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Old 11-09-2009, 03:11 PM   #1
osabr22000
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Which distro should I choose?


I just bought an Acer Aspire Timeline installed with Vista home premium and a free upgrade to Windows 7. Vista is kind of clunky and not as responsive as I'd like, and while they say 7 is much better, I am somewhat pessimistic. Assuming I do not like Windows 7 64, which 64 bit distro of Linux should I use? Also note, I do have some experience with Opensuse and Ubuntu. Opensuse I dislike because sometimes when watching a video I get some error about codecs. Ubuntu was okay I guess.


I will be using my system for school and as a media center. I do play some games, but nothing obscene that has to run on Windows. I play games like freecell/solitaire and chess. As much as I detest MS, I do like how the office software integrates nicely with Outlook and even their abysmal browser. For instance, if I am looking at a table of sports statistics and I copy several rows and columns from IE into Excel, excel breaks up each stat into it's own cell whereas if I do the same from Opera or Firefox to Excel it pastes the info either all into one column or one cell. So I would like to keep that seamlessness. I also like the option of "sending/printing to One note"
In addition to school/research/finances, I will be using my laptop to listen to music, organize my chaotic mp3 library, view, store and edit photos, surf the web, watch videos.
I also just got a Nokia E71x, and it syncs quite nicely with MS office what office package gives me the best hope of doing the same with Linux?

I want a gorgeous window manager that gives quite a bit of eye candy but doesn't slow down my pc much. Should I try out Enlightenment? Which I believe should be out this Christmas. Thanks for all of your opinions.

Here are the specs of my laptop, I may end up going with 8 GB in the near future.
Intel Core 2 Solo Processor SU3500 1.40GHz, 4GB DDR3 SDRAM Memory; 14.0" WXGA high-brightness (200-nit) TFT Display; 320GB Hard Drive; Super-Multi drive; Windows Vista Home Premium.
The beautifully crafted Aspire 4810 - one of Acer's new Timeline Series of energy-conscious notebooks - proudly features lower power consumption for long-lasting, energy-efficient portability. Made for truly modern mobile work and play, this full-featured yet affordable 14" notebook is less than 1" thin at its lowest point, weighs 4.2 lb. and packs at least eight hours* of earth-friendly battery life.
Specifications:
Intel Core 2 Solo Processor SU3500 (3MB L2 cache, 1.40GHz, 800MHz FSB)
4GB (2/2) DDR3 1066 SDRAM
Acer CineCrystal 14.0" WXGA (1366 x 76high-brightness (200-nit) TFT display with 16:9 aspect ratio and LED backlight
Integrated Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 4500MHD (64MB dedicated memory, up 1695MB shared system memory)
320GB hard drive
Integrated variable-speed Super-Multi drive:
5-in-1 card reader for optional MultiMediaCard, Secure Digital card, Memory Stick, Memory Stick PRO or xD-Picture Card
Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 4500MHD
802.11a/b/g/Draft-N WLAN, gigabit LAN
Webcam
Interface Ports: DC-in; RJ-45 LAN; VGA;
Headphones/speaker/line-out with SPDIF support; Microphone
HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) with HDCP (high-bandwidth digital-content protection); Three USB 2.0
Windows Vista Home Premium
Dimensions & Weight: 13.32" (338.4mm) W x 9.44" (240.0mm) D x 0.94" 1.13 (24.0mm 28.9mm) H; 4.2lb. (1.9kg
 
Old 11-09-2009, 03:43 PM   #2
MysticalGroovy
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ah.. you can use kUbuntu (ubuntu with KDE) if you want eye-candy desktop,
for a super-fast but less eye-candy desktop you can use xUbuntu(ubuntu with XFCE)
 
Old 11-09-2009, 04:09 PM   #3
salasi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by osabr22000 View Post
I just bought an Acer Aspire Timeline installed with Vista home premium and a free upgrade to Windows 7. Vista is kind of clunky and not as responsive as I'd like, and while they say 7 is much better, I am somewhat pessimistic.
Seems reasonable, so far.

Quote:
...which 64 bit distro of Linux should I use?
Why have you decided that it must be a 64 bit version? you have 4G of ram, and with a 'plain jane' kernel you'll probably see about 3.2 G of that, and that probably won't be a big disadvantage. However, with a PAE kernel, you will be able to use all of your memory, just each individual thread won't be able to use more than 4G...probably a little less.

64 bit would work, I'm just not sure that there is a definable advantage to it...unless maybe you include the 'cool' factor, or you do go for more than 4G. So, all I am saying is in deciding on 64 bit so early, you may be excluding some options that you might want to keep on the table a little longer.

Quote:
Also note, I do have some experience with Opensuse and Ubuntu. Opensuse I dislike because sometimes when watching a video I get some error about codecs.
If you mean that you didn't have the codecs installed for certain video formats, that ought to be curable by installing the appropriate codecs. you may have to add extra, non-core, repositories for that.

Quote:
Ubuntu was okay I guess.
I really nearly like ubuntu, but they do a better job with Gnome than kde. For kde users who like that kind of thing (ie, want a debian-based distro with, eg, synaptic), I think Simply Mepis is often a better bet.


Quote:
I will be using my system for school and as a media center. I do play some games, but nothing obscene that has to run on Windows. I play games like freecell/solitaire and chess.
Doesn't really sound problematic, so far (but the games collection is better with kde and gnome than with lighter GUIs).

Quote:
As much as I detest MS, I do like how the office software integrates nicely with Outlook and even their abysmal browser. For instance, if I am looking at a table of sports statistics and I copy several rows and columns from IE into Excel, excel breaks up each stat into it's own cell whereas if I do the same from Opera or Firefox to Excel it pastes the info either all into one column or one cell. So I would like to keep that seamlessness.
Mostly, I find that if I export something as a text file, or even cut 'n pate, I can fiddle with the import parameters in to Open Office calc so that it works well, but it could be more 'automagical' I suppose.

Quote:
I also just got a Nokia E71x, and it syncs quite nicely with MS office what office package gives me the best hope of doing the same with Linux?
I did once (probably 5 years ago) play with the kde packages for this and while at that time it was quite possible to transfer data to and from the 'phone quite easily, that wasn't really the same as synchronising calendars, contacts, etc, and there wasn't an easy way apparent to do that. These days it must be better, and trying evolution would be a good place to start, but unless someone knows better, you might have to do some fiddling with it yourself.

Nice 'phone, btw. I was considering getting one, but I hear that the E72 will be along shortly, with a better camera and I was hoping to either get one of those or find an E71 at a discount as the E72 replaced it and it became an old model.

Quote:
I want a gorgeous window manager that gives quite a bit of eye candy but doesn't slow down my pc much. Should I try out Enlightenment? Which I believe should be out this Christmas.
Yes, you should try it. E17 is one of the several (about a dozen!) GUIs that I have on my laptop and it is one of the best looking GUIs. It doesn't do as much for you, behind the scenes, as KDE or Gnome, but it isn't vaguely as heavyweight, so that seems a very fair trade-off.

I still can't quite get used to windows whizzing in and out when I move the mouse to the wrong place, but it looks good.

KDE is, as far as I am concerned, a bit more problematic to recommend to anyone whose preferences and experience I am not aware of. The kde 4 series is definitely more eye-candy-friendly than the old 3.x series was, but under no circumstances go for a kde 4 earlier than about 4.3.2, as it will be **** (not very good...not very good involving a c an r and a p and a letter at the start of the alphabet).

That said, for me, even 4.3.2 is of the standard that would make a good beta release or maybe even an early release candidate, but it is getting better, month by month. Eventually, I think it will be the best GUI, just not just yet, and I've got a bit bored of the monthly update of kde and have an excited look at what bugs and new features I've got.

Personally, I don't like gnome, although I am using it right now (having messed up networking in kde 4); I expect the soon-to-be-released OpenSuSE 11.2 to sort out a lot of minor annoyances. And come with a pretty decent KDE 4. And that NetworkManager under kde4 might work well (as opposed to a so-so performance, and nowhere near as good as NM under Gnome), for a change.

Quote:
Intel Core 2 Solo Processor SU3500 1.40GHz, 4GB DDR3 SDRAM Memory;
Good spec on memory, less so on the processor (although that should help battery life, if there is a decent battery capacity). Memory, or lack of an adequate amount thereof, can be a real killer of performance in the heavier-weight GUIs, so that might not be a bad trade-off.


Quote:
Integrated Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 4500MHD (64MB dedicated memory, up 1695MB shared system memory)
GMAwhatever tends not to be as high performance as the competing ATI (AMD) or nVidia solutions, but they do tend to just work under Linux.

Quote:
320GB hard drive
Integrated variable-speed Super-Multi drive:
That's a traditional, moving head, hard drive (not an SSD) and some kind of optical drive?
Quote:
Three USB 2.0
Teensy bit light on USB ports, but, if needs be, you can use a USB hub.

Quote:
4.2lb. (1.9kg
Would have hoped for a bit more weight saving over a 'traditional' laptop, but, if it is well built...
 
Old 11-09-2009, 10:21 PM   #4
osabr22000
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Salasi,

Thanks for the info. So is there a specific distro you would recommend that has E17 or E16 as the window manager by default?

If you don't think I'd need a 64 bit distro then I am fine going with a 32 bit. I just wasn't sure what kind of mess I could get into later on down the road if my distro ends up offering 64 bit and I wanted to upgrade.

I just got my Nokia E71x a few months ago as a refurb. AT/T was offering them for $50 w/ a contract, then I ended up getting $40 of that back... Anyway, I know that the reviews on the camera were fairly abysmal and many reviews said that the pics had an orange tint. I do not have that issue, so I'm not certain if they were reviewing the E71, or if Nokia fixed the problem.
 
Old 11-09-2009, 10:28 PM   #5
smeezekitty
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one complaint about ubuntu is that you basically have to enable root login and log in as root all the time or the prompts will make you tear your hair out and smash your keyboard with a hammer!
 
Old 11-09-2009, 10:37 PM   #6
~sHyLoCk~
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tl;dr


If it can run vista then it can run anything. pick whichever you feel comfortable with.
 
Old 11-09-2009, 10:38 PM   #7
r3sistance
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Sorry Smeezekitty, are you saying you log into a GUI as root... I think this will be the second time I refer to you as a security hole...

anyways, I'd suggest on a more basic level that Fedora and *Buntus tend to get seen most around here, there is also Mandriva(formerly Mandrake). Overall I'd just say look at distributions that are generally aimed at desktop or laptop usages, perhaps even use a few live editions until you find one that you get on with most, tho the live versions don't always perfectly reflect how the install will be exactly...
 
Old 11-10-2009, 05:16 AM   #8
salasi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by osabr22000 View Post
Salasi,

Thanks for the info. So is there a specific distro you would recommend that has E17 or E16 as the window manager by default?
On the desktop (actually, my laptop), I am using OpensuSE 11.1, which I like primarily because it has a good choice of 'stuff', including a couple of KDEs, Gnome, Enlightenment, XFCE, Windowmaker....etc.

None of those is actually the default in 11.1 (there isn't a default), but in the soon-to-arrive 11.2, kde4 is going to be the default. I wouldn't install OpenSuSE 11.1 today because I'd wait a few weeks for 11.2 (the only way to get a decent kde4.x under 11.1 is to enable non-mainstream repos, because the one supplied on the disk is too old to be good).

However, just because kde 4 will be the default, that doesn't really mean anything worthwhile; you can always install a non-default GUI. What you do want is the presence of your target GUI in the repos for that distro; if you don't have that, it makes life harder. (That assumes that you have the net bandwidth to grab the packages that you want. In which case, anything in a repo is a click and a brief wait away.)

Quote:
If you don't think I'd need a 64 bit distro then I am fine going with a 32 bit. I just wasn't sure what kind of mess I could get into later on down the road if my distro ends up offering 64 bit and I wanted to upgrade.
Need, no. Its a reasonably balanced choice at this point, and probably your next upgrade will be to a 64 bit version; I was only trying to make the point that you may not want to make that restriction just yet, as some otherwise interesting distros are not yet available as 64 bit.

The big thing, in order to make future upgrades easier, is to put your own files on a separate partition. Usually, I have made a partition for /home, but I have seen a scheme in which puts /home on the main / partition (ie, no separate /home partition) but uses a separate partition for /home/username/doc and put all your stuff in that, which seems even better (although a bit more complex if there are several users on a machine).
 
Old 11-26-2009, 06:28 PM   #9
DaFrEQ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smeezekitty View Post
one complaint about ubuntu is that you basically have to enable root login and log in as root all the time or the prompts will make you tear your hair out and smash your keyboard with a hammer!
This statement is completely wrong. I don't know where you got that idea/information but that is not correct.

At any rate, I'm using Ubuntu w/XFCE on my ACER 4810T-8702 laptop. There are a few things about Ubuntu you should be aware of:
The Synaptic Package Manager is sometimes a real time/life saver, however other times the whole Ubuntu 'update' process will leave you with some broken packages as far as dependencies and bugs. Recently they've added updates that have completely borked a few major packages like Perl v5.10 vs Perl v5.8.8
Ubuntu community is fairly responsive and helpful, although because so many new Linux users are jumping directly into Ubuntu it can be a nightmare to get anything answered on their forums because, like I said, there is just way too many people.

I've not had any major issues with the laptop and it's hardware as far as Ubuntu goes. You will have to do a little bit of decision making regarding which version of Ubuntu you want to use because of the problem with Acer products... that being that they don't give adequate support nor standards for some hardware. Meaning that unless you are using the latest BIOS upgrade, latest Ubuntu distro and latest linux kernel, you might have a few features that do not work on the laptop.
Check out the Ubuntu forums. There are 2 really good threads in there about the Acer laptops. Just search for 3810 and 5810. Good info in there.

As far as your ideas about 'seamlessness', all I can say to that is, don't expect it. I think the main problem with MS is that they are dumbing down the population with turning the Computer into a multimedia One-Click center. That really is not what a computer is for.
While things like, copying things from IE to Excell, is a nice feature, what that tells me is it doesn't allow people to learn the important parts of their OS nor their software. For example, if you copy a bunch of columned data from Firefox or IE and copy it to OpenOffice Calc, yes it may dump it all into one column, but all office packages have tools which allow you to (fairly easily) separate data based on defined parameters like separating a group of numbers based on spaces, commas, etc.
These are features that users should know how to use, otherwise I believe you aren't really using the computer so much as it is using you.

I know & understand that most people just want a computer that simply just works... well that isn't going to happen. It doesn't happen with MS and it will not happen with any other OS. Computers are ever evolving. Manufacturers and software designers are constantly playing the 'catch up' game which alot of times leads to 'cutting corners' and not using industry standards which leads to things not performing as expected.

Having said that, you should also keep in mind that Linux is NOT a replacement for MS. It 'can' be, but that is not, nor ever was, the original intended idea behind it.

My Acer 4810 came with Vista, and as soon as I turned on the laptop the first time, I stopped it at the BIOS, ejected the CD drive and inserted my Ubuntu disk. I never even booted into Vista on this machine.


And as far as the 'eye candy' goes, you will grow out of that soon enough. Yes while we all like to see some neat/nifty/pretty stuff in the OS or on the desktop, eventually you will trade functionality for appearance or vice versa. That's just how it is. Same in MS. You want more GUI you are going to sacrifice something somewhere.

All of that aside, I'd say Ubuntu is probably your best bet if you are wanting to get your feet wet with this laptop and Linux.
As for the desktop manager, install as many as you like and play with them as much as you like. That is the beauty of Linux. You are never limited to only 1 choice as you are with MS and Mac... hence my signature... (if you are old enough to know what a Mr. Potato Head is)

Good luck & hope it all works out.
L8rz
 
Old 11-26-2009, 06:49 PM   #10
spyrek
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This is a busy threat ill just throw my two cents. I love debian and its spawns like ubuntu. I've tried many many distros both 32 and 64 and honestly 32 bit are in my eyes just mucho more stable etc. Debians very new user friendly to a point. It holds out on non free addons that are easly worked around and apt-get is my favirote pkg manager just my opinion and debians ported to almost everything from cellphones to 64 bitterz what do you plan to do? I play games like fallout3 do homework for various projects watch dvds etc cause many distros don't offer non free codecs so just besure to have a plan so after u install things will be a breeze.
 
Old 11-26-2009, 06:49 PM   #11
brianL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smeezekitty View Post
one complaint about ubuntu is that you basically have to enable root login and log in as root all the time or the prompts will make you tear your hair out and smash your keyboard with a hammer!
What a load of bollocks (as we say in Oldham). Not a word of truth in it.
 
  


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