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For someone new to linux I'd tell them Debian. The install can scare off many noobs, but you get a great package management system, no depenancy hunting when installing, easy configurations with curses-based menu setups for most packages, and a very GNU based system. Very simple and true to the GNU standards. The package management system, apt-get, makes installing software fast and very easy just leaving the configuration up to you, not the pain of dependancies during an install. The system can be installed very small, about 100MB and then grow from there to suit your needs very easily. Most any howto you find on the internet for any distro easily applies to Debian with little or no changes needing to be made, to my experience. Debian has a great support base with lots of info and available packages for install.
I tried many different distros myself and for me Debian is the easiest to use while delivering on all the points I need. Try it and I think you may agree.
i use suse linux...it's my distro of choice...slack is great for learning, which is why i have that too...but i prefer suse...it's like the others said...work with a few, find the one that you're most comfortable with..i'm most comfortable with suse...i like YAST and the ability to use apt-get also, to kinda help with dependency hell...and suse does everything i need it to do. it just sounded like you wanted almost like the "ultimate challenge" and suse really isn't a huge challenge. very user friendly...very stable...very nice
You could go with Knoppix--it runs straight off of the CD, after copying a lot of files into RAM. Thus, you can REALLY experiment around and muck around with any config files you can get your grubby little text editor around. Then, when you break things, you just reboot and it's like it never happened!
The Knoppix hard drive install is also a great way to install Debian the easy way.
Originally posted by mxk Just out curiosity, why does nobody recommend Suse Linux?
From my experience it what's called dependancy hell. When you try to install a package and it won't because you need to install something else for it to work. You try to install something else only to find it needs another thing installed for it to work. You install another thing, something else and then yet another something comes up as needed during the install so you have to get that installed in order to continue. And so on and so on... Then total frustration... Then insanity... Can you tell this is something I really don't like?
That's my only complaint about Suse Linux. The same for RH and some others. They work great but that is just a problem I can do without, that's why I recommeded Debian, you don't have those problems with it. One less thing to cause a problem, one more reason it's easier. Just my $.02
If you ask me, Suse is an excellent distro, but I'll have to admit that their refusal to make the installation ISO's freely available is a real shortcoming. Without making their installation ISO's available, people who are interested in trying Suse can either buy the disks from a retailer, or go through a lengthy and time-consuming (but free) process to download approx 3 Gig of data and then perform their own installation. I did the latter (and posted a few questions here at LQ during my attempts to figure things out) and I'm glad I did, but I'm not in any hurry to go through all that again.
In other words, with just about every other distro, getting the installation materials (ie, CD's) is easy. All you need is to download maybe 650 Mg (or two) images, burn them to a blank, and then you're ready to start. With Suse, you can either drive to the computer store and shell out $$$ for the boxed set, or try to install the distro from a remote machine, and which requires downloading the equivalent of about 5 CD's. Which choice would most people pick?
Don't get me wrong, Suse 9.1 is quite impressive and has become my second favorite distro. But I sure as heck wouldn't recommend it to a newbie. Just my 2 cents. -- J.W.
Originally posted by J.W.
[B]With Suse, you can either drive to the computer store and shell out $$$ for the boxed set, or try to install the distro from a remote machine, and which requires downloading the equivalent of about 5 CD's. Which choice would most people pick?
I would choose to download 5 ISOs from tux.org and then do a regular CD installation
Sure, that's an option too, but if you check the Suse website, you will find out that Suse emphatically does *not* make its installation ISO's available for download, and therefore any "Suse installation CDs" that you can find online are unauthorized, and it would be foolish to trust their integrity. Of course, there's a chance they'd be legit, but there's also the chance that the guy on the sidewalk selling "genuine Rolex" watches might be selling the real deal too. -- J.W.
Actually, SuSE has released a Personal ISO. They didn't really play it loud for some reason, but some news sites picked it up and I got a copy. Blew out Debian to try it, and then blew it out because (just IMO) I didn't like it. May give it a more serious try eventually, but I was more focused on upgrading Slack. Still, while I wasn't overwhelmed, it's a good move on their part and they'll probably pick up more users. I'd never bothered to try it if they hadn't offered it that way and I'm sure I'm not alone. And I'm sure a lot of people who do try it will stick.