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marcel7 01-09-2009 12:44 PM

Do some distros give you access to more programs than other distros?
 
I will soon be moving to Linux. I was strongly leaning to PCLinuxOS but now I wonder, if I use that distro, will I have fewer applications that can be installed easily than if I choose Ubuntu or Mint?

I mean, if I want to use a Linux app that isn't on the PCLinuxOS install CD, will I have a problem? My understanding is that Linux apps are made into packages for the most popular distros only, and that users of other distros cannot install them easily and would have to do a lot of technical stuff to make them work.

Am I wrong about that?

I am also considering Mint, as it would be compatible with all apps made for Ubuntu. I guess Ubuntu is now the most popular, but maybe I'm wrong about that too.

Mega Man X 01-09-2009 12:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by marcel7 (Post 3402558)
I will soon be moving to Linux. I was strongly leaning to PCLinuxOS but now I wonder, if I use that distro, will I have fewer applications that can be installed easily than if I choose Ubuntu or Mint?

I mean, if I want to use a Linux app that isn't on the PCLinuxOS install CD, will I have a problem? My understanding is that Linux apps are made into packages for the most popular distros only, and that users of other distros cannot install them easily and would have to do a lot of technical stuff to make them work.

Am I wrong about that?

I am also considering Mint, as it would be compatible with all apps made for Ubuntu. I guess Ubuntu is now the most popular, but maybe I'm wrong about that too.

I can't speak for PCLinuxOS or Mint, but some distros indeed comes with far more packages than Ubuntu does by default. Some distros are actually split in several CD's.

Personally, I think that is a bad thing. There is no way an average user will use all that. Besides, it leads to overkill information which will most likely scare off newcomers right away.

I think Ubuntu is one of the most balanced distros out there (out of the box that is). One text editor, one terminal, one office package, one media player and one music player, for example. The name of a some programs are as well conveniently changed. For example, do you understand if I tell you to use Gedit? Gedit is a "Text Editor" and it is called "Text Editor" in Ubuntu, making it easier to new users, since everybody knows what a text editor is, but not GEdit.

I've no doubt Ubuntu is the most popular distribution these days, although I can't show you any numbers confirming that. However, from the options above, I really think you should try Ubuntu first. It has such a large community that finding answers to problems you may/will eventually face is pretty simple.

Bookmark this right away. It is a guide for Ubuntu:

http://ubuntuguide.org/wiki/Ubuntu:Intrepid

When downloading Ubuntu, get 8.10 ;)

If you need to install additional packages in Ubuntu, everything is pretty simple through Synaptic:

http://www.nongnu.org/synaptic/

Basically, you will be able to install thousands of package with one click.

My two cents coming from an Ubuntu fanboy ;)

elliott678 01-09-2009 01:12 PM

Ubuntu and Debian definitely have some of the biggest online repositories in the Linux world, but that doesn't mean a distribution with a smaller repository won't satisfy your needs. From what I've seen, the PCLinuxOS is likely to have anything you need in their online repository, they include a "nonfree" repository too, for non-open source stuff. They also use Synaptic, just like Ubuntu, to make finding and installing packages easy.

Installing from source isn't the hardest thing, usually, but it can be a pain if you are trying to work with old software that has been unsupported for a long time.

jailbait 01-09-2009 01:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by marcel7 (Post 3402558)

My understanding is that Linux apps are made into packages for the most popular distros only, and that users of other distros cannot install them easily and would have to do a lot of technical stuff to make them work.

The distributions make up their own packages. If you want to use a program that your distribution does not package then you can install the program from the tarball provided by the developer. Installing from a tarball is more difficult than installing a distribution's package.

---------------------
Steve Stites

jamescondron 01-09-2009 01:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by marcel7 (Post 3402558)
I will soon be moving to Linux. I was strongly leaning to PCLinuxOS but now I wonder, if I use that distro, will I have fewer applications that can be installed easily than if I choose Ubuntu or Mint?

It depends, personally I don't find
Code:

./configure
make
make install

too difficult, but then again dependencies can be a bitch ;)

PCLinuxOS uses apt, so you shouldn't have too much trouble.

Quote:

I mean, if I want to use a Linux app that isn't on the PCLinuxOS install CD, will I have a problem? My understanding is that Linux apps are made into packages for the most popular distros only, and that users of other distros cannot install them easily and would have to do a lot of technical stuff to make them work.
Online repositories, its the way forward... No need to worry about your install CD, or the size/number of them. But yeah, you'll be okay.

Quote:

Am I wrong about that?

I am also considering Mint, as it would be compatible with all apps made for Ubuntu. I guess Ubuntu is now the most popular, but maybe I'm wrong about that too.
Basically, though, you want to keep trying distros until you get the one you want. If you want a good beginner distro, or one that does as much for you as possible with little input, then Ubuntu works perfectly, lets you get on with everything else. Foresight Linux is also perfect for that.

If you like to learn and do as much of the choice type stuff yourself, without having to learn how to configure your kernel, or even which to use, go for something like Debian, RH or similar.

If you'd like to scare yourself silly, or learn through doing, give Gentoo a go.

But to make a choice because you're worried you'll not have the software you want, not the best place to start, you'll struggle to find a distro like that.

beachboy2 01-09-2009 01:50 PM

marcel7,
I broadly agree with Mega.
You cannot go too far wrong with any Debian-based OS plus the excellent Synaptic Package manager (the graphical version of apt-get). I would use no other after a nightmare experience using a different PM.

Synaptic is a reliable "pipe-and-slippers-in-a-comfy-armchair-experience" which makes it ideal for Linux beginners (and experts).

With Debian OSs you have access to well over 20,000 Debian packages (and others).
My personal selections would be Mepis 8 (out very soon but available in Release Candidate 1 form now), Ubuntu 8.10 and Debian itself, of course.

Another point to consider is the quality of the chosen OS's forum (in addition to LQ, of course).
Ubuntu fans, please do not take this as a "knock" against Ubuntu Forums, but I have to say that whilst there is a HUGE amount of information available on the Ubuntu forums, your post will be deluged by thousands of others in next to no time.
Ubuntu Forum posters frequently complain that nobody has answered their plea for help. I am afraid that Ubuntu is a victim of its own success in this respect.

Whichever OS you choose, do a thorough check of its forum first and remember to do a Google search first to avoid a gentle flaming!

Another tip is to ALWAYS check that a particular piece of hardware is Linux-compatible BEFORE purchasing it (WEBCAMS in particular!!).

Good luck with your entry into the wonderful world of Linux.
Remember, from now on, YOU are in charge of your own destiny.

Quakeboy02 01-09-2009 02:15 PM

In summary, Linux is Linux. If you can run program xyz on your Linux distro, then I can on mine. I may have to go download it from sourceforge or somewhere else, if it's not in my repo, but as mentioned, it's not that hard to install a tarball, once you've done it once.

Don't get caught up in the issue of how many packages come on the Linux CD/DVD for your distro. I personally use the Netinst installer for Debian, and most of the packages are installed from the internet. This keeps the install CD to a minimal size. It does take a wideband connection, of course.

pixellany 01-09-2009 02:34 PM

I really can't add anything except a bit of a "soapbox moment".

I wish there were a mass media opportunity** to let potential Linux converts know about two key features:

1. Linux now actually has more (and sometimes better) SW available than does Windows (my hunch only)

2. With the typical package manager/ repository system, SW installation is typically easier than on Windows.

Assuming a system is initailly set up correctly, compiling an application that is NOT in the repositories is (usually) no big deal.



**Who would like to contribute towards an ad at--eg--this year's superbowl?

marcel7 01-10-2009 11:12 AM

Thanks all, for your info and opinions. I noticed that nobody said anything about Mint. Isn't it better to use Mint instead of Ubuntu, because it supposedly has all the codecs that Ubuntu lacks?

Also what do you think about Kubuntu? I heard that Linus Torvalds himself prefers KDE.

I haven't been able to actually test any of the distros yet (dead cd drive on my present dilapidated laptop...hmm..."dilaptop"...have i invented a new word?), but will do so very soon when I buy a new laptop (or maybe netbook)

Mega Man X 01-10-2009 12:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by marcel7 (Post 3403630)
Thanks all, for your info and opinions. I noticed that nobody said anything about Mint. Isn't it better to use Mint instead of Ubuntu, because it supposedly has all the codecs that Ubuntu lacks?

Also what do you think about Kubuntu? I heard that Linus Torvalds himself prefers KDE.

I haven't been able to actually test any of the distros yet (dead cd drive on my present dilapidated laptop...hmm..."dilaptop"...have i invented a new word?), but will do so very soon when I buy a new laptop (or maybe netbook)

Kubuntu 8.10 was a huge disappointment for me. Not because Kubuntu is a bad distro, but KDE4 is far from being ready for some serious desktop use yet (in my opinion). Kubuntu 8.04 would in this case be better. Still, if you want to go with KDE, I'd almost recommend you OpenSuSE or Mandriva. They are far more polished than Kubuntu, when it comes down to KDE.

Installing codecs is deadly easy. If you click on a music file or video file in Ubuntu, it will tell you that codecs are not installed and ask you if you want it to install. You click on yes and you are all set. So if that is the main selling point of Mint, there really is no difference here.

Linus Torvalds himself prefers KDE... hmmmm, personally, I don't like Linus and most of the things he says does not mean much too me. It is just another guys opinion, nothing else.

pixellany 01-11-2009 01:19 PM

Mint is indeed very good, but it still has the silly Ubuntu "no root user thing".

Quote:

Linus Torvalds himself prefers KDE... hmmmm, personally, I don't like Linus and most of the things he says does not mean much too me. It is just another guys opinion, nothing else.
Are we allowed to say something like this here???.....;)
Seriously, I too disagree with some things, but I don't dislike him.

fosopip 01-11-2009 02:38 PM

As a nearly ex windows user (I still use it at work and have to keep up for that and friends and family)
I took the leap of faith into Ubuntu...as a guy who knows nothing about Linux all I can say is it is fantastic and not that different from Windows.
Can,t comment on any other distro as I have never used any other one, but so far so good

Artie 01-13-2009 11:42 AM

I would stick with Ubuntu if I were you. They update several times a week so you can be sure of running a safe and secure system. I would strongly advice you to stay away from PCLinuxOS for the time being. They haven't updated since September when they froze their repositories and are still running old and insecure versions of browsers, flash plugins etc. For instance their latest version of the Opera browser is stuck at 9.50 while the latest is 9.63 and they're still using an insecure flash plugin version. They simply ignore security and other program updates. Several people have pointed that out to them in their forums, me included and I got banned on their forum because I was too critical and outspoken in my posts. Stick with Ubuntu.

Artie


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