bunch.

  10. #10

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    Site's all migrated. Everything's working. Time to socialize!

    I've been playing with Gentoo. The only other distribution I've used was Red Hat, and Gentoo blows the doors off of RH. Okay, the premise is that everything gets downloaded as source code and compiled for your computer, but let me just say, after the pain of installation is done, the distribution is fast and solid.

    As for the GNOME v. KDE debate. Always install libraries for both, because so many apps are either one or the other so you might as well have support for both. If speed is your concern, use *neither* window manager, because both are seriously bloated and somewhat slow compared to other window managers (Enlightenment comes to mind as one that is zippy, skinnable, and full featured). It used to be that KDE was faster and lighter than GNOME, but since the release of the latest KDE, it's hard to say which leads on speed now. KDE is definitely more "Windows-like" so if that's your thing, then KDE will be a more familar environment.

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