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Old 09-17-2013, 08:52 PM   #1
Peter Scoggins
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In my review of various dristrubtions, it appears to that Ubuntu is the most popular in a lay nonscientific equation. I am planning to choose in the next few weeks and wanted insight for guidance. I'm leaning toward Ubuntu, but visual interpretation is of consequence as well I.e.
SuSe.


Thanks Peter

Last edited by Peter Scoggins; 09-17-2013 at 08:57 PM. Reason: add another thought
 
Old 09-18-2013, 10:59 AM   #2
DavidMcCann
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When Canonical launched Ubuntu, you could write and ask for a CD and get it post free; they also gave away a lot to journalists. This created an awareness that has never gone away. Computer journalists (who probably use a Mac) all "know" Ubuntu is for beginners. Here it may be recommended, but often by people who use something not for beginners (e.g. Arch) but "know" Ubuntu will do (although they may never have tried it).

Unless you have special requirements, the deciding thing is usually the user interface. They are very variable and some you will either love or loathe. Roughly:

Unity (in Ubuntu) is designed to be suitable for any device, so it will look more like your phone than your Windows PC. And the basic layout is not meant to be changed. Love or loathe it.
Gnome is a bit that way inclined, but more computer-like. It's big: more than 1MB of RAM is handy. Get it from Arios or Pinguy.
KDE is also big, but much more computer-like. It's also the home of eye-candy; as one user said, it make Mac users say "Wow!". But it's also a very powerful and configurable system. Get it from PCLinuxOS or OpenSUSE.
Xfce is traditional and simple: the goal is to do the job (as well as KDE) without being in your face or under your feet. Get it from Vector or SalineOS.
Mate is similar. Get it from Linus Mint.

There are other GUIs and other distros, but these are what I'd consider (having tried 111 Linuxes). It's always best to use a distro with it's default GUI: it's always the most polished because most users and (importantly) developers will be using it.

When all's said and done, Mint is probably the starting point that will suit most beginners.

Last edited by DavidMcCann; 09-18-2013 at 11:02 AM.
 
Old 09-18-2013, 02:30 PM   #3
xunilung
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Scoggins View Post
In my review of various dristrubtions, it appears to that Ubuntu is the most popular in a lay nonscientific equation. I am planning to choose in the next few weeks and wanted insight for guidance. I'm leaning toward Ubuntu, but visual interpretation is of consequence as well I.e.
SuSe.


Thanks Peter
Equations are fine, but I would recommend downloading a few live-cds from the distributions that interest you the most. That way you can get a basic view of the distro without having to install anything first.
 
Old 09-18-2013, 02:41 PM   #4
273
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If you like Unity and can disable or don't mind the Amazon search results on your desktop (google it) then there's nothing wrong with Ubuntu.
If you want something as easy to install without Unity I would look at Mint. Or, of course, one of the ones DavidMcCann recommends.
All I would say is you should at least try Unity, Gnome, KDE and XFCE before making a choice to settle for one. You ought really to try different distributions also to see how they do things and what fits best with you but if you're not going to use more than the desktop tools this won't affect you as much.
Another thing to bear in mind is if you want Adobe Flash, DVD playback and support for Windows media and some other types of file you may want to look into how that is enabled in the distributions you look at as most distributions require a little "hoop jumping" in order to install them even if it's just ticking a box and knowing what to select to install.
 
Old 09-19-2013, 10:32 AM   #5
DavidMcCann
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As far as Flash and the media codecs are concerned, all the ones I recommended have both except Arios (which has "install Flash" in the menu) and SUSE (that does make you jump through hoops — I forgot).
 
Old 09-19-2013, 01:48 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidMcCann View Post
As far as Flash and the media codecs are concerned, all the ones I recommended have both except Arios (which has "install Flash" in the menu) and SUSE (that does make you jump through hoops I forgot).
Good to know, thanks. I'm not sure I've played with any of the ones you recommend (which is odd) so I'll have to take a look -- I like to try new distros and it's good to know what can be recommended in case people new to Linux ask.
 
Old 09-22-2013, 04:38 AM   #7
Knightron
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Scoggins View Post
In my review of various dristrubtions, it appears to that Ubuntu is the most popular in a lay nonscientific equation. I am planning to choose in the next few weeks and wanted insight for guidance. I'm leaning toward Ubuntu, but visual interpretation is of consequence as well I.e.
SuSe.


Thanks Peter

Ubuntu is often the first distro people use when they first begin using Gnu/Linux, (my self included).
Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidMcCann
... created an awareness that has never gone away...
I don't know the history or truth behind this statement, since i've only used Gnu/Linux for two years now, but one thing is without a doubt, Ubuntu has an amazing awareness compared with the majority of other distros.

In my opinion, Ubuntu holds this awareness and newbies like your self often jump to the conclusion that it holds that awareness because it is 'the best Gnu/Linux distro'.
Ubuntu is a fine distro to introduce a person to Gnu/Linux, however, if you're looking for better stability than Windows like many people fleeing Windows, then, in my opinion it is not the distro you want.

You mentioned Suse; i assume you mean Opensuse. I used Opensuse for quite a while and it is a fantastic distro. I've use a few distros, (nothing like DavidMcCann, he's a ninja. My count's around 15) i regard Opensuse in my top three distros, one of the few i'd use as my work machine.

Typically however i recommend Mepis to newbies. Mepis is based on the stable release of Debian which is (notorious for it's stability). The latest release of Mepis however is based on the Old stable version of Debian though, which is means you will be held back by using Mepis 11. Mepis 12 development is in action though, and i think will be released in a month or two.
I understand you will likely not want to wait though; but please keep Mepis in mind for when version 12 is released because Mepis is another fantastic distro; especially for newbies, and even more so if they use Nvidia graphics.

In the mean time, try Ubuntu, Mint, or Opensuse. They're all good for newbies. It's not until you work out the way a distro works, (the differences between using Gnu/Linux and windows) will you be able to decide which distro will work best for you.
 
Old 09-22-2013, 10:59 AM   #8
DavidMcCann
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I'd agree with those comments on Mepis (a very under-rated distro) and OpenSUSE (so long as you stick to KDE).

One thing I've noticed with Debian (and many of its derivatives) is the lack of user-friendly configuration tools. Most people will never notice it, because it only troubles those with odd requirements. My usb speakers can be enabled with a few clicks in OpenSUSE, but require scripts to be edited and the computer re-booted in Debian and Ubuntu. The other day, someone here posted that he'd put Debian on a server but couldn't work out how to configure the firewall: SUSE would do it for him.
 
Old 10-16-2013, 09:32 PM   #9
jamison20000e
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