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Old 06-09-2009, 02:26 PM   #1
linuxchallenger
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Some specific questions about Linux in general


I have yet to try out any Linux distribution.

I am seem to be stuck deciding on a distribution. I have a desktop and laptop with the desktop having 256MB and the laptop upgraded to 1GB RAM.

I would like some recommendations for good low RAM distros please.

I like going on a site called http://www.toptenreviews.com. It compares hardware and software in the form of tables detailing all the features of the top ten products and ranking them, with an explanation. They did this very well when comparing browsers for example. They do not review Linux distros though (maybe I missed this on their site).

My question is: has somebody come up with such a review and table of Linux distros?

Finally, my last question: does any distro offer download and installation of software programs that is not in a repository, without needing to go to the command line? I like finding new software to do the same function, and for example on Windows XP, have replaced Windows Media Player with the J. River free media player, which I feel offers better sound for me.

I will learn command line for both Windows XP and whichever Linux distro I eventually choose, as I do want to learn more about how computers actually work, but do not have that much free time at the moment to devote to this.

I look forward to answers to these questions, and of course, correction of any misconceptions I may have displayed.

Last edited by linuxchallenger; 06-09-2009 at 03:25 PM.
 
Old 06-09-2009, 03:02 PM   #2
johnsfine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by linuxchallenger View Post
desktop having 256MB and the laptop upgraded to 1MB RAM.
Was "1MB" a typo for "1GB"?

1GB is enough that you wouldn't need to make the distribution choice nor most other choices in setting up Linux based on limited memory.

Probably you want the same distribution for both computers, in which case 256MB is borderline low enough to affect your choice.

Are you sure you want to switch both computers to Linux at once? (Vs. learn Linux first with just one of them).

Quote:
It compares hardware and software in the form of tables detailing all the features of the top ten products and ranking them, with an explanation.
That is a lot harder to do with the differences between Linux distributions. Most of the differences are both complex and subtle so that they are hard to quantify, rank or explain.

Quote:
does any distro offer download and installation of software programs that is not in a repository, without needing to go to the command line?
I don't know. I don't think anything like that could be very effective. If the software is pre built, that isn't meaningfully different from being in a repository. So that means you want something to download build and install from source using an automated GUI. Source code for Linux programs is distributed in a form that is almost, but I think not quite, standardized enough for that to work. Building from source usually requires a bit of specific user action.

Quote:
I like finding new software to do the same function, and for example on Windows XP, have replaced Windows Media Player with the J. River free media player, which I feel offers better sound for me.
I think major distribution repositories have a lot more in them than you seem to expect. Certainly a repository does NOT just pick what they consider the best of a given application and offer only that. For almost any task, the repository will include multiple different programs that perform that task.

So I think you will find less need to look outside the repositories than you expect (especially if you select some Debian based distribution such as Ubuntu or Mepis and then configure it to use appropriate extra repositories).

Quote:
I will learn command line for both Windows XP and whichever Linux distro I eventually choose, as I do want to learn more about how computers actually work, but do not have that much free time at the moment to devote to this.
I think Mepis lets you do a bit more before ever touching command line than most Linux distributions. I think that is a big boost to a beginner. It lets you focus your learning. I don't know how well Mepis runs in 256MB. I've never tried Mepis without a lot of ram.
 
Old 06-09-2009, 03:08 PM   #3
jamescondron
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The respository question is similar to one you've asked before, and it still shows a lack of understanding of package managers. Your package manager will have lots of repositories, and therefore a hell of a lot of different packages:
Code:
jc@jcmain:~$ apt-cache stats
Total package names: 30088 (1204k)
  Normal packages: 22930
  Pure virtual packages: 350
  Single virtual packages: 2102
  Mixed virtual packages: 217
  Missing: 4489
Total distinct versions: 23523 (1223k)
Total distinct descriptions: 23523 (565k)
Total dependencies: 142207 (3982k)
Total ver/file relations: 47259 (756k)
Total Desc/File relations: 23523 (376k)
Total Provides mappings: 4733 (94.7k)
Total globbed strings: 107 (1228)
Total dependency version space: 580k
Total slack space: 67.6k
Total space accounted for: 7328k
On the off chance you need a package not in there, you have two choices; see if that programme has a repository or method for your specific distro (See 'wicd', that has many repositories you can add), or you can compile from source. Compile from source, you're going to want to do it with a terminal.

The terminal, usually, is just used to run programmes without going via menus, or with arguments. This is because it is a hell of a lot quicker. Consider openning 'pidgin'; which is quicker? Typing in 'pidgin' or clicking and goign via menus?

So long as you know what programme you want to run, you run it.

Distros; any distro will do, its what you put ontop of the distro. Top of my head, try fluxbox
 
Old 06-09-2009, 03:34 PM   #4
farslayer
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if it's just online repositories you are trying to avoid, You can download all 5 Debian DVD's or all the CD's and use the graphical package manager Synaptic to install any of the applications. Odds are you won't need much that is not in the repositories with Debian. (repository contains over 20,000 packages)

Not sure what your goal is in trying to avoid the repositories.. or download applications manually.

The Distrowatch query for Old Computers returns a selection of distros that will run on older low spec hardware.

The system with 1GB should be able to run pretty much any Distro provided the CPU is halfway Decent..
 
Old 06-09-2009, 04:04 PM   #5
johnsfine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by farslayer View Post
Odds are you won't need much that is not in the repositories with Debian. (repository contains over 20,000 packages)

Not sure what your goal is in trying to avoid the repositories.. or download applications manually.
I think it was clear his goal was to be able to choose from more applications than "just" the ones in the Debian repository plus the extra ones in the distribution (assuming Ubuntu or Mepis or other Debian based distribution) repository, plus the extra ones in things like "community" repositories associated with the distribution.

Before even trying Linux it is pretty silly to worry that the selection of packages in the repositories will be too limited.

Using Centos at work, even having found and added some Fedora repositories containing things Centos missed, I find moderately often that I need to download source and build it. I can't say for sure that I haven't missed some Centos compatible repository, so maybe I didn't really need to build from source. But anyway, it isn't that hard to build from source.

Using Mepis at home, I find virtually everything I want is in Mepis or Depian or "Mepis community" repositories. Building from source is relevant only when I want an obscure version (pre release or obsolete) of a program. If I just want an obscure program, it is probably there anyway.
 
Old 06-10-2009, 04:22 AM   #6
salasi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnsfine View Post
I think it was clear his goal was to be able to choose from more applications than "just" the ones in the Debian repository plus the extra ones in the distribution (assuming Ubuntu or Mepis or other Debian based distribution) repository, plus the extra ones in things like "community" repositories associated with the distribution.
No, I don't think anything was 'clear'. The question was
Quote:
does any distro offer download and installation of software programs that is not in a repository, without needing to go to the command line?
and that expilicitly, although perhaps erroneously, disallows adding extra repositories beyond the 'basics' and 'extras' as a solution to the problem. (This obviously begs the question 'what problem are you trying to solve?')

Quote:
Before even trying Linux it is pretty silly to worry that the selection of packages in the repositories will be too limited.
although +1 to that

Quote:
Repository a place or receptacle in which anything is laid up: a collection or museum: a mart, esp for horses: an abode of souls (arch): a tomb, sepulchre (arch): a storehouse, magazine, as of information: a place of accumulation: a confidant
From Chambers 20 th Century Dictionary (Although I don't think the stuff about horses is all that relevant. I hope. Although, I could have misunderstood, again.)

So, its a place where things are kept. The OP seems to be asking to avoid using things which are kept in any kind of store, and you have to ask 'In what circumstances would that be an advantage?' Is it because the OP wants more (without having a clear idea what is there), or because the OP has some kind of philosphical objection to repositories (although it is unclear what that might be).

Well, there are certainly ways to work around the use of repositories, but mostly they involve some use of the command line, so that wouldn't meet the stated requirements (although, why the command line should be totally excluded isn't apparent).

If, the requirement is to get access to extra programs beyond the obvious which are in repositories, then something like the build service/one click install at SuSE could be an option (it doesn't meet the stated requirements, because, although it adds many, many programs, it does it by, behind the scenes, adding extra repositories, which is exactly what isn't required. Also it is much more extensive for SuSE/Novell distros, although it claims to work for quite a few others.)

Quote:
I have yet to try out any Linux distribution.
and yet you feel free to write
Quote:
[b]The best Linux distribution is Windows XP[b]
in
http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...10/page23.html

Doesn't it take a bit of nerve to turn up on a site aimed at Linux users and say that you haven't tried Linux but that you know XP is the same as Linux, but better?

And
Quote:
there are certain things Windows XP or 7 does better.

1. The user interface is more powerful and can be configured as much as in any Linux distribution. For example, Windows 7 now has jump lists, transparent windows, thumbnails of open applications etc.
Bizarre. The user interface is more powerful you don't even say which of the user interfaces you are talikng about, and your examples compare something which isn't formally available yet (so, who knows how buggy the release will be?) catching up with stuff that has been available on Linux for 5+ years, in some cases, and yet you seem to think that this proves that the UI is more powerful, which, in itself is a strange concept. What do you mean by a powerful UI? Transparent windows doesn't make for power, although it may make for attractiveness.

There probably is a case that the UI is easier to adapt to for people who have become habituated/brainwashed by previous versions of windows than some specific GUI options, but that's nothing like what you say and is of a limited amount of use and isn't what the UI authors are trying to achieve.
 
Old 06-10-2009, 05:00 AM   #7
pixellany
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*challenger;

I remember now closing your last thread because it was about to turn into a flame war. My advice at the time was to install Linux and start using it.

So......head over to http://distrowatch.com . Pick anything in the top 5 on their "hit list", install it, and start using it. I guarantee that you will start asking questions which we can actually answer.......
 
Old 06-10-2009, 07:31 AM   #8
farslayer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnsfine View Post
I think it was clear his goal was to be able to choose from more applications than "just" the ones in the Debian repository plus the extra ones in the distribution (assuming Ubuntu or Mepis or other Debian based distribution) repository, plus the extra ones in things like "community" repositories associated with the distribution.
I don't believe my response precluded being able to download and install software manually, just that it was not likely if he choose a distro with a large repository. I've been running Debian for years, and the number of times I've had to install anything manually from a tar ball has been pretty low, since most any application I find on the net, ends up already being in the Debian repositories.

At least using the suggested method with Debian (obtaining all the DVD's) he would have access to the largest amount of packages locally, while being able to use a Graphical package manager.

That's why I questioned why he was trying to avoid the repositories.. It sounds like there is some other reason, like not having broadband at home, or whatever.. All speculation of course until he clarifies or actually starts running Linux.

I do know if he starts trying to install packages downloaded from random locations all over the Internet, he's going to run into dependency hell no matter what distro he chooses, which will only make life more difficult, especially considering he is a newbie.



I am not aware of any graphical package manager that will work for packages you download from some random location on the Internet though..

Last edited by farslayer; 06-10-2009 at 07:32 AM.
 
  


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