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I hate trying to guess what to recommend to a person without knowing the background, so:
I have used Linux for several years and have done some distro hopping looking for minimal desktop systems - I really appreciate Zenwalk's philosophy of one application per task, I have just disagreed with their choices, as I like to focus on text apps (i.e., vim, mutt, screen, etc.), and Xfce would not be my choice of desktop.
Recently my family's computer (Windows 2000) died, and to get everyone up and running, I installed Slackware 12.2 on my system and turned it over to the family. After getting HPLIP running for the printer, Linuxant drivers working for the internal winmodem, and doing a little user management, I have a system set up to support me (above average Linux user, but not a developer), my wife (who was never comfortable with a computer even when it had Windows), my three children (11, 9, 7, with varying levels of skill but all interested in games), and a guest account for children in my wife's home-based day care. I even installed Wine hoping to support a number of the kids' Windows game CDs, but I haven't fully figured out how to work with that yet.
The kids really like all the game options under KDE 3.5 from Slackware 12.2, and my wife is slowing getting use to Kppp to connect and then either Firefox for internet or KMail for email, but I have problems with two points: the ton of choices for applications (look at the text editor count, for example) makes it harder to support the family (thus my like of Zenwalk), and I am not patient enough to use a packagement system that does not have dependency checking.
I would switch to Zenwalk, but the family prefers KDE, and I've had problems getting the internet connection working (Kppp is very easy for me).
Should I just try Gslapt? I've read some negative things about it - like the fact that most Slackware packages aren't designed to support its file requirements (files internal to the packages) so it isn't reliable as a dependency checker for Slackware (I understand why P.V. doesn't include it, I just wish he did).
Or is there a distribution out there that would work? Thanks for any help.
PS - Quick follow up - the computer is a 3 year old Compaq SR1710NX with 512mb additional memory (767mb total) and hard drive space - 2 drives: original 100 Gb SATA and and additional 40Gb IDE.
Last edited by davidengel; 06-15-2009 at 10:44 AM.
Is Slax useable as a full install? I know it as a great Live CD/USB, but is it a good hard drive distribution?
My only issue with Arch was that X was not available on the downloadable install CD. I have access to a highspeed connection at work to download the install disk, but at home, we're on 56k, so downloading all the finishing software by pacman would take forever.
OSDisc doesn't have a DVD for Arch with all the extras - is there one anywhere else?
I am happy to see that I'm familiar with first distributions recommended.
... but I have problems with two points: the ton of choices for applications (look at the text editor count, for example) makes it harder to support the family (thus my like of Zenwalk), and I am not patient enough to use a packagement system that does not have dependency checking.
Why not stick with Slackware? You could easily remove the unused applications. As for package management, most of the dependencies are installed by default and you'll have to download them manually very rarely. Also, there exists tools like sbopkg, which help automate the process. I wouldn't recommend using some dependence-resolving third-party tool; if that is what you want, I suggest trying Debian, it's a great distro too.
Last edited by Perceptor; 06-16-2009 at 11:14 AM.