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Distribution: Mandriva One 2008.1, Vector 5.8 SOHO, Knoppix 5.1.1
Ideas For a Disto
I would like some advice from folks who are experienced with linux to give point out a good distro for me to start off with. Aftewr trying out Knoppix on live CD for a while now, I would like to move on to something bigger.
I would like a good, stable OS with a good selestion of software available for download, and/or included in the distro. I would prefer having the KDE be the default environment.
A summary of the system I will be installing it on is as follows:
GeForce FX 5200 Video card
Generic internal PCI modem (I have an external one I can use if internal modems are not supported)
Onboard LAN card, sound(with SPDIF), USB
AMD Athlon XP 2500
256 MB RAM
40GB IDE hard dsik. (would be cool if I could boot side-by-side with Win2k on the same disk)
I know that this is alot to ask for, and am not expecting many replies, but if anyone has ideas, I would love to hear them.
As for the dual-boot with win2k - you can use knoppix to re-size
windwoes and make space for linux, so that's no problem, whatever
you choose. If you want to learn fast and like to understand what's
going on in your box, if you prefer stable and swift over whizbang
You have only 256 MB of RAM. You will want to be careful about using GNOME or KDE, as some distributions will be very slow with that amount of RAM.
If you want something for beginners you should look into Mepis, Ubuntu, Mandriva, PCLinuxOS. You might want to try the GNOME version of PCLinuxOS as that is lighter, or Xubuntu. I don't think you should need anything less than Xubuntu, but if you want something that is easy to use, has a lot of packages, and is very fast, you could consider AntiX.
I think the Mepis User Guide.pdf is a worthwhile read for any newbie about to install any distribution using KDE. It's a bit dated and some details won't match (even if you install Mepis) but lots of concepts and names are introduced clearly that I (at least) found hard to dig up with Knoppix and other distributions. http://www.mepis.org/node/6679
I found the rest of the Mepis documentation similarly better than that of other distributions. So I chose and recommend Mepis for your distribution. (Mepis uses Debian repositories for anything not available directly from Mepis).
I usually recommend trying a lot first by liveCD, but 256Mb!?
The Mepis liveCD is really lame if you don't select the aufs option at boot time. The boot prompt suggests selecting that only with 1Gb or more of ram. I selected it on a computer with 512Mb of ram (and no Linux swap partition) and had no problems, so I think the 1Gb suggestion is too conservative. But there is some underlying truth there. LiveCD with aufs is much more demanding of ram than normal install would be. I don't think 256Mb is enough for Mepis liveCD with aufs (though Knoppix manages to fit) and I don't think liveCD without aufs is worth using.
Before resizing windows make sure you de-fragment it.
Well it surely doesn't harm, but on the other hand, it's not vital always. Or at least I have done some disk resizing operations, forgetting to de-fragment the Windows partitions, and haven't lost anything (good luck then, maybe?)
It's up to you which one you choose, but the reposity sizes don't really matter that much. Most of the time you don't install everything from there, the apps you use generally do exist in all "major" distributions' reposities, and from time to time you run into a situation where you would want to install a newer version of some app that is available in the reposities, and still have to compile it from source because no distribution maintainer has had the time to do it for you.
Slackware isn't a bad option. But if you're a fan of Windows and it's way of hiding stuff from you in order to make it look user-friendly, you might find something like Ubuntu (with KDE => Kubuntu) or Mepis better; they're Debian derivatives, but if you happen to have hardware that needs proprietary drivers or something like that, Debian might not make it as easy for you as the others. Manually it's always easy, of course (), but it's up to you to make the selection between knowledge & accuracy and easiness & care-no-more.
Distribution: Mandriva One 2008.1, Vector 5.8 SOHO, Knoppix 5.1.1
I tested the preformance of KDE on my system by installingg Knoppix to disk, and it was not sluggish at all. (a 1GB swap partition was in use along with the RAM.) Then I tried the Fedora 8 live cd (with GNOME) and it ran agonizingly slow. Does this mean GNOME will run slow on my HD? I am comfortable with KDE, so having GNOME unavailable will not be a major inconvenience.
if you're a fan of Windows and it's way of hiding stuff from you in order to make it look user-friendly, you might find something like Ubuntu (with KDE => Kubuntu) or Mepis better;
What an incredibly negative spin to put on the actual user friendliness of Mepis.
Windows really does hide things, and sometimes to make it look user-friendly, but more often to magnify the FUD keeping customers under control.
How does Mepis "hide" stuff? So far as I can see, it just gives you an easier way to do some things. It doesn't take away the other way nor make it any harder to find.
I don't get why so many people have a negative reaction to things that fit a "training wheels" analogy. Training wheels are good. Otherwise you can't learn to peddle and steer because you fall off too often because you haven't learned to balance, but you can't learn to balance because you don't yet know how to peddle and steer. Lots of Linux is like that for a newbie. So some of Mepis is sort of like training wheels that let you learn to peddle and steer before you learn to balance, then learn to balance easily because you already know how to peddle and steer. But the Mepis features are even better than training wheels because they don't ever get in the way. You can do a little balancing any time you want without removing the training wheels; Just don't use them that time.
they're Debian derivatives, but if you happen to have hardware that needs proprietary drivers or something like that, Debian might not make it as easy for you as the others.
The most common example of proprietary drivers as I understand them is the nvidia drivers so many people need to get decent behavior from their nvidia card. I installed that in Debian as an extremely lost newbie before I knew Mepis existed. It wasn't trivial, but it also wouldn't make the list of the 100 hardest things I figured out in Debian. Mepis is a Debian derivative and the method I used in Debian also works in Mepis. But Mepis includes (inside the "MEPIS X-Windows Assistant" program) a totally easy way to do the same thing. I'm sure you mean some less common kind of proprietary driver. But even there, I doubt you're correct about it being harder in Debian or Mepis.
it's up to you to make the selection between knowledge & accuracy and easiness & care-no-more.
Maybe you are somewhat correct about an element of accuracy vs. easiness. But on knowledge vs. care-no-more, I think it would be more accurately described as overwhelmed vs. focussed (learn this aspect now, care about that aspect later).
But again, unlike the training wheels, I don't see how any of those user friendly features would get in your way even when you decide to take better control of some detail for some occasion. That's the real contrast vs. Microsoft (or Apple). When you select the detail you want to dig into and take medium or complete or any level of control over, Linux (including Mepis) doesn't throw up any roadblocks.
I'm a software engineer and I think I'm super smart . But I don't see why I shouldn't choose and keep the easiest Linux distribution I can find. I would have picked an even easier one than Mepis if I had found one. I wish Mepis included several other types of training wheels. The downside really isn't there.
I started using Linux a few weeks ago so I'm not too experienced but not too noobish. I found Linux Mint to be a very easy distro to start off with. You can get the KDE version of LinuxMint as well. But I must say that any distro based on Debian or Ubuntu (yes I know Ubuntu is based on Debian) then you'll be fine with regards to the repos. LinuxMint is based on Ubuntu and uses the GNOME interface. I'm personally going to change to Kubuntu (KDE version of Ubuntu) once my ISO finishes downloading.