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View Poll Results: Best Distro To Get Your Feet Wet W/ Linux
Mandrakelinux 12 21.05%
Fedora Core 8 14.04%
SUSE LINUX 6 10.53%
Debian GNU/Linux 1 1.75%
Ubuntu Linux 6 10.53%
Gentoo Linux 1 1.75%
Slackware Linux 8 14.04%
Knoppix 7 12.28%
MEPIS Linux 8 14.04%
Xandros Desktop 0 0%
Voters: 57. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 05-01-2005, 01:00 AM   #1
LQ Newbie
Registered: Aug 2004
Location: Farmingale, NY
Distribution: PCLinuxOS, SuSe 9.3 Pro
Posts: 18

Rep: Reputation: 0
Which distro best for newbies?

I have Suse linux personal 9.1 (that I bought) installed in a seperate machine I have. In my primary PC (which has several drives including an empty brand new 200GB Maxtor) which runs Windows XP pro. I just downloaded the SuSe Pro 9.3 Live Eval ISO which I'll probably burn and run later this week. I don't expect much difference though. I've had a hard time with linux so far. I am totally unfamiliar with having to do so much from the command line. Yes, there is a GUI but what you can do with it is limited.

My question is if SuSe came out with a live eval, do some of the other distros? I'd like to take a look at Mandrake, and perhaps Fedora. I'm sure all will require a lot of experience with commands but perhaps one of them has a broader GUI or at least a better help set-up. Finding answers while stuck with something in SuSe is a nightmare, unless I'm screwing that up too.

Please help a noob find a good starting place with Linux. I feel like I just HAVE to get the handle on this sucker. I generally can punch my way out of any corner in the PC system & don't like getting beat!!


Top 10 Distributions according to DistroWatch

1. Mandrakelinux
2. Fedora Core
4. Debian GNU/Linux
5. Ubuntu Linux
6. Gentoo Linux
7. Slackware Linux
8. Knoppix
9. MEPIS Linux
10. Xandros Desktop
Old 05-01-2005, 01:31 AM   #2
Registered: Nov 2004
Distribution: Red Hat Enterprise & SuSe 10
Posts: 77

Rep: Reputation: 15
I really think Mandrake 10.1 is a very good choice for beginners. it comes with a full set of interesting software that the normal unexperienced user might need.

you will find audio players and video players with pre installed video codecs which will the obviate you the hassle of installing codecs, there will also be instant messages programs.

You will also find icons for Windows partitions on the desktop.

that's why I think Mandrake 10.1 is the best for the beginners

Last edited by marsguy; 05-01-2005 at 01:33 AM.
Old 05-01-2005, 01:33 AM   #3
LQ Guru
Registered: May 2003
Location: INDIA
Distribution: Ubuntu, Solaris,CentOS
Posts: 5,522

Rep: Reputation: 69
maybe this will help
Old 05-02-2005, 01:09 AM   #4
LQ Newbie
Registered: Aug 2004
Location: Farmingale, NY
Distribution: PCLinuxOS, SuSe 9.3 Pro
Posts: 18

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 0
Thanks to you both. I apologize for my late reply, I was busy installing my DVD burner. My first burn was the SuSe 9.3 Live Eval which I will post another topic on. I'm going to see if I can get a Mandrake live eval & if my 2nd topic gives me some help with these eval DVD's I'll take a look @ Mandrake. Thanks again!
Old 05-02-2005, 06:10 AM   #5
Senior Member
Registered: Aug 2003
Location: Barcelona, Catalunya
Distribution: Gentoo
Posts: 1,055

Rep: Reputation: 57
Slack for newbies?? I don't think any newbie would feel comfortable with a Slack...
Better to start with FC or Mandriva and then switch
Old 05-02-2005, 06:45 AM   #6
Senior Member
Registered: Apr 2002
Location: Arbovale, WV
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 1,758

Rep: Reputation: 77
Slack for newbies?? I don't think any newbie would feel comfortable with a Slack...
To be honest, I started with Mandrake and then to Red Hat, then back to Mandrake then to Red Hat. It was a vicious cycle, got tired of the bugs and such. Started using Slackware becuase of some of the posts here. It took me very little time to figure Slackware out, and I am dumber than a shoe. I would suggest Slackware to anyone that is really serious about using Linux. If it is you just want to point and click, stick with Windows. Seriously, I find Slackware a lot easier to use and configure than any of the other 10 distros I tried. Yes Slackware has it's moments, but is the most stable and fastest disro I have used. Hail Pat, hehe.
Old 05-02-2005, 07:46 AM   #7
Senior Member
Registered: Mar 2003
Location: Following the white rabbit
Distribution: Slackware64 -current
Posts: 2,300

Rep: Reputation: 90
I started with Slack more than 10 years ago. If a newbie is seriously wanting to learn how to use Linux, I feel it's a very good choice.

But I will admit that it would require a newbie to be ready for and accepting of the learning curve involved.

I am kinda curious why someone would buy SuSE 9.1 Personal as it's the free (as in beer) version of SuSE 9.1 and can be downloaded freely.

drknownothing: you do realize that most distros aren't "corporate" distros and their full versions can be freely downloaded and installed without having to purchase them? I tend to avoid the corporate distros and support the free (as in beer) distros. If you find a free distros that you really like you can always contribute to them or purchase disks to help keep them going and I highly encourage folks to do so.

I would much rather support a small group of developers dedicated to the freedom of Linux (both beer and speech) than a for profit corporation. But that's just me.

Last edited by masonm; 05-02-2005 at 07:53 AM.
Old 05-02-2005, 08:17 AM   #8
Registered: Feb 2004
Location: Phuket
Distribution: Slackware 14.2 and Slackware Arm
Posts: 479

Rep: Reputation: 44
I agree with Tangle, had a very similar experience myself.

*BUT* if in "get their feet wet* you mean "dip a toe into the water" I believe Knoppix and any live distro can't be beat.

I have used it to demonstrate Linux to people who had heard (and bought) the FUD/cracker OS bs and they were quite impressed
Old 05-02-2005, 09:36 AM   #9
Registered: Dec 2004
Location: Colombo, Sri Lanka
Distribution: Arch Linux, Gentoo Linux, Ubuntu, Debian
Posts: 116

Rep: Reputation: 15
For ditro to be newbeies friendly, they should be able to install it easilly
Fedora like distro will be best for them.
And after installation allmost all of the distro's will look similar to a newbie
Old 05-02-2005, 10:53 AM   #10
Registered: Apr 2005
Distribution: LFS 5.0 and 6.1
Posts: 705

Rep: Reputation: 30
I too started with Slackware.............

at the time, there were too many problems surrounding RPM's and all the dependancy this day I refuse to use any RPM based distro, too much B$ to go thru.........Redhat should be tar'd and feather'd for coming up with RPM's.........j/k
Old 05-02-2005, 11:07 AM   #11
Registered: Aug 2004
Distribution: Debian Sid
Posts: 381

Rep: Reputation: 30
I voted Ubuntu, but I use Kubuntu. Ubuntu is great, but looks butt ugly by default (gnome) lol
Old 05-02-2005, 06:13 PM   #12
Registered: Jan 2005
Location: Richmond, Ky
Distribution: ArchLinux
Posts: 51

Rep: Reputation: 15
My vote goes to knoppix...that was my first positive distro experience...installing is as easy as typing sets everything else up for you
Old 05-02-2005, 06:30 PM   #13
Registered: Apr 2005
Location: Los Angeles
Distribution: openSUSE / Ubuntu
Posts: 294

Rep: Reputation: 33
I'm still a newbie and I like the fact that I have a huge corporate as well as community group behind me when I use SuSE. I bought 9.1 then 9.2 (where I'm staying for awhile) for myself. Though I agree there are free versions out there, I don't mind putting a few dollars in the corporate chest, parctularly when I know at least a little of the money is going towards the OSDL.

If I had to do it over, I'd probably support Ubuntu or KUbuntu (I'm an alumni of Tubingen so I have an affinity for KDE.) as they have the right idea, in my opinion, and I like what Mark is doing.

Anyway, my 63-year-old mother ( has made the switch to Linux and has been doing just fine - she's sworn off Photoshop and begun using the GIMP even. Her only complaint is that the Patience game doesn't allow her to double-click cards. As for support, though, it has been a breeze. She bought a new Epson photo printer the other day, I unboxed it, plugged it in, and it worked. No questions asked.

Old 05-02-2005, 06:42 PM   #14
Registered: Sep 2003
Distribution: Slackware, Suse 9.2
Posts: 565

Rep: Reputation: 30
Though I do use Slack, I wouldn't recommend it for the "average" newbie. It, in my experience, tends to lead to frustration.. As much as I don't care for Mandrake, I do believe it a good choice. Fedora and Ubuntu are also excellent options. I've put my Grandparents on SuSE and that's been the most trouble-free.
Old 05-04-2005, 04:24 AM   #15
LQ Newbie
Registered: Aug 2004
Location: Farmingale, NY
Distribution: PCLinuxOS, SuSe 9.3 Pro
Posts: 18

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 0
**"I am kinda curious why someone would buy SuSE 9.1 Personal as it's the free (as in beer) version of SuSE 9.1 and can be downloaded freely"**.
Why? Because at the time I didn't know any better. Also, I was hoping that by paying for this OS I'd be getting a full year of quality support. WRONG! Their techs know less about linux than me. You wouldn't believe the mess they got me into just trying to get SuSe to recognize my souncard. Idiots.

As of 5/3, now that I realize all distros can be obtained via ftp/http for free I've got my hands on several good ones. I am now using PCLinuxOS LiveCD because it can be fully operated from your CDROM w/ no need to install & at such time as you decide to install it that option is available. So far it works great & is a pleasure to navigate. Yes it's beta (mine is 81a) but as I haven't yet installed I can still experiment with this & install the stable release version when it comes out.



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