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Hello there, complete linux noob here. I used to be a mac user a while back but have been a win user for quite a while. Now however, through actions beyond my control I will be losing my primary computer and will have to revert to my old PC for a while and having heard good things about linux (stable, works well on old pc's, etc) I would like to try it out and I need some advice on which version I should use as there seems to be tons of different ones to choose from.
I'd like my new linux machine to run as well as possible, while not having to literally go back to a command prompt (so please have a gui) and be fairly easy to use, I'm okay at computers but I'm no programmer. I need it to be secure as possible for some light web surfing/IMing, light word processing and light pic viewing/editing. So please, any advice on what to choose would be great. Here are my specs on my old machine that will soon (I hope) change into my shiny new linux machine.
Soundblaster live Sound card
Geforce card (forget which #)
Currently formatted and running (slowly) win98
I hope something will run on it. Please let me know what I can use. Would like as many options as possible.
Thanks for the replies. I did some research on the builds you recommended and I'm currently leaning toward Debian as it looks simplier to use than slack and gentoo which both look a bit to complicated for me.
I'm still open to suggestions, but downloading Debian as I type. =)
The advantage with Gentoo, is at you will learn fast. The desavantage is at you must learn to get a good system.
I don't know slackware.
The advantage with Debian is the way apt-get is dealing with dependances. You must be carefull at the begining if you want to modify /etc/apt/sources.list
Given that you said you really want a gui I'd say that of the recommendations so far suse might be the best. Mandriva would also might be a decent option. I'd also recommend Ubuntu, with xubuntu which is running XFCE instead of gnome for the desktop. That would probably be better for your hardware.
The problem is that most of the good newbie friendly distros also require a bit newer hardward than it seems like you have. While the other suggestions are more minimalistic from what I've heard they also need a bit more configuration with the command line. These are real good for if you want to learn linux in a good way, but it seems like you're looking for something that will work without needing much from you right now.
Yeah, if your looking for something with a GUI start, I completely agree with what everyone has said, with one exception, I found myself, with SUSE, that it does not come with a compiler, and so I had alot of trouble getting all of that installed, although that was a while ago, and perhaps the installation is a bit better equiped now.
I would suggest perhaps Fedora Core, its a decent GUI driven installation/run but its still very flexible. Its not completely unfriendly, yet it comes with a nice well fortified installation.
SuSE is very good distro for a newbie, but it need at least a P3 to be fast. I don't like Fedoara, because you need to buy expansive books to be able to do advanced system management. The doc of the distribution specific configurations is not good (or at least hard to find).
It is hard to recommand a distro, because all have plus and minus. Those day, all the distro have a few windows manager installed, and the console in linux is a plus. To be able to work as newbie in the console, you must install the midnight commander, mc,
All the OS when booting put in place a console, and start all the other things fron this console. Unlike on Mac (maybe wrong with the last macOS), you have acces on this console with linux, and you can start so many console as you want. With a program as mc, it become relatively easy to work at the console. The advantages of the console are speed of use and flexibility.
Now, for you pc, I believe at Debian would be a good choice, even if the install is menu driver. You will get a faster system as with SuSE. I have not try opensuse 10, but I have read report at it work faster on fast pc as the 9.3. Bur I am almost 100% sure at Debian will work faster as Suse on your machine.
Last edited by Dominique_71; 12-17-2005 at 08:47 AM.