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Old 07-16-2008, 10:51 AM   #1
silencer07
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Registered: Jul 2008
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Best Linux Distro for a 5 year old desktop and a 3 year old laptop


Laptop model: hpdv1000
Desktop Specs:
Asus a7n266-vm mobo
512 mb of ram
128 powercolor ati 9550
silan ethernet card
cmedia cmi 8738 expansion sound card

miscelaneous stuff:
creative speakers and headset
genius videocam gf112

these are my qualifications:
-i am a newbie wanna be linux user. i am very eager to take a shot to linux and learn it

-drivers are must have. before i dive to linux, i will first prepare the drivers needed. i want my linux box without any hardware issues and conflicts. i want my drivers to be complete and work after i installed them

-with larger software support

-as much as possible, i want the point + click = work in that distro meaning i'll just need to access terminal at a minimum

-i do some normal tasks like web browsing, document editing, music listening, p2p downloading, etc

-it can install flash and silverlight plugin in its mozilla firefox browser. my younger brother loves to play flash games so it is very needed

-i am a student developer and i am studying open source development tools like php, mysql, java etc. those open source development tools should work with no hassle

-if possible, i want also to develop .Net applications in that distro(is there a visual studio available for linux?)

-i have an external hard disk with ntfs file system. that distro must have a way to access files contained there

-i play older game titles. i can live without games but it will be a plus if it can play some games.

-eye candy is also a plus. if it can somewhat simulate aero,aqua amd cube interface then its good

-must run fast in my old hardware

-paying is not an issue

-has not too high steep learning curve, since i am a windows user the desktop environment should be somewhat familiar to me(if you could suggest a add on to linux that can simulate the start menu functionality, ill be welcoming it gladly)


i have narrowed down my choice since i have done an extensive research to mandriva powerpack 2008, linspire and pclinuxos, but ill be welcoming any other distro suggestions.

I am a member of our school paper. My chosen distro will be a feature of one of my articles and therefore will be promoted. I am also an open source advocate and ill be joining to that distro community soon and help it develop.

Thanks for your reply in advance

P.S
Sorry for my lengthy and very detailed question. i just want the best answer right there
 
Old 07-16-2008, 11:02 AM   #2
trickykid
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Install a few, decide for yourself. I'm running Slackware 12.0 on a 8 year old laptop and it runs just fine with 256MB of RAM.
 
Old 07-16-2008, 12:23 PM   #3
kcoriginal
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ubuntu is the disgustingly undisputed leader in Linux point+click

I've really been through the "Which distro" wringer this past year or two. I started on Red Hat 5.1 years ago and remain a loyal Fedora fan.
I was very happy with Fedora 8 for a long time, now.

I've spent some time now as a Linux server administrator and I know how to configure those things that don't just work out of the box.

But, to answer your question honestly, I feel ubuntu, the main-Gnome based version, is the only version I would recommend to someone, particularly if a requirement is that it point+click=work.

ubuntu is the only distro I would install for my grandmother. How about that? Even though CentOS is my favorite, and Fedora is the one I prefer for desktop use, ubuntu is the XP of Linux. <Yuck, did I just say that?!> <Well, it's TRUE...> It just works. Fedora has several issues from install. CentOS is a server distro with NO support for late-model cool stuff like auto-config-ed wireless and bluetooth and Flashplayer and such. Mandriva was just not my type - didn't like the interface I guess... I don't remember why I rejected it...

I've never successfully gotten PCLinux to work... tried it on about 6 machines. It locks up or crashes at some point before the install is finished. I liked the black theme on Gnome, but, it's just a theme. You can get the black theme for ubuntu if you want, or Fedora or Puppy (I guess?!)

Xubuntu attacted me first with the claim that the XFCE window manager uses less resources... yes, but it sacrifices a LOT of creature comforts I have come to expect after using Gnome for years now.

And Kubuntu / KDE... gosh I loved the KDE movement... the name... the gears over the footprint. Gears are WAY cooler than a Gnome-foot. But the mainstreams have gone Gnome and that means the best software and the most employers and the most help articles, etc... R.I.P. KDE <sniff>





Installation suggestions:


When you install ubuntu, I suggest accepting the restricted drivers that may appear in your "system tray" notifications. You will see what I am talking about, clearly, after install. This is gonna be for things like ATI drivers that were not Open-Source. They work, but due to terms of the licensing that ubuntu adheres to, you must manually accept these drivers' installation, then reboot.






You may need to install DVD and mp3 support, etc, as well. These come with legal caveats. I've been DMCAed before so I take these legal warnings seriously.

Use this link to guide you, should you choose to install:

http://ubuntu-tutorials.com/2008/07/...on-ubuntu-804/

http://wiki.msiwind.net/index.php/Ubuntu_8.04_Tweaks <----- AWESOME Link







Compiz is beautiful eye-candy that whoops Vista's. Details on it are included in the above link. But, to get it going, all you need to know is:

sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager

Then enable Advanced Desktop Effects by going to "Appearance Preferences" and selecting the "Custom" box:

System > Preferences > Appearance > Visual Effects > Custom

Now open the Compiz Config Settings Manager (CCSM) from:

System > Preferences > Advanced Desktop Effects Settings

Set aside a week to play with all the AWESOME features!







Flashplayer installs with no issues from the first Flash-enabled website you try to visit with the auto-included Firefox 3.0. Select Firefox's "Install Missing Plugins" prompt and you will need to restart Firefox afterward. It didn't usually work in the recent past, but on ubuntu 8.04.1 with Firefox 3.0 it works fine, now, automatically.







I highly suggest VLC media player as the media player.

(I usually Add/Remove software, search for "Totem", and remove ALL results from my system.)

Then install VLC using:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install vlc vlc-plugin-esd mozilla-plugin-vlc







Development suite - I like EasyEclipse.





So,

In closing, from a guy whose not a fan of orange, or the weirdo African word "ubuntu" - the choice is clear: ubuntu, ubuntu, ubuntu.





HTH

Here come the flames.

No, I am not a troll.

And, I don't give a rat's patootie about you spelling/grammar flamers, either!

Good-luck silencer07, but if you want to negate the need for "good luck" install ubuntu 8.04.1 Hardy Heron
 
Old 07-16-2008, 01:53 PM   #4
John VV
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i run fedora 8 on a 2001 "dell 8200" 512 ram GForce 2 mx 400 card
 
Old 07-16-2008, 03:58 PM   #5
salasi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silencer07 View Post
Laptop model: hpdv1000
Desktop Specs:
Asus a7n266-vm mobo
512 mb of ram
128 powercolor ati 9550
silan ethernet card
cmedia cmi 8738 expansion sound card
...the processor spec for the desktop would have been nice, but actually its the ram that is more likely to set a hard limit, and what you have is fine..

Quote:
these are my qualifications:
-i am a newbie wanna be linux user. i am very eager to take a shot to linux and learn it
that's fine...welcome...
Quote:
-drivers are must have. before i dive to linux, i will first prepare the drivers needed.
You probably won't. You probably won't need to, and anything you need - say the sound card, which I've never heard of, but which may well have some common chipset - you might as well get once you've installed, unless you have no/limited net access at your computer.

The easiest thing is to plug in a CD (or better, DVD...the machines do have DVD drives, don't they?: the DVDs have larger collections of stuff, and it sounds like you will want stuff, so having a DVD saves you bandwidth, eventually. But then if your net bandwidth is 'unlimited' this might not be a consideration). The even-easier-still-thing is to try a live CD (or DVD).

Quote:
i want my linux box without any hardware issues and conflicts. i want my drivers to be complete and work after i installed them
...and that's nice, but I'm afraid you won't get any guarantees that everything will work 'fiddle-free'. But usually it is just that, a bit of fiddling to get some odd and optional bits of hardware working.

Quote:
-with larger software support
By this I'm assuming that you mean that you want a wide range of apps to be available. In general, this won't be a problem if you choose one of the big distros ( Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, SuSE, Mandriva, Slackware...) but will be a little more problematic if you choose one of the small (DSL, Puppy, Frugalware) ones. The small ones are designed to be installed onto an older computer and fit onto smaller media (e.g., credit card CDs) and while you can add things, the selection tends not to be as extensive.

Quote:
-as much as possible, i want the point + click = work in that distro meaning i'll just need to access terminal at a minimum
I don't quite understand in that most distros give you either a GUI method of installation or a command line method. But it doesn't seem that important. Unless you are saying that you don't really want to use the terminal?
Quote:
-i do some normal tasks like web browsing, document editing, music listening, p2p downloading, etc
tick

Quote:
-it can install flash and silverlight plugin in its mozilla firefox browser. my younger brother loves to play flash games so it is very needed
you'll probably need to do this after installation, but it shouldn't be a problem

Quote:
-i am a student developer and i am studying open source development tools like php, mysql, java etc. those open source development tools should work with no hassle
tick
Quote:
-if possible, i want also to develop .Net applications in that distro(is there a visual studio available for linux?)
less of a tick for that - you can always try to use windows programs under wine, but a native solution would be better. There are alternative programs that you might like, but, oddly, Microsoft hasn't spent much time porting its programs to Linux...

Quote:
-i have an external hard disk with ntfs file system. that distro must have a way to access files contained there
tick, but it will probably be an add-on. FAT support is well established under Linux, NTFS read is fine, but NTFS write is always (over cautiously?) marked as experimental

Quote:
-i play older game titles. i can live without games but it will be a plus if it can play some games.
games were going to be a difficulty, so that's good. Again, you might want to try wine for running windows games (uggh!, but it might work) and then there's Cedega, but have a look at Linux games. There isn't the greatest of selections, but you might find something that you like.

Quote:
-eye candy is also a plus. if it can somewhat simulate aero,aqua amd cube interface then its good

-must run fast in my old hardware
These are mostly GUI issues. The biggies (KDE & Gnome) are big, flexible and a bit slow on older machines - not as bad as Vista, but then what is? Enlightenment is eye-candy-central (roughly) and not to slow on older hardware. XFCE is pretty snappy on older hardware but not as eye-candy as the bigger ones and not as configurable.

KDE probably has a shorter learning curve for a windows convert than Gnome, but Gnome is less configurable and probably easier to take your first steps with with absolutely (as opposed to relative to an existing windows experience base).

KDE 4 will be flashier than kde 3.5.x, but (IMHO) its not really finished yet, although some people (as opposed to developers ) are starting to use it. I'm guessing that within six months KDE 4 will be making KDE 3 look second hand in all respects, but that's a guess.

I can't really guess which you'll like best.

Quote:
-paying is not an issue
and it doesn't have to be.
Quote:
-has not too high steep learning curve, since i am a windows user the desktop environment should be somewhat familiar to me(if you could suggest a add on to linux that can simulate the start menu functionality, ill be welcoming it gladly)
You could configure either Gnome or KDE to look quite like windows, if you wanted to. I don't think this is very constructive, but its probably nice to know that you could do this, if you really wanted to.


Quote:
i have narrowed down my choice since i have done an extensive research to mandriva powerpack 2008, linspire and pclinuxos, but ill be welcoming any other distro suggestions.
None of those is bad. I wouldn't choose mandriva personally and I'd add Fedora, SuSE and Ubuntu the prototype beginners linux distro and Simply Mepis. But don't get hung up on this question. Try something out for six months and be prepared to change when you know more.

Also be prepared to try other GUIs - so 'big' distros like Ubuntu, SuSE, Fedora, and Debian have the advantage that other GUIs are just a click (and a wait) away. Although, you can make this work with just about any distro, with some its set up for you and with others its more work.

You could also try a distro chooser:
http://www.zegeniestudios.net/ldc/
(others do exist)
 
Old 07-17-2008, 07:53 AM   #6
silencer07
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Jul 2008
Location: Philippines
Distribution: Ubuntu, Linux Mint, PCLinuxOS,Mepis
Posts: 25

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
Thank you very much for your answers. i forgot to mention i have a dvd drive and unlimited internet access.

So my quick list are ubuntu, mandriva powerpack and SUSE.

From your suggestions i arrived at following conclusions
-If i want to run windows apps i can use wine.
-i can install a desktop environment of my choice like beryl(am i right?), KDE, Gnome or compiz. i dont like the gui of ubuntu but i can install one to augment its interface
-i have a lot choices of software available now made by generous open source people
-i will know what i really like if i gave my choices a chance to install at my machine
-since open source community supports linux, running open source development tools should be no problem
-there are times that i need to play at terminal which will be part of my exploration
-games are only limited by there are some. i can use wine if ill play windows games there
-normal tasks should be no problem

Again thanks for helping me.
 
Old 07-18-2008, 02:37 AM   #7
springshades
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Location: Near Lansing, MI , USA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silencer07 View Post
Thank you very much for your answers. i forgot to mention i have a dvd drive and unlimited internet access.

So my quick list are ubuntu, mandriva powerpack and SUSE.

From your suggestions i arrived at following conclusions
-If i want to run windows apps i can use wine.
-i can install a desktop environment of my choice like beryl(am i right?), KDE, Gnome or compiz. i dont like the gui of ubuntu but i can install one to augment its interface
-i have a lot choices of software available now made by generous open source people
-i will know what i really like if i gave my choices a chance to install at my machine
-since open source community supports linux, running open source development tools should be no problem
-there are times that i need to play at terminal which will be part of my exploration
-games are only limited by there are some. i can use wine if ill play windows games there
-normal tasks should be no problem

Again thanks for helping me.
Since you have a good internet connection and those are the distributions you would like to try, I would suggest downloading a LiveCD for each of them. Opensuse has a livecd version of suse to try, the livecd version of mandriva is called MandrivaOne, and the standard Ubuntu CD should boot up as a LiveCD as well. You just pop the CD into your computer, boot it up, follow the instructions, and you'll get a preview of the distribution. This will also let you know if that version supports your hardware. All of these can be tried for free.

For your questions:

-Wine can get SOME Windows applications (actually many) to run. However, to be honest it is not a very intuitive piece of software and has a fairly steep learning curve. If you want to develop for .NET, it would probably be best to "dual boot" Windows and Linux on at least one of your computers which is actually fairly easy to accomplish.
-KDE and Gnome are desktop environments. Beryl and compiz are more equivalent to Aero in Vista. That is, they are specific types of 3D interfaces that enhance your experience (as well as the system resources used).
-If you use the LiveCD method, some of these things can be tried without even installing anything. Once you reboot your computer, it's instantly back to the way it was. There really is no downside to giving the LiveCDs a try.
-It's not that you necessarily NEED to use the terminal. If everything goes well at install, you will most likely never HAVE to use it to be honest. But the fact is that it's faster for some things. Also, if you are getting help from people, it is oftentimes easier for them to say "type xy command in a terminal and press enter" when they are helping you fix something than it is for them to describe how to navigate through your menu to some program, then go to xy tab and click the yz box to make sure it is checked, etc, etc.
-If you like VERY old games, there is a DOS emulator called dosbox that will get almost every DOS game in existance to work. Wine is a bit more hit and miss. It's pretty easy to get Warcraft II to work for example, but it will take some research on your part to figure out which commands to put in to get it installed and running. Generally, the newer a game is, the more configuration is involved in getting it running. Warcraft II for example will probably just be a few commands, but a newer game might involve editing some configuration files to fix certain issues.

EDIT: Since you also mentioned PCLinuxOS earlier I thought I'd note that it is VERY similar to Mandriva (it is based on Mandriva in fact), but it is tailored to provide a better out of the box experience while cutting away some of the bulky stuff not commonly used by most home users. You're planning on doing software development you said, so eventually Mandriva may be a better fit for you, however, starting with PCLinuxOS might give you a slightly easier learning curve to start with.

Last edited by springshades; 07-18-2008 at 02:42 AM.
 
Old 07-18-2008, 12:39 PM   #8
John VV
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Quote:
-It's not that you necessarily NEED to use the terminal. If everything goes well at install, you will most likely never HAVE to use it to be honest. But the fact is that it's faster for some things. Also, if you are getting help from people, it is oftentimes easier for them to say "type xy command in a terminal and press enter" when they are helping you fix something than it is for them to describe how to navigate through your menu to some program, then go to xy tab and click the yz box to make sure it is checked, etc, etc.
most of the things i do are in the shell terminal.There are many things that just work better typing . Imagemagick ,cimg, ISIS ,and moving files around , updating the box ( yum )...
So much so that i put MinGW on windows machines so that i have a real shell ( bash) and not MS's "pos" cmd.exe
 
Old 07-18-2008, 01:06 PM   #9
ciden
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If you want it so easy, stick to MS Windows.

You WILL have to use a terminal, sooner or later, so if you are a terminal hater,
stick to Windows.

You WILL have to spend a lot of time customizing your distro, even though it will work out of the box, because you want it to look and work like windows. Why not just stick with Windows?

YOU WILL screw up your system when you get superuser powers.

So before you change your OS, you have to change your mindset. Granted, the above doesnt look very appealing, but everything has a price. For the above hassle, you get -->
1. Freedom from viruses and malware
2. A much bigger selection of software
3. Lots of Open Source goodies.
4. An excellent support community.
5. Stability and Security ?? -- depends on you . .


So go grab a distro.
Just one advice for older hardware, avoid Ubuntu and Kubuntu.
 
Old 07-18-2008, 06:49 PM   #10
springshades
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From my own personal experience, in my last installations of MandrivaOne, SimplyMepis, and Xandros there was nothing I HAD to do from a terminal. That doesn't mean I didn't use one personally since it is much faster and more convenient for certain things. However, if you are worried about having to use a terminal, it shouldn't stop you from giving Linux a try. Most likely there is a graphical way to do everything you need to do (If you install Fedora Core, yum might be an exception. Last time I checked the graphical package management in Fedora Core was years behind that available in other distributions).

Wine probably can't be used purely graphically, but the paid alternatives like Crossover Office and Cedega can be, and they're priced very reasonably.

I also re-read the original post and wanted to mention that the look of the KDE menu and taskbar is very similar to that of Windows XP and Windows 2000. Also, the KDE Control Center is pretty similar in appearance and organization to the Windows Control Panel. There are a couple of add ons that will make the menu slightly more Vista-ish (Mandriva comes with a Vista-ish menu set as the default for example), but the default will probably feel very comfortable to you without any additions. The look of Gnome is a bit different but still very intuitive. The only thing it is missing by default is a fully featured and unified control center, but most distributions provide a customized one anyway.
 
Old 07-20-2008, 05:26 AM   #11
silencer07
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i am not a terminal hater. its just that i want to promote linux to my friends and not all of them are technically inclined people. im just putting myself on their shoes. the reason i want to try linux because i want to enhance my knowledge to other OS. i just know linux by name so i decided it will not be very bad if ill try it myself.

i love windows and i thank it for providing me a stable and good environment. but linux is gaining grounds because it improved much in previous years so why not try the stuff others worked hard(i love open source concept) ?

Thank you again for your kind suggestions. Hoping for your future response

I am actually starting to compile some distros in one dvd (ubuntu,kubuntu,linux mint, damn small linux, bayanihan linux etc) and im planning to distribute it to my friends so they can try whats the latest and greatest in linux today.
 
Old 07-20-2008, 09:40 AM   #12
fair_is_fair
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Quote:
Originally Posted by springshades View Post
From my own personal experience, in my last installations of MandrivaOne, SimplyMepis, and Xandros there was nothing I HAD to do from a terminal. That doesn't mean I didn't use one personally since it is much faster and more convenient for certain things. However, if you are worried about having to use a terminal, it shouldn't stop you from giving Linux a try. Most likely there is a graphical way to do everything you need to do (If you install Fedora Core, yum might be an exception. Last time I checked the graphical package management in Fedora Core was years behind that available in other distributions).

Wine probably can't be used purely graphically, but the paid alternatives like Crossover Office and Cedega can be, and they're priced very reasonably.

I also re-read the original post and wanted to mention that the look of the KDE menu and taskbar is very similar to that of Windows XP and Windows 2000. Also, the KDE Control Center is pretty similar in appearance and organization to the Windows Control Panel. There are a couple of add ons that will make the menu slightly more Vista-ish (Mandriva comes with a Vista-ish menu set as the default for example), but the default will probably feel very comfortable to you without any additions. The look of Gnome is a bit different but still very intuitive. The only thing it is missing by default is a fully featured and unified control center, but most distributions provide a customized one anyway.
Well said springshades.

Hard to beat Mandriva and Mepis for window's converts.
 
Old 07-20-2008, 03:41 PM   #13
jay73
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Ubuntu, Debian and Mandriva have the advantage that you can install all the programming software (with a few exceptions such as JBoss) directly from their repositories. No fussing with packages you have to download, install and configure manually. Some things may be a pain to use, however. I use Netbeans for java and it is quite slow on an AMD3800 with 1GB or DDR, at least compared to the main computer.

.NET support in Linux is limited next to Visual studio but you can use Monodevelop IDE and Mono, which is a port of .NET to Linux that is a year or two behind the "official" version.

There isn't any silverlight support yet but the team who are working on Mono have that on the way too.

Last edited by jay73; 07-20-2008 at 03:47 PM.
 
Old 07-20-2008, 03:45 PM   #14
geek745
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Any distro will work; pick one of the mainstream ones: Fedora, OpenSUSE, Ubuntu, or the more techie ones: Gentoo, Slackware, Debian - if you disable enough special (graphical) effects all of them should work with any hardware.

Personally, I have a biased vote for Slackware
 
Old 07-23-2008, 11:04 AM   #15
un_pilote
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Check out Fluxubuntu!

All the easiness of Ubuntu, and all the simplicity and lightweight of Fluxbox.
 
  


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