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i'm looking to start running linux on my personal computer and i need to decide which distro to run. i don't want something that is too difficult to learn, like Slackware, because i will have to do work on this computer once summer is over. I also want something that uses standard commands, unlike RedHat, so that i can understand other similar programs. i want to be able to use cinelerra and other programs useful for dv editing. what distro would work best for me? what are the pros and cons of each?
I use Mandrake 9.1 and it's better than Mandrake 9.0, the only other Linux I've used. I did try to install Debian 3.0r1, but my computer wasn't having any of it.
So I will say Mandrake 9.1. But someone else will say Suse and someone else will say RedHat!
What I can say about Mandrake 9.1 is that there is IE1394 support in the kernel and there is a new kernel available for download which is supposed to have improved IE1394 support. But as I have not tried it yet (I intend to soon) I cannot say this from personal knowledge.
firstly, do a search for "what distro" in the upper right hand corner of the screen. Next week when you are done reading of the those threads you can head on over to the reviews page and read a whole lot more.
If you are looking to learn about linux, gentoo is a good start, it's a source based distro and the installation is very involved yet very well documented. Debian has the better of the package management world, but the software is far from bleeding edge, unless you use non-official debian packages. You definitely learn the most from a LFS install, but I wouldn't suggest it as your first install. Using redhat or mandrake are easy to install but on the other hand it doesn't really teach you much about how to really use linux, other than the gui, and IMHO the command line is what really gives linux it's power.
Few quick suggestions though, find out everything you can about your hardware, i.e. monitor sync and refresh rates, sound card chipset, video, network card chipset, etc....
Install them each, one at a time, then play with it for awhile, delete it, and install the next. The beauty of linux is it can be anything you want it to be, that is why there are so many distros. Once you find one you like, personalize it to your taste.