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-   -   just finished new desktop build (currently on Ubuntu but desire the power of LFS) (

roger_willbur 10-07-2013 04:37 PM

just finished new desktop build (currently on Ubuntu but desire the power of LFS)

I currently run Ubuntu 12.04 on old 2000/2001 Presario Compaq. My 2008-ish laptop died last month, so I bought new components and just finshed my first computer build ever. (took ~20 hours)

Now, I am on the lookout for an OS. Instead of asking what's the best distro in general, I will describe to you a bit of what I do and my desires/curiosities and let you decide from there.

I am a pretty busy language student studying languages so I type in about eight-nine languages daily. (foreign language support and programs that are extremely stable) I email, do homework on computer (Libre Word, Libre PPT, etc.), have a experimental WordPress business site that I use to occasionly make money with (home business use), and I sometimes watch movies/videos on my computer. I do P2P when I have time as well.

When I built this computer, I built it to be the fastest computer for what I use it for. Price was not a factor but I did not waste money, I only bought what was suitable for my computer usage. Therefoe, I am always trying to elimate programs from my computer so I know what everything on my computer is and why it's on my computer.

But at the same time, I do no have the time to spend more than a few minutes on it. (purely learning Linux stuff) Nevertheless, the interest/curiosity is there and I can dive into on school break day. Hopefully I'll be able to only use the terminal to do whatever I want on the computer. (firefox, libre, doc, One day I may eventually get to LFS (Linux from scratch) but I know it's not for me just yet.

I can list my new build specs too if you need just le me know. So, which distro fits me best you think? thank you!

k3lt01 10-07-2013 07:46 PM

If you have an interest in LFS and want to have total control over what is on your system then I would recommend Slackware or Arch as a way to learn about manual (meaning the majority is up to you) dependency resolutions.

Otherwise I'd just say use Debian starting with a netinst and only install what you want + the dependencies Debian installs. If you go down the Debian path make sure you install using the --no-install-recommends flag when you use apt-get, this will limit the dependencies to actual dependencies and not recommended packages as well.

roger_willbur 10-07-2013 10:56 PM

Are all three of these accessible enough for a super busy schedule like I have? Are they stable enough also? Perhaps I should dual boot just to be on the safe side but I fear I might not learn as much that way.

Some essential apps or rather functions that I will need to be able to do:
- some type of P2P program (ie. uTorrent)
- Word/Libre type programs (or if I can do all this via terminal, that's fine as well)

That's all I can think of so far. What's the best site/tutorial that you know of for the distro you recommend here? I need to go ahead and get started. How long should it take me before I have everything setup and I an able to use the computer for my home work, internet, busniness, etc.? (1 hour ?)

k3lt01 10-07-2013 11:41 PM

I can't vouch for Arch because I have never been able to successfully install it but many use it and swear by it.
I have installed and use (ocassionally, mainly for self learning purposes) Slackware and it is stable. I have to give Pat Volkerding credit for his work he does do a great job.
Debian is also stable and has the advantage of a huge repository.

As for P2P Debian has a good selection, I personally use Transmission. I don't know what Arch and Slackware have available.
As far as I am aware all 3 have LibreOffice (if that is what you mean by Word/libre type programs).

Arch Linux Website, go to the right side and click on beginners guide.
Debian website go to getting started, download the appropriate CD/DVD and after reading the install guide (also linked to in Getting Started) install Debian. If you need proprietry drivers (firmware) get the netinst with non-free firmware.
Slackware website, just read the site it is pretty self explanitory.

If you use a CD/DVD it will take longer than a USB install, for all of these. If you use Debian netinst it will take longer because it will download the packages as it goes thus the name netinst (Internet Installer). Off a USB I can install Debian Live in 15 minutes, the others apart from Arch which I have never got to install yet, take a bit longer.

DavidMcCann 10-08-2013 12:53 PM

With your busy life you don't want a distro that needs a lot of attention. I wouldn't worry about eliminating things: they just sit on the HD and cause no trouble, unlike in Windows where the more things there are installed, the slower things get (i.e. registry clutter).

Slackware is very reliable but it doesn't have LibreOffice (or very much else). Yes, I do know about Slackbuilds, but they take time. Salix takes Slackware and adds several hundred extra programs and a dose of user-friendliness.

Debian is great for software, but poor for handy configuration tools. Mepis and SalineOS are built from Debian Stable and are rather more friendly.

CentOS is stable and basically a free version of Red Hat: Scientific Linux (from CERN) and Springdale Linux (from Princeton University) are much the same.

Arch take time to install and it's bleeding-edge: I'd not trust it with a home business or course-work.

roger_willbur 10-08-2013 10:08 PM

@DavidMcCann - I am not sure what you are recommending then given my current situation (work/school/etc) and my end goals...?

Also, with Slackware, is there a method to accomplish the same thing that I would do on Libre via Slackware? This goes for other OSes mentioned here too. Like I mentioned, I want total control over my system so if I can every single thing from the command line then that works for me. (I am already convinced of it’s superior strength versus graphical tools/software)


I have decided to compile a list of tasks that I would need to be able to do right away on whatever OS I choose to go with. This way I can take the advice that I am getting from you all in addition to the research that I am doing and make an informed decision on which OS to choose.

As is evident in DavidMcCann’s post, the more information/the more clear I am about what my final goals are AND how I will use the computer every single day, the advice I get is tailored to ensure I choose the correct OS for my situation. (i.e. -> DavidMcCann immediately realized that I would have an issue with Slackware since among the tasks I listed that I will do on the computer, I listed “using Libre office” suite or something like it)

So, some tasks that I always do would be: (**to be able to do as much as possible from the command line**)

1. log on computer, connect to internet
a. Does what I do online have any bearing on OS selection? If so, I will list this info.
b. I will need to be able to utilize some important Firefox plugins OR have an equivalent available in the OS I choose. example plugins -> Copy plain text, rikaichan, perapera-kun,

2. Open up use Libre/MS office tools to get started on homework. Other tasks/software included here: pdf (make, edit, etc.), data backup (Acronis, ),
(I don’t have to use Libre/MS office tools but I need to be able to do whatever they do in the OS I choose. This could be via the terminal, some type of OS editor, etc.

3. As I mentioned already, some type of P2P handling app/software/etc.
(doesn’t have to uTorrent or whatever, it just needs to get the job done)

4. Typing/reading/etc. in any foreign language

5. Watch/burn/record/make/stream online/etc. -> movies, music, photos/videos
(I’ve used Snagit, Camtasia Studio, Media Player Classic, Audacity, )

6. Chat online i.e. Skype, IRC, Trillian,

7. Continue with my website (Wordpress & Bluehost)
(^ I can switch this if absolutely needed)

I have other things that I would like to mention but I am not able to access the contents of the HDD on my laptop that died until I set up this new build with an OS. So, that’s all I can think of right now.

Some things I would like to try out though:
1. Virtualization
(I’d like to be able to easily try out other Linux distros from within the OS I choose)

2. Wireless internet
(self-explanatory, I think)

My hope in providing this level of detail is to obtain very clear guidance on what OS is best for my personal life situation and for my personal goals here. Perhaps someone will say,

“For all that you posted and considering your end goal, then this (or these) OS ___ is perfect for you.”

Thank you :) ^^

DavidMcCann 10-09-2013 10:57 AM

Right. Having told you what you don't want, let's see what you do.

All the things you want to do are standard practice, and will work as well (usually better) in any distro as in Ubuntu. As for the command line, you can use that as much as you like in any distro.

As is often the case, it comes down to the sort of desktop you like. For very stable and reliable distros, that are supported for a reasonable length of time:
Debian for Gnome
Salix for Xfce or KDE
Try the live disk and make your choice.

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