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Old 10-20-2009, 01:19 AM   #1
Mulsiphix
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Question Linux Distros - Difficulty/Technical Rating


I've read many comments about how certain distros are very user friendly and designed to make getting into Linux as painless a process as possible. I've already read that some distros are far more technical and not so user friendly. Does anybody know of a thread, website, or general list which classifies which distros are more technical and which are more user friendly?

I very much want to learn Linux as intimately as I've come to know Windows. I think I would be happier with a more technical distro but I am not really certain what "technical" means to the average seasoned Linux user. I've worked with Debian in the past when I had a dedicated server and was wondering where that fell in the "easy to learn/user friendly" / "technical/steep learning curve" rating. Any help or advice would be most appreciated.
 
Old 10-20-2009, 01:48 AM   #2
GlennsPref
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http://www.linuxquestions.org/reviews/index.php/cat/2

Atomicmpc.com.au has a nice listing here...
http://forums.atomicmpc.com.au/index...howtopic=17565
To be honest, (and this is only my opinion) redhat, Debian and Mandriva are middle of the pack. Oh, Suse and fedora also!

LFS (Linux from scratch), gentoo and slackware are tougher to setup.

The 'buntoo's are the flavour of the moment, (ease of install, everything just works (pNp))But I have never used them.

There are many others, Many, many others. slax, thorshammer, knoppix, mepis, (I have used) that are similar, but still take some skill in setting up with out borking the install.

Cheers and regards Glenn

Last edited by GlennsPref; 10-20-2009 at 02:04 AM. Reason: There are many others, Many, many others
 
Old 10-20-2009, 03:35 PM   #3
Mulsiphix
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Thank you very much!
 
Old 10-20-2009, 03:42 PM   #4
pixellany
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At first, they are all really aggravating. You have to understand things that any person of average intelligence would know by now if they had not been using Windows...... If nothing else, you have to know that a "drive" is a piece of hardware, and a "partition" is an allocation of space on a drive. You also need to know that real computer users make slashes like so: ///////// (Moving forwards)

This is for those that like to live in the past (backwards): \\\\\\\\\\ (Maybe also for those that like to be different just for the sake of it.....)

And you have to know your IP address: come on now, you know your street address, your phone number, your girlfriend's /boyfriend's address and phone number, your bookie, all the local bars----how hard can it be to know your IP?

Once you start understanding things, they are ALL easier than Windows---except maybe Gentoo or Arch. (Some would also say Slackware...)

You've heard this from me already, but: Until you actually and start using Linux, our answers to the these questions will only be marginally useful to you. I'm waiting to hear you say you have actually installed something.

Last edited by pixellany; 10-20-2009 at 07:12 PM.
 
Old 10-20-2009, 08:54 PM   #5
Mulsiphix
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Lightbulb

I read the entire post linked in the first response. I believe I have come to understand what differentiates distros but just want to make sure I understand this correctly. I believe:
  • Each distro is generally geared towards a specific type of user/setup (desktop, server, gateway, etc...).
  • Generally speaking a distro comes with a series of applications specific to the type of user they are catering too.
  • There may be several applications that accomplish the same function (obtaining new programs for example) but each distro chooses the one they feel suits their target user or project goal the best. The exception is when a distro gives you a choice as to which application or method the user desires.
  • Each distro can be rated as easy to difficult as far as a learning curve is considered. The easier and more approachable a distro is for a new user like myself the more control I sacrifice for that ease of use. The more difficult a distro is to learn the more you sacrifice ease of use for raw control and customization possibilities. If I really wanted to learn how Linux works from the inside, Ubuntu would be a very poor choice.
This is what I have come to understand. Am I correct or is there anything anybody would like to add or correct?

I would like to add that I desire raw control. I am not afraid of a steep learning curve and am committed to learning Linux so I can be done with Windows as my primary operating system (still will dual boot for games and possibly applications that aren't as robust under Linux.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pixellany View Post
You've heard this from me already, but: Until you actually and start using Linux, our answers to the these questions will only be marginally useful to you. I'm waiting to hear you say you have actually installed something.
For the record I am not a newbie to Linux. I ran a dedicated server for two years (Debian) for gaming and websites. I've recently ran both Ubuntu and CentOS as well as tried out both the KDE and Gnome GUI's. I know enough of Linux to have an idea of what I'm getting myself into. If it makes you feel better I was playing around with Ubuntu for the last few hours.
 
Old 10-20-2009, 10:30 PM   #6
pixellany
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Please don't worry about making me feel better.....

Quote:
* Each distro is generally geared towards a specific type of user/setup (desktop, server, gateway, etc...).
No--most distros are targetted to a broad range of users
Quote:
* Generally speaking a distro comes with a series of applications specific to the type of user they are catering too.
Also no--same reasons as above. Most distros come with a pretty standard set of stuff---there are variations in what gets installed by default, but the standard things are just a click away using the package manager.
Actualy, in all my distro-hopping, I have seen very few fundamental differences in the type of apps offered.
Quote:
* There may be several applications that accomplish the same function (obtaining new programs for example) but each distro chooses the one they feel suits their target user or project goal the best. The exception is when a distro gives you a choice as to which application or method the user desires.
Some truth here but--again--most distros have the same set of core apps.
Quote:
* Each distro can be rated as easy to difficult as far as a learning curve is considered. The easier and more approachable a distro is for a new user like myself the more control I sacrifice for that ease of use. The more difficult a distro is to learn the more you sacrifice ease of use for raw control and customization possibilities. If I really wanted to learn how Linux works from the inside, Ubuntu would be a very poor choice.
Pretty much no. In any distro, you can tweak things ad nauseum. And you can recompile the kernel in ALL distros. There certainly is a difference between KDE, Gnome, XFCE, etc. but you can put any of those on any distro.
If is true that distros like Ubuntu manage to get in your way by not enabling the root user, but that's not really what you were referring to---and it's easy to fix.

So, I mostly disagree with you, but I am glad to see you working with Ubuntu.....

Last edited by pixellany; 10-20-2009 at 10:31 PM.
 
Old 10-20-2009, 11:32 PM   #7
Mulsiphix
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I am more confused than ever now lol. If all distributions are generally the same, why in the heck are there so many different ones and why are so many individuals adamant that X distribution is better than Y distribution? By the way I'm at distrowatch right now trying to see if I can better understand what differences the major distributions have. I'm just not certain what good trying five to ten different disros will accomplish if there really is virtually no difference between distros beyond what applications and GUI the distro comes with.

Last edited by Mulsiphix; 10-20-2009 at 11:37 PM.
 
Old 10-20-2009, 11:55 PM   #8
hurry_hui
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I think the differences are lying in everything within /etc directory...

i.e., differences apply for system admin only...cmiiw
 
Old 10-20-2009, 11:58 PM   #9
smeezekitty
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Quote:
* Each distro is generally geared towards a specific type of user/setup (desktop, server, gateway, etc...).
not really, sometimes there are different editions of each distro for different purposes.
Quote:
* Generally speaking a distro comes with a series of applications specific to the type of user they are catering too.
yes but there are base apps
Quote:
* There may be several applications that accomplish the same function (obtaining new programs for example) but each distro chooses the one they feel suits their target user or project goal the best. The exception is when a distro gives you a choice as to which application or method the user desires.
yes
Quote:
* Each distro can be rated as easy to difficult as far as a learning curve is considered. The easier and more approachable a distro is for a new user like myself the more control I sacrifice for that ease of use. The more difficult a distro is to learn the more you sacrifice ease of use for raw control and customization possibilities. If I really wanted to learn how Linux works from the inside, Ubuntu would be a very poor choice.
???
 
Old 10-21-2009, 12:01 AM   #10
~sHyLoCk~
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mulsiphix View Post
I am more confused than ever now lol. If all distributions are generally the same, why in the heck are there so many different ones and why are so many individuals adamant that X distribution is better than Y distribution?
Because Linux is all about choice. An OpenSource code can be taken,modified, implemented and redistributed in a variety of ways according to an individual's/team's/organization's requirements/goals. X distro aims at a particular task, whereas Y distro specializes in another. Like Mandriva aims at making Linux easier for the masses, whereas that is certainly not in Patrick volkerding's mind when he develops Slackware. It's about simplicity and efficiency rather than countless unnecessary GUI tools to make things "easier". I hope you get my point. How will you choose which one to use? First chalk out your requirements, what you want to do with your Linux system. Then we can recommend you distros according to your level of Linux knowledge.

Last edited by ~sHyLoCk~; 10-21-2009 at 12:04 AM.
 
Old 10-21-2009, 12:02 AM   #11
chrism01
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Its often the GUI and built-in cmd pkgs that vary. Under the hood, it's basically a free variation on Unix.
They all come with multiple editors, multiple langs (programming) etc.
That's why you should try a few; the only way to specify differences would be to pick a specific pair of distros and compare them feature by feature.
For instance, most if not all come with Gnome & Kde heavyweight desktop envs. In some cases only one will be installed by default, but you can usually get the other one from the pkg repositories.
Always remember that although you may have a GUI (by default) that enables you to manage your system, you can always get a cmd line up in an xterm / terminal session and work at that level.
 
Old 10-21-2009, 04:19 AM   #12
brianL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mulsiphix View Post
If all distributions are generally the same, why in the heck are there so many different ones and why are so many individuals adamant that X distribution is better than Y distribution?
Good question. There are a few distros that have real differences, and the rest are offshoots of those with minor differences. We regularly get people asking how to create their own distro, and if all of them did - well, there'd be thousands instead of hundreds.
As for which is the best, that's all a matter of personal need and taste.
 
Old 10-21-2009, 04:45 AM   #13
GlennsPref
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Hi, If you know some debian command line stuff already, then that should do you.

It's still GNU/Linux beneath the hood, and those tools will work with or without a gui.

You might look into scripting instead, like jerry peeks wizard boot camp series of documents.

Or the bash scripting guide.

All the best, Glenn

as for mandy being easy, try it with new hardware.

Last edited by GlennsPref; 10-21-2009 at 04:47 AM.
 
Old 10-21-2009, 06:59 AM   #14
pixellany
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mulsiphix View Post
I am more confused than ever now lol. If all distributions are generally the same, why in the heck are there so many different ones and why are so many individuals adamant that X distribution is better than Y distribution? By the way I'm at distrowatch right now trying to see if I can better understand what differences the major distributions have. I'm just not certain what good trying five to ten different disros will accomplish if there really is virtually no difference between distros beyond what applications and GUI the distro comes with.
I can appreciate the confusion, but consider some other areas where the choices are much more the same than different. Cars is a good example. They all use pretty much the same technology and in many ways do not have fundamental differences in some of the more basic attributes. Safety is a big marketing issue but, as long as you have a few of the standard features, safety goes with the weight of the vehicle and your driving habits.

To further muddy the water, there are a lot of common components between manufacturers---many of which the dealer would probably not want to discuss. One bit I dug up recently: The Ford Focus, Mazda 3, and the Volvo S40 all share the same platform. This reminded me of the long-standing partnership between Ford and Mazda, and my Ford Ranger pickup with its mix of metric and american hardware. I also remembered a bit of fine print about my wife's Volvo: "transmission components from Japan". So now when she says she doesn't like Mazdas (true), I remind her that they probably made her transmission.

There are many other examples where the choices given to consumers are more the same than different. And the differences are often just style and packaging.
 
Old 10-21-2009, 07:16 AM   #15
brianL
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Here's the linux distro timeline - when they started, which was based on what, etc:
http://content.zdnet.com/2347-12554_...819.html?seq=1
Same, but more up to date:
http://futurist.se/gldt/ldt75.png

Last edited by brianL; 10-21-2009 at 07:22 AM.
 
  


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