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Old 04-06-2012, 04:28 PM   #1
jcprinting
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Please help me focus in on the right distro for me.


Hi everyone,

I need some big help narrowing down the thousands of Linux distros to find the perfect one for me. I have extensively tested and used Kubuntu. Kubuntu keep crashing time to time and file sharing with Windows and Mac machines using samba on Kubuntu seems to be impossible after weeks of testing. openSUSE, was much worse and barely ran properl so I removed it. Zorin Linux work ok. But here is what I am looking for:

I need something stable, rock solid, and not so darn time consuming to setup. I also want to do lots of file sharing. Would centOS be good. I liked the looks of Linux Mint but from what I have read the did big security sacrifices, which scares me away. I extremely like Pear OS. The "appears" to be the Linux Distro that I want. After what I have read Pear OS is highly unstable. PCLinuxOS does not look to be to my liking.

I have used KDE alot and have little experience with Gnome. But if gnome is better and more stable I will use it. If I am having such troubles with Kubuntu then I am assuming Ubuntu will be just as bad. I also REALLY like the dock in Pear OS I think it is Docky. I do know my way around "linux" pretty good particularly in KDE. I am experienced very well in Mac and Windows and do tech work. I want to find a Linux distro for these reasons: I have a bunch of PC boxes sitting around not being used. I don't feel like buying another Mac at the moment. I own Macs in my business but for my personal use I only have a PC. I have had Identity theft about 4 times now in my life and it seems that no matter what is done on a Windows machine you'll never be 100% secure. So I want to setup a linux box for my online banking primarily but also to surf the web, listen to music, etc. I also want to watch DVD's if at all possible.

Thanks for the help. I know I'm going to get hundreds of suggestions. I appreciate any help narrowing down the prefect Linux distro for me. Again I need stability, file sharing, security. Thanks!
 
Old 04-06-2012, 04:38 PM   #2
headrift
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I'll suggest Sabayon. It's stable, reasonably secure, and the Samba file sharing sets up fine. Go with the KDE DVD if that's the desktop you prefer. Setup is relatively painless. Most everything should just work... when it doesn't, it has good packages, and even a GUI package manager.

If you've got a spare DVD+/-R, try the live cd. It might work for you.
 
Old 04-06-2012, 05:25 PM   #3
TobiSGD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcprinting View Post
I need something stable, rock solid, and not so darn time consuming to setup.
Slackware, Debian, CentOS, Scientific Linux

Quote:
I also want to do lots of file sharing.
Since that is done with Samba it can be done with any distro.

Quote:
I have had Identity theft about 4 times now in my life and it seems that no matter what is done on a Windows machine you'll never be 100% secure.
No computer, regardless which OS it runs, is 100% secure.

Quote:
Again I need stability, file sharing, security.
Slackware, Debian, CentOS, Scientific Linux
 
Old 04-06-2012, 09:41 PM   #4
frankbell
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For stability, TobiSGD's recommendations cannot be beat.

Slackware or Debian are my two favorites. CentOS is great if you are more interested in the server side. Scientific Linux, like CentOS, is a RHEL spin, but it's slightly more oriented to workstation usage than to server usage. Any one of those is rock solid.

Slackware comes with six desktop environments/window managers; you can set your default at time of install and change it later. With any Linux distro you can install another desktop environment/window manager and use it instead of the default one; your applications will run as long as the necessary libraries are present on the HDD. I usually use Fluxbox.

Which is more stable, Gnome or KDE, is a moving target that depends on which has just made a major new release. Any software that does a significant change, such as KDE's jump from v. 3.x to v. 4, goes through a period of instability as the kinks are worked out, then stability sets in until the next major change.
 
Old 04-06-2012, 11:58 PM   #5
odiseo77
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Another vote for Debian (of course, I'm biased because that's my distro of choice, but it's very stable all the same). If you go the Debian way, you might want to read the information about the three different Debian versions, to get started.
 
Old 04-07-2012, 04:41 AM   #6
tommcd
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As others have said, Slackware and Debian are the most stable and rock solid distros. Ubuntu is based on Debian; and Mint is based on Ubuntu. Mint and Ubuntu are arguably easier to install and use for beginners than their parent Debian.
Although I use Slackware and love it, I think Slackware can perhaps be a bit intimidating for Linux beginners.
If you want a Slackware based system that is much easier for beginners to use I would highly suggest Salix: http://www.salixos.org/wiki/index.php/Home
Salix is fully compatible with Slackware and is fairly easy to install and use. Using Samba for file sharing will also be essentially the same as if you were using Slackware.
Using Salix is also an easy way to become familiar with a Slackware based system if you would like to switch to Slackware some day.

EDIT: You can get Salix with the KDE desktop if you prefer that. The XFCE and LXDE desktop versions will be lighter and faster though; but the choice is yours.

Last edited by tommcd; 04-07-2012 at 04:53 AM.
 
Old 04-07-2012, 06:28 PM   #7
DavidMcCann
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I'd endorse the recommendation for Salix. It provides the "housekeeping" tools that are missing in Slackware, but the bulk of the software is taken straight from the Slackware repository. Since Slackware gives pride of place to KDE, that makes Salix a good KDE distro too.

CentOS is very reliable and the KDE version is probably sound as a lot of people use it. The repository is very small though, and if you need a lot of software you'll find yourself getting it from a lot of different sources and doing a lot of hands-on work to fix dependencies. I used to set up a new Fedora distro in an hour; switching to CentOS took several days.
 
Old 04-07-2012, 09:43 PM   #8
Fred Caro
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right distro

It sounds like you are testing said 'distro' on an old pc, this would account for problems on some distro versions. If they (pc,s) are more modern then things being equal, I would go for Debian for reliability or Sabyion for graphics. Debian has a strict way of submiting alterations to programs and how they get adopted, hence its stability, so it might lag behind the latest thing.

Fred.
 
Old 04-08-2012, 12:28 AM   #9
btmiller
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For an older PC, I'd excho the suggestion to give Debian a shot. I'd give the stable version a try first, although some packages might be slightly out of date. It's rock solid stable and there are tons of how-tos for how to do a number of different things. Slackware is another good choice. My preference is to stay away from distros that try to do too many things for the rnd users, as this can cause problems from my experience.
 
Old 04-08-2012, 04:54 AM   #10
cascade9
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If jcprinting is really worried about security, and wants to run debian, 'stable' (currently 'debian 6.0 'squeeze') is a better choice than testing or sid.

I'd also suggest that avoiding gnome 2.X distros is a good idea. Gnome 2.X is end of life, and distros/versions that use gnome 2.X will change over to gnome 3.X or a different desktop over time. Not much point getting used to gnome 2.X IMO, its just going to make life more difficult. For machines with low hardware spec, use Xfce, Lxde or one of the lighter window managers like fluxbox. For machines of fairly high spec (I'd say 2GB+, decent video card, dual core or better) KDE 4.X is nice.....it runs like hell on older, slower systems.
 
Old 04-08-2012, 05:11 AM   #11
salasi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcprinting View Post
I have used KDE alot and have little experience with Gnome.
If you want to stick with KDE, ensure that you use a recent version of KDE. With 4.x came a big change, and the early 4.x version (say, prior to 4.4 or so) were a bit rough, and should be avoided. (Late versions of 3.x were fine, at the time, but you'd need Trinity to have a more modern spin on the 3.x theme.)

I think that you possibly should take a look at XFCE - it is lighter weight than either KDE, which can be a bit of a monster on older hardware, or Gnome. If you don't find it a bit 'bare bones', you'll probably be happier there.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jcprinting View Post
openSUSE, was much worse and barely ran properl so I removed it.
The only real crashes that I've had with openSUSE over the last two years have been when my laptop was overheating and fluff was clogging the fan. So, I'd say there is something going wrong underneath here (not necessarily fluff ), and changing distros may well strike lucky, or may not. If you are not having any luck with the 'try another distro' approach, we may have to try something more based on information.

openSUSE/KDE does tend to be a bit of a ram hog if you don't trim down some of the excesses of kde, so only try this route if you are prepared to do a bit of work configuring. (This probably applies to most kde distros, depending on what is enabled 'out of the box'.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcprinting View Post
I need something stable, rock solid, and not so darn time consuming to setup.
The time consuming bit is a real factor - but the more that you know, the easier it gets. If Linux isn't rock solid there is something wrong - something wrong with the hardware, something wrong with the installation, something wrong with the configuration.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcprinting View Post
I have had Identity theft about 4 times now in my life and it seems that no matter what is done on a Windows machine you'll never be 100% secure. So I want to setup a linux box for my online banking primarily but also to surf the web, listen to music, etc. I also want to watch DVD's if at all possible.

Thanks for the help. I know I'm going to get hundreds of suggestions. I appreciate any help narrowing down the prefect Linux distro for me.
Again I need stability, file sharing, security. Thanks!
Any OS can be (effectively) secure; it all depends on how many mistakes you make configuring and using it. Some are harder than others, and its not a one time thing that you fit and forget. That may not be the theoretical 100% security, and it may mean that you spend the rest of your life worrying about zero day exploits, but it can be 'good enough'.
 
Old 04-15-2012, 01:15 PM   #12
jcprinting
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Thank you everyone for all of the suggestions. I looked at each of the distros that everyone here mentioned. My test machine as others have pointed out is older. It only has 1gb DDR Ram, 2ghz processor, 120gb IDE drive, and a Geforce 6200 512MB DDR2 AGP video card installed. I am going to test out Salix here soon. Currently I am testing out Linux Mint 12 with Gnome. I just have to say: I absolutely love it! This is the best looking and most user friendly Linux OS I have ever seen (of course I tweaked it a little). However, (as I am sure is no surprise) it is unstable and networking..... forget it. This test machine is on a WiFi connection so there is no direct hookup to my network where my test computer is. When I first installed Linux Mint 12 my other computers (Win & Mac) machines seen the computer as: "MINT" on the network. Linux Mint then did about 46 updates, rebooted and "MINT" no longer showed up on the network. After every possible tip online it seems impossible to get networking to work. I edited the smb.conf 100's of different ways. Yes Nautilus was installed. I installed SWAT which only give 4 options for some reason and doesn't allow configuration. I installed some Samba Configuration program for Gnome....... just a waste of time. So I finally moved on realizing that networking on the current version of Mint isn't going to happen. I think one of the Mint updates (my assumption a Samba update) breaks networking.

Moving on: On Mint: Transmission torrent client is installed by default. So I decided to give the system a run and see how well it does. I told transmission to download a 5gb file. I get it started turn off the monitor and come back later. When I turn on the monitor later I see my Mint desktop by transmission is closed. What appears to be happening is that Mint is rebooting or crashing. It has done this now about 15 times. And it does not do this in 10 minutes, it does this after being on for an hour...... or longer somewhere in there. Could even be 3-4 hours in.

So in my conclusion, Linux Mint in my opinion is the best user friendly system I have ever used. I absolutely love it. For stability and networking, it isn't going to happen.

I did look at Sabayon, and I don't think I like that too well but I am going to test it. From my reading Slackware is stable but looks like it needs a lot of advanced setup and tweaking that would take me forever to figure out. I will also be testing Debian, Salix & CentOS and will update this post as I get further along. It is a shame, I really love Linux Mint best I have ever seen but I know that looks, ease of use vs stability and security is what I have to decide.

About something I said earlier:

Quote:
I have had Identity theft about 4 times now in my life and it seems that no matter what is done on a Windows machine you'll never be 100% secure.
And then TobiSGD replied:
Quote:
No computer, regardless which OS it runs, is 100% secure.
You are very right and I was careless with that comment. I have repaired a lot of people's Win & Mac machines because they click on the wrong things, go to sites they shouldn't, have old anti-virus protection, etc.. What I should have said is: That I would like a stable system that is very secure that I can use kind of like a NAS on my network but also occasionally browse the web and check e-mails with as well and of course jam music and play YouTube videos all at the same time

Thanks again everyone for the help!
 
Old 04-15-2012, 01:29 PM   #13
snowpine
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Have you tried Mint 9? It is based on Ubuntu's "long term support" for extra stability. I also think you would really like Debian Stable.
 
Old 04-15-2012, 02:53 PM   #14
273
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If Mint is randomly restarting on you then I suggest you check your hardware is in order. Mint may not be the most stable distro out there but spontaneous rebooting isn't normal. If it is Mint do other people have this problem, did they find a fix?
Also, if you have't already I would suggest looking into your samba problem and double-checking your config is in order. Are there other people reporting this problem with Mint, did they solve it? Just hopping from one distro to another won't necesarily help if you don't know where the problem lies.
Another thing I will say is that it could be argued that the quicker the install the less stable the distro is likely to be. For example Debian takes a little longer than Mint to install but is know to be more stable. Slackware can take a while to install but is well regarded and stable. Of course there will be exceptions but a bit of time taken during install and setup can save time and problems down the line.
 
Old 04-15-2012, 03:31 PM   #15
snowpine
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For stability problems your best bet is to go on Ubuntu Forums and Mint Forums and do a Search for your motherboard, video card, etc.
 
  


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