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Old 12-06-2008, 02:53 AM   #1
jsteel
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I cannot choose a distro; It's driving me crazy.


Hi,

I've been using GNU/Linux for about 4 years now. I really like it but I'm too fussy when it comes to choosing one to use; there's too much choice! I change my distribution quite regularly. I started changing it every few months or so and then not long ago I was changing it daily. I've come to a point now where I cannot decide what to use at all.

I've spend hours on distrowatch.com looking, trying to find something that will suit me but I've hit a dead end.

I want a distribution that is fairly up-to-date (preferably well established), easy and quick to install, stable, a good choice for both a server or a desktop, a package manager with dependency checking and easy installation, removal and upgrading of packages (preferably a choice of desktop environments). I do like the distribution to use the .org domain for their website as the .com is “commercial” which the distribution should not be.

I don't like commercial distributions or their playgrounds, I don't like source-based distributions, I don't want a Live CD or a light-weight distribution and I don't really like distributions that are based on other distributions; I would prefer to use the original than the modified one.

This doesn't have to be taken too seriously; I know I'm a little crazy! Maybe someone can help me change some of my dislikes and help me on my quest for a distribution that I can settle down with.

Thank you.

Edit: Apologies, I meant to post this in the Linux Distribution forum. Sorry!

Last edited by jsteel; 12-11-2008 at 02:20 AM. Reason: One mistake.
 
Old 12-06-2008, 04:00 AM   #2
Disillusionist
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Er, you have in a few paragraphs discounted every concievable distro.

There are very few "original" distributions, mainly Debian; Slackware; and Red Hat.

Most distributions are based on one of these.

Debian uses the aptitude package manager.
Slackware is not quite so easy to setup(or wasn't last time I tried it)
Red Hat is commercial.

If you can remove the restriction of not being based on another distro, then Centos (based on Red Hat) is probably the best fit.

http://www.centos.org

This uses RPM's for installation and can be used for either desktop or server use, is easy to use etc.
 
Old 12-06-2008, 04:16 AM   #3
jsteel
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CentOS however is quite out-dated. There are a few packages that I would like the latest versions of. I thought I was on a winner with Arch Linux; it's up-to-date, it uses its own package manager (which I like) etc. but something went wrong after a recent update and it has not yet been resolved so my computer is not in a working state. I would consider returning to Arch once this issue has been resolved, but I would question future reliability.

I understand that there are not many original distributions. Maybe that's the first step I need to take; to accept that I may be using a distribution that uses the base of another distribution.

I thought maybe GNU/Linux was not for me so I tried some of the BSD variants; this did not work out well.

Last edited by jsteel; 12-09-2008 at 02:39 AM. Reason: A few mistakes.
 
Old 12-06-2008, 04:27 AM   #4
ronlau9
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To start with the org it is Fedora.org and opensuse.org and there are certainly more.
AS long as you do not have make up you're mind you can have more distro at the same time.
How much distro depends on how much space you have and the the time you have to spend updating
 
Old 12-06-2008, 04:34 AM   #5
colucix
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I'm still in favour of CentOS. Some basic packages, like the Xorg server or the Package Manager are a bit outdated, in respect of the most recent versions installed on Fedora, but you can consider them as stable and well tested. Updates are released as long as Red Hat releases them for the Enterprise edition (just one day later). And some additional repositories, like RPMForge, provide every package you can conceive. Well... almost.

I use CentOS for my work in scientific research and I have no problem in finding math libraries, compilers and data analysis software and utilities. Moreover, I have full 3-D capabilities, full multimedia support and making coffee capabilities! I am also going to switch the Network server to CentOS. And sooner or later the new CentOS 6 will be released.
 
Old 12-06-2008, 05:02 AM   #6
jsteel
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Yes, CentOS is definitely one I have considered, though I would feel that I am using Red Hat; a commercial product and I would much prefer to use a community created and driven distribution.

Last edited by jsteel; 12-06-2008 at 05:04 AM.
 
Old 12-06-2008, 06:24 AM   #7
dv502
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsteel View Post
Hi,

I want a distribution that is fairly up-to-date (preferably well established), easy and quick to install, stable, a good choice for both a server or a desktop, a package manager with dependency checking and easy installation, removal and upgrading of packages (preferably a choice of desktop environments). I do like the distribution to use the .org domain for their website as the .com is “commercial” which the distribution should not be.
You can try arch linux. It's fast, stable and the domain ends in .org.

Arch can be use as a desktop and server.

Arch uses the pacman manager. The pacman manager handles dependencies and does conflict checking.

Arch has a good wiki page for desktop and server setups.

Arch is not bloated with software as most distros do in a standard install. Arch starts with a base system and you gradually add from there.

- Good luck

Last edited by dv502; 12-06-2008 at 06:31 AM.
 
Old 12-06-2008, 06:26 AM   #8
billymayday
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@dv502, shame you didn't read post #3
Quote:
I thought I was on a winner with Arch Linux; it's up-to-date, it uses its own package manager (which I like) etc. but I found it very unreliable. Something would often go wrong after an update and they were not quick to resolve these issues on the bug tracking system.
 
Old 12-06-2008, 06:39 AM   #9
dv502
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I guess I miss that part. This is what happens when we skim over posts.
 
Old 12-06-2008, 08:24 AM   #10
pixellany
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I have a mixed reaction to this......I too am a distro-hopper.

Let's think about the constraints:

I would put overall functionality at the top of the list. This includes ease of installation, setup, package management, etc. Only the individual user can fully define what is important here

I never thought about the BOTTOM of the list until I saw this thread. Having a .com domain name strikes me a big so-what. In a similar vein, I really don't care who is behind it. Everyone who publishes Linux distros has their own motives and their own business plan for getting something in return. As long as I contribute** to the community, I'm not really concerned where my SW comes from (As long as the provider follows the rules and doesn't do dumb things.)

"Not based on other distros" would be another non-issue. Two distros have really impressed me recently: Mint and PC-OS. Both are based on Ubuntu, but they have some nice touches. If you look at the history of Linux, ALL distros trace back to the same primordial soup where there were no distros---it was (I imagine) LFS without the book.

I currently favor Arch and I must disagree with your "reliability" statement. Arch is as solid as any of them. It does have an "irritation"--the SW mirrors are often not in sync. I quite regularly have to switch mirrors to get something to install.

Bottom line: Your only hope of sanity is to make a list of your requirements--in order of priority--and then start crossing off from the bottom until you come to one that is really important to you. With your MINIMUM requirements, you may find a few distros that meet them all. Then you can worry about such things as .com and pedigre.


**Giving back: I have argued with myself about donating to distro authors. Because I have jumped around so much, this would tend not to be very cost-effective. What I do at the moment is spend ~15 hours a week here at LQ. The only issue with this is that the authors of--eg--Arch might be hard-pressed to see how that was directly helping them. (In fact, when I praise them, I could be just sending them more non-paying customers!! But, again, the providers are responsible for their own business plans.
 
Old 12-06-2008, 09:06 AM   #11
jsteel
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I must admit that I really liked Arch Linux for quite some time. I did not go into detail about the “reliability” which I think I should have; I think that I've just been unlucky recently with my Laptop hardware and compatibility with that distribution. Although it was a good choice for me in the past, right now I would not easily be able to get my laptop working well with Arch as there are a few outstanding issues that need to be resolved.

I don't think I can narrow the requirements in the first post to minimum requirements. Doing so would mean that I would not be entirely happy with the distribution. However, even though I cannot change my paragraph of “what I like”, I could ignore the paragraph of “what I don't like”. I'll have a browse again now based on my likes and ignore my dislikes.
 
Old 12-06-2008, 09:37 AM   #12
dv502
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Perhaps you can list the laptop model you have and the type of wifi card.

Last edited by dv502; 12-06-2008 at 09:56 AM.
 
Old 12-06-2008, 10:19 AM   #13
jsteel
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Sure, it's an Acer TravelMate 290. It has an Intel Pro Wireless 2200 card. I don't have any trouble getting everything to work (wireless etc.) with any linux distribution. It's just in Arch Linux there's a problem with the Intel graphics driver on my laptop and it doesn't work at all. I've used the same version of the driver they use on another distro (as well as older and newer versions) and I've never had any problems.
 
Old 12-06-2008, 10:35 AM   #14
pixellany
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Getting the right graphics driver is pretty much independent of the distro. The graphics driver is used by X-Windows, and the procedure is pretty basic: Install driver, edit xorg.conf.

Even with something needing a kernel module (eg NVidia), the procedure is pretty straightforward.

As a card-carrying distro-hopper, you are vulnerable to the pitfall of changing distros to solve configuration issues. Sometimes you get lucky, but more often you will wind up chasing your tail and never learning what the basic issue was.
The general rule is: When something does not work, switching distros should be the last fix attempted.
 
Old 12-06-2008, 01:08 PM   #15
dv502
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I've used the intel driver in arch a while back and had no issues. I had direct rendering and 3D acceleration and was able to run compiz with the onboard intel card.

I recently installed a nvidia card, because I needed some additional features only available from the proprietary nvidia driver.

I am running arch from a desktop as oppose to a laptop. Sorry, I couldn't be more helpful.

Last edited by dv502; 12-06-2008 at 01:16 PM.
 
  


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