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hello everyone ive been a windows user all my life and i was thinking about switching to linux when i realized how many distros there are. so i was wondering what distro i shold choose to begin with because i want to learn more. i heard that slackware and arch linux are good but complex. so i would like your advise and mind that i want to move on to harder distros later so anything that would be a good stepping stone would be great. and if you could link some tutorials, guids or webbsites where there is somthing thats useful to know that would be eprisiated.
The reason there's so many distros is that choice is encouraged in linux. You just need to try a few and see what you like. Choose any of the top 7 or so distros from Distrowatch.com and you should be fine. If you want a lot of hand holding try ubuntu, mandriva, mint or opensuse. If you want to get your hands a bit more dirty, try Debian or Fedora. If you really want to get into the guts of everything, go with Slackware, Gentoo, or Arch.
If you go with Debian, there's a good site that will explain a lot of the under the hood stuff for Debian (and linux in general) at aboutdebian.com.
I believe Ubuntu and opensuse have pretty good online documentation, and Gentoo's is second to none.
If you receive 10 replies to your question, you'll have 10 different opinions, which is quite normal considering there is a very large number of Linux distros available. I would advice you to first read a bit about the differences between Linux and Windows for example from these sites: Linux is not Windows Linux FAQs for Newbies
When you get the grasp of the basic differences, for example to avoid you spend time looking for your C: drive, I'd go over to DistroWatch.com and download some distros in the Top 100 list. Since you're new to it all, I suggest you start out with: Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Debian, CentOS. Try them out in different desktop versions (Gnome, KDE, Xfce, ...) to see what appeals most to you.
Most, if not all, of those distros come in a LiveCD/DVD version meaning that they don't affect your currently installed OS. You just boot from the CD/DVD and start checking out. A big advantage of using the LiveCD/DVD is also that you can check that your hardware is detected correctly and works 'out of the box' and thus avoiding issues when installed.
To start with I wouldn't go with Slackware, Arch, Fedora, Gentoo since they are not really for beginners. Later on you can always check them out and learn a lot more about how Linux works then from the 'newbie' distros.
Guides and howtos are available in abundant numbers on the Internet. With Linux it all comes down to choices, the ones you make. There are distro specific guides and there are more general guides available. One of the most advised general guides in my opinion is: Rute User's Tutorial and Exposition
which is very complete.
Hope that gets you started and remember: whatever your question about Linux is, you'll get an answer here at LQ.
Looking forward to your participation in the forums. Have fun with Linux.
Last edited by EricTRA; 06-24-2011 at 01:31 PM.
Try starting with Ubuntu, Then once you know your way around Linux, try experimenting with various other distros to see which suites your taste. I had begun with Mandriva, Since I had done nothing but played with widows, I did had a tough time understanding Linux but once I get to know it. It turned out really well , Or Better then Windows.
thanks to you all that posted i decided to install debiant it seems realy nice and fast, and im going to read the guides to learn more but i happy right now. one problem i have i try to watch a youtube video and it gives me an error "an error occurred, please try again later" dose anyone know how to fix this? but again thanks to everybody who responded
I would say Ubuntu is a great distribution to start with if you want to learn. Linux Mint is supposed to be more beginner-friendly, and it holds your hand through it more as well, even when using the command line, they even have an interactive shell for apt-get *Or so I recall*
This is my plan.
Debian Based (Ubuntu, Mint)
Red Hat derived (Fedora, CentOS)
Minimalistic (Arch Linux, Slackware, Gentoo)
Scratch (Linux from Scratch)
As of now, I'm on Arch Linux and soon I'll be switching to Sabayon Linux, which is Gentoo-based.
I personally think you should try Ubuntu 11.04 for now and learn as much as you can, and then in a Virtual Box, try out as many distributions as you can like I do.
Ubuntu also has synaptic package manager which is the GUI tool. It is basically a front end interface to the underlying command line tools. In my Ubuntu systems (I also run Slackware and Gentoo), I typically just use apt-get, which seems more intuitive to me than the curses menu based aptitude.
It occurred to me as I read this thread that we Linux users sometimes jump to conclusions about what "only used Windows" means.
The type and amount of Windows experience can come into play. If you are familiar and comfortable with the Windows command line and understand, say, the basics of subnetting and networking, that places you at a different starting point from someone who has spent his Windows career in the GUI surfing the web in wireless cafes and photoshopping pictures.
I started with Slackware.
But I had already used DOS fdisk to format and partition drives, installed various flavors of Windows dozens of times (including dual boot 95 and NT4 for training machines at my then-job), and knew my way around the DOS/Windows directory structure, so I was not intimidated by the command line.
That doesn't make me special--it just means that my DOS/Windows background gave me tools that helped to learn Slackware reasonably quickly.
My suggestion to the OP would be this: If you have a machine that can be devoted simply to learning Linux, while having another machine for day-to-day use until you feel ready to make the switch, start with Slackware. Master it, and no other distro will ever intimidate you. Another distro, and, indeed, parts of Slackware might still puzzle you, but they won't intimidate you.