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Old 03-25-2005, 12:53 PM   #1
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Registered: Mar 2005
Location: VA
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Best newbie linux distribution?

Hello Linux users,

I am not a *complete* newbie to Linux, but I am a newbie to having Linux actually on my computer (at my school we interface to our Linux server via PUTTY). I tried installing Debian from an old pair of distro cds a friend lent me, and while it worked for a time, eventually I got an "AIEE!!!! .... kernel panic, interrupt handler not syncing" or something like that. That was from a "safe and/or stable" installation with the 2.2 kernel. So I tried installing the version with the 2.4 kernel (because my hardware, while not very impressive these days, is still relatively new that the 2.2 kernel might have taken exception to it (in fact, I had to install a newer version of the XFree86 windowing system than the one that came with the distribution in order to get it to work with my graphics card). Suffice it to say that the 2.4 kernel froze with a weird apm: .... bios.....driver something something something message. Then I downloaded the latest debian and tried installing the 2.4 kernel again, the same message appeared.

So I want a new distribution, but I don't know what the best one is for newbies to installing Linux. Reading on this board, it seems that Mandrake 10 or so seems to be popular in that regard. What is the best distribution for newbies to install?

By the way, I want to be able to use it for mostly everything, but the things it has to support are X and the gcc compiler of course (because I'm going to at first use this system to help me learn Linux 3D graphics programming).

If anyone needs my base system specifications I will reply with them.
Old 03-25-2005, 01:34 PM   #2
Registered: Jul 2003
Distribution: Debian
Posts: 102

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Welcome to Linux.

What hardware are you using? I'm just trying to see why you get the error.

Did you install any software right before the error appeared on your first distro? You mentioned it worked for a while.

I am partial to Debian. Very good package management.

Live CDs


All those are based on Debian and will install to a hard drive when you choose one.

Libranet is a very good distro. At one time they had a free version and a paid one. Not sure today though.

Many people like Mandrake. I used it at 7.1, which was too long ago to give you info on.

Many will say Slackware is very good to learn with.

I have installed, and used Libranet 2.7 & 2.8.1 (because it's so easy), Debian Sarge (using now) and Slackware 10.0 (to learn).

There is a list of live CDs at:

You have already found the right place to ask questions.

Good luck,
Old 03-25-2005, 01:52 PM   #3
Registered: Feb 2005
Location: Rio de Janerio
Distribution: suse 9.1, suse 9.2, redhat enterprise, ubuntu, kubuntu
Posts: 104

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Post a hardware description as the right distribution is very dependent on the type of hardware you have.
Old 03-25-2005, 02:25 PM   #4
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Registered: Mar 2005
Location: VA
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Ok, here's what I'm using:

I allocated about a 4.5 GB partition for debian and also a swapfile (forgot its size), that I'm planning to use for whichever distro I use next.
(37.25 real GB on the base HD)

Winbook J4 2.2 GHZ 512 MB Ram
ATI Mobility Radeon 7500 graphics card (64 MB)
Realtech Ethernet 10/100 card
Some sort of integrated wireless card, I'm not sure exactly what the specs are for that.

I'm not sure what else you'd need to know about my hardware, but

I'd like also to use my (*gasp*) Microsoft USB mouse, but the touchpad on the laptop worked when GDM was working for awhile and I can deal with only being able to use that.

As for the answer to your question, it goes into the kernel panic whenever I try to install any software it seems. At first, I installed the latest X-Free and shortly thereafter it went into a kernel panic as GDM didn't want to start. I did a fresh install, then reinstalled with X-Free (and GDM was working), then I used dpkg to install all the gnome packages because I wanted audio support, and then the kernel panic happened yet again. And I'm sick of reinstalling it over and over...I tried going into root and doing the maintenance of fdisk or whatever, but whenever I reboot it does the AIEE! thing OR asks me to do maintenance infinite loop, man, an infinite loop!
Old 03-26-2005, 11:08 AM   #5
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Location: VA
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Well, hereŽs the current situation.
I downloaded and installed Mandrake Linux 10.1.

It was fine except that I discovered the ACPI service disabled my keyboard. Once I disabled that service, I no longer had access to my USB mouse. I found a hint (either here or elsewhere) that you can unplug it while booting linux and then plug it into the first USB port and now I have mouse control. However I am now researching how to increase the volume in KDE (because I found out how to play dvds by downloading the additional package, but it is way to low in sound. For some reason Konqueror has highlighted my text of šUSBš and šACPIš in red. I guess what IŽm saying is, you can close this thread now.
Old 03-27-2005, 08:15 PM   #6
Registered: Jul 2003
Distribution: Debian
Posts: 102

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I forgot to tell you. Ubuntu mails a cd for free.

Old 03-28-2005, 06:28 AM   #7
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Location: UK .
Distribution: *buntu (usually Kubuntu)
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If you like debian (from your previous experience), "proper" debian can be a bit of a bugger.

The ubuntu suggestion is good, or maybe play with knoppix first - you could then install that to a hard drive. That's what I did originally, but I changed the package sources in the apt-sources to debian ones (as opposed to knoppix ones) and then you get all the "proper" debian stuff.

Personally I like gentoo, because it's a lot easier to get a "cutting edge" distro - BUT, it usually need a little experience to install, even the "alledged" easiest method (Stage 3 + GRP). Though if you like compiling stuff to suit your own system, then it's one of the best ways to go!

good luck.




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