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Hi to all,
I have at long last made the permanent switch to 'nix operating systems (Linux and BSD) after many years of using Microsoft Windows. I contracted a virus on my Windows machine for the last time after clicking on a picture in my Firefox browser. It hosed my entire system so I am through with Windows for good.
So now I'm looking for suggestions for a Linux or BSD distro that this will not happen to. Thus it must be a SECURE AND STABLE distro (no flaky error messages or crashes either). I am wanting to make the permanent switch to a text-only X windowing desktop environment of some kind as I know there are several out there to choose from. Also I'm wanting to switch to text-only web browsers and e-mail programs too. Basically as many text-only applications as possible, but I mostly use the computer for browsing the internet, sending e-mails and watching videos.
nearly any linux system, if you don't change it all the time, merely keeping up with stable versions at least a few months old, and stable update packages, you'll be ok. personally, i installed slackware 12.1 a while after it came out, keeping up with security updates, it's been stable, and except for power issues, it's been 24/7 since installed. some distros might take a bit of time to get stable packages uploaded, otherwise all should work fine.
Well it's unlikely that a windows virus will run on a Linux machine. When I first moved over to Linux a pop-up message appeared "You have 24 Viruses on your drive C" was a bit disconcerting when there is no drive C. Linux Graphical environment is fairly bullet proof from internet invaders and as long as you use a proper user name (Not root) as your login the chances that you have your machine hosed are slim to non. I have been a Linux user for 7 years and not had any incidents worth mentioning and I have kept all my precious data. There are free AV packages if you still want to be sure. Clam AV only ever complains about some of the files I kept from my windows days that did have dodgy bits of malware embedded in them but non have escaped into my machine. I'm not familiar with Nix but if you look in the package manager what ever yours is you should find a text based browser.
I’m sure there will be plenty who will disagree with me on this but the most stable distributions with probably the lowest whoops count will be Ubuntu. But there is plenty to knock your self out with. If you want to try there are plenty of Live distributions CD/DVD out there. Most magazines carry 2 or more on a cover DVD. Good luck and welcome to the family. I recently converted a mates machine. Not having looked a private windows machine for a long time I was appalled at the amount of c**p that still gets installed under windows. Fixed that for him.
Distribution: Slint64-14.2 on Lenovo Thinkpad W520
I think that Slackware fulfills all your requirements.
It is stable and secure. For instance security advisories and associated updated packages are still provided for Slackware 12.1 released more than 4 years ago (and previons version were still maintained a few weeks ago).
It starts on the console by default and includes many windows managers (Fluxbox, Blackbox, WindowMaker and two others) as well as two desktops (XFVE and KDE).
It includes all you need for browsing internet and sending e-mails, both from the console or using a GUI. You can watch videos with mplayer (included) or VLC (provided by one of the main contributors).
PS Technically an X windowing environment (which can be either a Windows Manager or a Desktop can be used with a mouse but allows to type texts and commands in a "virtual terminal" as well. In console mode the console uses all the space of the screen (and you can switch between several consoles).
A mailer like mutt or a browser like lynks (all available in Slackware) can be used either in a WM or DE (in a virtual terminal) or at the console.
Slackware 14 will probably be released in a few weeks.
Last edited by Didier Spaier; 08-17-2012 at 03:26 PM.
Slackware or Debian would be my two nominations. Both are rock solid and value stability over gee-whiz bleeding edge.
Debian will offer to partition your HDD for you (as most Linux distros do during installation). Slackware does not. Once you get past the partitioning, the Slackware install is as straightforward as it can be.
If your box has wireless, it might be helpful to tell us what the wireless chipset is or to research "[chipset] Linux" on the internet. Some wireless chipsets are a little easier to get working in Linux than others, because some hardware manufacturers are friendlier to Linux than others.
after partitioning for slackware, the install is more 'ok, there's so much more to do, k, done that, that, um... oh, it's installed, just need to reboot, nice, um, won't boot, what's wrong wtf is lilo? hmm, root=? um, i forget ooh, it works, now to try kde... gah xorg.conf? it works now, ok, next thing to break... *several years later* ok, break so i can feel at home, like i do with windows! i'm going to visit for a while, oh hell, even on my old slack install, it's way better than this, gah, how did i ever tolerate this?! ooh, new game... only runs on windows '
and now... with valve recompiling their games for linux... other game producers eventually following suit(hopefully), all the web games already working cross platform...
Distribution: Slint64-14.2 on Lenovo Thinkpad W520
Partitioning your hard drive shouldn't be an issue. Slackware installer includes command line tools to do that, namely the "fdisk" and "cfdisk" utilities. Typing "man fdisk" or "man cfdisk" in a search engine will direct you to the manual for it. Still, if that looks intimidating, you can use gparted instead.
About Slackware installation process, this document will tell you more.
Last edited by Didier Spaier; 08-18-2012 at 01:14 AM.
I vote debian. I run a small company on debian 6 squeeze with LXDE. Very very fast, no frills. However you need to do some configuration with debian after installation, as likely as not. If you are a complete newbie and want something that works completely right out of the box then ubuntu, mint or fedora will probably be best.