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Old 10-02-2007, 07:47 AM   #1
KeeperOS
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Question Distro heads-up?


Sorry guys, it seems it's one of those mornings.

I am what you'd call a windows power user that tried various distros under a VM (mostly based on how they felt rather than how they worked).

I started with Freespire, then moved to Ubuntu (what a shock) but discovered I liked KDE's GUI better, Kubuntu, Mint, Mepis and LinuxOS.
What I still haven't touched is SUSE (some can guess why) while, frankly, I felt somewhat let down by Fedora.
Mandriva had a nicer look and feel but it seemed like if I wanted something more than what the Free version offered I should take my wallet out.
I also tried a couple more poor excuses for a distro but these are basically it.


To make it more specific I'm building a new desktop this week and find it to be the perfect opportunity for a dual-boot machine.
It will be an Athlon 64 X2 6000+ with the 570 SLI chipset (but no SLI , the GB M57SLI-S4), the x1950 PRO GPU and a couple of SATA (1&2) and IDE drives, plus the DVD-ROM/DVD+-RW.
I also (still) have a 19' CRT monitor so proper refresh rate adjustments is a must. I will not go bellow 75Hz for any reason.

Hardware aside, I want to use Linux for every common home use.
By that I mean basically what in windows meant DLing and installing the K-Lite Mega Pack and being done with it.
Proper DVD playback (protected too) is a must (I rent and watch DVDs at my PC).
Ripping and transcoding DVDs from DVD-9 to unprotected DVD-5 would also be nice.
Then comes the www experience. If a web page I visit requires sth (Flash/Shockwave/Java/PDF) Firefox should be able to DL/install the required plugin.
Furthermore, since it will be a dual-boot machine proper NTFS read/write support is also a must.

Aside from the gaming thorn I think that's it really.
Do note that I don't mind much if what I'm asking isn't out of the box ready as long as DLing/installing what I need is available, painless and relatively easy to do.

Right now my fail safe choices are either a Ubuntu w/KDE hybrid or Mepis. But I'd be more than willing to download 4 or 5 distros to test run under a VM and if successful actually install.

What I'm asking from a distro is as wide a package list as possible (plus a good manager like Synaptic/APT-get to access it), a frequent/predictable release cycle (that's my main issue with Mepis), frequent updates as necessary and proper KDE availability/support.

EDIT: The point to is is, other than the ones I noted above is there a distro that does what I'm asking that you'd recommend me?

Last edited by KeeperOS; 10-02-2007 at 08:30 AM. Reason: Not clear enough
 
Old 10-02-2007, 08:07 AM   #2
dickgregory
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I'm not sure what your question is, if any. If you are just looking for confirmation that you are on the right track, it looks to me like you are doing the right stuff. You have done your homework and tried several distros and have started to develop preferences.

Most of the major distros have a vast number of packages that can be downloaded and installed. Those that appear to be missing some usually have additional repositories that can be accessed. This is often the case when a distro does not by default include some proprietary drivers or encoders.

Since you favor KDE, I would suggest a couple of distros in addition to those you have tried.

Sabayon is a Bleeding Edge distro that includes lots of good stuff that hasn't hit the mainstream yet. There will be some instabilities because some stuff is not well seasoned.

Debian, although traditionally a Gnome distro, can easily run KDE. In fact I use Debian/KDE myself on one of my main boxes. Debian has a vast array of available software.

I might suggest that on future posts that you be more specific on what it is you are asking.
 
Old 10-02-2007, 08:25 AM   #3
KeeperOS
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Sorry, I thought I was clear (apparently I was mistaken ).
(My original post had comments on what I didn't like on each and every distro I noted but that made it 3 times the post I finally submitted.)

Basically, I'm not fully content with any of the distros I found.
Ubuntu supports KDE but needs some work, (Kubuntu felt like it was built from Ubuntu leftovers. A really strong "factory outlet" feel), Mepis doesn't have a frequent/predictable release cycle while others simply were more or less lacking for what I asked.

Basically in my original post I say exactly what I'll be needing from the distro I'll end up so that someone could tell me if I had missed a distro that might be what I was looking for.

Sorry for the trouble!
 
Old 10-02-2007, 08:34 AM   #4
rickh
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The question is asked so often it becomes mildly irritating. There really is no right answer, and most people will simply use it as an excuse to promote their favorite. Picking a distro is a philosophical issue as much as a technical one. Any of the major ones will fulfill all your technical needs. Look through that link, pick one that appeals to you and learn it. A cursory exposure does not begin to show the potential.

Quote:
I am what you'd call a windows power user
Not exactly a sterling recommendation. "Windows power users" are generally the most difficult to help since they think they are a special breed. They're not, and your Windows expertise will only be an impediment in learning Linux.
 
Old 10-02-2007, 09:22 AM   #5
KeeperOS
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I realize that, but from my brief exposure it has been obvious to me that different distros have different agendas ie. others take the most purist of approaches while others a more middle of the road one. Some aim at a wide audience while others at getting things done the most efficient way possible (even though that means compiling your own binaries from source) and so on and so forth.

It's not as if I haven't tried distros, it's just that I've run out of the ones that I found without finding exactly what I was looking for.
I think you'll find I noted most of the distros your link names (with the exception of the more technical ones or the BSD based ones).

As for the power user part, well, I resent the special breed comment. I mastered what OS I was given (and I started with 3.1 and DOS 5) and am confident that I can do it again, only this time with a lot less effort. If at my 12 I could command line the hell out of my 486 SX I sure as hell can learn my way through the console...

That said, I prefer to do things with a more automated, GUI based approach, leaving the command line for when it's the most efficient way.

In any case, I am confident that if I'm recommended 10-15 distros (based on what I described earlier) I could easily find the 3-5 that would actually have a chance of doing what I want. Just that I've run out of the ones I already knew...
 
Old 10-02-2007, 09:29 AM   #6
mrclisdue
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickh View Post
...Not exactly a sterling recommendation. "Windows power users" are generally the most difficult to help since they think they are a special breed. They're not, and your Windows expertise will only be an impediment in learning Linux.
Perhaps a bit harsh-sounding, but very much to the point.

The well-seasoned Linux user will often try a language analogy to illustrate the point that you must eliminate any preconceptions about Linux - what it is, what is has to do, etc - and, simply, run with it and learn it. The language analogy would be that you're a power colloquial English guy (as are about a billion other folks on earth), now you want to learn Mandarin Chinese (there's over a billion of those folks), but you want to learn it on your English terms.

You're looking for Lindows, and that won't be happening.

One of the weaknesses in posting to forums is that a post one may have composed in less than 10 minutes can later be dissected letter-by-letter and then rebutted, the original intent having nothing to do with the rebuttal. So, I'm trying to not do that.

But as example, let's look at your requirement that Firefox should recognize and install necessary plugins. This is one of the many things that makes Windows so hackable/crackable, insecure, prone to malware/spyware/viruses: the execution of code without user-knowledge or intervention. And the Windows *fix* is what has the Windows community exasperated (Allow?/Deny?).

In a normal (non-root) Linux environment, Firefox will discover what the missing plugin is, but it won't/shouldn't install without your direct intervention.

So, as someone else has stated, your best bet is to choose a distro, and run with it. I started my Linux journey with Mandrake, but I've been running Fedora since FC2. Depending on the PC, for newbies I'll install either Fedora or one of the Buntus.

hth
 
Old 10-02-2007, 10:04 AM   #7
brianL
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Try Debian, Slackware, Arch, Gentoo, LFS & BLFS. If you're still not satisfied - stick to Windows.
 
Old 10-02-2007, 10:13 AM   #8
Su-Shee
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Ok, and I'm the one who doesn't get why you didn't try SuSE?!

It _has_ KDE since KDE came into existence and offers a very broad variety of packages.
 
Old 10-02-2007, 10:31 AM   #9
doublejoon
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PCLinuxOS is also a good choice
 
Old 10-02-2007, 10:39 AM   #10
KeeperOS
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One thing is for sure, despite my (and some of yours) best intentions I was seriously misunderstood. No auto installations please. For instance if Firefox can't play a swf file it asks you if you'd like to install the missing plug-in (which it naturally identifies it) and goes on from there. Now if instead of Firefox it is the OS that asks me that or, Firefox tells me what I want and the OS's update manager or whatever offers me to do it then that's basically the same thing for me.

It's not automation that I'm after as much as ease.

With SuSE I'm partly ticked off with the Redmond deal but mostly I tried it in the past (albeit not OpenSuSE at the time)and couldn't shake off the feeling that it was taking a introversial approach. However right now I'm waiting for 10.3 to be released to finally try it.

Slackware, I don't think I have the stomach for it just yet, maybe in the future. Same for Gentoo, LFS & BLFS
Debian was in my to-do list, would I be better off trying the stable, testing or unstable branch?
Finally, Arch was a distro I didn't know about.

THANKS!

EDIT: Ok, Arch seems like a fine approach but not one I'm partial about so I guess it'll either have to be OpenSuSE, a Debian branch or my failsafes...

Thanks anyway guys and sorry for the headache

Last edited by KeeperOS; 10-02-2007 at 10:57 AM.
 
Old 10-02-2007, 05:44 PM   #11
salasi
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Quote:
I started with Freespire, then moved to Ubuntu (what a shock) but discovered I liked KDE's GUI better, Kubuntu, Mint, Mepis and LinuxOS.
Be aware that all the *bunutus are the same underneath, and you can turn a gnome ubuntu (called ubuntu!) into kubuntu just by adding the kde bits. Or Xubuntu, the xfce ubuntu, by adding the xfce bits.

I wouldn't be quite as harsh as you about kubuntu feeling like floor sweepings, but I know what you mean; it doesn't really feel as finished as the gnome product. It has been getting a bit better of late so there are grounds for optimism about the upcoming release.

I'd add Xandros to your list; I don't much like their attitude of trying to be very coy about the free product and only pushing the paid for version, but it seems like a solid enough product. With your preferences, you might be as well going for the paid-for product because that does include proprietary software (but try the 'zero cost' option first to see if you like it and therefore whether it is worth trying the paid for version).

If you want to have a quick look at which distros include what software, have a look at the individual distro tables at http://www.distrowatch.org (and, in the process be genuinely amazed at the wonderful variety of distros that exist...and be helped very little towards an ultimate choice because of that same variety).

I think you are doing the right thing in playing around with a few distros before deciding. With all the variety that is out there, you don't even know which questions to ask until you have tried a few things out. Just don't assume that you are bound to stick long term with your initial choice; it is likely that at the next upgrade round or the one after that you might wish to change. This isn't a big problem, its just a fact of life. Oh, and live CDs are good for playing!

If you don't mind downloading (i.e., your line speed and whatever download restrictions apply don't make it a pain), I think I'd go for one of the debian-derived distros (or debian itself). So *buntu, Mepis, Xandros and Debian.

The apt system (apt-get, aptitude, synaptic) makes it very easy to just add the bits that you haven't got by default. OK, by default debian itself takes a very purist approach to proprietary content, but its always only a few clicks away, so just because they are doesn't mean that you have to be. And the derived distros tend to be a bit more 'bleeding edge' and more liberal about 'non-free' content, if that's what you want.
 
Old 10-02-2007, 09:11 PM   #12
KeeperOS
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Quote:
Originally Posted by salasi View Post
Be aware that all the *bunutus are the same underneath, and you can turn a gnome ubuntu (called ubuntu!) into kubuntu just by adding the kde bits. Or Xubuntu, the xfce ubuntu, by adding the xfce bits.

I wouldn't be quite as harsh as you about kubuntu feeling like floor sweepings, but I know what you mean; it doesn't really feel as finished as the gnome product. It has been getting a bit better of late so there are grounds for optimism about the upcoming release.
I didn't even think of calling Kubuntu floor sweepings but I'm the harsh one?

Ok, seriously, yeah, the buntus are the distros I'm the most familiar with.
I played with various hybrids; Ubuntu + KDE, Kubuntu + GNOME + XFCE and so on. But Kubuntu had bugs/issues that Ubuntu didn't have, that not even the Kubuntized Ubunutu (Ubuntu + kubuntu-desktop meta package) had.

As for Xandros, I was already DLing it (the Home 4 version ) while posting the original post. When done I loaded it in a VM and... well, it is solid for sure and more out of the box than others but I don't think it has that much job in it to deserve paying for it (*bullsh!t, cheapsake alert!!!*)

Really, I think I'll try Debian just for the hell of it but chances are I'll end up using a buntu (or a heavily re-ubuntized derivative like Mint) or Mepis.

After all, these two were the first distros to successfully address the dreaded JMicron show-stopper that plagued older Core2 DUO MoBos some months ago, Ubuntu while in pre-beta state for 7.04 at the time!

Really, REALLY thank you for your help guys!!!

Last edited by KeeperOS; 10-02-2007 at 09:13 PM.
 
Old 10-02-2007, 09:53 PM   #13
Sepero
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As someone suggested earlier PCLinuxOS may be the right choice for you. They have a large user base to help you out when you need support.

OTOH, Freespire is an up and coming distro that is bound to become more and more popular. They have and will continue to have one of the largest package databases of all distros (apt-get plus cnr).
 
Old 10-03-2007, 05:31 AM   #14
brianL
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If you go for Debian, go for testing.
 
  


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