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Basically I've palyed with ubuntu a bit before and now my dad, me and my brother are lookign at moving heavily into using linux as a main operating system (bored of using microsoft which just seems to go from reasonable, to bad, to worse). However, we've got a variety of distros from thelinuxstore.org.uk but we're not sure which one to use!
I was just kinda hoping if you guys could offer some suggestions of distros that are easy to learn on, or easy to work with and why etc. I know there's probably a big bit of personal preference, but I'm sure some must be better than others, I'm just not sure which ones.
Also feel free to check out our blog at www.brayblog.co.uk where we will be documenting our adventures into linux as a family.
That link you posted is two years out of date. The linux world is much faster paced than that. In addition to that a lot of his information was flat wrong(even the bad stuff about distros I do not like).
A lot of this is going to depend on who you are and what you want to do. If you had difficulty installing software on windows then I think ubuntu may be a good choice. If you know computers pretty well, I think you will outgrow ubuntu in a matter of months. Personal taste and what you value will greatly effect your choice. Here are a few things to consider.
Fedora (I have used it since FC4 was released)
It will only support each version for one year. This means one year down the line you will probably have to do a complete fresh install. Which can be good or bad depending on your point of view. They almost always have the latest and greatest of everything, but some of that will be buggy (the very nature of a development distro). They do not (themselves) provide any proprietary stuff. No codecs, no advanced video drivers, etc. However they do have a 3rd party repo (source) Livna, that provides these things. The worst problem Fedora is facing (and the reason I am drifting away from it) is that since FC6 (F9 is current) they have valued "new" stuff much higher than fixing bugs. This has led to a situation where bugs that existed in FC6 are still around in F9. Most of these bugs are not "deal breakers" but they have grown enough in number now that they are a daily PITA for many users.
Suse ( I ran last as version 7 (?))
My major complaint with Suse was preference. I just did not care for it. Since then Suse made some contractual arrangements with M$ that have disturbed the Linux community (myself included). The full implications of which will not be known for years to come.
Ubuntu (tried for one afternoon).
A very good distro for weaning people off of windows. It gets pretty limited pretty quick.
RHEL (I have run most versions since RH7)
RHEL charges for their stuff and updates, but support does come with it. It will always lag behind a lot of other distros (Fedora, etc) becuase it has to be rock solid, no bugs allowed. If it just has to work, this time, every time, then RHEL is the way to go. The proprietary stuff stated for Fedora applies here as well.
Centos (Currently all my servers are running it and depending on Fedora10 my desktops may follow).
Centos is RHEL with the logos removed. It is free to download/upgrade. Any book on Red Hat is also a book on Centos. When RHEL releases a patch, Centos grabs the source for the patch and releases their own (usually next day).
Thanks for the responses people! It never fails to impress, the shear helpfulness of this community. I have a load of distros on discs, I don't think all of them are live discs, so I'll go through them and play around with them. In a couple of days a new 250GB hard drive should be here, and then we can get on with installing and trying the distros properly. I have tried Fedora before, it seemed ok, but i didn't use it for much (just surfing the web etc).
I'm keen to try CentOS after your comments lazlow.
I say this because it's true, take away the window managers on all of them and what you end up with is GNU/Linux.
Try ones that use different Package Managers, find the PM you like then just use it. You can install several window managers and pick and choose until you find one your happy with. But the best way to learn linux, is to use linux.
I started using SuSE in 2005 (tired of windows applications, Viruses and expensive programs) and I liked it but I really didn't have the time to play around with it too much so I would just use it once in awhile.
I finally switched to SuSE 10.3 completely and I'm really happy with the results. Now I'm using and discovering 11.0 which is really good.
Like everybody else tells you, download a whole bunch of live distros and see for yourself which one fits with your needs the most.
Just Google Suse Microsoft deal. There are those that say Suse is using Microsoft and those that say it was the other way around. What it did do is force the smaller players to bow to the pressure (most cannot afford to go to court with M$ even if they are completely innocent). IMHO it was just wrong and a lot of Suse's best people did too (no longer with the company). Ten years from now we might know for sure.
Hey again guys, and thanks for the continued input!
That survey thing was pretty cool, I've gone through it but I'm going to get my dad and my brother to go through it so we can see if there's one that stands out. I've been through a few distros and here's my initial thoughts:
Sabayon, Fedora and Mandriva
These all seemed fairly nice, however I didn't really like the GUI... I think these may all be KDE, so perhaps I should aim at Gnome (or maybe the other way round? :S ). Also I didn't like the red scheme of Sabayon.
This was ok, but not great. and the partitioning problems we had before makes this not favourable, also I don't like the brown scheme...
Looks nice, had quite a clean and smooth feel about it. One of my favourites so far.
The one I'm using right now (live CD). This seems to be a nice, smooth system. Another of my favourites.
So far "LM" and "PCLOS" are the favourites. But I have plenty more to try. From memory I think I remember Kubuntu having a nice interface, but I'm not sure!
Thanks, for the feed back I'll look into slackware and suse if I get a chance today.