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It seems obvious that the real reason for the multiplicity of linux live-cd versions is to add evidence to the ongoing partisan arguments as to which is best, making linux both a participatory and a spectator sport.
My first Linux distro was Xandros 3.0.2 and it was very similar to m$ which made the transition easy for me, but there are many very easy to use distros out there for a beginner. After the first 6 months of trying as many distros as I could download I settled on Pclinuxos and have been very happy with it. If you are on an older system I would suggest Pclinuxos Minime it is very small and fast and is just the basic operating system however it comes with synaptic so that you can install what you want and nothing more. It is a great way to customize a linux distro and still remain beginner friendly.
You could try Zenwalk. http://zenwalk.org/
Zenwalk runs very light and fast and would be ideal for the OP's hardware. The only reason I didn't mention it before is because it is not quite as easy for a beginner as Ubuntu; but it is fairly easy to use if you are willing to do some reading. Zenwalk is a great choice for a home desktop also. Read the Zenwalk manual first, so you know what to expect: http://manual.zenwalk.org/en/
Zenwalk has live CD that you could try before you install also. So if you want something very easy for a beginner, choose Ubuntu (or Xubuntu). If you want faster performance, and are willing to do a bit more reading, choose Zenwalk.
I have a VIA 1.4 cpu, although my system does have 2gb of ram; 512 is more than enough to run kde/gnome/xfce or any other desktop.
I'm gonna have to agree with this...
Everyone suggesting Puppy, if thats what you like, fine. However, this PC is more than powerful enough to run almost any distribution and it will be light years faster than anything out of Redmond. I've got an old, clunker laptop, that is 1ghz, 768mb Ram, 20gig hard drive, Intel graphics that runs Ubuntu Gnome just fine. It will run Compiz effects, but that starts to push the power of the PC, not that it matters to me because I don't use desktop effects even on my fast PC's/Laptops.
Xubuntu, and XFCE in general, isn't that much *lighter* than Gnome/KDE now days. If you can run Xfce, you can probably run Gnome without any problem. I've always found KDE slow compared to Gnome, so any observation I give of it, will be biased.
I'd recommend starting with some of the newbie friendly distros mentioned here and in other threads of this type... Remember when you're trying out Live CDs, they are gonna run slower from the CD/DVD, than they would from the Hard Drive.
Any of the Ubuntu variants, including Linux Mint
Hope that Helps..
Last edited by IndyGunFreak; 12-05-2008 at 05:03 AM.
Distribution: Ubuntu 8.10 and at least ten others at any given time
Originally Posted by phantom_cyph
Forgetting tgz, pup, and installation by source? If you want to get to know Linux, you may want to install some programs from source every once in a while so you know how to.
You're in a forum with over 300,000 members. The chances of picking an up-to-date distro that no one in this forum can help you out with are slim, so feel free to explore.
Not allow?? You make Debian sound like Windows Vista. They don't have Firefox, Thunderbird, Seamonkey, or Sunbird on install, that does not mean you can't install them.
I did not forget. I was intentionally sticking to the mainline distros and simple package management. Installation for source is not for newbies. Click on a Deb and it installs after you add your password. This is similar to clicking on an exe in Windows, except you have to provide a password. I have installed Gentoo and compiled programs from source code. It is something that requires skill, time and patience. I provided the link so that he could see how complex the Linux picture can be. Other package managers are mentioned in the link.
As for my comment on Firefox, it is cross platform. You can run it on Windows. If you come to a distribution and expect to find it (most do), but instead find Iceweasel this can be confusing. Asking a simple question should not lead to name calling and the like that I have seen in forums and experienced. When you find that all Mozilla products are verboten then you are tempted to wonder what is with that. It is an honest reaction.
I have also found that Debian users have a thin skin on this. Merely asking why you can't install Firefox, is likely to get you some abuse. As we see here with the even mentioning showed that it is a sensitive topic. Craigevil's response is mild compared to many that I have seen.
If you search for it and don't find it you are bound to wonder where it is and why it is not available. If you are told that Iceweasel is Firefox then you may persist that you want the real thing. It is natural. Since you don't know the history, then you are inviting disaster upon yourself by bringing it up. Hence I mentioned it.
Installing Firefox or Thunderbird from the Mozilla site is an option, but it is just one extra step and not an easy one for many newbies. Also getting updates is a hassle.
Afer discussing this issue with a number of Debian users, I am still unsure what to believe. I have heard both that the programmes are identical and that Debian changes them and Mozilla would not let them do this. They can't be identical and changed. Someone is wrong. I have also heard that it is over the use of logos that are copyrighted which makes more sense to me. In any event, this situation is a mess and any newbie may be stepping into it unwittingly. It would be nice if Debian users could explain it without resorting to abuse.
Everyone suggesting Puppy, if thats what you like, fine. However, this PC is more than powerful enough to run almost any distribution and it will be light years faster than anything out of Redmond.
I did not mean to imply that the OP's machine would not run full sized distros, of course it will.
Keep in mind that I've used several distros on a variety of hardware....and I've got spoiled with Puppy. Most all other distros seem slooooooow in comparison.
Of course if you are accustom to a slow machine you will not notice so much. Going from Puppy to Ubuntu is like going from cable internet back to dial up. Dial up works fine and is plenty fast (or so I thought back in the day). After using high speed for a while dial up seems like torture.