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Old 03-27-2011, 10:42 AM   #1
zodwiertu
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chosing a distribution for ME


I wanted to change my operating system from Windows to Linux for some time. Mainly for 2 reasons. I study computer science and mostly we deal with Linux. Second is I like the idea of open-source, free systems. And I don't like what I hear and see about Microsoft and theit products. From what I experienced their system is very unstable. Even though I cared about it, it gave me some problems. I din't have time for complete change from Windows to Linux. I would have to re-partition hard drive, archive/burn all my data, find alternatives for the software I use. So what I did was make an extra partition for Linux, install Ubuntu and use it as a second system when I needed it.

3 weeks ago my computer broke down. I was forced to buy a new one and used it for my benefit for a system change. As before I installed Ubuntu. Why? Probably because of simplicity. I didn't want to get into a complete new complicated system, which I will run smoothly only after few weeks. I have really much work to do on computer for school. And so I am using Ubuntu for like 11 days and I feel I should change it. And the faster the better.

It's not that it's bad system, but I have a feel it could be better. First thing that annoyed me was the overall speed. Before I installed Ubuntu, I made a partition and installed Windows 7. I want to have 2 systems on my PC, so I can play an old adventure game from time to time or just run some software that is avaiable strictly for Windows (for example I chose C# this half-year and need to use Microsoft Visual Studio). And when I work on Windows 7 on my computer, it feels so smoother. Just faster. Today I made a copy speed test. I copied the same 7GB file first between 2 Ubuntu's ext4 partitons and the second time between two Windows' NTFS partitions using Windows 7. It was like 55 Mb/s on Ubuntu and 65 Mb/s on Windows. It doesn't seem big difference for me. But from what I read before it seemed that NTFS partions aren't very good and ext file systems are better.

What probably gets me even more (to change distribution) is that from what I understand Ubuntu is simplified system. Simplicity is very good - not everyone needs to know every aspect of computer system she/he uses. But I am becoming computer scientist, so that rather does not apply for me. It's not that I am a computer geek, but I know quite much and (have to) am learning lots of every month. I know I can manage even a complicated system and think it can have a lot of benefits for me.

Strange thing for me is that I can't change mouse scroll speed in Ubuntu's GNOME.

Then there is software. I had quite many Windows programs I used often and like. I can change - that's not a big problem for me, But from my Ubuntu experience Linux alternatives are often... poorer (and I don't want that!). I listen to music a lot. I couldn't find a Linux player, who was as rich in features (splitting albums into tracks, replaygain scanning, handling every audio format, highly customizable media library and look) as foobar 2000 (strictly for Windows). On Ubuntu this wasn't a big obstacle - it runs quite smoothly through Wine. And I checked that Wine is available for many Linux distros. The point of mentioning foobar2000 was different. It is that the applications for Linux are just poorer that for Windows. It is uderstandable because probably more than 90% people are using Windows and so more than 90% programs are made for that system. Another example. I opened a .pdf file in Ubuntu. I wanted to print it in a non-standard way (4 pages on one sheet and in 90 step rotation). I couldn't find a single PDF reader which was able to do that. I checked like 6 or 7 which I read were the best. Then I downloaded Adobe Reader for Linux. It worked. But that Adobe Reader for Linux is also poorer in features than the one for Windows (the same with Foxit Reader Linux version). Internet browser. I used Opera on Windows and that is no problem - it's for Linux too. But Ubuntu is much integrated with Mozilla. Opera runs quite slowly when I have many tabs opened or handle Java content. And I do have often. Comparably Mozilla is faster. I don't mind changing browser that much, but I like Opera. Especially because of it's built-in mail client. And I don't like that one browser just runs faster than others just because of an operating system.

Now I am getting to the real point.

I worked out that it will be better to ask for a proper linux distribution for me on a forum, rather than trying a few myself. I will describe (and I did that in what I wrote before too) what I need/demand from an operating system. I hope you will advice me which Linux distribution I should choose.

So as I said I study computer science. I think every Linux distribution is suitable for a programmer, right? I want to handle many things myself, so I will learn how it all works. But don't take it too excessively. I want to have it usable in quite a short time. I don't have a week or two just to get my system moving. And I like GUIs - I don't want to have everything done from command line. I find things that are done faster and simpler that way, but many others that are not.

I would like the system for which there is wide variety of customizable software. I want to choose programs myself rather than have everyhing already installed with operating system.

As I said I want to have dual-boot on my PC. Linux distribution and Windows 7 for special uses. Partitioning I did now was:
- NTFS 25GB for Windows 7 system partition,
- NTFS 100GB for additional data I will use on Windows,
- ext4 25GB for /,
- ext4 25GB for /user.
- ext4 710GB for /data - all the rest (mainly music and movies).
This /data was a little problem for me. I would like it to be sharable between Windows and Linux (so I can for example listen to my music while working on Windows). I read that ext4 file system was much better and that's the reason I made it that way. Ubuntu isn't handling NTFS too well. The same 7GB I mentioned before I copied between 2 NTFS partition but not using Windows 7, but using Ubuntu. Now the speed was (in comparison) very slow - 13 Mb/s (previous ones were 55-65 Mb/s). I assume it was a good choice to made that partition ext4. But maybe another Linux distributions handle NTFS partitions better? Or maybe there is no big difference between ext4 and ext2/ext3. I read that Windows can read from these partitions using some programs.

I think that's it. The question:
What system do you advice me to choose?
 
Old 03-27-2011, 10:47 AM   #2
repo
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Welcome to LQ

Take a look at
http://www.zegeniestudios.net/ldc/
http://distrowatch.com/

Only you can decide which is best for you

Enjoy

Kind regards
 
Old 03-27-2011, 11:06 AM   #3
zodwiertu
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Quote:
Originally Posted by repo View Post
Welcome to LQ

Take a look at
http://www.zegeniestudios.net/ldc/
http://distrowatch.com/

Only you can decide which is best for you

Enjoy

Kind regards
Hi. First I don't know, but I've checked distrowatch.com quite decently. I posted here, because I think it will be better if I got more personal advice from someone who's really into various distributions.
 
Old 03-27-2011, 11:09 AM   #4
repo
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Since you are using ubuntu, go for debian.
Everyone will say the distro he/she is using at the moment will be the best for you.

Kind regards
 
Old 03-27-2011, 11:18 AM   #5
zodwiertu
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Quote:
Originally Posted by repo View Post
Everyone will say the distro he/she is using at the moment will be the best for you.
I hope for some more objective advice : ).

And another question. Which graphical enviroment is more flexible? KDE or GNOME? Or maybe there are other good ones I didn't heard about?

Last edited by zodwiertu; 03-27-2011 at 11:20 AM.
 
Old 03-27-2011, 11:24 AM   #6
carltm
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Yes, a lot of people will simply say to use the distro they like.
I have a few that I use, and it sounds like Debian would be a good
fit for you. You can install over 30,000 programs easily, and you
can pick and choose what level you want to configure things.

If you just want multimedia to work without a lot of fuss, try
LMDE. That's the name for the Debian Edition of Linux Mint. The
drawback is that it gives you simplicity. However, it is based
on Debian, so you can "go under the covers" and configure it however
you'd like.

I usually suggest that you select an OS that your support people
recommend. In this case it sounds like you'll be using the Internet
for your primary support. That basically means you can pick any
distro, although I'd suggest picking any of the popular ones, since
more people use them and are familiar with any issues you may see.
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 03-27-2011, 11:25 AM   #7
repo
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Quote:
And another question. Which graphical enviroment is more flexible? KDE or GNOME? Or maybe there are other good ones I didn't heard about?
It's all a personal choice.
I like xfce
And for the record, go for slackware :-)

Kind regards

Last edited by repo; 03-27-2011 at 11:26 AM.
 
Old 03-27-2011, 11:47 AM   #8
DavidMcCann
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As you said, you're studying computer science, so presumably you want to work in that field. That means you need to take account of what you are likely to meet. A recent survey of web-servers showed the most used to be CentOS, Debian, Red Hat, Ubuntu,Fedora, SUSE, and Gentoo. (http://www.techdrivein.com/2011/02/u...lar-linux.html). I was a bit surprised to see Fedora, but the results are clear:

1. Red Hat*, CentOS, Fedora (all similar)
2. Debian, Ubuntu* (similar)
3. SUSE*

* are available with commercial support, and thus popular with corporate users.

My advice on GUIs is take whatever the distro installs as standard: that's the one most users will have, so it gets the most feedback and the most attention from developers. Thus Fedora's Gnome is great, but their Xfce is poor; SUSE is OK for KDE, but their Gnome is horrible.
 
Old 03-27-2011, 11:48 AM   #9
zodwiertu
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Thank carltm. I found that helpful. What's the multimedia fuss in Debian?

Can somebody tell me what if it is a big drawback to use NTFS partition on linux (and I think about data partition - system partitions will be EXT)? Is it distribution-dependent?
 
Old 03-27-2011, 11:56 AM   #10
carltm
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Debian has a philosophy that it should only have truly free
software. So unless you specifically say that you want non-free
software, some devices won't work and some programs won't be
available.

In effect Debian gives you a set of multimedia tinker toys that
you can mix and match. If you aren't familiar with the options,
it can be a long, hard process figuring out how to get everything
working.

That's where Mint is nice. LMDE is based on Debian, which means
you get everything from Debian and some extras. One of the
extras is that all the codecs and plugins are preconfigured
for mplayer and firefox.
 
Old 03-27-2011, 12:06 PM   #11
carltm
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Until recently it was possible, in fact likely, that you would trash
an ntfs partition by writing to it in Linux. There are a new set of
drivers built that have improved this.

Even though Linux can now safely write to ntfs, ntfs has a completely
different system for permissions than the ones supported in Linux.
This could cause problems with files being accessible by users (in
Windows or in Linux) that shouldn't have access.

I tend to avoid using ntfs on Linux systems unless I have a very
good reason. I would prefer to have all my Linux filesystems native
to Linux and then make the files available to Windows users through
another method such as scp, ftp, http, web-dav or samba.
 
Old 03-27-2011, 12:07 PM   #12
repo
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Quote:
Can somebody tell me what if it is a big drawback to use NTFS partition on linux
The ability to read and write to NTFS is provided by the NTFS-3G driver. It is included in most Linux distributions.

Kind regards
 
Old 03-27-2011, 12:39 PM   #13
TobiSGD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carltm View Post
I would prefer to have all my Linux filesystems native
to Linux and then make the files available to Windows users through
another method such as scp, ftp, http, web-dav or samba.
You are right, but this doesn't work on dual-boot systems.
 
Old 03-27-2011, 12:43 PM   #14
zodwiertu
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carltm View Post
That's where Mint is nice. LMDE is based on Debian, which means
you get everything from Debian and some extras. One of the
extras is that all the codecs and plugins are preconfigured
for mplayer and firefox.
So why Debian is installed from 4,4GB DVD and LMDE from 1GB DVD?
 
Old 03-27-2011, 12:46 PM   #15
brianL
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If you've got a reasonably good internet connection, you can use the Debian netinstall CD.
 
  


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