Ubuntu is frustrating me; What are my other options?
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I haven't tried ubuntu. I use slackware. Nevertheless, I feel pretty confident in saying that the distribution is not necessarily the problem. Things got a lot more complicated for linux users when cpus turned dual core and video became a necessity. The default installation kernel ran slower on a 1.86GHz dual core, than on a 600MHz single core. I had to compile a custom kernel with smp. Then the computer was fast, but video barely worked. I installed the video driver that the video card maker recommended. Finally, the computer behaved as it should.
Nvidia seems to have better support for linux than ATI, although ATI has finally noticed the ever growing linux-user population. I used an nvidia card for years and it worked great. ATI on the other hand.... still cant get the ATI drivers to work right with it.
I'd like to recommend CentOS. It's based on Redhat Enterprise Linux, and focuses on being binary compatible (it's built on RHEL source and also follows the RHEL support time line) with RHEL. As such it's rock solid even compared with other linux-distros IMHO. My personal feeling re CentOS, vs all other distros, is that it's like comparing Windows Server to Windows XP Home Edition (if that makes any sense to you; a professioal tool visavi a plastic "The Little Builder"-kind-of-tool if you get my drift).
Distro recommendations are otherwise a rather religious matter as linux goes - everybody thinks they are the only true followers. 8-)
Last edited by email@example.com; 06-04-2008 at 04:03 AM.
Distribution: Bodhi Linux 2/3 , Puppy, Knoppix, SliTaz, Raspbian, Kali
We too have been with Ubuntu variants (mostly) for a good while - since 6.06, still have a Tosh M30 laptop running happily on Xubuntu 6.06.
FWIW, our perception is that 8.04 works best of all - just upgraded my wife's desktop and she finds it better than 7.10.
This Acer 4315 laptop was 'the cheapest in the world' at AU$480 something (under 200 quid) back in February, came with Ubuntu 7.10 installed, and still has it on one partition (because I'm lazy). Most used partition is now the one with 8.04.
We therefore get to use 7.10 and 8.04 one after the other most days. They both work well, but 8.04 runs a bit quicker on our hardware, and supports full-on Compiz-Fusion rotating desktop cube etc. That's on a puny Celeron with built-in intel shared RAM graphics.
I had a similar falling out with our ancient SuSE 10 (box set) desktop installation until we ran some benchmarks - it runs our CAD and Flight SIM measurably faster than a fresh install of SuSE 10.3 in another partition of the drive. Reiserfs? Maybe - who knows? But it was *feeling* slow and clunky!
So be sure to check out whether it is speed or something else that is displeasing you. Hard drives are cheap these days, and with another one in your machine it's so easy to comnpare apples with apples.
Let me know what you think of opensuse. I have tried and liked them all!: Ubuntu (current distro), debian, simplymepis, fedora core 2-4, knoppix, pclinuxos, mandrake 9 (I think), but not opensuse yet.
I should add that ubuntu 8.04 is working well for me. It seemed a little slow at one point, but picked up a little after switching from gnome to kde 4.1 (I think I got the version number right). KDE 4 looks very nice, and even nicer after user-configuration.
I stay clear of Suse since they became part of Microsoft!
For the last 2 years Ubuntu has been the best of the best in the Linux world (in my opinion), but today it has become very slow and clunky (also in my opinion). Maybe this will change when version 8.10 is released, but right now I have a fast Internet connection and I feel like experimenting.
Which distros should I try? Fedora? Suse? Mandriva? The one thing I loved about Ubuntu was how easy it was to install almost anything. If I could get a distro that was light weight, stable, easy, and had a huge repository, that would be great!
Your suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Try Linux Mint it works like a dream only if it supported 64bit.
I first tried Suse 10.3. Installing community repositories is easier than it's ever been, but the package manager is still painfully slow. The ATI drivers wouldn't install, when installing the codecs I ran into dependency issues, I couldn't get a video to play, and the gnome version crashed a few times.
After that I tried Fedora 9. It looked great until I got to installation. It wouldn't let me select any filesystem other than ext3 for root, and when I tried to boot it I ran into Grub Error 17 (whatever the hell that is). It wouldn't even start.
I'm going to try some of the others now.
Last edited by Cinematography; 06-05-2008 at 12:13 AM.
Consider SimplyMepis. It is debian-based, recognizes hardware well, has many of the non-free mutlimedia stuff pre-installed, and has the reputation of just plain working. The only thing that Ubuntu seems to have on it is the deserved praise for being easy to upgrade from one version to the next over the internet. I believe that SimplyMepis is still intended to be upgraded using an installation CD.
PCLinuxOS is also great for the same reasons that SimplyMepis is. It has fewer packages available, but there are more than enough for most users.
I've tried both DesktopBSD and PC-BSD, and I prefer DesktopBSD, but feel free to try them both. I'm new to the alternative to M$ OSs and have tried many. For servers I don't know, haven't gotten into the nuts and bolts of how they work yet.
I know that there is a lot of support for the apt package management system, and general disdain for rpm, but now that OpenSUSE has reversed its decision to use the mono based package management system, software management works very well IMHO. There are lots of OpenSUSE package repositories out there and it's only very infrequently that I come across some application that is not available pre-packaged on the "normal" community repositories. Yast has always been a great tool for the management of the system and, even though I have more than a couple of decades of U*ix/Linux experience at the deep-do-do level, I use it all the time and find it does a majority of tasks well. Novell did not drop KDE like it proposed and you can still find a complete environment for this excellent desktop (although your probably coming from a Gnome environment - hack spit!). It just works and used to be at the top of the distros until the M$ deal when everyone seems to have dropped it (but can you say words like throwing the baby out with the bath-water). Today I read that Novell is up 30% this quarter and that is mostly not with any sales via M$.
Just give it a good go, I think you'll find it very usable and professional, it just works! I've tried lots of distros but have always come back to the quality of SUSE.
Like you I have a fast Internet connection and currently have the top 42 distributions as listed on Distribution Watch. I also teach Linux in open classes at our city library. I have discovered that the strangest things attract people to the different distributions. Some go with a dist because it uses KDE and some because it uses Gnome or one of the other desktop managers.
I can share with you that the most widely used distribution in my classes is Linux Mint. Linux Mint 5.0 release candidate 2 is now available and is the most complete distribution I've used. It is also part of the CNR program download distributions (although I won't use it) and offers its own click and install software portal.
Linux Mint is built on Ubuntu's latest release and then incorporates an extremely pleasant menu system. I find many of the features of Linux Mint on other distributions but never a distribution with all of them.
It comes as a live CD and I would urge you to give it a look before you install anything else.
I could not agree more with your comment on Linux Mint. I have used just about every Linux distro I could find and I have settled for Mint 4 on all 4 of my computers which I use for office work, downloading from the internet
and multimedia apps.Also I find wine doors very useful tool for installing
non-free ware applications. The only thing missing is a 64bit version.
You could try Sidux. Sidux is a live CD that has good hardware detection. It can be installed to the hard drive and run just like Debian "Sid"**. It's probably one of the fastest installing distributions I've tried. (Took me 15 min for a full install) There is also a lite version too (460mb), though I have not tried that one.
** Debian Sid is the Unstable branch, but it is really stable as long as you don't mindlessly install updates.
I love to use sidux and here is why: I like cutting edge software, but most of the time, I do not want to HAVE to play around with repositories, fixing constantly breaking library dependencies and so on. Debian Sid, to me anyway, is close to optimum, but during transitions in the project, it can truly become unstable, just like Sid, the kid who blows up toys in the movie, Toy Story. So Sid is close to what I want - fast, flexible, and free. sidux brings it the rest of the way. The sidux scripts protect you from instabilities in packaging and place application updates with inconsistencies on hold until the inconsistencies are resolved. At times, sidux developers feed bug reports and suggestions back to the Debian application owners, occasionally recommending a fix for the issue.
I have had the base installation complete in as little as two minutes and seventeen seconds, then the full range of applications install in ten to twenty minutes, depending on how much software I add initially. I have configured a really full system with codecs, plugins, and non-free third party applications in well under forty five minutes, but a typical complete installation can usually be completed in under thirty minutes.
What you end up with is a full, complete desktop system that has the most current software that actually works.
Downsides to sidux are that the Live CD is really nothing more than a starting point for the real install. You cannot do all that much in livc CD mode. Usually the wireless network will not work. You can, however, create a USB stick or thumb drive image from the CD and use that instead of the Live CD to boot and install the system, which REALLY speeds up the installation, a positive to somewhat balance the lacking features from the Live CD. Big upside are the management tools. One caveat to that is the fact that smxi, the system updating tool, needs to run in Console mode rather than in the desktop manager. This is to ensure that desktop updates can be properly applied and validated. sidux made this a requirement in order to tame the unruly Sid. Some consider that a problem, but sidux does allow you to append a 3 to the boot manager entry for sidux, and boot directly onto the console. You can then login as root, run smxi, and when you are done, start the desktop. smxi is a very easy to use console tool.
If that sounds too complicated for you and Ubuntu is too heavy weight, consider using Xubuntu. It is faster than Ubuntu because it uses XFCE as the desktop manager instead of GNOME. If you want to try KDE instead, there is Kubuntu.
If you want something a bit smaller, try PCLinuxOS or SimplyMEPIS 7.0. If they are too big, move a bit smaller to the PCLinuxOS offshoots, MiniME or TinyME, or the MEPIS offshoot AntiX. I use primarily sidux and AntiX. The AntiX software uses the kernel and administrative tools from SimplyMEPIS but replaces KDE on the desktop with one of two lightweight window manager, Fluxbox or IceWM. I find AntiX to be one of the fastest systems that still has a complete set of software.
If even AntiX is not small enough, try out Puppy. You can run it live and have it load from CD to memory, making it one of the fastest systems available. You can also install it to USB stick or hard drive in addition to running from disk.
openSUSE 11.0 is much improved compared to previous releases. Packages now install much faster and the total time to install has been improved. I have experienced very slow updates to openSUSE in the past. I do caution against the use of Kerry or Beagle, the desktop search tools. I installed openSUSE 11.0 on a Dell Dimension 4100 using the netinstall. The installation took two hours, start to finish because of a very busy network, but it was a clean install. Subsequently it worked very well. Imagine my disappointment when I installed, using the full DVD, to a much newer Lenovo 3000 Model Y410 laptop. Base install took between 20-25 minutes, much faster, and additional configuration took 5-10 minutes longer, for about a half hour installation. However, I failed to uncheck the desktop search installation. While I was able to detect and configure my wireless network, an Intel Pro Wireless 3945 card, I was never able to use the network manager to select my access point. The reason was that I could not maintain accurate mouse pointer movement long enough to activate the wireless access point. I tried different desktop and window managers with no success. Hopefully others do not run into this serious issue. As a result of these issues, which I have not seen elsewhere, I cannot recommend openSUSE without reservation, so I was most disappointed. If you can omit desktop search and get a responsive mouse pointer, perhaps you will have much better results. Too bad this tarnished my impression because openSUSE looks good and is very easy to set up, and it is jammed full of software.
Fedora 9 has good wireless support and is easy to install. It is a cutting edge distribution that improves during the course of the release. You may want to try it. Some have very good results, others have problems. I had good results. Given the great sidux and AntiX desktops I also have, with excellent SimplyMEPIS, PCLinuxOS, and Mandriva desktop partitions, I did not stay with it.
I've tried Simply Mepis. It's a nice distro, but like many of the smaller distros, it doesn't have a consistent release schedule.
After trying about 5 different distros, I've decided to stick with Xubuntu 8.04. It has all of the positives that Ubuntu had minus the bloat and clunkiness.
Thank you all again for the suggestions.
I do like SimplyMEPIS 7.0 and I have liked all of the releases since the project was first introduced in 2003. I like one of the derivative releases of SimplyMEPIS, a project spin-off called AntiX best of all. My reason is that it is small, fast, and more current than SimplyMEPIS, but only sacrifices a bit of the desktop polish, but yields a faster result with excellent tools. It also gets updated much more often than SimplyMEPIS, which remains at 7.0 (released Christmas 2007), whereas AntiX is now at release M7.2 and has been updated twice since SimplyMEPIS 7.0.
If you like frequent updates, sidux is great.
However, since you have chosen to go with Xubuntu 8.04, I believe that you have made a very nice choice. I installed it on my newest laptop and I found it to be faster than either Ubuntu or Kubuntu, plus I liked the graphics images on the boot screen and the desktop better (matter of personal taste). I rank Xubuntu among the top ten desktop systems for this year.