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I've tried MandrakeMove and the SuSE live evals. They both seem good, but I'm not sure which I'll go with. I'm going to buy the retail box of either Mandrake 9.2 Discovery or SuSE 9.0 personal so I get the already printed manual, but I need to decide which one. I need an alternative to Windoze. I also need something new to learn. I like a nice graphical interface, but I also want the option to tinker if I need to. I'd like as little problems as possible when starting out. I want this initial experience to be as painless as possible. Feel free to reply with any recommendations or suggestions.
The main pain for newbies in linux (or computers in general for that matter) is hardware. I started with slackware 8.0, when I migrated from slackware 9.0 to slackware 9.1 I was extremely surprised that it found and activated the correct modules etc. for almost all of the hardware on the first boot, and activated the usb cd-rw I was never able to get running at all (5 days of study in futility). Some of which had previously took me days of study and research into the depths of linux to get certain pieces to work. In Slackware, the installation program does not find hardware and write a startup script or require you to answer lots of questions from which the script is derived.. (Be aware I do not have much experience with the installation of other linux distros.) Instead it uses a combination of scripts to read kernel info from /proc etc. and implement modules etc. for the hardware. It does this really fast too, even on a 386. As I have noticed for just about any distro, be prepared to study the X config files (XF86Config) and auto and/or guided setup scripts and programs for the configs to be able to run a gui. "Once the hardware is setup, everything else is decoration." -guy at the computer store.
The installation is fairly painless, give slackware 9.1 a try, you can always format (mke2fs) the partition ('s) and install something else.
Try Mandrake 9.2. Installed easily on my system, configured all (except 1) of my hardware. My system includes 6 IDE devices (2 hdd, 1 cdrom, 1 cdrw, 1 dvdrom & 1 superdiskette drive), 2 of them connected to a Promise IDE controller. The rest: AMD 2100+, Epox8RDA+ (with NVidia drivers), 512 mb DDR, floppy drive, onboard network port, add-on NIC pci card, Radeon 9500 Pro, firewire, onboard USB 2.0, 2 additional usb ports, add-on gameport and a cheap Winmodem (the only item not configured, but I use cable internet so I don't use it).
And, like Ninja Cow says, you can use the command line to fiddle around with everything. Mandrake also updates your system automatically from their website, similar to Windows update.
I also use Slackware 9.1 on my other machine, which also installed easily. Not quite as friendly for newbies (like me), but I'm learning. Tried to install Debian but had many, many install problems. Ditto for SuSE. I tried all installs from internet downloads, but you might have better luck with Debian and SuSE if you buy their original CD's or DVD's.
I started Linux a few weeks ago, and now I use it almost exclusively. I use my Win98 and WinXP Pro (triple boot system with Mandrake) for games only.
Thanks for the replies, all. The Mandrake and SuSE live evals that I tried both detected and configured all of my hardware. It may have been an easier decision if one of them woulda just given me some headaches from the start.
I had some problems getting the Mandrake 9.0 install to complete, but I had no troubles with 9.2 whatsoever. Except for the past month, I last used Linux about 10 years ago, so I've requalified as a newbie.
I'm still working on getting MythTV up and running under Mandrake, but I am making progess and expect I'll have some kind of functioning system soon...
Well I don't use Mandrake or SUSE currently, but if I had to make the choice, I'd choose Mandrake, as it seems to have a solid URPMI database of free software that can be installed easily, with no dependencies to worry about. Sort of like APT in that respect.
I'm on the SuSE live eval right now. I was on the MandrakeMove live eval a minute ago, but I can't get any sound. It keeps giving me different Totem errors when I try to play an mp3. I never have this problem with SuSE. Things like this will make me end up with SuSE.