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Old 01-04-2004, 02:05 PM   #1
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Registered: Jan 2004
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Which Linux is Best for Newbies?

You probably get this question more than Hef gets laid, but... It's important to me. My uncle, who's a professor of mathematics, told me if I wanted to conitue learning programming languages it would be imperative that I jumped on the Linux boat, so here I am.

I have no experience with Linux or UNIX and I'd like to know which Linux flavor is best for me. Every single article I've come across has said "RedHat," but after consulting their forum responses to the article and actually checking out the RedHat site I've got the same response: RedHat isn't for newbies.

So, which Linux flavor is for newbies? I'm not saying I'm going to stick with this one version forever, but it'd be nice if it had a GUI (GNOME I think it's called or something...) and all the things I'm going to need (like some Win32 compatiblity, I think I need something called 'WINNE' for that...).

Most importantly, easy installation or at least decent tech support.

Thanks for the help.
Old 01-04-2004, 02:14 PM   #2
Senior Member
Registered: Dec 2002
Location: Mosquitoville
Distribution: RH 6.2, Gen2, Knoppix,arch, bodhi, studio, suse, mint
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mandrake or suse
Old 01-04-2004, 02:17 PM   #3
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Registered: Jun 2003
Distribution: Fedora
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Try JAMD to start. It's based on Redhat, but simpler and optimized for i686 cpu's (Pentium, etc). You will probably want to switch to RedHat(now Fedora) at a later time, but Jamd will give you a good feel for things first.

Their forums are great, and the users are very helpful as well. Read through them before you post (chances are your questions have already been answered)

Good Luck, and welcome to Penguin-Land
Old 01-04-2004, 02:29 PM   #4
Registered: Oct 2003
Location: California
Distribution: Ubuntu
Posts: 582

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linux may look extremely complicated (and it is), but think of it as a chelange, unless you really get to know linux, its no better than windows IMO (other than less viruses and a bit more stability).

you could get slackware and just read alot, if your willing to give it 3 to 5 months, you can get to know your system inside and out.

but if i was gona give my grandma a linux distro, I'd probably go with mandrake.
Old 01-04-2004, 02:41 PM   #5
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Registered: Feb 2002
Location: harvard, il
Distribution: Ubuntu 11.4,DD-WRT micro plus ssh,lfs-6.6,Fedora 15,Fedora 16
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redhat was my 'friend' as a newbie, i still use redhat because i havn't learned quite enough about linux to want to install a new distro, although i have been looking to download isos for some new distros for my ppc laptop for some fun....
Old 01-04-2004, 02:43 PM   #6
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Registered: Feb 2003
Location: Virginia, USA
Distribution: Debian 12
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"Most importantly, easy installation or at least decent tech support. "

Pay for either Red Hat or SuSE to get decent tech support. SuSE is cheaper.

Be prepared. Create a LifeBoat CD.

Steve Stites
Old 01-04-2004, 02:55 PM   #7
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Registered: Mar 2003
Location: New York, NY
Distribution: Debian Testing
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hello - things dont get easier than redhat. if someone says redhat is not for newbies, dont hesitate to whack him/her.
Old 01-04-2004, 03:31 PM   #8
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Registered: Jan 2004
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Looks like I'll take a whack at JAMD! Based on RedHat, which most of you seem to recomend, but simpler.

Thanks for all the help (feel free to add more :-p).
Old 01-04-2004, 04:22 PM   #9
Registered: Aug 2003
Location: Trento, Italy
Distribution: Debian testing
Posts: 394

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My grandma uses debian, since I take care of the setup part, and using it is as easy as any other distro.
If I had to give her a linux box to administer, i might think about mandrake (besides it's slow), but the point is: she will never need to write code on it. Mdk is not 'clean', it's full of 'magic', so I don't think it's a good platform to start programming on...

I would go for suse, rh or maybe even debian, if you have a good internet connection and could spend a couple of days in setting it up: it's fast, clean (no duplicate config files), and as the best package manager (very useful if you need libraries or sources...).
Best of all, it's community is the best support you can ask for: all the tech discussion is fully public readable on, and if you get stuck in using programs/libraries the developers are just a email away.
Maybe you'll save yourself some pain later.

Best wishes
Old 01-04-2004, 07:05 PM   #10
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Registered: Sep 2003
Location: Egypt
Distribution: Arch
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I use libranet 2.8 its based on debian and i love it ,
it automatically setup nearly everything for u and if u want to download a new program u just type : apt-get install "name of the prog." it will download it and install it for u ,
and its support if gr8
Old 01-04-2004, 07:42 PM   #11
Registered: Dec 2003
Distribution: Mandrake 9.1, Slackware 9.1, Windows XP
Posts: 98

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id say go with mandrake
its pretty easy to set up
ive never used their support or forums
only here
so i dont know if their support is good
if u dont wanna put it on as your main OS yet or put it on your hardrive etc
then try Knoppix
boots entirely off a cd so no installation is needed
good luck

Old 01-04-2004, 09:30 PM   #12
Registered: Aug 2003
Location: NY
Distribution: RH9, RH8, Slack, Vector
Posts: 497

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redhat was everyting to me as a newbie ( i still am for the most part). I think redaht is not the most point and click distro out there now, but it is a great platform to get a good mix of the command line and the gui.
Old 01-05-2004, 04:17 AM   #13
Registered: May 2003
Location: Canada, TO.
Distribution: Slackware: in progress, Mandrake 9.2, Libranet, Vector
Posts: 373

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The thing is you can't ask other people which one whould be right for you. Why? because everyone is going to say what they use and it's the most suitable.You just gotta try it yourself. When I wanted to try linux, I tried few distros to see which one I understand and which one I dont. The installation tells me. When I first installed linux, I had no clue of what's it going to be like, or any commands except for "dir". Therefore the only distro that worked for me is Mandrake. The thing about Mandrake is their mission is to make linux easier for everyone. Distros like "redhat" is defenetly not the first try for someone like me. I sugest you try Mandrake, and see your self. If you like it keep it and if you don't wipe it out and put something else. I use Mandrake and I love it.
And trust me... you will not have to buy it because you won't need tech support. I didn't. Whenever I have a question, I ask it here. Eventually I get it fixed. You won't need a lot of knowledge about coading, (if you dont want to). It has "Magic" to do certain things that you have no clue of.

Last edited by Nukem; 01-05-2004 at 04:22 AM.
Old 01-05-2004, 05:09 AM   #14
Registered: Sep 2003
Location: Malaysia
Distribution: Slackware 9.1
Posts: 145

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Mandrake is good for newbies. It has a lot of missing dev packages for programming, though, so you may want to try Libranet. apt-get can get you almost anything in the world that runs on Linux.
Old 01-05-2004, 11:17 AM   #15
Registered: Oct 2003
Location: Memphis, TN
Distribution: Slackware current
Posts: 485

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Mepis: Installs all plugins for you (except adobe acrobat but does include flash, realplayer, and java)... sets up the nvidia driver if you use an nvidia card. Preconfigured Spamassassin and Kmail set-up. Based off of debian so you have a wealth of extra packages you can install via apt-get. Excellent support forums... Runs as a Live Cd as well so you can "try before you buy." (Ps you don't have to buy---it's free unlike Libranet.)


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