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IntrepidElm 06-14-2013 09:11 PM

New to Linux
Hi everyone,

I'm new to Linux and was wondering if you all could help me choose a distro that would be good for me. Here's the specs for my computer:

Intel core i3- 370m
Speed: 2.4 GHz
L3 Cache: 3mb

Memory: 4GB DDR3/1066M Hz

Hard Drive: 320GB
5400 RPM
Serial ATA

Here's the link to the Sony support page for my laptop in case I forgot anything you need to know:

I bought this off my brother in law a year ago because I needed something to work with, I had no computer at the time. It is still my main computer, with my main uses being internet browsing, although I plan to learn general programming as well. I'm pretty well versed in both Windows (up to 7) and Mac OSX. However I don't have much experience with the command line or non-GUI interfaces, but I'm more than interested in learning! I tend to learn better when I'm "forced" to, e.g. jumping straight into the complex environments and going from there, so part of me was thinking of using Slackware. Although Debian also interests me.
What really tipped me over the edge in terms of interest in Linux distros, was the revelation of PRISM and all that fun stuff. I want to move away from the big corporations in terms of software/OS's.

Anything suggestions for me? If you need any more info I'll be more than happy to indulge!

frankbell 06-14-2013 09:30 PM

That machine should run any Linux distro.

I would recommend that you follow your gut and give Slackware a whirl. It gives you a completely functional GUI environment with a choice of six desktop environments/window managers, ranging from the most basic (TWM) to the most fully developed (KDE/XFCE). You are able to do your daily computing, while having a distro that is very friendly to command line users (no "sudo" fetish, for example). By default, you boot directly to the command line, without interference from a Display Manager.

Slackbuilds and Alien Bob offer a large collection of additional software, if you wish to install programs that are not included with the default install, but it's not plug and play--you will have to use Slackware's package management tools to install them.

I started with Slackware (quite by accident) and I'm glad I did. Once you understand Slackware, no other distro can ever intimidate you.

And, though I've wandered elsewhere, Slackware's simple elegance keeps drawing me back.

Beyond that, you can try Live CDs of various distros, and see what one you like. Though there is not a Live CD option for Slackware, you could look at Porteus, which is based on Slackware.

IntrepidElm 06-14-2013 09:46 PM

Thanks for the advice frankbell!

I've heard of some distros (mainly Debian) having problems with WiFi connections, does Slackware have this issue?

Also are there any tutorials you could recommend to me to get full use out of Linux? Especially the command line.

DavidMcCann 06-15-2013 11:16 AM

This is a good Bash tutorial

A more basic introduction is

Slackware users always recommend it, but I find all the milling around needed to get software tiresome: I suppose it depend on how much you need. Salix is 100% compatible with Slackware (more plug and play software, more configuration tools) and that does have a live disk.

Actually, you can learn Linux (including the CLI) with any distro, even the horrid Ubuntu.

dperwin 06-15-2013 11:49 AM


Originally Posted by IntrepidElm (Post 4972191)
...PRISM and all that fun stuff.

PRISM data collection is done at the fiber-optic level of the internet backbone. Data sent over the major severs will be subject to PRISM, regardless of your personal computer or server operating system.

dperwin 06-15-2013 11:50 AM

PRISM Overview

IntrepidElm 06-15-2013 03:07 PM

I only referred to that because it's the thing people most relate to all the surveillance that the government does. Microsoft and Apple are both on lists that show them sending user info to the Government. I suppose I should've expected more specificity from a Linux Forum haha.

IntrepidElm 06-15-2013 03:08 PM

And thanks DavidMcCann, I hadn't heard of Salix before, I'll certainly check it out!

frankbell 06-15-2013 05:11 PM

Whether or not you have wireless issues depends primarily on what wireless chipset you have (not the brand of the card, the brand of the chip in the card). Certain manufacturers have not released code to allow drivers to be installed in the kernel, but you can usually get them working with a couple of extra steps.

Broadcom is one of those manufacturers. I have Dells and they like Broadcom; I've become quite adept at getting Broadcom to work on my Dells with Slackware!

If you post what wireless chipset you have, someone here should be able to tell you whether it will work natively with the kernel or require some extra steps. It's very rare these days that wireless absolutely refuses to work, but it certainly used to be Linux's Achilles heel.

IntrepidElm 06-15-2013 11:32 PM

I'm guessing it's some form of Intel chipset, I've never had to look up the chipset for a wifi card before, but I found the tech specs on Intel's website:
It does say it supports Ubuntu though, so that seems like a good sign to me.

I apologize for my noobishness,this is a whole new ballpark for me!

frankbell 06-16-2013 05:19 PM

We were all newbies once.

I would expect that, if it works with Ubuntu, it works with everyone else, but Ubuntu might make it a little easier to install the driver. That's been one of their strengths.

If that computer has Windows on it, you might be able to find out the chipset by going to Control Panel-->System-->Device Manager (I think that's the sequence, it's been a while).

Alternatively, you could boot to a live CD of something Linux and run the command lspci in a terminal. In most cases that will also return the chipset.

IntrepidElm 06-16-2013 06:46 PM

I just live booted with Salix, the command you gave didn't work, unless I'm doing something completely wrong. However I was able to connect to my router so I'm guessing it shouldn't be a problem!

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