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You say you want something easy to install, but a lot of the modern, newbie-friendly distros require newish hardware. If you have that box spare, I think you would do well to install Debian Woody (will be officially released 1st May), as you can get a minimal graphical system running to a point where it is actually quite usable. There are great, light window-managers out there such as blackbox/fluxbox, windowmaker and fvwm.
If, as you say, its only a spare box then you could use it to learn more abot Linux. Debian isn't difficult if you follow the instructions in the installation manual carefully and take time to research things yourself. Installing programs is as easy as apt-get install packagename, although you may have to tweak things in a text editor. Note: apt-get can install from CD-ROMs as well as via FTP/HTTP.
Of course, Slackware, Gentoo and Linux from Scratch will teach you about Linux, and probably to a greater extent. The learning curve for these distros is a lot steeper than Debian though.
The alternative is to carry on using the likes of Mandrake, who set things up for your. Don't get me wrong, Mandrake is great for getting a Linux system installed quickly and easily, and is a good distro which a lot of people like. However, it does make a lot of things too easy, and if something does go wrong (e.g. KDE 3 rpms screw your system up), you often don't have the experience to fix the problem yourself.
on your computer it will fly. I have it on a 486dx and X is very smooth and quick, its very easy to install (unless you try to fit 1770 on the floppy manually - but it does it all for you) adn you can add the stuff you want. it's got x11r6, vnc, and lots of other stuff. I tried installing slackware and peanut, both of which i had no luck with, and mu practically installed itself
You don't need another distro, unless you really want to get it . Just use your Mandrake CDs and select the Expert install from the beginning. You'll be able to select specific packages to load, or not. If you don't want to set up the major heavy weights like KDE and Gnome, there should be a light(er) weight window manager available as an option -- it may be window maker or FVWM or something like that.
On my P120 laptop, I do run KDE 2.2 on occasion, but mostly I stick with IceWM (a relative light weight) or XFCE (a desktop/GUI, but lighter than KDE).
I've checked the homepages for the distributions that everyone has suggested, and get the idea that I'm asking for too much.
As a newbie even the expert installation option of Mandrake fell short. How do I know what package contains what I want? And what if I miss something I need? I have tried this, and Mandrake's first time setup thingy didn't run, which isn't a big deal, but there was no internet dialer, and that is a big deal to me. There may be other missing packages that I need as well, but given the gobbldygook names these packages have (and the descriptions Mandrake provides only help a little bit) I really have no way of knowing what I really need to include or not. (Yes, I know dependancies are handled automatically, that's a neato feature BTW.)
RedHat has a much better minimal install than Mandrake, I know because I have tried them both......Mandrake actually installs The Gimp by default during an expert minimal install without X, I had to uncheck it before I installed which isn't a big deal because I always only install the packages I wan't but someone new to linux will probably be afraid to uncheck default things.
Originally posted by AutoBot RedHat has a much better minimal install than Mandrake, I know because I have tried them both......Mandrake actually installs The Gimp by default during an expert minimal install without X, I had to uncheck it before I installed which isn't a big deal because I always only install the packages I wan't but someone new to linux will probably be afraid to uncheck default things.
I tried RH 7.2, and it doesn't detect the video card properly. Not a serious problem, as I've got a few other junk ones lying about, I just haven't felt like popping open the case to swap it out. I'll have to get around to that.
How stable is the testing version of Slackware? I was really hoping to get a 2.4 kernal, it seems much nicer on my main box than the 2.2 I used to have.
And how newbie frindly is Slackware? I know that they say it has "simplicity and ease of use", but that's not quite the same thing as "newbie friendly" (www.slackware.org, for those that didn't know)
Originally posted by Aussie How comfortable are you in drake? You can use the config's from drake as a template for setting up slack.
I've been using it since November, but "using" isn't the same as "understanding." My second computer is going to be my tool to move from one to the other.
That said, I'm assuming by "config's" you mean Mandrake's default configurations. Is there a way to get to those in a human readable format? The only way I can really think of is re-running a mock install on my current box while trying to put Slackware on my second box.
Near as I can tell that wouldn't help my desire to eliminate the extra crud that a regular desktop user doesn't need hogging resources. I'd just end up copying my Mandrake install, and calling it Slackware.
Just have a look at all the files in /etc, they are almost all plain text , they tell linux what to do when booting, how to connect to a network and almost every thing else. in /etc/X11 you have the config files for your x server and other related programs. By reading these you'll get a good idea on what to do to get slack up and running.