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Old 08-08-2011, 08:56 PM   #1
shaunsingh14
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Question What is a good desktop operating system for me to use?


Hello everyone, I'm Shaun, and I'm in the market for a new desktop OS.

I've ditched Windows (best decision I've ever made)
I've outgrown Ubuntu (Good operating system, no doubt but I want a more independent experience)
I also want to try something that isn't Debian-based.

Here's what I have:

An HP Pavilion a6410t
-1.6 GHz Intel Celeron dual-core processor
-1 GiB of RAM
-Intel(R) GMA3100 graphics card.
-NO WIRED INTERNET CONNECTION. I use a Ralink RT2870 wireless card to connect to my home's WiFi network.

I've experimented with KDE in the past, but my computer lags hideously and after about an hour of usage, will crash on me. So, I really can't use anything KDE-based. Well here's my list of considerations for a new OS:

-Gentoo is one of the most well-documented Linux distributions, and with the Live CD, installation is incredibly easy. Portage also seems like a cleaner alternative to APT and seems to resolves dependency issues better. The only issue I can see would be having to install the proprietary drivers for my wireless card. Also I've heard that Gentoo's been having a bit of a hard time in recent years.

-Fedora is one of the bigger players on the Linux scene, and has made numerous contributions to the Linux community. YUM also seems to work well and Fedora also has great community support. GNOME 3 w/ GNOME Shell is a big plus in my book. The main downsides I can think of is that Fedora has a strict adherence to the FOSS philosophy, which might complicate my chances of getting the proprietary drivers I need for my wireless card, and if I recall correctly, RPM packages force you to download dependency after dependency which might complicate things if you don't have an Internet connection.

-Slackware is one of the oldest surviving Linux distributions I can think of, and is the most UNIX-like distribution of Linux available. The lack of bugs and the fact that it's highly stable really appeal to me. Although the complex upgrade procedure, limited amount of supported packages are huge downsides in my book, and also pkgtool seems a bit messy to me.

Any ideas for what kind of Linux distribution I can use as my next operating system?
 
Old 08-08-2011, 09:19 PM   #2
frankbell
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Of your choices, I would recommend Slackware. You will learn stuff. Slackware is the oldest named Linux distribution. I started with Slack, and I'm glad I did--still my favorite.

Salix is based on Slackware, but also maintains repos. I have not tested it, but I have heard good things about it.

Fedora. I'm not a big fan of Fedora because I'm not a big fan of Yum, but Fedora certainly does the job. I have tested Fedora extensively and it works just fine.

I would not recommend Gentoo. I would recommend that, if you want to experiment with Gentoo, you do so on a spare computer or in a virtual machine; Gentoo is just one step away from Linux from Scratch. If you want a build-it-yourself, I'd recommend Arch for starters; Arch's documentation is surpassed by none.

Last edited by frankbell; 08-08-2011 at 09:20 PM.
 
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Old 08-08-2011, 09:30 PM   #3
trademark91
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id suggest slackware. the lack of supported packages isnt really a problem, because pkgtool is built to work with home-built packages. you can build all the software you want on the system from source, and pkgtool lets you easily manage your source-built software just the same as you would any package included with the distro. also, there exists a site named slackbuilds.org which has build scripts for pretty much every application i've come across thus far. i wouldnt recommend gentoo, as its a pain to build everything yourself, and arch is nice, but its bleeding-edge philosophy leads to breakage often, and its lack of package signing is unnerving, to say the least. it all depends on what you want. for me, the only distro i would consider is slackware.
 
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Old 08-08-2011, 09:44 PM   #4
frankbell
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Building on what trademark91 said, Slackbuilds is an excellent source for packages.
 
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Old 08-08-2011, 09:47 PM   #5
weibullguy
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I'd suggest Gentoo. I've used it for years without problems on x86, x86_64, and PPC machines. Sure, it's source-based (and definitely more than one step away from LFS or CLFS), but if you're going to be maintaining your own source builds on a Slackware system, then you're likely going to be spending time figuring out all the dependency issues, patch the code, etc. With Gentoo, someone else is doing that legwork. I used to do that with LFS/CLFS. It was a great learning experience, but it just became too monotonous.

That being said, Slackware is definitely a fine choice as well. Even Fedora can be a good choice. In the end, that's the answer....it's your personal choice. Why not install all three and see which one you gravitate towards?

Last edited by weibullguy; 08-08-2011 at 09:48 PM.
 
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Old 08-08-2011, 10:31 PM   #6
shaunsingh14
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Thanks for the tips.

Does Slackware come with a live ISO or do I have to do a basic install? I'm not exactly comfortable with installing something I haven't tried.

I thought the installation of Gentoo was simplified with the Live DVD since you can trial it THEN install it. I remember my cousin installing Gentoo on his computer a few years back, and it took hours of compiling just to have a complete distribution. But it's not 2003 anymore, with technological advancements and simplified instructions, by logic shouldn't the installation have been simplified?

As for Fedora, I've tried Fedora Core 6 via the DVD from Linux for Dummies, and it wasn't exactly that hard to use. Not exactly my definition of beginner friendly, but suffice it to say it did the job.

Last edited by shaunsingh14; 08-08-2011 at 10:36 PM.
 
Old 08-09-2011, 06:13 AM   #7
weibullguy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shaunsingh14 View Post
I'm not exactly comfortable with installing something I haven't tried.
Why?

Quote:
Originally Posted by shaunsingh14 View Post
it took hours of compiling just to have a complete distribution. But it's not 2003 anymore, with technological advancements and simplified instructions, by logic shouldn't the installation have been simplified?
I don't know what a "complete distribution" is, but your can install Gentoo in about an hour, maybe a little longer. The only thing your need to compile is your kernel and your bootloader. Once you're done with that, you can boot into Gentoo. It'll be CLI only. After that, how long it takes depends on what you want/need to install. Once you have your initial install, keeping it up to date isn't that time intensive.
 
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Old 08-09-2011, 06:37 AM   #8
MTK358
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You can also check out Arch.
 
Old 08-09-2011, 08:57 AM   #9
shaunsingh14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weibullguy View Post
Why?

I don't know what a "complete distribution" is, but your can install Gentoo in about an hour, maybe a little longer. The only thing your need to compile is your kernel and your bootloader. Once you're done with that, you can boot into Gentoo. It'll be CLI only. After that, how long it takes depends on what you want/need to install. Once you have your initial install, keeping it up to date isn't that time intensive.
-It's mostly because I don't want to create a fully fledged partition on my system and install an operating system that I can't make heads or tails out of

-By "complete" I meant having the software stack, the GUI, etc. along with the Kernel and Bootloader.
 
Old 08-09-2011, 09:16 AM   #10
pjk1939
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I suggest using Arch. You mentioned you want a more independent feel and Arch is as close to that as possible with out having to go source based.

I haven't tried Slackware, I have just heard that is doesn't resolve dependencies, but I believe there are third party apps that will.

Arch install is text based but very easy, the documentation is unmatched by any distro. Installing X and any WM or DE is simple and hardly takes any time. I would definitely give Arch a shot.
 
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Old 08-09-2011, 09:44 AM   #11
shaunsingh14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pjk1939 View Post
I suggest using Arch. You mentioned you want a more independent feel and Arch is as close to that as possible with out having to go source based.

I haven't tried Slackware, I have just heard that is doesn't resolve dependencies, but I believe there are third party apps that will.

Arch install is text based but very easy, the documentation is unmatched by any distro. Installing X and any WM or DE is simple and hardly takes any time. I would definitely give Arch a shot.
Well my slogan is "don't knock it till you try it."

Virtualbox, here I come. Thanks for the tips everyone.
 
Old 08-09-2011, 09:53 AM   #12
cascade9
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I'd probably go for slackware or arch myself. I'd add debian in there as well, its not 'debian based', its debian! LOL

Quote:
Originally Posted by shaunsingh14 View Post
I've experimented with KDE in the past, but my computer lags hideously and after about an hour of usage, will crash on me. So, I really can't use anything KDE-based.
If that was an early KDE 4.X version, its got better as the 4.X releases keep rolling out.

KDE could still be an option.
 
Old 08-09-2011, 10:59 AM   #13
markush
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shaunsingh14 View Post
Thanks for the tips.

Does Slackware come with a live ISO or do I have to do a basic install? I'm not exactly comfortable with installing something I haven't tried.
...
Slackware can be installed on different ways. You can download a DVD-image or CD-images. There are 6-CD images, 3 with the packages and 3 with the sources. So you will only need the first 3 CDs.
You can as well download all packages and install "from a premounted directory". You will find the manuals here: ftp://sunsite.informatik.rwth-aachen...nux/README.TXT (creating your own CD-installer), and here ftp://sunsite.informatik.rwth-aachen...README_USB.TXT creating a USB-installer.

Markus
 
Old 08-09-2011, 10:49 PM   #14
Wyrm618
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Slackware requires you to have a very solid grasp on how GNU/Linux operates. Unless you've spent time in Ubuntu editing files in /etc/ for fun, it's going to be an extreme learning curve for you to do simple tasks. Even after the learning curve has passed, resolving your own dependencies can become a lengthy process depending on what you do on your computer. If you want to be forced to learn how things work, definitely go with Slackware. Making myself learn how to set up and use it was the best decision I ever made, though I don't use it as my main OS now.

Before trying Slackware I might suggest trying out OpenSUSE and Fedora. Fedora was the first OS I ever used and I'm confident in saying it's a pretty reasonable transition from Ubuntu. There will always be a slight learning curve when changing OS's but they're all manageable. In the end, the more distros you try, the more you'll understand the differences between distros so you can eventually come to your own conclusions on what you prefer.

Both of those OS's offer both a Live CD and a graphically guided installer, so you'll be able to test your wireless card before you actually do the install as a precautionary measure. Better safe than sorry.

On a side note, you should download the realtek driver you'll need for your wireless card and keep it handy on a flash drive just incase you do wind up needing it.
 
Old 08-09-2011, 11:45 PM   #15
frieza
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personally i have used and would recommend fedora
yes the core repositories are missing some non royalty free stuff (such as mp3s) but that can easily be solved by adding the rpmfusion repository (there are others such as atrpms as well) and propretary drivers (such as in my case, the Nvidia proprietary driver) can be installed manually
as for rpms needing dependencies, that's what YUM is for and there also is an rpm version of apt-get as well.
 
  


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