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Old 05-31-2006, 11:13 PM   #1
Johnny Faster
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Best Linux Distro for 1st Time Newb


I've made the decision to install & try it out. I have a 250 Gbyte SATA that I can partition & multi-boot.

Which distro is best for 1st time ? Someone said that there is a distro that was designed for 1st-timers. I don't care about "best", I want "easiest" for the first try.

Also, where & how to get it. I prefer to download via P2P, and don't want to pay or wait to get it.

Thanks in advance for all help offered,


Johnny
 
Old 05-31-2006, 11:33 PM   #2
detpenguin
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the "easiest" would obviously be one of the live cd's...such as knoppix or slax. they're a full distro on a live cd that you boot with. nothing is installed, nothing touches your harddrive, and they are pretty great at detecting your stuff and making everything work, and gives you a fully operational linux distro to play with.
the easiest install is usually ubuntu, mandriva, suse...and a few more. they're easy to install, user (newbie) friendly, and easy to follow.

check out distrowatch it's a great site that tells you about all the different flavors of linux...plus it has links to download the iso's for the install or live cd you wanna try, for absolutely free

i'd be remiss if i didn't also suggest linux iso which has some great info on burning iso's and stuff...

Last edited by detpenguin; 05-31-2006 at 11:39 PM.
 
Old 05-31-2006, 11:53 PM   #3
ozar
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You'll have to decide for yourself which one is the easiest for you to use and learn with. I usually recommend Fedora Core, Mandriva, Suse, or Ubuntu (not in this particular order) for first time installers.

Good luck, and have fun with it!
 
Old 06-01-2006, 01:13 AM   #4
Cogar
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You should know that "free" generally adds a little complexity. The reason is that most open source distros include little or no proprietary software--things like RealPlayer and Acrobat Reader that make the distro run well from the start. (I know you said that you don't care if it's the best, but I bet you want it to be fully functional from the start.) You can make them work by looking around here and there and installing the missing packages, but then you are no longer simple, right? Anyway, of the free distros, I think the easiest to install are Ubuntu and Kubuntu. You are also in luck there, since the brand new version (6.06) is set to release tomorrow.
 
Old 06-01-2006, 01:29 AM   #5
Johnny Faster
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Thanks

Quote:
You should know that "free" generally adds a little complexity. The reason is that most open source distros include little or no proprietary software--things like RealPlayer and Acrobat Reader that make the distro run well from the start. (I know you said that you don't care if it's the best, but I bet you want it to be fully functional from the start.) You can make them work by looking around here and there and installing the missing packages, but then you are no longer simple, right? Anyway, of the free distros, I think the easiest to install are Ubuntu and Kubuntu. You are also in luck there, since the brand new version (6.06) is set to release tomorrow.
I don't mind hunting for add-on's. I put the toe in the water & think about it a bit before deciding to go in further or back out.

It didn't occur to me that there would be "live" CD to run off of. I'm not afraid of partitioning, even though I've never done it before and may need some help. As I understand it, you can create and then delete a partition without worrying about losing the WinXP O/S on the "old" partition. So if this is true, I think I would rather just get on with it instead of only putting PART of a toe in the water.

Ubuntu was recommened to me by someone else, but then someone else said that there was one (or more, I dunno) distro that was geared specifically for new Users transitioning away from Windows.

SuSe ? Something like that I think.

Also, someone else said that some distros will set-up the partition for you during install. These seems like a Plus.

As long as I am raving, can I assume that NONE of my Windows Apps will run under linux ? Is this some sort of Virtual Machine, where there is a Windows VM running under Linux ? Or what ?

How does ths work ? With all the Linux users, they have to be running SOMETHING. What Apps are there & aren't there ? How is the best way to find out ? Would it be useful if I just posted a list of everything I have installed and peeps could tell me what will still run, what will require tweaking & reprogramming & what is just never gonna happen ?

Does Linux Application software cost money ?

Are there copywrite issues ? Like, do people re-write Nero for Linux, and if so do are they legally required to get permission ?

What about registration keys ? If I have a registered program (like Alcohol) will my registration still be good under Linux ?

What about (hold tight now...) cracked software ? Will a cracked App that runs under XP still work under Linux ?

I use MS Office (Word mostly) a lot. Is that out completely ? I read that there was a Linux substitute for Office. Will it still read the documents (Word), or does it have it's own data file format ?

Is there a link to some kind of guide titled "Living under Linux: What Life will Be Like without Windows" ?

 
Old 06-01-2006, 03:06 AM   #6
Emmanuel_uk
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You can test live cd, but your learning curve will be faster if you install proper.
So do install proper.
Quote:
I'm not afraid of partitioning, even though I've never done it before and may need some help.
Go for it. All installer guide you by the hand.
You need about 6 Gb for each distro (make a few spare partitions to test other distro), do make swap 2x ram size. prefer ext3 file system,
make a spare fat32 partition to share file with Zindows

DO MAKE /home as a separate partition

Mandriva, Suse, ubuntu, FC5 (etc) worth trying, just take the plunge.
Try something "exotic" later

Why for now writting to ntfs is a problem from linux http://www.linux-ntfs.org/
About resizing ntfs if you ever wonder http://mlf.linux.rulez.org/mlf/ezaz/ntfsresize.html

Background reading you will need at some point, go to LQ bookmarq and searcg for
newbie and rute.
Also
http://www.ee.surrey.ac.uk/Teaching/Unix/
Newbie's Top Ten Commands:
http://www.cmm.uklinux.net/steve/ntt.html

Quote:
Windows Apps will run under linux
Google for winehq. But the best is to try linux alternatives when there

Quote:
What Apps are there & aren't there ? How is the best way to find out ?
Good question. see sourceforge.net
with mandriva (and suse etc) rpm based you are a keyword search away within some package manager. Just that easy.
2005 LinuxQuestions.org Members Choice Awards :
http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...splay.php?f=69

Quote:
Does Linux Application software cost money ?
Some do. You can donate. It will be appreciated

Quote:
Will it still read the documents (Word), or does it have it's own data file format
Yes & Yes

Quote:
Living under Linux: What Life will Be Like without Windows
Google blogs. FYI: Linux is NOT Windows
http://linux.oneandoneis2.org/LNW.htm

Last edited by Emmanuel_uk; 06-01-2006 at 03:41 AM.
 
Old 06-01-2006, 03:30 AM   #7
ehawk
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I have tried Red Hat, Fedora Core 2 through 4, Mandrake, knoppix, Mepis, and PCLinuxOS. All were pretty easy to install, with Mepis and PCLinuxOS being the easiest. PCLinuxOS has everything you would probably like to add on pre-installed (proprietary media format capabilities, Java, Flash, etc.) All of these distros have nice package management utilities. I would suggest PCLinuxOS for your first distro. All of these distros have helpful online forums. Mandrake is now Mandriva. PCLinuxOS was a project that split from the Mandrake/Mandriva. All of these distros have many applications on their default package repositories (PCLinuxOS has over 5,000, maybe less than others, but still probably has one package for every likely need of a newbie).

You can get info on it, read reviews, and find links to its download page here:

http://distrowatch.com/table.php?distribution=pclinuxos

As a side note, take a look at distrowatch.com

It has a list many, many distros, with similar pages for each one (just click on the distro name in the right hand listing)

Last edited by ehawk; 06-01-2006 at 03:33 AM.
 
Old 06-01-2006, 09:05 AM   #8
pixellany
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Too many questions---Grab Ubuntu and install. You'll be up and running long before 6.06 comes out tomorrow--then you'll be able to decide if you wnat to upgrade or try something else.

With a big hard disk, leave lot of empty space--for all the other distros you want to try.
 
Old 06-01-2006, 09:14 AM   #9
ethics
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A side note to leaving space, (as i found out the hard way) if the FS is ext3, make sure your partition is big enough, i need more space and researching it seems extremely difficult (impossible?)
 
Old 06-01-2006, 10:18 AM   #10
Johnny Faster
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ethics I took the Chooser test & it said SuSe & Mandriva are perfect matches, with kubuntu/ubuntu as 3rd & 4th choices. Others have recomended SuSe, and apparantly Ubuntu/Kubuntu does not have "Graphical Installer". I'll find out exactly what that means and how important it is later.

That's really a GREAT tool. Made things much clearer about what the options are. Thanks to everyone else for the help. I think I am going to try SuSe first.

I'll check back later as I have some links to read & research (above). Thanks again.

Johnny
 
Old 06-01-2006, 10:29 AM   #11
Michael_aust
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if it said you should try mandriva, then use pclinuxos, its what mandriva should have been. Its mandriva without the mandriva problems.

I would not suggest suse to a first time user, have you actually looked at adding repositories to it. While it is easy, it is actually overly complicated compared to other distributions.

PCLinuxOS is my sugegstion as a previopus poster siad. Its well rounded, immediatly useful after isntallation and jam packages with applications right after install. Its a live cd/install cd so that even better.
 
Old 06-01-2006, 12:22 PM   #12
ethics
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Suse is a great starting platform, i hear good things about it. *buntus dont have graphical installers (akin to windows xp installer) they have text installers, using ncurses, which formats ascii code to form a crude graphic like environment (pretty bad description, sorry). They are still user friendly and intuitive.

Best of luck in your endeavours, and should you have problems with things, google and LQ are your friends
 
Old 06-01-2006, 12:45 PM   #13
craigevil
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PCLinuxOS is the perfect distro to get started with. The installer is graphical and includes a simple partitioner. Download it, run the LiveCD ; everything you see on the livecd comes with it when you install it.

You will save yourself a lot of hassle not messing with Ubuntu or Suse, neither one has all the proprietary multimedia formats installed or the players; things like Java, Flash, multimedia codecs, browser plugins, Adobe Reader

Personally I wish people would stop recommending Ubuntu to people that are new to Linux, even Distrowatch classifies it as a middle of the road distro. It comes missing too many thing. It is not a newbie distro. Granted they are easy enough to install but jumping right to terminal commands for someone just trying Linux for the first time is a bit over the top.

Newbie distros are Xandros, Linspire, PCLinusOS, Mepis, Mandriva, Suse (commercial version), and maybe Fedora Core. Not (k)Ubuntu or Open Suse both of which are fine distros in their own right but come missing so many things some one from windows will have trouble installing.

You might want to partition before trying to install, in that case I recommend using:
GParted -- LiveCD
http://gparted.sourceforge.net/livecd.php
 
Old 06-01-2006, 12:52 PM   #14
Cogar
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I agree with the others that the Live CDs are not the best option. Perhaps playing around with one for a day would be fine, but that's about it. (You will see why if you ever use one.)

Regarding SUSE, it is my preferred distro. I think it is easy to install and run and it is stable. I typically recommend to people that are new to Linux to take the plunge and purchase the retail boxed version. Although it costs something (about $60), it includes phone and email support from Novell (limited), and a thick user's guide book. The boxed version also contains 5 CDs for those computers that do not have a DVD drive. Further, the dual density DVD contains a lot more packages and other goodies than any of the "free" versions you can download. It does make the transition a lot easier. (Not perfect, but easier.) Let me add that I read many comments and complaints about not getting something working on SUSE, but almost none of them are written by people who purchase the retail version. Frankly, it can only take one missing package to screw things up and someone new may not be able to tell what they are missing. The result is frustration since the learning curve can be steep when moving into a new OS. You have already spent years learning Windows and probably forgot most of those trials by now.

Partitioning is easy with SUSE, Mandriva, Ubuntu, and Kubuntu. (There are probably others, but I am not familiar with all of them.) They have options to reduce the size of the Windows partition (if desired) and set up new partitions for Linux. You need to be careful, of course. If you don't know what you are doing, read carefully and accept defaults unless you are pretty sure they are wrong. (They are sometimes.)

There are many replacements for Windows applications. Some of them are better than the originals. The most famous example are OpenOffice and the GIMP, replacements for Microsoft Office and Photoshop.

Let me add that although I prefer graphical installers, the "non-graphical" ones like in Ubuntu are not command line installers (like Slackware tends to be) and are not that difficult to use. I am reasonably sure they use this method to save disk space, since the Ubuntu "family" each fits on only one CD.
 
Old 06-02-2006, 03:09 AM   #15
Johnny Faster
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Yes, but is it F-R-E-E ?

I download, install play with and then uninstall software a LOT. It's hard to predict what "sticks" and what won't. This Linux notion of mine might be a flash in the pan or a lifelong partner, but it's too early to say.

And too early to invest money in, either. Maybe as/if I develop, I might ascend to the level of actually being willing to pay for it, but that's doubtful. Very doubtful.

One motivator to get away from Windows is that I am tired of playing the continuous "cat & mouse" game of running less-than-legitimate Windows software. It was fun for a long time, poking MS in the eye.

Yep, I'm a legitimate, bona-fide and treacherous "software pirate" (or whatever evil-sounding term is currently being used to castigate and demonize those of us that don't like the Holy MS EULA-gy).

(Continuing my caffeinated and sleep-deprived raving...)
I simply believe that if you buy something, you've BOUGHT it. This whole, retroactive "you've changed your CPU and so now we need to re-authorize the use of the Operating System you paid for" thing really forms the basis for a whole long list of rationalizations about why my actions are not only justified, (I believe) they are the responsible actions of an Activist that is intolerant of corporate injustice and isn't willing to wait around for the current Republican administration to figure out how to profit from enforcing the law (they only reason for Republicans to do this, as is evidenced by our current lack of a border with Mexico).

Yeah, I'm a Freedom Fighter. That's it. A Freedom Fighter.

However, it has stopped being "fun". I spend WAY too much time tinkering with XP, and I am becoming aware that I could use that time much more productively if I tinkered with Linux. And, (the monkey figures) if I tinker ENOUGH, I might never need to mess with XP, Windows in general or MicroSoft ever again. So instead of investing my time in learning how to apply this patch, fix, crack or workaround to the latest attempt by MS to keep me from using my own software, I might invest instead in being permanently free from the whole morass.

Given what I've been reading from most Linux Users, it seems I'm a natural just waiting to self-actualize.

Well here I am.

TA-DA !!

But I'm still a tight-wad. And fickle. So no spendy-money (pidgeon spanish, for you yankees and other foreigners) until I decide if I really want to keep it.

And then, only if I absolutely MUST.

I am guessing why the distro-choosing tool overlooked PCLinuxOS is because I no wantee spendy the money.

Is it free ?

If so, you've got me turned around. Although I'm not a complete putz with computers. The graphics are pretty and keep me awake when the caffiene wears off. I can do command-line stuff. Cut my teeth on Apple BASIC at the age of 16, and can run several commands in XP's "Recovery Console".

So I guess I'm saying, I'm not just pretty, I'm also SMART too.



Okay, enough raving. Is PCLinuxOS free, and if so where do I get it. Again, P2P is my prefered method. Dunno why. I guess I'm just a thrill junkie, and enjoy even the appearance of illegality. (Even if the files I'm sharing are open source.)

Thanks again for the help, advise, input, feedback and background information.

Johnny

Last edited by Johnny Faster; 06-02-2006 at 03:16 AM.
 
  


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