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Old 10-14-2011, 06:41 PM   #1
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Registered: Oct 2011
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A couple of questions before choosing a dist


I need some help choosing the correct dist.

First off im not experienced. I've tried Ubuntu without being able to learn anything important. Everything is autopilot. I have played around with ClarkConnect and got it working properly with running services etc.

The purpose of the dist is for me to learn new things and get a stable workstation.

Laptop, IBM thinkpad r500. 64 bit cpu and 4gb ram. laptop screen + one extra monitor. Used for customer support. Main tool is java based and should work fine with linux and the rest is up to the browsers. I also like design quiet a bit so it has to be sleek looking.

Learning experience:
I would love to learn not to rely on a GUI but still have the option somewhere. I dont want to be stranded with a command line and rely on a 2nd pc with windows for guidance. I.E, as long as i can connect to a network, configure monitors, have sound, browse and start my java app im pretty happy.

What i want in the end:
A cmd line to start my software in, ie browsers and the java app.
"hidden" GUI?.
Alt tab funktion
perhaps multiple cmd lines for running different services like ip trace, portscan and pingtests.
extended dual monitors.

I know i have seen someone, 7 years ago or so, using a only a couple of cmd line windows, where he could config them to be transparent, move around, resize, etc etc. I did not notice icons.

Looking forward to hear your thought, questions? Ask =)

Old 10-14-2011, 07:22 PM   #2
Registered: Apr 2009
Location: Paris, France
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Ubuntu and Fedora can both do all of those things as long as you take the time to configure them correctly. I mention Fedora because it's a bit less on autopilot and I'm quite fond of it. The common suggestion around here is to download virtualbox and run couple of distros in a virtual configuration before committing to an install. To be honest, many distros can do all of what you want. The GUI is all dependent on the desktop environment you choose- I like KDE, but the new Gnome 3 is supposed to be nice, too. Most distributions also allow you to hotkey full-screen command line mode. You will have to do some work with drivers to get the dual-screen to work, but it's far from impossible. Basically it will come down to which distro appeals to you.
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Old 10-14-2011, 08:07 PM   #3
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Registered: Sep 2011
Posts: 24

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@ justacoupleofquestions

There are distros that give you as much learning as possible. You can try Arch linux and slackware. Arch has a great wiki documentation to learn about configuring your system from the commandline. has other distros you can review

Last edited by Dave_P; 10-14-2011 at 08:09 PM.
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Old 10-15-2011, 06:46 AM   #4
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Registered: Oct 2011
Posts: 11

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Thanks for the input.

After following the jumps on slackware and archlinux, i seem to have found what i need. Archlinux. Their site and presentation appealed to me.

Any last words before i venture into this unexplored dungeon?


Old 10-15-2011, 08:44 AM   #5
Senior Member
Registered: Jul 2009
Location: Virginia
Distribution: Debian Stable Testing Sid Slackware CentOS
Posts: 1,055
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Here you go:

Debian Desktop Survival Guide
The Debian GNU/Linux FAQ
The Linux Cookbook
about debian
Linux Documentation Project
Rute Tutorial & Exposition
Linux Command Guide
Bash Beginners Guide
Bash Reference Manual
Advanced Bash-Scripting Guide
Linux Newbie Admin Guide
Utimate Linux Newbie Guide
live cd

Most of these I got from LQ!
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Old 10-15-2011, 09:40 AM   #6
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Registered: May 2008
Location: Lucena, Córdoba (Spain)
Distribution: Gentoo
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I second your choosing: Archlinux.

After having installed and used it for a while, you will probably notice you have to reformulate your first post in this thread, and you will probably have more accurate questions that will have a proper answer.

I suggest you to install whatever Desktop you prefer (coming from Ubuntu you are probably familiar with Gnome, but there's also KDE and XFCE). And later look into Window Managers. These are probably your key piece here, since they define the basics about how you will interact with your computer.

Having used Archlinux for a while will also give your doses of command line usage, so you are not that scared about it.

You definitely can't live without X in pure text-mode if your java application has some kind of GUI interface (it probably does, doesn't it?).
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Old 10-15-2011, 11:59 AM   #7
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Registered: Oct 2011
Posts: 11

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Thanks a bunch for those links. This thread is now a bookmark.

Great input. My Java app has a GUI yes. Both browser based tools and the java app requires "windows" navigation, ie. alt-tab, tab, copy/paste and clicking (lol).
I'm currently reading up on the installation process since i dare not to ruin the existing win7. Imagine coming to work monday not being able to work. I guess the threshold will be to get the most basic usage in place so it wont interfere with work routines.

Thanks for the support
Old 10-17-2011, 05:32 PM   #8
LQ Newbie
Registered: Oct 2011
Posts: 11

Original Poster
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A couple of days later...

Posting this from my netbook with archlinux installed. Using LXDE and firefox.
I went with the netbook first, before doing it on my workstation. I'm going to explore and get more stuff working before moving on to my primary target.

Your are quiet right that i will need to reformulate my questions. But just not yet.

The Archlinux documentation gets doubleplus good grades. Only minor headaches when not reading prescription properly.

I'll be back for a couple of questions more.



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