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I am a developer, so Windows will be used for development and minor Internet Tinkering. I am using this laptop for a few months, then I will be giving it to my gf to use for school. She is computer retarded, so that's a big part. I posted this in the Newbie section because I am not very familiar with any distro other than Fedora.
Distribution: Slint64-14.2 on Lenovo Thinkpad W520
If you have ~ 30 GB available I would install two (in two different VMs, of course).
- The recently released Linux Mint "KDE" edition for your gf. She will have no problem using it.
- Slackware for yourself, as it is very stable and you will not be afraid to edit some text files to configure it to your taste. It includes all you need for a desktop and a server as well, which will be easy to set up. It can use encrypted partitions. In this case maybe you could wait till Slackware 14 be released, probably in a few weeks.
Last edited by Didier Spaier; 08-01-2012 at 12:38 PM.
Beware Greeks bearing gifts — or Slackware users offering Slackware. If you are new to Linux, you are unlikely to like it. Yes, you can encrypt files in Slackware: if you read the manual and work out how to do it yourself, as opposed to just ticking a box when you install.
Luckily, one of the things you learn when using Linux is to take Slackers with a pinch of salt You'll notice I didn't suggest either of the distros I use: I was trying to suggest what you might find useful, not telling you what I like.
Slax is the most enduring and most stable distro. I never did get to really learn it, but I've used it many times. Ubuntu is debian unstable fork dressed up by Canonical. I don't use SuSe much anymore, but opensuse is good, especially for virtual machines. It has a xen gui. Most Linux is Debian of some flavor or another. I use that most of the time, because the package I need is usually in the mirror repository. Fedora is great, but you have to upgrade often.
My advice: If you value your relationship, don't force your "computer retarded" girlfriend to use Linux. Let her use Windows if Windows is what she knows how to use, and set up a "dual boot" with your Linux distro of choice (Fedora?). Significant others don't like being summarily converted to Linux, is my painful experience.
Try a few distros and choose the one that suits you, don't choose on the basis of others' opinions. And take everything David says about Slackware and its users with two large pinches of salt.
Debian and Fedora are good, but the latter has the annoying practice of updating the kernel WAY too often. I tried it, liked it at first, but then after one or two updates it has sacked my superblocks.
If you want to go for Slack, don't start with Slackware, start with Salix. I highly recommend the MATE edition. It has everything a usual user normally to have (web browser, e-mail reader, office suite, torrent client...) AND it had slapt-get with dependency resolution. The only down-side of it is that its default media player (Whaaaw!) is too simple and you may have a hard time playing DVD's. But you can solve it with an one-liner: 'slapt-get install vlc'.