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Introduction to Linux - A Hands on Guide
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I found the Mandrake ( Mandriva ) tool for partitioning to be the easiest to use which is why I have generally stuck with Mandrake.
It makes setting up a dual boot system very easy for a newbie.
Having said that I have tried Suse and its just as good as Mandrake and now I have Suse 9.2, I will load that onto a system or two as my son wants to do a Novell course and will need Suse experience.
Live CDs are good to play with and there are varieties of Knoppix Linux and even FreeSBIE which is a ( sort of ) live version of FreeBSD which looks quite cool. Note Live CDs tend to like a lot of RAM.
I used Vectorlinux for some time before moving to LFS. It has the usual benefits of "hobby" distros (less bloat, fewer package management problems, standard configuration files/tools) but is easier to install than most of them.
Distribution: Win XP Pro / Slackware 10.1 dual-boot
Mandrake 10.1 is one of the easiest distributions for a beginner in Linux. Setup automatically partitions your hard drive, and if you already have Windows installed, Mandrake automatically mounts that partition at startup. Hardware detection is amazing as well. If you're looking for a distro to do a lot of stuff for you, get Mandrake. I'm still new to Linux, and Fedora Core 3 is working fine for me if you want another option.
Originally posted by trey31357 Mandrake 10.1 is one of the easiest distributions for a beginner in Linux. Setup automatically partitions your hard drive, and if you already have Windows installed, Mandrake automatically mounts that partition at startup. Hardware detection is amazing as well. If you're looking for a distro to do a lot of stuff for you, get Mandrake. I'm still new to Linux, and Fedora Core 3 is working fine for me if you want another option.
Wow... What a plug for MDK... concidering your using Fedora... Anyway, I like Mandrake/Mandriva (or whatever it is this week) as well, I have used lots of distos and just found that MDK was easy to use. keep in mind. just because it's easy to install does not mean it is not capable of the hard core stuff. You can really get as deep into Linux as you want with any distro...
I would say, Mandriva is a good choice. I stuck with it because it does everything I need it to and seems very stable.
1. Recognizes all my hardware.
2. Offers to partition with Disk Druid or you can get your hands dirty. Sup to you.
3. Default DeskTop install took just 1 hour and i was surfing and emailing in no time.
4. Yum, the update tool is great, but take time to add more repositories in yum.conf (dont worry,its easy) as your skills/requirements increase. There may even be a copy of one here somewhere, ill link when i find it, or search for yum.conf.
5. Great help available here (any flavour Linux) or FedoraForum. Both are great /hugs.
Here's some highlights:
1.) Best Polish: Mandrake. From boot loader to X login, you wouldn't have known that X wasn't running the whole time... Small install (cause they cut all the source packages by default) with all the utiliities you'd ever need. Ended up getting rid of it because the kde editors used cpu on my laptop, an editor shouldn't use a notable amount of cpu when you type.
2.) Worst overall. Fedora Core 3. It was virtually entirely broken, nothing but problems. Worst install ever. And the 64 bit version was totally broken.
3.) Best production environment: RHEL3/4. Because you get 5 years to use it before you have to upgrade anything beyond security fixes. And every couple of years you get the option of the next version with newer software.. Great product. Not cutting edge though.
4.) Funniest: Debian Woody. I don't know who thought Gnome 1.4 was the most stable gnome ever released.... It's not even usable.
5.) Most efficient: FreeBSD 5.x. Really, their utils are a lot faster from what I've noticed, but they aren't as nice; they let you accidentally wipe directories while using cp...
6.) Most tweakable: Slackware.
7.) Best Package Manager: Hands down, pacman is the most solid package manager I've ever used. Within an hour you can turn yourself into an expert on it, and do virtually anything with just a few arguments and some piping..
8.) Worst Installer: Archlinux.
9.) Best Installer: Mandrake, RH is a close second (Fedora uses the same installer).
10.) Worst installer in the history of the Universe: NetBSD.
I usually recommend Ubuntu or Mandrake to newbies.
I don't think anyone said Knoppix.
Knoppix and Knoppix STD were what got me interested in Linux in the first place.
Other good live distros are:
Newb frienly installed distro would be Suse of Mandrake. They offer a similar feel to WIN.
Fedora2/3 has a great installer(my .02) which sorta makes it newb friendly.
Slackware is great if you really want to learn about linux.
My progression was ->Knoppix -> Suse 9.0 -> Fedora Core 2 -> Slackware 10.0 -> ArchLinux -> Gentoo 2005.0 (still trying to find one or two that fit just right.)
I am probably the most loyal to Slackware...it just feels right.
While the bigger distros have graphical tools that do everything for you,you will never learn linux and how it works. I'd suggest slackware if you have problems configuring somthing you can get help on these forums and irc.freenode.net.
I have been in and out of Linux for a few years, over the course of that time I have usually always gone back to Windows for work related issues and because I did not want to really get into learning everything just yet. Now I am pretty much all Linux besides work and when it is needed. I enjoy figuring out how everything works and having way more knowledge on how everything is working then I did with Windows.
The timeline of distros that I have used was Corel, Red Hat, Mandrake, Fedora, Slakeware/Gentoo and SuSE. I really enjoyed Corel but they aren't around anymore or not to my knowledge (that was a long time ago). I would say all around SuSE won my heart and that is why I am staying with SuSE now, as I get more and more into the Linux and open source world. I recently purchased all of the SuSE books on the market and plan on doing a review for all of them on Amazon in June/July so far from briefly going through them they are all very promising. Fedora, I had a good experience with but something called me to SuSE and I have heard so many 50/50 stories with Fedora. Fedora by far does have the most book coverage if you would like a distro specific guide from what I have seen. I also thought I would jump into a Gentoo install ;p, that didn't work out for me, someday when I have more Linux overall knowledge I'll give it another shot. Slackware is nice for you if you want a lot of control on the distro but I do not think it is a good start for an average Linux novice. In the end like others have said above itís all about what hits your tastes, Ubuntu seems to be grabbing a large audience as well and I have heard some pretty good things about it.
One thing is for sure they are all Linux but there is definitely distinctive attributes that appeals to an individual you just have to find yours. SuSE may be a good place to start but it seems at the moment to me that it may possibly take a little to much of the Linux experience away from you unless you get into SuSE documentation and the take desktop a step farther!