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Old 04-23-2006, 12:26 PM   #1
m_wielgus
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Question What Linux distribution should I choose?


I'm a M$ windows user and I find it very shitty, so I've decided to switch to Linux. But I have a serious problem: I don't know what Linux distribution to choose. As I've heard there are about 50 of them. Can someone tell me which are the best? (I'm using a ThinkPad 600X Laptop: PentiumIII, 512MB RAM, 10 GB HDD)

P.S.
I've also heard that a program that is compiled for and works on distribution A may not work on distribution B. How true is it?
 
Old 04-23-2006, 12:37 PM   #2
rickh
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Why Debian...A Sales Pitch
 
Old 04-23-2006, 12:37 PM   #3
reddazz
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Hi and welcome to LQ. Your questions get asked a lot and there are numerous threads about this, so use the search function to find out what others have had to say.

Regarding which distribution to use, there is no correct answer. Try a few and then keep the one that works best for you. Most distros have live discs which you can use without installing anything to your hard drive, so download those and try them out. distrowatch has a lot of useful information regarding Linux distros.

As for software, most source packages will work on any Linux distro and other Unix like OSes. Binary packages are what may cause probelms because many Linux distros use different package formats and package managers.
 
Old 04-23-2006, 12:55 PM   #4
pixellany
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Start with any free distro---maybe try several before you decide.

I find Ubuntu to be a very good starting place.

Depending on WHY you don't like Windows, Linux may not address your issues. Also--WHICH Windows?? (XP is actually quite good, but I will never purchase any more MS products)
 
Old 04-23-2006, 02:21 PM   #5
robbbert
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Linux Distribution Chooser

Debian is IMHO too complicated for a beginner (but it's a very well designed system). Ubuntu is derived from it, making most configuration tasks smarter.

Ubuntu and SuSE currently are very popular and are also suitable for beginners. I'd prefer Ubuntu over SuSE because of the appealing desktop (classy GNOME plus good themes vs. fancy KDE) and the much better software installation system (APT vs. RPM).

Both will work OK with your hardware.

Ubuntu also provides a "live CD" where you can test the system without installing it.
(Nevertheless, you probably would be interested in Ubuntu's current release, Dapper, which is Beta at the moment. Unfortunately, the installer provided with this CD currently has a major bug - it's Beta - so please don't use it without asking for progress.) (Apart from that, Ubuntu is very stable, in general.)

Quote:
I've also heard that a program that is compiled for and works on distribution A may not work on distribution B. How true is it?
Relatively true . Each Linux distribution has its own software repositories, containing almost everything you could ever need.
There are single cases when you need to install software manually (i.e., the newest Beta of the Opera web browser). Usually, you can install these pieces of software on any *nix-like systems, but are required to use your brain at least.
Quote:
I'm a M$ windows user and I find it very shitty, so I've decided to switch to Linux
IMHO, Linux is no replacement of Windows but an alternative to it. "Being beginners-friendly" doesn't mean it's completely usable from the sofa but it makes it easy to step forward, learning it.
I.e., activating MP3 codecs (because of licensing issues) probably will take you an additional Google search or forums post after you've installed the base system.

You'd need to like Linux to make it like you
 
Old 04-23-2006, 02:55 PM   #6
anti.corp
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Hi, and welcome to linuxquestions.

You should pick: SuSe 10 eval, Mandriva 2006FREE or Fedora Core 5 for a start. Those will give you a great kickoff

Regards,
 
Old 04-23-2006, 03:03 PM   #7
robbbert
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Quote:
Those will give you a great kickoff
If you're not telling pros & cons, I'll be recommending Linux from Scratch!
 
Old 04-23-2006, 03:15 PM   #8
towy71
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I'm with Robbert in recommending Linux Distribution Chooser it should give you a reasonable idea of where to go. Just remember that we are here to help should anything go "tits up"
 
Old 04-23-2006, 03:36 PM   #9
ehawk
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Well, here's my opinion. Your first distro should be stupid-simple to install. We don't want you to get frustrated and give up before you get started. The simplest installation I have yet encountered is SimplyMepis. I can count the accept-the-default clicks on one hand, even if you decide to keep your windows partition (why not?). It is a live-evalutation CD, so if it detects all your hardware, go for it (the hard disk install is started by clicking on the desktop). If not, pop out the CD and try another live-evaluation CD, no harm done. PCLinuxOS is also stupid-simple to install, also a live-evaluation CD. People seem to like that one even more, as configuration tools typically don't require any command line stuff. I found Mepis just as simple to use. Both have a large number of packages in their default repositories, and both use synaptic to handle package management. It's a breeze to install applications. Both have nice online forums for your questions. Mepis is going to be Ubuntu-based in the next release, anyway. Both of them have most of the proprietary multimedia stuff pre-installed, though it is trivial to pick that stuff up in Ubuntu. Well, that's my input....

Others mentioned Fedora Core 5. That's an easy install, also, and has nice package management, though you do have to add some repositories to get the proprietary multimedia stuff. Haven't tried Suse..
 
Old 04-23-2006, 03:37 PM   #10
robbbert
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Quote:
I'm with Robbert in recommending Linux Distribution Chooser
On the other hand, that distribution chooser always recommends me to choose SuSE over Ubuntu. There must be something wrong with it.
 
Old 04-23-2006, 03:40 PM   #11
towy71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robbbert
On the other hand, that distribution chooser always recommends me to choose SuSE over Ubuntu. There must be something wrong with it.
lol, it tells me I should be using Debian.... I am an ubuntu man
 
Old 04-23-2006, 03:55 PM   #12
robbbert
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Quote:
lol, it tells me I should be using Debian.... I am an ubuntu man
One day you'll be grown up. That's what it's telling! Probably
 
Old 04-23-2006, 05:03 PM   #13
smiley_lauf
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Also may I suggest a very good help page: http://easylinux.info/wiki/Main_Page (Ubuntubreezy and Dapper, FC5, and Mandriva 2006)
 
Old 04-23-2006, 10:51 PM   #14
reddazz
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Quote:
Ubuntu and SuSE currently are very popular and are also suitable for beginners. I'd prefer Ubuntu over SuSE because of the appealing desktop (classy GNOME plus good themes vs. fancy KDE) and the much better software installation system (APT vs. RPM).
You cannot compare APT with RPM because thats not comparing similar tools. RPM is similar to DPKG on Debian based distros. Dpkg is just as problematic as rpm without automated tools like APT. APT works with debs, rpm, tgz etc, so really the issue about package management is no longer a major basis for choosing a distro because many distros have tools similar to APT. Its even argueable whether apt is the best package management tool because some distros don't even recommend its use.
 
Old 04-23-2006, 11:01 PM   #15
rickh
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Quote:
APT works with debs, rpm, tgz etc, so really the issue about package management is no longer a major basis for choosing a distro because many distros have tools similar to APT.
That's confusing, if not untrue. Other distros have adapted apt-get to handle their own package management needs, but APT, on Debian is much more than apt-get. There are many APT tools besides -get.

OTOH, You're right about comapring APT to RPM, the correct comparison is APT to YUM.

Last edited by rickh; 04-23-2006 at 11:08 PM.
 
  


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