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Old 09-28-2004, 09:42 AM   #1
snjbrian
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Sep 2004
Location: NJ USA
Distribution: Suse 9.2, Fedora 3, Xandros 2.0
Posts: 22

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Help me pick a distro???


Hey gang,
I am new to Linux and I want some guidance in picking a distro. I have read many reviews and have narrowed it down a bit.

I want stability.
I want something that stays current, not cutting edge but not slow either.
I want a GUI interface.
I want something forgiving for a NOOB but not limited.

In some forums I see recommendations for Mandrake 10, but then I see people ripping on it...as if it was the "Windows" of the Linux world. To be honest, I want to be cool! lol

I did toy with Fedora Core 2 final and just started toying with Core3 Test 2. It still has installation problems under VMWARE and I fear using it because it is so fast to update and be cutting edge. I want to spend the next year with a stable release so I can learn the Linux craft. I want to know for the most part that if I do updates, it will startup/work when I am done. lol

Based on the answers I get from here I would like to select one of these...
Mandrake 10, Redhat Desktop, Redhat WS, Fedora Core?, Suse 9.1


In the world of tools you have the bottom (STANLEY) the middle (CRAFTSMAN) and the top (SNAP-ON).

I am looking for the "Craftsman" of the Linux world.

Thanks in advance,
snjbrian
 
Old 09-28-2004, 10:51 AM   #2
koyi
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Registered: Jul 2003
Location: Osaka, Japan
Distribution: Arch, Ubuntu
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Re: Help me pick a distro???

Quote:
Originally posted by snjbrian
I want stability.
I want something that stays current, not cutting edge but not slow either.
I want a GUI interface.
I want something forgiving for a NOOB but not limited.

To be honest, I want to be cool! lol

I want to spend the next year with a stable release so I can learn the Linux craft.

Based on the answers I get from here I would like to select one of these...
Mandrake 10, Redhat Desktop, Redhat WS, Fedora Core?, Suse 9.1
Base on the above statements, I think I have to make you think over it again. Perhaps the best distro for you is Slackware and Gentoo. Below are the reasons.

1. Slackware is famous for its stability. Gentoo is stable because you only install what you need.
2. Slackware is reasonably current. Gentoo is a bit faster but not as rapid as FC.
3. Both can be tuned to have GUI. In fact, every distro can have GUI.
4. Both are good environments for a newbie to learn about linux. And of course not limited.
5. Slackware users are often considered cool. It is cool to build gentoo from stage one.
6. Slackware just got to version 10, so I think there may be another year for it to hit 11. (Of course 10.1 may be out, I dunno :P) Gentoo is always evolving but you wont feel it.

Based on the above reasons, I think Slack or Gentoo suits your needs
 
Old 09-28-2004, 11:00 AM   #3
lupin_the_3rd
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Registered: Oct 2003
Location: Memphis, TN
Distribution: Slackware current
Posts: 485

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I agree with Slackware... once you get the hang of it nothing beats it for simplicity. However, this is a pretty good distro aimed at newbies and it is fast!

Ubuntu

*Comes with GNOME 2.8, one app for one purpose (Firefox for Web Browser, evolution email, OpenOffice for office, etc.)
*Based on debian so you get the benefits of Apt-Get to upgrade your system
*developers contribute back to Debian and GNOME by submitting patches to these groups
*Developers consist of GNOME, Debian developers, and one of the founders of Freedsektop.org
*They'll send you 10 CDs of the final release (due in Oct.) for free: Free CDs
*Have support for PPC and AMD64 as well

Worth a shot... it's the first distro that has tempted me away from Slackware since I made the switch to Slackware.
 
Old 09-28-2004, 11:10 AM   #4
dsegel
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Registered: Aug 2004
Location: Davis, California
Distribution: Gentoo, always Gentoo.
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I'm a big Gentoo proponent, but if you're a newbie and you want something that will install as a complete package I'd vote for SuSE. It's clean, it's complete, it's stable, and it's well supported.

In general, the questions I ask when picking a distro are:

1. How easy is it to find, install, and upgrade software (packages)

2. What kind of support (forums, e-mail lists, etc.) is there for the distro?

3. Will it suport my hardware?

Of course, Gentoo kicks major ass in all of these categories, but it does require a lot more time and patience to get up and running.

Edited to add: Mandrake really is a good distro. It's true that it is more "Windows-like" than some others, but it's still linux. Is being easy such a bad thing? I don't like it because it looks cluttered, but that's a personal taste kind of thing.

I recently tried Fedora Core 2, Slackware 10, Mandrake 10, and SuSE 9.1 (and have them all installed and bootable on my primary PC), so I feel that I have a pretty good basis for comparison.

Last edited by dsegel; 09-28-2004 at 11:14 AM.
 
Old 09-28-2004, 11:15 AM   #5
Tinku
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Registered: Jul 2004
Location: INDIA
Distribution: SusE, Gentoo,Debian,FreeBSD
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Re: Help me pick a distro???



hey i think u shud go for SUSE.It gives the best GUI for a newbie,And forget mandrake,it sucks big time....
And ofcourse you can keep updating SUSE,and thisi is also extremely stable,
I have been using this distro for the past 6 monthys and never did it crash till now!!!!!!11(something which windows users cant digest)

so just go for suse
 
Old 09-28-2004, 11:39 AM   #6
halo14
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Registered: Apr 2004
Location: Surprise, AZ
Distribution: Debian | CentOS | Arch
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I would also recommend SuSE for a newbie.. Slackware is great.. but it is defnitely more difficult to configure than some others... SuSE is well supported and if you go with 9.1 it's free... You mentioned Red Hat... Red Hat Professional workstation and Red Hat WS are the exact same thing... same disc labels and all... WS is $300 and Pro Workstation is $100... the reason is because you get 24x7 phone tech support with RHEL WS and you don't with professional workstation... thought you do still get the first year of updates and patches... as well as phone support for like 60 or 90 days...

Still... I would recomend SuSE to start... run it for 6 months or so... and learn it well... then try a diff distro... maybe Debian, Slack, or Gentoo...

Distro's I've tried in the past year:
Red Hat 9
Fedora Core 1
Fedora Core 2
Red Hat Professional Workstation
SuSE 9.0 Professional
SuSE 9.1 Professional
Damn Small Linux
KNOPPIX
Debain "Sarge"
Mandrake 10
Vector
FreeBSD 5.1
Solaris 9
 
Old 09-28-2004, 12:09 PM   #7
mssql dba
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Registered: Oct 2003
Posts: 14

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Have any of you happened to load Oracle on Suse?
 
Old 09-28-2004, 12:44 PM   #8
sfzombie13
Member
 
Registered: Dec 2003
Location: wv
Distribution: suse, ubuntu, fedora
Posts: 105

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this is really more of a thanx to lupin, i followed the link to ubuntu, was wondering if you knew where i could find any info regarding installing it on a sony vaio fx370. i found out yesterday that laptops are proprietary as i screwed up a debian install.....oh well, live and learn, right?
 
Old 09-28-2004, 01:04 PM   #9
lupin_the_3rd
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Registered: Oct 2003
Location: Memphis, TN
Distribution: Slackware current
Posts: 485

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Well, Ubuntu mailing list are very, very active... so you could always post there. Ubuntu uses the new sarge installer (albeit patched to make it a little more user friendly) so most hardware should be picked up... if this is an older laptop you should be fine... if it's newer then you'll have to goggle around to see what distros people are putting on it... Linux will work with any laptop... it's just a matter of some laptops requiring a lot more effort on the users part rather than the distros installer

Ubuntu picked up everything on my Dell 8500 (but I had to boot with pci=noacpi to get sound and wireless) and I have to manually enter my 1680x1050 modeline to use the widescreen modes for my display (but I have to do that with every distro).

You could just try it on a small partition to see if it works...
 
Old 09-28-2004, 03:12 PM   #10
snjbrian
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Sep 2004
Location: NJ USA
Distribution: Suse 9.2, Fedora 3, Xandros 2.0
Posts: 22

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
DAMN..you guys really kick ass!

DSEGEL and HALO14, I especially want your thoughts again.

I know I was asking alot but it is hard for a Linux newbie. I teach Windows XP and do small biz consulting...so if I need to help someone, I can say, "Go buy Windows XP for Dummies" because Win XP is the same no matter what book you pick up. Linux, on the other hand, is as confusing as it gets!

Now part of me likes this. It is exclusive/elusive...lol
I will make the effort to dig in and learn once I have my direction.

I have heard tons of great things about Gentoo and Slackware. The problem is I am starting from ground zero. I barely know what root is...lol So I doubt that is a good start for a real NOOB. Once I get my feet wet over the next 6 months I will definitely try some other distros under VMWARE.

OK..DSEGEL and HALO14. You mentioned SUSE 9.1. I have read many reviews about it being exactly what you said...stable, easy to install...but free? I am confused about the whole "free" copncept since the companies like Suse and Novell charge money! The website shows the prices. Keep in mind I did visit the SUSE site and found it hard to find the answers to my questions.

How do I get it for free? (I do have a very fast cable modem - no need to buy CD's)
Is the free version the "Personal" edition or can you get Pro for free?

What do I get or not get with the free version - like updates? Cause I think I would prefer to skip paying for support. I prefer to deal with real users like in this forum and not helpdesk techs that read from a screen! I do want to get updates easily though. I like the way Fedora uses RPM's.

Lastly, thanks to everyone for every bit of input! I may not go with Slackware, Gentoo, etc. but you certainly gave me food for thought!!

snjbrian
 
Old 09-28-2004, 03:39 PM   #11
Mara
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Location: Grenoble
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Moved to Linux-Distributions, as it's a 'which distro' type of question.

SuSE downloads:
http://www.suse.com/us/private/downl...nux/index.html

Updates are also availble (automatic updates tool after you install).
 
Old 09-28-2004, 07:36 PM   #12
snjbrian
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Sep 2004
Location: NJ USA
Distribution: Suse 9.2, Fedora 3, Xandros 2.0
Posts: 22

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
Thanks for the link...I will check it out.

But why do they charge for it at the SUSE website? Is it for support? I see the Personal edition for free but I don't see anything about the Pro version.
 
Old 09-28-2004, 07:59 PM   #13
dsegel
Member
 
Registered: Aug 2004
Location: Davis, California
Distribution: Gentoo, always Gentoo.
Posts: 159

Rep: Reputation: 30
I think I installed it over the network - you download a minimal boot disk of some kind, and then it establishes a network connection (probably ftp) to download and install the rest of the distro.

The SuSE boot CD image I used is only about 24MB. I do know it was kind of a pain to find the boot CD image and get it all started, but after that it went smoothly and as has been pointed out, you can update and install new packages over the network.
 
Old 09-28-2004, 08:02 PM   #14
dsegel
Member
 
Registered: Aug 2004
Location: Davis, California
Distribution: Gentoo, always Gentoo.
Posts: 159

Rep: Reputation: 30
Start here: http://www.suse.com/us/private/downl...nux/index.html and read the Installation Guideline doc.

The boot disk image you need will be under the 9.1 source tree in the boot directory, and is called boot.iso. For example, see here:

http://ftp.ale.org/pub/suse/i386/9.1/boot/

Last edited by dsegel; 09-28-2004 at 08:03 PM.
 
Old 09-29-2004, 09:45 AM   #15
halo14
Senior Member
 
Registered: Apr 2004
Location: Surprise, AZ
Distribution: Debian | CentOS | Arch
Posts: 1,103

Rep: Reputation: 45
SuSE 9.1 Professional is free to install via FTP

There is a small ISO image to download under FTP installation tree under the "boot" folder called "boot.iso"

Download that and burn it to a CD... You then boot from that disk and it will come up and ask you a couple questions, then it will ask you for the IP address of the server you wish to install from. Look here for a well detailed tutorial on suseforums for how to run the ftp install...

http://forums.suselinuxsupport.de/in...=0&#entry25017

It is free to download via FTP, they just don't let you download the ISO for it. If you purchase box set at Best Buy it's $90 and you get the 5 install CDs and 1 install DVD plus 2 large manuals (administration and user)

That link should provide you with the necessary steps. I used it for my first SuSE ftp install..
 
  


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