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The title pretty much explains me. I'm almost totally new to the Linux scene (read: I know it exists, I know what it can do, but I've never actually touched the stuff), but I can tell the tides are changing and I want to be prepared before the change fully occurs. so now my connundrum is this: Which distro do I learn on? One friend suggests RedHat, since it's very user friendly and I have a knack for the command line. Another suggests Mandrake since I know a friend or two using it and could go to them for help (but I'm not counting on that option). And another says Debian because it's powerful and also the basis of Mac OS X.
So that's my problem...which distro do I choose, and how do I get started on it? >_<
The MacOS X core is actually based on BSD, not Debian.
If learning is your main motivation, then I'd suggest starting with Slackware or Debian... Believe me, you will have lots to learn
RedHat and Mandrake are more towards the desktop-loving users, and they are getting to be more and more like Windows. And if this is what you prefer, then I'd suggest picking Mandrake over RH due to the magnificent hardware recognition and simple installation.
However, the drawback of RH/Mandrake is that they are not fully compliant with LSB (Linux Standard Base) and you will have difficulty in compiling programs from source due to libraries not being at their proper locations, etc. etc... You will need to compile apps from source some time or another... and contrary to what RH folks say, RPMs are not the solution for world peace and eternal bliss
Tinkster, I actually tried that, and it gave me too much to read >_< And was hoping some people would poke in and try pointing me in the right direction. I know you probably hear this question a million times (lord knows I've run enough boards to see a hundred newbies a day totally ignore the freaking FAQ page) and I'm really sorry if you guys have a policy against it which I missed, but I was just hoping for a quick start on this stuff (which is more than likely an oxymoron when dealing with *nix).
Azmeen, my bad. I was just going on what I was told *shoots friend for misleading him*. Learning is my main motivation, and I'm not the hugest fan of GUI's though they can simplify everyday computing, I'm much more at home with a command line. My RH friend did just that, told me that RPM's simplified Linux greatly to an almost Windows-like skill level (i.e. no skill needed), and when I suggested that I wass looking for something a little less windows like, he suggested Gentoo.
Maybe I'll just stick to Debian, then...hopefully I can kick it around long enough to figure out what I'm doing and maybe acttually learn something.
One other tip - be aware that people helping you will often be newbies as well. People make mistakes.
In particular, the assertion that Red Hat/Mandrake are not LSB compliant is entirely false. All modern distros are compliant, and I know Red Hat doesn't ship until it passes the LSB test cases. I've never had any problems with compiling software due to things "not being in their proper place" on Red Hat.
Take note of what mhearn mentioned... He does have some good points which you may need to consider. And just to make it clear, I didn't say "not compliant to LSB", but "not fully compliant"... But hey, I may be totally wrong at that... and if that statement offended any RedHatters out there, "My sincerest apologies... I definitely didn't mean for it to go down that way.".
And another thing, I'm not trying to help you in any way... I'm merely stating my opinion . And if somehow my opinion came across to you as fact, I apologize again, because that is not my intention. You are free to make your own judgement.
And another thing, I admit that I am a newbie (check out my sig), in fact I'm proud of my newbiesque status because nobody became an expert overnight... but hopefully I'll make it at least half way there.
That's fine, I wouldn't expect people to be able to list which distros are and are not LSB compliant off the top of their heads I can assure you that Red Hat is fully compliant with the latest stable spec (at least as far as I know), but I have to know that kind of stuff for various reasons.......
Don't let it stop you from helping people out! It never stopped me