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Old 09-29-2008, 09:09 AM   #1
rbrauns
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Creating a short list a few Linux versions. (Long post).


Hello Forum,

Iím sorry for the WOB and the long post but as a PC tech in a former life, I know how important lots of detail is.

Hereís the background: I have a P4 3.4 GHz machine running W2K Pro. It is stable but runs hot and is very loud. Iím building a new machine and am thinking of running Linux but donít know which version. YES, I have searched and see lots of individual posts but is there a survey somewhere showing which version is most popular? Iíve also looked at distrowatch.

Hardware will be an ABIT KN9 SLI and Athlon X2 5600+ which uses 65 nM technology and passive cooling. I want AMD because it runs a bit faster than the Duo E4500 and is cheaper. The days of me spending thousands to have the best hardware are over. Now I want cheap. 800 MHz FSB and on board sound are added bonuses for me. I have a WLAN card that connects to a router.

I currently only use my machine for office apps, surfing the web and watching and then burning movies. Normally, Iíve got Limewire downloading while reading my emails and have Winword open. I plan on running some decent 3D games in the future because my daughter is 5 and will want to play on the computer in a few years. I also want to run a network when my daughter gets bigger so the OS will have to have some decent networking. Graphics will be NVIDIA because of the support for Linux.

I used to create batch files setting up drivers on DOS to match the interrupt jumpers on the sound card sitting in the ISA slot. I also have no probs going into the Windows registry and manually killing viruses so I donít mind a Linux version that requires some effort to setup. I want the new system to be stable and not take 4 minutes to boot up and 2 minutes to shut down.

The last time I Iooked at going to Linux there were only 2 versions: SUSE and RedHat and virtually no apps. Iím happy to see that I can replace 90% of my Windows programs with Open Office. Even Divx , Mozilla and Thunderbird are all available in Linux versions. This is very encouraging.

Now for my questions:
1. Am I correct in assuming that all programs written for Linux will run on any version of it? It seems to me that the ďtrunkĒ of the tree is Linux with a lot of branches like Debian and SUSE. Skool me if Iím wrong.
2. Which version would run on my future AMD machine and give me a 64 bit OS? Iím leaning toward Debian.
3. Can someone narrow down the hundreds of Linux versions to maybe 5 or 6? I will do the legwork myself and read the forums but right now I have too many versions of Linux to plow through and need to short list a few.

Thanks a million for your answers.

Kind Regards, Rob B.
 
Old 09-29-2008, 09:42 AM   #2
weibullguy
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Egads, the perennial which distro question. At least you have some specific questions.

Quote:
1. Am I correct in assuming that all programs written for Linux will run on any version of it? It seems to me that the “trunk” of the tree is Linux with a lot of branches like Debian and SUSE. Skool me if I’m wrong.
That's one way to look at it, but distro's will have minor differences. Probably the biggest difference is that not all distros use the same package manager. Most apps will have native packages available for what ever distro you choose. Even those distros that use the same package manager may have differences so you will need to use the package specifically for that distro. Then there are the source-based distros that build almost every app from source right on your machine.

Quote:
2. Which version would run on my future AMD machine and give me a 64 bit OS? I’m leaning toward Debian.
Any one of them will run on your future machine. If you want a 64-bit OS, then any one of the distros that offers an x86_64 version will run on your future machine. I would recommend you use a multilib distro rather than a "pure" 64-bit distro. It will allow you to run 32-bit apps when 64-bit apps aren't available.

Quote:
3. Can someone narrow down the hundreds of Linux versions to maybe 5 or 6? I will do the legwork myself and read the forums but right now I have too many versions of Linux to plow through and need to short list a few.
This is the opinion part and you will get 10 answers if you ask 10 people. A lot of people will recommend you look at the top 5 or top10 distros at distrowatch.com. I would agree. Looking at the current top 10, I would tell you to look at Ubuntu (I don't like it, but both my kids use it), Fedora (I've used it but not since FC3 days and I don't like it), PCLinuxOS (never used it, but heard good things), Debian (I don't like it but it's rock solid), and Mint (never used it, but heard good things). That should be five.

Last edited by weibullguy; 09-29-2008 at 09:46 AM.
 
Old 09-29-2008, 09:55 AM   #3
the trooper
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Registered: Jun 2006
Location: England
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Hello and welcome to LQ!

Quote:
1. Am I correct in assuming that all programs written for Linux will run on any version of it? It seems to me that the ďtrunkĒ of the tree is Linux with a lot of branches like Debian and SUSE.
Depends.You can compile software from source if you wish, which will work on most systems.However it's normally easier to install software via a package manager ie aptitude for Debian or Yum for Fedora.
Debian and Suse are distributions of Linux,which is a collection of software with the kernel at it's core.

Quote:
2. Which version would run on my future AMD machine and give me a 64 bit OS? Iím leaning toward Debian.
Debian is an excellent choice for a 64bit o/s.
I would recommend the net-install version,here's a link:

[HTML]http://cdimage.debian.org/debian-cd/4.0_r4a/amd64/iso-cd/debian-40r4a-amd64-netinst.iso[/HTML]

Install the standard system,don't select desktop from the installer.
Then install xorg and a desktop environment manually, for a nice lean installation.

Quote:
3. Can someone narrow down the hundreds of Linux versions to maybe 5 or 6? I will do the legwork myself and read the forums but right now I have too many versions of Linux to plow through and need to short list a few.
Other disto's worth considering would be Slackware or Gentoo .
Hope this is of some help.
Regards.
The trooper.
 
Old 09-29-2008, 07:32 PM   #4
rbrauns
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Registered: Sep 2008
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Thanks to both of you for your responses. Gosh this forum is quick.
 
  


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