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I bought this off my brother in law a year ago because I needed something to work with, I had no computer at the time. It is still my main computer, with my main uses being internet browsing, although I plan to learn general programming as well. I'm pretty well versed in both Windows (up to 7) and Mac OSX. However I don't have much experience with the command line or non-GUI interfaces, but I'm more than interested in learning! I tend to learn better when I'm "forced" to, e.g. jumping straight into the complex environments and going from there, so part of me was thinking of using Slackware. Although Debian also interests me.
What really tipped me over the edge in terms of interest in Linux distros, was the revelation of PRISM and all that fun stuff. I want to move away from the big corporations in terms of software/OS's.
Anything suggestions for me? If you need any more info I'll be more than happy to indulge!
I would recommend that you follow your gut and give Slackware a whirl. It gives you a completely functional GUI environment with a choice of six desktop environments/window managers, ranging from the most basic (TWM) to the most fully developed (KDE/XFCE). You are able to do your daily computing, while having a distro that is very friendly to command line users (no "sudo" fetish, for example). By default, you boot directly to the command line, without interference from a Display Manager.
Slackbuilds and Alien Bob offer a large collection of additional software, if you wish to install programs that are not included with the default install, but it's not plug and play--you will have to use Slackware's package management tools to install them.
I started with Slackware (quite by accident) and I'm glad I did. Once you understand Slackware, no other distro can ever intimidate you.
And, though I've wandered elsewhere, Slackware's simple elegance keeps drawing me back.
Beyond that, you can try Live CDs of various distros, and see what one you like. Though there is not a Live CD option for Slackware, you could look at Porteus, which is based on Slackware.
Slackware users always recommend it, but I find all the milling around needed to get software tiresome: I suppose it depend on how much you need. Salix is 100% compatible with Slackware (more plug and play software, more configuration tools) and that does have a live disk.
Actually, you can learn Linux (including the CLI) with any distro, even the horrid Ubuntu.
PRISM data collection is done at the fiber-optic level of the internet backbone. Data sent over the major severs will be subject to PRISM, regardless of your personal computer or server operating system.
I only referred to that because it's the thing people most relate to all the surveillance that the government does. Microsoft and Apple are both on lists that show them sending user info to the Government. I suppose I should've expected more specificity from a Linux Forum haha.
Whether or not you have wireless issues depends primarily on what wireless chipset you have (not the brand of the card, the brand of the chip in the card). Certain manufacturers have not released code to allow drivers to be installed in the kernel, but you can usually get them working with a couple of extra steps.
Broadcom is one of those manufacturers. I have Dells and they like Broadcom; I've become quite adept at getting Broadcom to work on my Dells with Slackware!
If you post what wireless chipset you have, someone here should be able to tell you whether it will work natively with the kernel or require some extra steps. It's very rare these days that wireless absolutely refuses to work, but it certainly used to be Linux's Achilles heel.
I'm guessing it's some form of Intel chipset, I've never had to look up the chipset for a wifi card before, but I found the tech specs on Intel's website: http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/...200-brief.html
It does say it supports Ubuntu though, so that seems like a good sign to me.
I apologize for my noobishness,this is a whole new ballpark for me!