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Old 04-02-2014, 05:30 PM   #1
AntoGilbert
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Help needed in choosing a balanced distro


Hello guys and girls. I have been playing with Linux for a while now, and I reached the point where I'd like to settle down on one particular distro. As mentioned in the title, I'd like it to be balanced for a certain set of needs and your opinions might be useful to make a nice decision.

1) Stability

Well, this point kind of explains itself, doesn't it? The more stable, the better.

2) Ability of managing wireless networks with the GUI.

I like the terminal, I use it for loads of activities, from installing new software to switching off the computer. However, when it comes to set up wireless connections, I'd prefer to do it in the GUI. I still remember the time lost trying to set up a working wireless connection with a wpa authentication in Slackware. Furthermore, since I travel for work on a regular basis, it would be much more practical to have to worry about only inserting the password of the network, instead of modifying a file every time I bump into a new connection.

3) Reasonably low number of packages for a full install

As mentioned here, the ratio between the number of packages of a full install of Slackware and Ubuntu is roughly 1 to 3. I always found Slackware much faster than every other distro I tried (CentOS, Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Mint, Debian, Fedora, openSuse). I'd like a good balance between installed packages and speed.

4) Repositories

The more software present in the repositories the better.

5) Updates

I'd like to avoid a distribution that gives you an incredibly large number of updates per day, with the risk that some of them might compromise the configuration of your system. It happened with Ubuntu to a colleague at work and almost an entire day was wasted to restore the configuration.


I think this brief set of bullet points pretty much summarises my needs. They are arranged in decreasing order of importance. My laptop is a Sony Vaio VPCEH2Q1E.

I don't mind spending a sensible amount of time in setting up the OS at the beginning, as long as it is the only massive effort that it takes and after that the tweaks are minimal.

Any comment and opinion is more than welcome. Also, if this thread needs to be publicly shamed because already existent or else, so be it (I searched the forum (briefly, I have to admit) for a similar topic and I haven't found one. I should be ok, in theory )

Thanks a lot in advance.

A.P.
 
Old 04-02-2014, 06:23 PM   #2
onebuck
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Member Response

Hi,

You stated;
Quote:
As mentioned here, the ratio between the number of packages of a full install of Slackware and Ubuntu is roughly 1 to 3. I always found Slackware much faster than every other distro I tried (CentOS, Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Mint, Debian, Fedora, openSuse). I'd like a good balance between installed packages and speed.
Then why not use Slackware? Installed packages really does not relate to speed on modern hardware. I would tend to look at the environment as a whole. If you are wanting a snappy DE on older hardware then use the lightest. You need to remember that the hardware will dictate speed, i.e: Mother Board, CPU cores, I/O and memory along with system peripheral(s). Naturally the storage media will be faster with Solid State Drive in use.

So my question to you would be: What hardware specifications to get the bang desired?

My current LQ Laptop is a Dell XPS L702x with a OCZ-AGILITY3 SSD, 16GB using Slackware64 and KDE. Sure, I did tweak the install for Optimus with Bumblebeed along with other necessary system environment changes.Very snappy & responsive! I do a full install then trim if need be. I do add some additional packages to enhance my sessions.
 
Old 04-02-2014, 08:09 PM   #3
TroN-0074
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If you want stable then the only two that comes to mind are Debian and Slackware.

If you already used Ubuntu then Debian would be a little familiar to you since Ubuntu is child of Debian. Debian also meet your requirement about the repo and software. Updates you can run them once a week or once every two weeks but dont let them go too much without running your upgrade manager because there are lots of important security updates that can be critical.

Next is Slackware. That is a really stable distro, the installation is partially graphic and everything you need is in the DVD, You will get the choice between KDE or Xfce and lot more window managers. The recommended packages manager is text base (command Line) although there are graphical package manager available for Slackware but is up to you to install it. To install packages in Slackware you could build them yourself from source or find binary packages from unoficial repositories.

I really cant think in any other distro more stable than these two. Ofcourse you can go with a spin of either of them two. Salix, Vector, SolydXK. They are also stable.
 
Old 04-02-2014, 08:18 PM   #4
frankbell
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Given your requirements and that your existing familiarity with Slackware, I'd vote for Slack. I've used almost every major distro at one point or another and the elegant simplicity of Slackware is unrivaled.

My second favorite distro is Debian, which I use on my server, but I find the update cycle is a little slow for regular desktop usage.
 
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Old 04-02-2014, 11:46 PM   #5
JWJones
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Sounds like you have answered your own question: Slackware. Now that NetworkManager and nm-applet are available to install and set up at installation time, GUI connectivity is a no-brainer.
 
Old 04-03-2014, 03:34 AM   #6
AwesomeMachine
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Slackware--works right, some documentation, most difficult distro, oldest distro, stable, good tools, cryptic, manual, secure, easy on hardware, good selection of packages, lacks mirror repositories UPDATE: News Flash--The slackers have been busy the last five years. There actually are many Slackware Mirror Repositories. I stand corrected.

Fedora--works pretty well, good documentation, SElinux by default, best tools (RPM), largely automatic, hardware hog, huge selection of packages, major distro, short update support period, many fast mirrors, corporate backing (Red Hat).

Ubuntu--works sometimes, largest desktop/laptop user base, documentation mostly forum posts by inexperienced users, unstable and quirky, large package selection, totally automatic everything, debian unstable fork so uses debian tools

Debian--works correctly, cryptic, great tools, a lot of command line, difficult, experienced users, designed for flexibility and power at the cost of steep learning curve, largest package selection, most documentation, most popular overall (most distros are debian forks).

OpenSuSE--works correctly, polished, complete, flexible, powerful, automatic, huge hardware support, hardware hog, medium package selection, corporate backing (Novell), RPM-based, flexible, powerful, conceals many interworkings by default, superb tools (yast2), but not very similar any other distro.

Gentoo--works correctly, difficult to learn, intelligent following, unlike any other distro, novel, small package selection, emerge, lean

Mandriva--girl next door/plain jane--attractive, easy and fun to use but slightly boring.

Last edited by AwesomeMachine; 04-04-2014 at 09:42 PM.
 
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Old 04-03-2014, 04:33 AM   #7
Germany_chris
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I'd probably just use Debian..
 
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Old 04-03-2014, 06:53 AM   #8
aristocratic
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Outstanding advice. This thread has been particularly informative.


Quote:
Ability of managing wireless networks with the GUI.
It seem like with openSuSE, you have to do a lot of clicking on various screens in order to configure wireless networking. On Puppy Linux, there is an icon on the lower right of the desktop, one click, which is much more convenient. It would be interesting to hear which other distros have easy GUI access to configure wireless networking.
 
Old 04-03-2014, 07:34 AM   #9
onebuck
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Member Response

Hi,

Quote:
Originally Posted by AwesomeMachine View Post
Slackware--works right, some documentation, most difficult distro, oldest distro, stable, good tools, cryptic, manual, secure, easy on hardware, good selection of packages, lacks mirror repositories
<snip>

Not so! Just a few that I have listed;
Quote:
SlackwareŽ Mirrors:
Official List of Mirrors

AlphaGeek's Unofficial Mirror List <<<<<<< Great

LinuxQuestions.org > ISOs > SlackwareŽ

elektroni <-FTP

Oregon State <- FTP/HTTP + Open Source Lab + Hosting Policy + bandwidth of over 1 gigabit per second

AlienBase <- Alien_Bob's mirror + 'via http' + rsync://taper.alienbase.nl/mirrors/ + 'The physical server is on a gigabit Internet connection, so I guess I can offer a speedy mirror service! In fact, the mirrors are already complete. With a re-sync of several times a day, I hope to offer an up to date service.' Read the intro + Alien has always been unselfish when it comes to Slackware

The Linux Mirror Project <- Categories: Distributions, kernel & Applications
For Slackware Builds, Packages & Scripts you can check these links from SlackwareŽ-Links.

If you happen to have a better list then please share.

Check my sig for documentation links along with links in SlackwareŽ-Links.

LQs Slackware forum is the official site for support. You will find loads of helpful resourceful members in that fora.

Hope this helps.
 
Old 04-03-2014, 10:57 AM   #10
DavidMcCann
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If you want stable, then you want CentOS, Debian, or Slackware.

CentOS: lots of configuration tools (including for networking) but they may lack help files if you don't use Gnome (and some may be missing altogether). Lots of software in various third-party repositories.

Debian Stable: masses of software but may be time-consuming or mysterious to configure. Unfortunately, those distros that add useful tools (e.g. Mint) are not based on Stable, while those based on Stable (e.g. Point) don't make configuration easier.

Slackware: modest supply of software and very hands-on to configure. Salix gives you the same programs as basic Slackware, plus extra packages in one repository and configuration tools developed in-house. For network configuration:
http://guide.salixos.org/331Settingu...ion.html#4_3_1
 
Old 04-03-2014, 11:25 AM   #11
Germany_chris
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as a side note if LQ is your go-to place for Q&A then Slack should probably be your go-to distro.
 
Old 04-03-2014, 11:34 AM   #12
jamison20000e
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Why ask why, free to try... Debian, then ask for a good balanced WM?
 
Old 04-03-2014, 12:14 PM   #13
Germany_chris
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Because the community is IMHO the biggest driver for the distro chosen. Pretty much all distros are stable, pretty much all distros have a silly number of programs available, GUI network management is a function of the DE more than anything else. All Linux distros usr the use some variation of the same kernel, all are stable in relative terms and all have the ability to install the same software (depending on how much work you're willing to put in). All distro choices really come down to the community support vs. DIY support, personally I place very little emphasis on community support and community attitude (I'll clear my my own range span thank you) but to others the ability to ask questions and get answers is paramount. Different stroke for different folks and that's what make best distro threads turn into what I use threads no matter the setting. This thread is much like a best car thread; I want to seat 5 people, it needs to be reliable, and it needs to have options. Well that's just about every other car on the planet. In the places I hang out stuff like this is ban worthy, if the OP had said "I need to build a server that will service 250 people and needs to have X number people simultaneously accessing x programs, using X method, via X network. It's be simpler but that is not what was asked.

The question asked will lead to many religious responses and has yielded those whether appropriate or not. Patrick has a very vocal following which is demonstrated in this forum.
 
Old 04-03-2014, 12:35 PM   #14
jamison20000e
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"Betteridge's law of headlines"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:B...eaking_the_law

Nothing personal we all have to start somewhere and this is a correct place but if it has been asked a thousand + times then the answers are out there so it's learn to search.

Edit: the correct / a correct ...

Last edited by jamison20000e; 04-03-2014 at 01:20 PM.
 
Old 04-03-2014, 01:10 PM   #15
Germany_chris
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I don't think this is the place to search/ask personally
 
  


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