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Old 04-26-2010, 08:25 PM   #1
tired_of_microshaft
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Question What distro is a good “Windows replacement”


What I mean by “Windows replacement” is a distro that has features like the Windows “control panel” and “device manager” or has add-ons readily available that can provide those features. Most of the Live CDs I’ve tried don’t have this. I’m looking for a Linux distro that can be used not just for basic computing but for gaming and multimedia, basically something that can almost all but replace Windows. There were many features I liked about Windows but it just became too bloated and crippled by DRM to be of much use other than running applications that only work on Windows. I plan on dual booting Linux from a partition on a 2nd hard disk.

I’m looking for a distro that:
-can created/modify partitions pre-installation
-has systems tools similar to control panel and device manager from Windows
-can access NTFS partitions
-run Windows games (I realize I’ll need WINE for this, I want a distro that has or can easily have WINE added to it)
-has an application equivalent to “Windows Media Center” or can have 1 easily added
-can easily switch between different desktop environments (because some desktop environments are better than others)
-has security suites available (yes I know there aren’t as many viruses for Linux)

I realize Linux is some assembly required, I guess I just want to know where to find the good parts and what the quickest way to assemble them is. I just want something that’s functional, fast, efficient, secure & reliable. I’m just asking what distros would work well for said purposes because, I simply don’t have the time to download and burn the hundreds of different distros to Live CDs or the funds to buy a copy all the various commercial distros, so I’m just trying to narrow my search some.
 
Old 04-26-2010, 08:48 PM   #2
Mr-Bisquit
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Yes to everything.
NTFS is a module that can be loaded. See NTFS3G support.
Any of them.
Depends on what you want to do.
Try Using different live cd versions and use that to determine your choice.
Standard "pre made" sets are fedora, ubuntu, suse.
Anything else, you can see different ones at distrowatch.com and use the search page.
 
Old 04-26-2010, 08:57 PM   #3
pixellany
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Welcome to LQ!!

Be prepared for lots of diverse answers....

You will find quite a bit of the standard interfaces and features in any of the "mainstream" distros (loosely defined as anything in the top 10 - 20 on the "hit list" at http://distrowatch.com) but you will also find many things quite different. I would personally not worry about being "like windows"---you are going to find many things that are better....

Finally, plan on trying several before settling down. With the advent of "Live CDs", the window shopping is easy.
 
Old 04-27-2010, 03:33 AM   #4
rubentje1991
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Cool distro

one of maybe a lot of answers

PCLinuxOS 2010
  • yes
  • PCLinuxOS Control Center (cf. Mandriva Control Center), device managar from KDE4 (I don't know if that's exactly what you mean)
  • yes (ntfs-3G)
  • yes (with wine I think, maybe there are other solutions)
  • Moovida Media Center (installable from Synaptic Package Manager)
  • many available desktop environments (KDE, Gnome, LXDE, E17 and so on), also many different live-cds (adapted to a specific window-manager)
  • security suite: firewall? parental control?, ... (on desktop, or in control center)
=> look at benchmarks, ... (you'll see it's fast and stable!)
Click here for the pclos-site!


But a look to distrowatch possible also helps :-)

Success (and maybe let know what you choose at the end)
 
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Old 04-27-2010, 03:40 AM   #5
sycamorex
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You might want to read the following article.
 
Old 04-27-2010, 07:21 AM   #6
johnsfine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tired_of_microshaft View Post
What I mean by “Windows replacement”
Your post almost begs for being directed to the "Linux is NOT Windows" page, so I shouldn't be surprised sycamorex beat me to posting that. I'm surprised no one posted it even sooner.
Linux is NOT Windows

Quote:
a distro that has features like the Windows “control panel” and “device manager” or has add-ons readily available that can provide those features.
If you want those and task manager to act like they do in Windows you will be disappointed.

Quote:
I’m looking for a Linux distro that can be used not just for basic computing but for gaming and multimedia
For gaming you'll probably just be disappointed. For multimedia, you'll need quite a lot of effort to reach the point of seeing that Linux is different+better (rather than seeing different equals worse).

Quote:
-can created/modify partitions pre-installation
Most can. I use Mepis. It certainly can.

Quote:
-has systems tools similar to control panel and device manager from Windows
I haven't paid much attention to what looks similar, because nothing will act similar. The underlying system is too different.

Quote:
-can access NTFS partitions
Most can. There is a lot a lot of misinformation floating around making that seem harder than it is.

Quote:
-can easily switch between different desktop environments (because some desktop environments are better than others)
Pretty much all of them can.

Quote:
-has security suites available (yes I know there aren’t as many viruses for Linux)
You don't yet understand Linux is NOT Windows.

Last edited by johnsfine; 04-27-2010 at 07:32 AM.
 
Old 05-03-2010, 04:32 AM   #7
ronss
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try mint....they have it easy to install video drivers...believe dvd player works after install...i have used it some and its not bad...i had suse working nicely at one time..but it took some time and effort...that is the dvd player, music player ..etc
 
Old 05-04-2010, 08:46 AM   #8
cantab
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I would recommend OpenSuSE. YaST provides a comprehensive systems configuration comparable to Windows' Control Panel. That's the only aspect of your wishlist that really WILL vary between distros.

On the other hand, you say you're concerned about bloat. Though probably not as bad as Windows Vista, OpenSuSE is one of the 'heavier' Linux distros.
 
0 members found this post helpful.
Old 05-10-2010, 11:49 PM   #9
Tux Torch
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rubentje1991 View Post
one of maybe a lot of answers

PCLinuxOS 2010
  • yes
  • PCLinuxOS Control Center (cf. Mandriva Control Center), device managar from KDE4 (I don't know if that's exactly what you mean)
  • yes (ntfs-3G)
  • yes (with wine I think, maybe there are other solutions)
  • Moovida Media Center (installable from Synaptic Package Manager)
  • many available desktop environments (KDE, Gnome, LXDE, E17 and so on), also many different live-cds (adapted to a specific window-manager)
  • security suite: firewall? parental control?, ... (on desktop, or in control center)
=> look at benchmarks, ... (you'll see it's fast and stable!)
Click here for the pclos-site!


But a look to distrowatch possible also helps :-)

Success (and maybe let know what you choose at the end)
+1 I use the Gnome Edition but if you want a more user like interface then choose KDE if you have good system requirements if low-end computer go with LXDE.
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 05-10-2010, 11:52 PM   #10
custangro
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I like LinuxMint

http://www.linuxmint.com
 
0 members found this post helpful.
Old 05-18-2010, 10:02 PM   #11
FredGSanford
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Give Mandriva 2010.0 a try. One of the best Control Centers around. I like the Gnome version by default it comes with KDE4.

For older hardware check out the MUD edition of Mandriva LXDE.

ftp://ftp.mandrivauser.de/mandriva_i...D-LXDE-EDITION
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 05-19-2010, 05:04 AM   #12
salasi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tired_of_microshaft View Post
I’m looking for a distro that:
  1. can created/modify partitions pre-installation
  2. has systems tools similar to control panel and device manager from Windows
  3. can access NTFS partitions
  4. run Windows games (I realize I’ll need WINE for this, I want a distro that has or can easily have WINE added to it)
  5. has an application equivalent to “Windows Media Center” or can have 1 easily added
  6. can easily switch between different desktop environments (because some desktop environments are better than others)
  7. has security suites available (yes I know there aren’t as many viruses for Linux)
(see what I did there?)
1 - AFAIK, all of them. Some of them are perhaps less flexible than you'd like, or a bit uncomfortable, but a quick run with, eg, Partedmagic (or a number of others) can sort this out, so it is really a bit of a non-problem.
2 - I'd agree with the OpenSUSE suggestion, but most GUIs have some kind of tool set to do everything that you'd want. Many aren't integrated into one place, and you have to use a different util for, say, newtworking from the one you use for disk management. For me, this is a non-problem (the using different utils bit, not necessarily, say, networking) but YMMV.
3 NTFS should not be a problem, but you may have to add something to do it, on some of the smaller distros
4 - This is going to be limited. Wine runs some but not all windows games adequately. You may be able to get better advice if you ask about specific games (but not from me, its not something I do). In any case, if Wine runs it, the chances are strong of running it (whatever it is) on all distros. The one warning is that there can be struggles getting proprietary video card drivers working (eg, nVidia, ATI) and although it can probably always be done, some distros may make that easier than others. And you'll probably need to go into the somewhat messy world of proprietary video drivers if you want to run the latest generation of first person shooter type games.
5 - media center: you might be as well looking at a distro that is specifically intended for media centre applications. In particular, the media center versions are usually offshoots of standard distros, and if a distro in which you are interested has such an offshoot, look at that more closely.
6 - Desktop environments. Again, pretty much all of them can, some are going to be more work than others. Normally, for a windows-refugee, I would advise looking at KDE, as it is probably, philosophically, easier to get your head around than Gnome (both on the heavy side, neither are cut down, no frills, but that's where you should probably start), but KDE has recently been through a big change with KDE 4. Now I would say, either go initially for the lowish-eye-candy, but as stable-as-a-very-stable-thing KDE3 or get the latest KDE4 than you can (a late KDE 4.3.x at a minimum). Earlier KDE 4s were an exercise in frustration, and that's the very last thing you want as a new user.
In general, the 'big' distros (big reputations, 'do anything' outlook...big downloads) tend to have repos (repositories) better stocked with alternative GUIs and you can install quite a number.
7 - Hmmm. not a big concern for most people, but... It is largely a question of how unsafe you make your Linux install. If you are a carefull person and you don't make big holes in security, you'll probably never need a security suite (btw, a firewalling system is built in, but its more like a firewall programming language, which you can use directly or use a graphical front end to program...for that reason, it doesn't really feature in the 'security suite').

Quote:
I realize Linux is some assembly required, I guess I just want to know where to find the good parts and what the quickest way to assemble them is.
An ambiguous statement. I assume you mean that, to a certain extent, you'll have to put it together yourself (correctimundo) rather than 'I'll have to program in assembly language (false, false, false).

Here is a diversion from anything that you have asked (but I think may be helpful):
Use the package manager.
Linux distros come with some package management system. the distro itself maintains a repository (a collection) of software, and, courtesy of a 'net connection, you can just tick the software that you want and it sorts out the details.
YOU COULD build packages from scratch (get '.tar.gz'/'tarballs') and build them in situ, but for a beginner it should be your last resort.
An implication of this is that a distro with extensive repositories is going to be better, if you have wide and varied software interests (...again the big distros are bigger...).
Some distros push more packages off into 'community supported' or other similarly named repos; you should prefer to get everything that you want from the distros own repos (more likely to get updated quickly, better chance of long-term continuity), but be prepared to add community supported repos when necessary.

Quote:
I just want something that’s functional, fast, efficient, secure & reliable.
That's fine, but be prepared to learn new stuff and unlearn old stuff.

Quote:
...the funds to buy a copy all the various commercial distros, so I’m just trying to narrow my search some.
Forget spending big money on commercial (at least for the moment): there are advantages in the commercial distros for 'enterprise' applications, but you haven't mentioned any need for that.

Quote:
I’m just asking what distros would work well for said purposes because, I simply don’t have the time to download and burn the hundreds of different distros to Live CDs
It doesn't matter if you don't initially choose 'the one'. You just have to choose something 'good enough'. Any at the top of the list at distrowatch will do, but think about, in particular:
  • Ubuntu (the kde version is kubuntu, but you can add kde to ubuntu from the package manager and still keep gnome...kde is not as well integrated in Ubuntu as Gnome, though; both still tolerable)
  • openSUSE
  • Fedora
  • Mandriva
  • Mepis (ok, this is probably not one of the biggest, but, historically, their kde has been better integrated than Kubuntu's)
In six months, you'll know a lot more, and will have the knowledge to fine-tune your decision. Coincidentally (or otherwise) many distros have ~6 monthly release cycles.

Last edited by salasi; 05-19-2010 at 05:06 AM. Reason: list re-numbered
 
  


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