Good command prompt linux for beginners, but power users?
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Good command prompt linux for beginners, but power users?
Hi, please excuse any misunderstanding about the title.
I'm an experienced computer user, but not with Linux. As a matter of fact, even with Windows, I only do so much at the command prompt.
I am looking for a very fast (boot and etc.) Linux system, that has nothing more than a command prompt. No X-Windows. However, I would like to configure X-Windows immediately after an installation.
I noticed the LFS project. Very cool, but way too complex for me. It is exactly what I'm looking for, except, I would like the basic system to already be proven, maybe even with security updates.
The biggest most important thing is (ONLY WHAT I WANT). I don't want dozens of browsers, a hundred text editors, or any other cool or stupid open source or commercial software. I simply am looking for what Dos 6.22 was in Linux.
There are many distros. Can you guys help me pick one out that is light, secure and ready to be configured to run X windows or X-Free or Xorg, I'm not sure what the best is right now.
PS: I'm a linux noob, but I have had several decent installations of Ubuntu, and some experience with the command line, including compiling software, but still a beginner.
There are a number of distros that give you Linux without an X Server. This is often shown as a "minimal" or "server" option in the installation or distro download menu. Off the top of my head, there is Debian (minimal), Ubuntu server, CentOS, and, natch, Arch, among the major distros.
I'd be inclined to recommend Debian. Slackware is great for learning (as well as using--it's my favorite distro and I'm using it right now), but it's not really designed for a minimal install, as this thread explains, though it can be done.
IMO, Slackware is best out of the box, but Debian is a fine distro. It is rock-solid stable and aptitude and its derivatives are excellent package managers. I ran it for many years on my file server until the switch to SystemD loused up my configuration, but that was a situation unique to my particular highly-tailored Debian install.
The kernel is the kernel. Bleeding-edge distros, such as Fedora, tend to use the most recent kernels. Distros that value stability over bleeding edge tend to use slightly older ones. For day-to-day computing, I value stability over bleeding-edge. That's a matter of taste.
Looking for very fast?
Either Arch or Gentoo. They both booting in the same time, about 4 secs to non-X terminal (with ordinary spinning drive WD Blue, not SSD). To boot into KDE desktop it is about 15 secs.
Arch installation more simple, but it is a bit more bloated.
With Gentoo you have to compile kernel and bootloader to boot into base (terminal) system, but it gives you more flexibility.
I do not remember how much of RAM Arch used (dropped it), my Gentoo in terminal eats 77Mb and in KDE desktop 320Mb. Depends on how do you configure your compile options.
Gentoo mostly like LFS, but it has package management tool in contrary to LFS.
...it is possible to install openSUSE without a desktop as well, but I forget what the installer option is...
(When selecting packages to install) Go into advanced, select what you want, deselect what you don't. (Last time I looked) There was still all of the dependency checking stuff of the normal package manager, so you shouldn't be able to configure a non-working system (eg, without appropriate libs) unless you really force it.
Linux system, that has nothing more than a command prompt. No X-Windows. However, I would like to configure X-Windows immediately after an installation.
Can't quite see what that does for you that installing X Windows and a GUI, but not starting them at boot time doesn't do. Maybe you can make that clearer.
I don't know how minimal Slackware or Gentoo can be. If you're looking for a little bit of a challenge without waiting for things to compile, try installing Debian using debootstrap with the --variant=minbase option. I just did a test install of Unstable using that option, only adding a kernel and grub so it boots on it's own, and isc-dhcp-client to get it connected to the network. That install is only 354M.
Edit: Using Stable (pre-systemd), knocks that 354M down to 241M
Last edited by replica9000; 01-12-2015 at 10:19 AM.
Reason: More Info
This was a test install, but I am reading good things about Debian. Probably best out of box kernel?
Debian, like most distributions provides a very broad, modular, all encompassing kernel. It should work on almost everything. Whether or not you are interested in saving a few seconds on boot time or a few mb of RAM you should put recompiling your own kernel on your TODO list: it's something everyone new to linux should try at some point.
I'm a bit of a Debian fanboy but I think it's a good choice for your original question. Deselecting all the extra software options on install leaves you with a very minimal system with which you can play. That and pretty much every piece of free software ever released has been packaged for Debian, up to 10 DVDs last I checked. Everything else is covered by the non-free archives and deb-multimedia.org.
Debian is a hard distro to place sometimes. Imagine if you will a scale: you have the *buntus and Mint on the left with the focus on things "just working" and ease of use, and on the right are distros like Arch, Gentoo & Linux from scratch with the focus on the highly knowledgeable, power users and tinkerers.
Debian is somewhere right of centre, providing "ease of use for knowledgeable, serious users" as it were. There is a lot of focus on bug fixes and security. There are strict rules regarding packaging, license issues and documentation. The package management & upgrade procedure is solid to a fault, with a great deal of respect for local configurations. But with these policies, package versions can lag behind in the stable distribution, and default configurations can be fairly conservative.
Debian unstable is a fun playground if you must have the latest package versions, although is slows down a bit when nearing a stable release (like we are now). The software works 99% of the time. The main problem with unstable is new packages sometimes reach it while its corresponding upgraded dependencies get stuck in incoming for whatever reason. Apt will, on occasion, helpfully offer to uninstall half your system to fix this dependency issue. Debian testing is a nice middle ground, it lags 10 days behind unstable, if there are no serious problems with a given package.