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Old 11-09-2012, 10:11 PM   #1
kkiikki
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Registered: Aug 2012
Distribution: Arch Linux
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Exclamation Help with distro choice (again!)


Well this is my second post about this (I'm so sorry). This time though I want to completely replace Windows! After getting hands on with Windows eight I knew its time to swap to Linux full time. Now I need to pick a full time distro that will meet my desktop needs.

First and foremost, I want it to work. I don't mind if I have to do some working to get it to work, I just want it to work. After using Arch Linux on a virtual machine for a while I came across an array of issues I just couldn't fix, maybe I was bad at googling, maybe I'm just really that much of a newbie when it comes to linux.

Second, I like software. The more software the better, I don't care if its open source. As long as it does the job. Arch linux had enough software, but with things like steam for linux beta on Ubuntu I might deal with Unity just to try it.

Third, I dislike Unity, and Gnome (three I think), I do like KDE and Xfce though.

Fourth, User base and documentation. I'm willing to read to learn how to use the OS, I WANT to. I want to be able to learn it inside out. User base should be there for problems documentation doesn't cover or things that I can't fix myself.

Fifth, Ease of use. Now this is pretty subjective. I felt Arch Linux was easier to use than Windows in some cases because of the command line. Then when it came to fixing problems though it was a mess and I was having a bit of trouble.

Sixth, It has to be free, I'm poor.

Well that pretty much covers everything off the top of my head. Right now I'm willing to try everything and anything, I have Ubuntu installing through WUBI right now and am going to play around in it. I would use Arch if I could get my problems fixed, but that doesn't seem to be happening any time soon. I will also probably dual booting along with Windows 7 for gaming, unless wine and steam works for everything I need. Thanks for any answers and advice in advance and hopefully you don't die from reading my needy pose
 
Old 11-09-2012, 10:30 PM   #2
BoraxMan
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I use Fedora, though Ubuntu seems a good choice for people who want something more catered to those who don't tinker.

You should be able to use KDE or XFCE in Ubuntu. You can try Kubuntu. Gnome 3 is pretty much standard now, unfortunately.

For your fourth point, I think ArchLinux and Ubuntu have good documentation.

For the fifth, most are easy to use. The only real difference in ease of use, is the system configuration and software installation tools. The rest of Linux is the same between distros.



I just started using the first distro that worked out of the box for me (which was the first one I used). You are better of picking one that WORKS with your hardware, and familiarising yourself with it and sticking to it, than trying to find the 'right one'. Familiarity is what makes the difference between easy to use and hard to use, and gaining familiarity with a distro will mean more than picking the 'right one'.

As I said, in my experience, the most important criteria for choosing a distro to settle on, I think, is that it just works. Ease of use will come with time.
 
Old 11-09-2012, 10:40 PM   #3
holdencaulfield
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I think that you should give Gentoo a shot, if you are not adverse to using the command line, then I think it could be a good match given your criteria. With Gentoo you have any choice of a desktop, and you won't have to use anything you don't want to. Gentoo has excellent documentation and a friendly userbase, has lots of software and generally "just works".
 
Old 11-09-2012, 10:47 PM   #4
kkiikki
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Quote:
Ubuntu seems a good choice for people who want something more catered to those who don't tinker.
Thats the thing, I love messing with stuff and breaking things. Sometimes I can't fix it though. I think my favorite time was when I (accidentally) broke my Windows MBR, but thats a story for another time. The problem now is, I don't know where to start and want something stable enough that it wont break when I need to use it for something serous, but don't want to lose the ability and freedom of breaking things. And for my fifth point I was more referring to things like package managers etc (yeah that means slackwares out). I don't want to keep track of things like that sometimes. I want my OS to do it for me, I'm pretty sure most distros fit in the "easy to use" section besides LFS, Slackware, and Gentoo (only because I couldn't get Gentoo installed properly on my virtual machine when I tried)
 
Old 11-10-2012, 12:50 AM   #5
Knightron
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kkiikki View Post
First and foremost, I want it to work. I don't mind if I have to do some working to get it to work, I just want it to work. After using Arch Linux on a virtual machine for a while I came across an array of issues I just couldn't fix, maybe I was bad at googling, maybe I'm just really that much of a newbie when it comes to linux

Second, I like software. The more software the better, I don't care if its open source. As long as it does the job. Arch linux had enough software, but with things like steam for linux beta on Ubuntu I might deal with Unity just to try it.

Fifth, Ease of use. Now this is pretty subjective. I felt Arch Linux was easier to use than Windows in some cases because of the command line. Then when it came to fixing problems though it was a mess and I was having a bit of trouble.
Ok, you have narrowed it down pretty clearly for me. I haven't used Arch extensivly, but i would've thought that things would be easier to fix in Arch than other many other distros. Oh well, it doesn't matter, you can do one better by simply using a distro that is unlikely to break.
1) I completly disagree with holdencaulfield. Gentoo is rolling release like Arch and you are likely to find the same issues once again. You want it to work? Debian stable, or Slackware
2) You can look at this two ways. Remember that all Free/Opensouce and most of the propriatary software available to a linux distro is available to every other distro, you just have to compile it and install it.
I'm guessing you mean binary packages though, well Debian defnetly has a clean win here. Debian beats every other disto out there i'm pretty sure in this respect. Slackware has a very small package repository, but you can use a thing called a slackbuild to make a slackware package. there are many slackbuilds available over at slackbuilds.org that will give you most of the software you could want, alas, in my experience, i have found absences for some peices of software that i wanted and i'm not skilled enough to compile that particular peice of software.
5) Debian is often called non user friendly. This is because it doesn't automate everything like distros such as Opensuse and Ubuntu. If you are skilled enough to install Arch, you should have no problem with Debian period. It's just a matter of what you said,
"I don't mind if I have to do some working to get it to work,"
Slackware is exactly the same in this respect and it will take longer to get it to work, but once it's set up it'll just work.

Reading your points, i think Debian stable is a perfect match for you.
p.s.
as a side note, you said you don't like gnome. Gnome is the default desktop environment in Debian. Thought i'd inform you of something incase you choose to install Debian. the desktop environments available on the Debian dvd are not in the most obvious place. When you boot up the dvd, instead of just hitting 'install', go down to 'advanced options' and then select 'aternative desktop environment' Here you may change it to which ever you like out of kde and xfce and aswell as lxde. once you've done that, then start the installation.
 
Old 11-10-2012, 01:09 AM   #6
holdencaulfield
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Registered: Jan 2012
Distribution: CRUX, Gentoo, LFS, OpenBSD
Posts: 16

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I was actually about to suggest Debian, because that seems to fit the OPs requirements as well, and doesn't impose a default desktop on the user, and is perhaps easier to install. It has a pretty wide range of packages too. I don't think that Slackware is probably what the OP wants because it tends to require a lot of manual work for getting packages done properly, although that's one of its strengths, the user is the package manager so to speak.

And I just want to point out that Gentoo, while rolling-release is quite stable, assuming you are running stable as opposed to testing, and it will not give you any headaches like Arch will, even Gentoo Testing probably isn't as bleeding edge as Arch, but Gentoo is also much more conservative as well One of the great things about Gentoo is you can even roll back to older versions of packages which you can generally not do in other distros without problems. I've never had any issues, but it probably is not what the OP wants, I think Debian is probably the right choice.
 
Old 11-10-2012, 09:33 AM   #7
kkiikki
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Registered: Aug 2012
Distribution: Arch Linux
Posts: 5

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Well, thanks for all the suggestions guys. I'm going to install Debian and Gentoo (if I can get the install to work this time) right now and play around with them both.
 
  


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