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Hello all, I am completely new to the linux world. I've been a Microsoft user since the days of DOS. I've gone through every OS Microsoft has put out.
Lately I've become a bit restless though, and want to explore the world of Linux and what it has to offer. I've tried some searches on which distro to start with, but most of what I find is either old info or not very helpful!
Here's what I'd really like to find:
A free distro (for now) that is easy to install, with great features that will really help me explore the GUI Linux interface, as well as get my toes wet with the text interface. I'd like to (attempt) at going cold turkey into a Linux OS as my personal computer for awhile, so I get the feel and can really play around with it.
I'm not a programmer, so I don't really care about a distro that's good for that. I am however a power user, that isn't retarded when it comes to computers. I manage about 1700 (Windows based) servers, so I at least know my way around when it comes to computers and don't need a completely dummified version of Linux.
Can anyone give me a good nudge in the right direction? I would truly appreciate it.
I know that there are probably a ton of threads on this very question, and I am continuing to try and find them, but I've been searching for good opinions all night on different sites, and haven't found anything convincing yet.
Well, though it's not as easy as you ask for, I'd suggest you look into Gentoo Linux (http://www.gentoo.org/). I've tried about a half-dozen distributions and do love Gentoo. Failing that, as far as easy to use distributions go, check out Ubuntu.
your right! there IS a ton of threads around this very question!
the best answer i think would be search their official websites for screenshots, features, reviews, and download/install one and test it out!
next best answer i can think of is, to check out distrowatch. this page lists the 'top 10' distributions, and gives a review about each one. it is actually specifically meant for this very purpose.. hence the '..beginners guide to choosing a distribution.'
afew distros that i can comment on:
my first real distro that i actually used for awhile.. extremely easy to install and configures alot more than most distros do automatically and correctly. (at least did in my case). very noob friendly distro. the new (5.1) version is excellent.
my thoughts about suse are that it has an XP feel to it (due to the KDE GUI that it uses, which i dont like). other than that, also very noob friendly with lots of eye candy.
fedora core 4-
first distro i ever used was fedora core 2, which i isntalled once and, although correctly, didnt go very far with it and gave up linux for a bit. however, i have used FC3 at college, and seen how FC4 looks and it looks really nice.
slackware is very, very scary. lol :P
it seems whoever hasnt tried slackware is intiminated by it, because of how, i guess, cult-ish slackware seems to be. it has this image of being extremely difficult and boring to use/install.. however, i was surprised how straightforward it was.. besides the fact that my mouse, and nic werent automatically configured, or not configured at all, actually. you said you wanna get your toes wet with the console, this would be the best distro too, as it is mainly based around the console.. but requires much more reading and trial and error .
however, every distro is good and has its perks.. the link would be a great place to start. i would recommend ubuntu because its so easy to use and setup, as a beginner distro.. and when comfortable, try something like slackware.
Gentoo is great don't get me wrong, but if you are looking to "get your feet wet" and not "dive into the deep end head first" you should go to Ubuntu, SuSE, Mandrake, or Fedora, in that order. I like (K)ubuntu as a newbie distro because it requires very little to get up and running, and familiarizes you to the Debian way of doing things, which again in my not so humble opinion (see my title below), is a great way to do Linux. Once you get comfortable in Linux, Gentoo, Slackware, and Debian are all great distros.
Thanks you two, that is extremely helpful. I've been reading a bit about Ubuntu, and it does look like the best distro to start with. I really appreciate your input, I'm glad to know that Linux community is a bit nicer to newbie's than the PalmOne Treo community! (member at Treocentral.com, and people are downright rude to newbies on a lot of questions).
Your question is ofcourse like asking one to choose the best pearls from pacific ocean. Different flavours for different tastes. But clearely we can say that when it comes to adaptability to everyone's taste debian based distro Ubundu is the best. You can customise the distro according to your taste. Fedora Core is the testing ground of Red Hat for their Enterprise Editions. Mandriva is cooler and playful than the serious FCs. A Windows user can easily follow Linspire as it has the real traits of Windows.
Free - Secure - feature rich - Ofcourse - Ubundu.
I'm looking into Ubuntu, downloaded the CD, but haven't installed yet. When searching around the Ubuntu site, I can upon Kubuntu, the KDE version of Ubuntu. Any thoughts? I'm not sure of the differences, though I've found a few resources discussing both desktops, none of what I've found really gives much insight, moreso personal preferences. Is one "easier" to navigate than the other, or are there any features that make one more popular than the other?
Is one "easier" to navigate than the other, or are there any features that make one more popular than the other?
Yes if you are new user, KDE would appeal you since it comes with lot of apps and by far the heaviest WM and shall is say the most popular (I'm expecting a flood of disagreements ) and has greater amount of eye-candy. GNOME is second heaviest, popular and lot of eye-candy. Both are developed with different GUI tool kit but are almost interoperable i.e. each can run apps from other WM.
Easier to navigate??? I leave that to your judgement. I Like KDE & GNOME but I started out with GNOME and progressed to XFCE, Enlightenment & Fluxbox. I now mostly use XFCE, Fluxbox & Enlightenment with occasional switch to GNOME. But I still use some awesome KDE apps like K3b.
I've used Ubuntu on my Dell Inspiron 600m laptop and it, by far, has the nicest and easiest setup. Even recognizes the wireless LAN...so you are good. I've seen Kubuntu shots and i give it a thumbs up.
Thanks for all the insightful information! Since I already have a copy of Ubuntu burned, I may play with that for a few days then try Kubuntu to see which one fits me better for now.
I think that probably gives me enough info on which distro to choose, I guess now it is just a matter of installing and jumping in and figuring things out. Appreciate all the feedback you guys have been giving, and I'm sure I'll be posting again soon with help on getting setup.
Distribution: debian, gentoo, os x (darwin), ubuntu
i'd say - whatever you read it will never be how you experience it yourself... try a few distros, see which you like best.
do the same with the desktop environments - only when you work with something will you know what is best for you - hence the fact that we all at LQ are not able to agree on ONE SINGLE distro :-)