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There are good points and bad points to both of them. For me, a bad point of SuSE is that you cannot download ISO files for it - you can install it over FTP but that's a bit silly on a 56k dialup connection.
A bad point of Mandrake, for me, is that its urpmi sources configuration thingy could do with allowing a little more flexibility. But at least they have a urpmi thingy.
I would suggest you weigh up for yourself what you really want out of the OS and check out what they both offer. Either that or get them both
RedHat has the most easiest configuration. You have so many utilities to customize the system to your needs.
Of course mandrake is also good. But i feel RedHat scores over mandrake. Otherwise, try and use both of them and you will agree with me. Not to offend mandrake fans...this is my personal opinion. So its all up to you to use and check them out.
the best distribution depends on what sort of person you are and what you want to do. for me the best distribution is the one you build yourself, where you know what every config file does, it only has installed what you want, it only runs the services you tell it to. unfortunatly to get a system like this you need to learn alot about everything.
i dont really know anything about suse but i dont like mandrake its far too windows-like for me.
Ok folks! I dont't like so much put my opinion out there, so... I'll put here the facts.
I have four pcs.
One: Celeron 433, 256 RAM - that i use as file sharing, backup and services shared over my intranet. It have Gentoo.
Two: Pentium 100, 32 RAM - firewall, router, dhcp server, internet sharing above intranet. It have Gentoo.
Three: AMD 1200, 1.0Gb RAM - music workstation: my favorite score editor, my favorite sequencer, my favorite software sampler and my hated os (I don't need to be explicit, I have?)
Four: Acer Aspire Laptop Celeron 1300 - 640 MB - my primary "real" workstation. It have Gentoo.
As you can observe, I really have a preference for Gentoo. For the Pentium 100, i use the "x86-stage3", as I really have no patience to wait three weeks to have the basic system compiled just to sharing my internet connection. For the others two, I compile the system from scratch (I mean, from stage1). I have used by many years many distribution - my last favorite was Debian (a sort of pre-gentoo-with-no-steroid-distribution). I don't like Mandrake, neither Redhat. Mandrake is weak, it have many problems on my hardware (the last mandrake I'd tried - 9.1 - doesn't recognize my laptop CDROM after installation!). Redhat doesn't have many problem, but I am an ex-debian-user - you know, it make difference!
The only exception is SuSE, as it is a very interesting commercial distribution (exceptional clear init script, /etc managed in a very intelligent way, but why I need 170+ dollars for a thing that I can download free? Gentoo have the better init scripting I had see. Clear, simple to manage and tweak... a piece of cake!
Is only a matter of what kind of linux user you are. A user that don't want to pay for win, or a user who want to know what exactly your computer do.
Serious, let Gentoo amazing you. You can download a stage3 iso a starting play with the installation (a good internet connection is recommended - not for Gentoo only, in those days).
Or try Debian. I have used it on my laptop too, and it works perfectly (after a kernel re-compilation it fly!)
All of them are good:
- gentoo is the best choice for experienced users but it's the hardest to setup.
- mandrake is more user friendly and it's good for beginners.
- redhat is quite good generally. It also has better i18n.
- Knoppix can run directly from CD
- Susu? don't know :P
- I have no info for debian, it's famous in stability and apt-get things (install programs would be much easier in debian).
There are many distros and you can make one yourself, too.
IMO I have tried both Rehat and Mandrake (not very long, but I Had Redhat running for a good couple months) I really like Mandrakes support better. It seems to be more newbie friendly which is perfect for me. The install definatly goes to mandrakes new nice easy Graphical install with the awsome partitioner that is really flexable. (which redhat 9.0 does NOT have) I think Mandrake is more for the straight from Windows beginner like me and Red Hat is for a more advanced person who has a good grasp on a computer other than Windows stuff. Thats just my opinion based on my LIMITED experience.
Gentoo is the best choice! But I don't think is to hard to setup. Just follow the installation instructions. But ok, it need a 24hs connection. I think that is very hard to define what the better choice.
Maybe we can made a ranking, divided in novice or expert choice like:
Novices can use:
* others like: Knoppix (well remembered, codec. A good starting point to familiarize with bash and other base-tools)
Experts can pass to:
* LFS (for masochists only...)
SuSE have the best (not perfect) hardware support inbox.
I use and like Mandrake. It's best for me because my hard drives are NTFS, and as far as I know it's currently the only distribution that can format parts of an NTFS drive in to ext3 or whatever.
Most likely, I still wouldn't have Linux installed if it weren't for their NTFS support.
Plus, it's not too advanced, which is great because I'm new to Linux.
I did have to install it three times (another story) but if I would have told it to log me in automatically I wouldn't have had to install a second time. I forgot my password b/c I was so excited about finally installing it. Yes, I'm crazy.
can i ask why you think gentoo is so good and which other distros are you comparing it to? ive used quite a few distros and i dont think im qualified to choose a best one.
not all LFS'ers are masochists were just people who want to have a good understanding of our computer and operating system. my main reason for doing LFS was so if something went wrong i could fix it, and i can(look at my thread to post ratio)