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Old 08-02-2005, 01:56 PM   #1
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Choosing a Distro for GIMP


I recently got really into using the GIMP, and was planning on using it to batch edit some frames out of a home video. However, I soon discovered that the Windows release of GIMP does not support batch or command line processing. So, I would like to add a Linux OS on my computer to run alsongside my Windows XP.

Requirements for distro:
Compatible with Intel 1.8 ghz (i386?, i486?)
Easy to install
Easy to install GIMP on -(are RPM's easy to install?, are binaries easy to build?)
Can run alongside Windows XP nicely
Easy to use (GUI)

Any suggestions?

I also had a couple of quesiton regarding Linux in general:

1) If I use the Knoppix live CD (it includes GIMP on it), can I run custom scripts and edit files(possibly up to 3000 at once) stored in a windows directory even though the OS is being run from my CD-ROM?

2) I noticed that Mandrake 10.0 is release as i586. I don't know if my computer is that quality, would a distro designed for i586 run on a previous architecture?

If there are any GIMP-Masters out there who know how to batch process images in Windows, please let me know.

Thank you very much for you help. Please excuse my LINUX newbiness.

Rodney Aspera

Last edited by raspera; 08-02-2005 at 02:00 PM.
Old 08-02-2005, 02:57 PM   #2
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I don't know about the script editing (but I'm sure any linux distro will support it, as a big part of the OS is the bash). but....

Any ix86 distro will work on any pentium machine, unless you're running a 386 or 486 (which, no offense, but if you are running XP, it's impossible. )

Also, it is possible to open and edit large amounts of files from a live cd, you just have to create a presistant partition on your hd (it's easy in something like Knoppix), you might also want th check out Mepis or Ubuntu, both are also debian based and pretty good software. While this is possible, depending on how fast your machine is, and how much ram you have, it can be a beast to get any work done. Ubuntu's installer is kind of difficult for newbies, but both area very newbie freindly distros in general, plus they benefit from the wonderful apt-get repos.

Installing software in any Debian distro is very easy (one of the benefits of that distro family).

If you are something that uses the Redhat Package Manager (RPM), I would recommend Fedora, or Mandriva. The latter is more user friendly, and pretty solid, although it tends to be a smidge unstable. Fedora is a bit less user friendly (read GUI), but is very solid.

Personally, I use Arch, but it takes a bit to set up. You get to set it up exactly as you want it, but it requires editing text files and whatnot. It's pretty bleeding edge, has a good package management system (pacman), which is along the lines of apt-get, but adheres to Arch's philosophy of keeping it simple.

Hope I was a help
Old 08-02-2005, 03:12 PM   #3
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try this:
Old 08-02-2005, 03:26 PM   #4
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"Easy to install GIMP on -(are RPM's easy to install?, are binaries easy to build?)"

Any Linux distribution comes with GIMP along with hundreds (thousands?) of other applications. So you would install GIMP with the rest of your Linux install.

"are RPM's easy to install"
Yes. there is the restriction that rpms are built specifically for a particular release of a particular distribution. Therefore if you want to install something not already on your install CDs you should look for a rpm package compiled for your distribution and release. rpms built for other distributions may or may not install on your system.

"are binaries easy to build?"
You build a binary by compiling it from source. All Linux software is available as source in the form of tarballs. There is a standardized way to compile from a tarball and installing the resulting binary on you system. The tarballs are distribution independent.

"Can run alongside Windows XP nicely"

Any Linux distribution can run nicely alongside Windows in spite of Windows' attempts to screw up the arrangement.

"Easy to use (GUI)"

Linux is very, very configurable. When you install the first time be sure that you install KDE which is a first rate GUI. Then you can configure KDE to look like Mac, Windows, or a variety of other looks unique to KDE. KDE is a very easy way to run applications. If you get into seriously configuring Linux then you will find that most configuration is easier from the command line. The command line has a steep learning curve if you come from a GUI background. In my case I came from a command line background and I was very annoyed the first time I wrestled with a GUI.


The three major rpm based distributions are Fedora, Mandrake, and SuSE. You can download them for free. You can get the CDs very cheap here:

However I suggest that the first time you try Linux that you buy SuSE Pro. The SuSE Pro manual is well worth the distribution purchase price. In six months or so when you decide to install a later version of Linux you will know enough about Linux that you don't need a manual.

Steve Stites

Last edited by jailbait; 08-02-2005 at 03:29 PM.
Old 08-02-2005, 04:12 PM   #5
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Old 08-02-2005, 04:16 PM   #6
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Re: Choosing a Distro for GIMP

Originally posted by raspera
Compatible with Intel 1.8 ghz (i386?, i486?)
At 1.8ghz, you've got a Pentium IV or P4 Celeron. This will be compatible with i386, i486, i586, and i686.

Originally posted by raspera
Easy to install
With Linux, "Easy to install" mainly means "Detects all my hardware properly". I recommend Mepis. It has excellent automatic hardware detection/configuration.

Originally posted by raspera
Easy to install GIMP on -(are RPM's easy to install?, are binaries easy to build?)
Almost all Linux distributions come with the GIMP already installed (including Mepis).

RPM's are easy to install--when they work. When they don't, they're more trouble than they're worth. RPM based Linux distributions can be more trouble than they're worth.

In contrast, Debian based linux distributions are very trouble free when it comes to installing software. Usually, you do NOT have to download anything. You simply tell the computer what software you want to install and it goes out and downloads/installs/configures it for you--automatically. It even automatically downloads/installs/configures any other pieces of software necessary to make it work.

With Debian based linux distributions, you CAN manually download a software package. These packages end in ".deb". They're easier to install than rpm's, because Debian's package management system can handle any prerequisites for you.

For some software, you may need to build binaries. This is easy to do--when it works. When it doesn't, then it takes some pretty heavy troubleshooting to get it to work.

Originally posted by raspera
Can run alongside Windows XP nicely
Almost all Linux distributions have installation options to "dual-boot". This means that your Windows partition is untouched, while Linux is installed on other partitions. You do NOT run Windows XP and Linux at the same time. Instead, you are given the option upon turning your computer on between booting up Windows or booting up Linux. You can change the default choice; if you don't press anything it will automatically boot up with the default choice after a few seconds.

Originally posted by raspera
Easy to use (GUI)
By default Mepis uses the KDE GUI, which is superficially similar to Windows. Mepis also includes GUI tools for configuring hardware, burning CDs, browsing a Windows network, and other things. It's pretty GUI heavy, which is nice for newbies but demands at least 160megs of RAM to run smoothly. Your 1.8Ghz computer will be able to handle it no problem!

Mepis is free, as is Debian which it's based on.

Originally posted by raspera
1) If I use the Knoppix live CD (it includes GIMP on it), can I run custom scripts and edit files(possibly up to 3000 at once) stored in a windows directory even though the OS is being run from my CD-ROM?
Yes. However, you will find running GIMP off of the CD to be unacceptably sluggish. It's simply an inevitable consequence of the fact that a CD is much much slower than a hard drive.

Mepis is also sluggish when run as a liveCD. It's based on Knoppix, but it's a bit heavier than Knoppix so it's a bit more sluggish.

Originally posted by raspera
2) I noticed that Mandrake 10.0 is release as i586. I don't know if my computer is that quality, would a distro designed for i586 run on a previous architecture?
No. However, i586 corresponds to the original Pentium CPU. That is ANCIENT. i686 corresponds to Pentium Pro MMX (or something like that), which in terms of desktop hardware you'd actually run into means Pentium II (or PII Celeron).

Note that Pentium III and Pentium IV processors are backwards compatible. Code written for a Pentium or Pentium II will work fine on a Pentium IV.


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