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Everyone seems to be suggesting Ubuntu, Ubuntu, Ubuntu. I don't get it. Are there killer features in Ubuntu that no other Linux distro has? I have never heard any bad things about Ubuntu so far. What does it have, full NTFS write support? A customized WINE that runs all Windows software and games perfectly? A 5-second bootup time?
Anyone want to skip the hype and explain both the pros AND cons of Ubuntu?
Actually, Ubuntu doesn't work from the start if you are interested in any kind of multimedia. These things are well-documented on the getting-started-howto-thingie, however.
For the beginner, I would still recommend Mandrake. After a while, you'll toss you first distro to the trash and choose something else anyway. Then Mandy's system administration section is a nice thing to start with.
I don't have personal experience with Ubuntu yet, so can't say how good it is or isn't. I do know that it is based on Debian, which means that package management will be very easy. The default desktop in Debian is Gnome, although the KDE desktop can be easily installed. Also, the CD is free.
That said, I use SimplyMepis, and am extremely satisfied. Also based on Debian, it comes on a Live CD, so you can try it out before installing anything. If it works to your satisfaction, just click 'Install', and you will be up and running in just a few minutes. I already had SimplyMepis 2004, and wanted to try the newer version, 3.3. I ordered the CD from Mepis headquarters (cost is $10) in West Virginia, it arrived in just a few days, and the install took 16 minutes! Default desktop is KDE, this can be easily changed to Gnome or something else if desired.
The best advice I can give you is to read as many reviews of as many different distros as possible. My first Linux distro was SuSE 7.1, followed by Caldera OpenLinux. I didn't even know of Mepis one year ago, but at the time, was thinking of trying Xandros or Linspire. I'm sure glad I tried Mepis, I consider it the best $10 I ever spent on software!
Are there killer features in Ubuntu that no other Linux distro has?
Not really. It does have very good hardware detection but is basically a mix of Debian Sarge and Debian Sid. The biggest appeal of Ubuntu is it's auto-config/hardware detection which makes it easy for a newbie to set up.
It is what it is, a decent user friendly newbie distro. I tested Hoary and found it to be a pretty decent, well thought out distro that just about any newbie who isn't running some exotic hardware would have little trouble installing and using.
If you really want to know more about Ubuntu (or any other distro) the best way to find out is install it and test it for yourself.
The original poster asked about easy to use newbie distros, so it only makes sense that Mepis and Ubuntu would be mentioned. They are both aimed at newbie Linux desktop users.
Had he asked about distros for advanced users, Slack and Gentoo would likely to have been mentioned.
I actually never understood why Slack is considered so terribly difficult. I think it is a brilliant distro for for one's second or third install. If you have a grip of the basic file system, a menu install of Slackware is no more difficult than the rest. Just like Debian, except Debian has the greatest package management tool of all time, and Slackware has, well, nothing, basically.
Gentoo installation is different, though. If you follow the Handbook, all is well. If there is an error in the process, or if you have funny hardware... you're screwed. I always thought that Gentoo and Linux From Scratch were the hardest nuts to crack.
Why do people try to hide the fact that they they only use M$ windows for this or only have it there for that? C'mon people, just admit it, you need windows, plus umm... you need windows! (my opinion, but ready to argue)
In my opinion a CD-based distro is great for first time. When get to the point when you have it installed you already know if you like it (install that distro or non-bootable version of the distro) or not.
Moderator note to mick191181: this is Linux specific thread. Please don't make it one of those Windows vs Linux threads. Their place is in General. Thanks.
Originally posted by manhinli I would recommend Knoppix for starters, as it's a live CD but you can also have a choice of installing it if you like it.
The K Desktop Environment is user-friendly for Windows users, but it is slow (as stated), but there is another one called Gnoppix (which uses the Gnome desktop environment of course, and is based on Ubuntu NOT Knoppix.) but it has more of a Mac style and is a LIVE CD.
I tried Knoppix and I didn't see any option to install it. Where do you see the choice?
I installed kubuntu on an old system of mine (Celeron 400/64MB RAM) and was shocked at how well it ran. It has a slick user interface, and was relativly easy to find my way around. It also has all the basic s/w one needs to be up and running. As I said before I am BRAND NEW to Linux, that said if there is anyone else in the same boat as me give this distro a whirl as it is easy to install and thusfar has proved to be user friendly.
Distribution: What's the point of this? I keep on trying new distros...
Well i do use Mandrakelinux (Mandriva) 10 Official for some time now, but it does crash, and it made my newbie experience quite sad.
I nearly gave up on linux...
But i went ahead with other distros (I am in the process of download Xandros Open Circulation Edition 3.01 over Bittorrent).
There is also another Live Cd i haven't told you about.
LindowsLive! is Lindows on a Live Cd. You can download LindowsLive Five-0 now via Bittorrent for free. You can also try LindowsLive on the real sets of Lindows. You just pick LindowsLive! from the setup menu...