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Old 08-01-2005, 03:37 PM   #1
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Best overall distro for novice XP user

I've been looking all over the web at sites and screenshots of different Linux distro's and am eventually starting to get an idea of what distro is best overall for a novice XP user. I really want a Linux distro most like XP/Windows, in most area's such as appearance, ease of use, settings, the ways thing work, and basic every day things like installing programs, and using the OS easily, with minimum knowledge and effort needed for a Windows user, and mimimum difference.

It ideally has to be free and easy to install. I am also open to the idea of software or similar that can make a version of Linux appear and run like Windows. Do these exist, are they good and like XP, are any free if not how cheap, and what distro's do they run on?

First and Foremost to me comes Linspire, but can someone please clarify if this always has to cost? Are they're free versions, or ways to get it free, or what is the absolute cheapest it can be downloaded for and used in the UK approx?

The KDE desktop seems a good route maybe, if someone can advise here? Maybe there are even distro's out there that are even more like Linspire/XP?

I have compiled a list (below) and am trying to at least knock some of the distro's off the list, to end up with a few distro options to then maybe test. If someone could advise in light of what I'm looking for which one's may not be best, and perhaps give comments on each as to particular benefit's or downfalls in terms of being easy to use and like Windows/XP that would also be hugely appreciated.

Linspire (but always costs?)
Kubuntu (KDE version of Ubuntu)
Old 08-01-2005, 03:44 PM   #2
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I'd highly recommend taking this online quiz to see what distro's best for you.

Linspire can be free to obtain if you get a coupon code (I think LycorisWelcome is working right now). You'd still have to pay for their software installation service (CNR). I tried using apt-get there, but it didn't exactly function correctly.

Otherwise, Kubuntu, Xandros, Mepis, and SuSE are all good options.
Old 08-01-2005, 05:34 PM   #3
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I advise you begin with Mandrake (Mandriva) or Ubuntu. Not Debian (bit tricky to configure at first).
Old 08-01-2005, 07:02 PM   #4
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i'm just starting out with suse, and i have to say, once you get used to a few of the quirks, it works pretty well.
getting it set up on the internet was easy (well, except wireless)
and using this forum has been really useful
Old 08-02-2005, 10:33 AM   #5
Registered: Jun 2005
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I would recommend using Kubuntu. Package installation is realy easily using Synaptic and apt-get. Also it uses KDE looks the closest to Windows. Distros don't get much easier then Kubuntu. I has just worked for me including all my hardware correctly configured.
Old 08-03-2005, 09:09 AM   #6
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Took the test, ones from it I'd consider are:

Mandriva, Mepis, Kubuntu.

I'm actually really requiring a distro, or theme to be as much like XP as possible, for my family and friends. Otherwise they just aren't going to like it, or get the hang of it. I would probably run a different theme/distro but I need to establish the easiest to use distro/theme combination, most like XP in terms of using and looking like it.

I've actually found that Xandros fits the bill quite well, look here:

but I've been told themeing linux to be like XP is usually possible, but what distro is best, what distro/software is best to do this and comes closest to XP?
Old 08-03-2005, 09:45 AM   #7
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I just switched from Windows XP to Mepis. And WOW, i love this distro. No installation problems at all and its very easy to use and configure. It has the KDE interface which is alot like WinXP. I had no hardware issues either. I am very impressed with this dist.

Mepis all the way
Old 08-03-2005, 09:06 PM   #8
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I agree with everything said so far. If you are really interested in learning about GNU/Linux, you might look into taking an introductory course in UNIX and GNU/Linux at a local community college or someplace. It takes you through at least some of the details about how the GNU/Linux operating system works.

I have tried most of the distros you mentioned ( and I also would suggest that you start out with a Live-CD version. Kubuntu has a pretty good one, as well as LinspireLive and there are a bunch of others. The Live CD approach will allow you to try several distributions for the cost of some downloading time and a CD or four.

Good luck with your new GNU/Linux machine!
Old 08-03-2005, 09:25 PM   #9
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As a newbie, I would try xandros OCD or mandrake. Both can be obtained for free.
Old 08-04-2005, 11:04 AM   #10
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I tried the test as well and it recommended Mandrake, which I did not like much. The test did not recommend Ubuntu, which I think is pretty good and it did not say anything about SLAX which I think is brilliant or Puppy which I think is very good, so I wouldn't pay that much attention to the test.
Old 08-04-2005, 01:15 PM   #11
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The choice league table is now:


I've been told all KDE desktops have built in XP themes, correct? Are they all as good as eachother function and look wise, or are some better/more suitable/compatible? Here's and example I've been shown:

Compatibility wise again, as for running Windows programs and games, is Wine a good free option for games? Then what about programs, is cross over the only option, which I'm told always costs? Plus it only runs some programs, not the majority of Windows programs like from right?
Old 08-04-2005, 03:46 PM   #12
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best overall linux distro


which one is NOT most important for newbie.

In your town or near there will be a LinuxUserGroup,
called sometown-or-other-LUG

ask around friends or colleagues to find someone using Linux,
who will be accessible to you. Then, if you use whatever friend is using,
your problems (you'll have a few) will nearly(mileage may diiffer) disappear.

Your local LUG will have some (many?) members who will be unreasonably generous with their time. Just remember to treat them with respect and kindness so your questions are not returned RTFM! ( read the f**** manual) and yes, do some of your own reading.

Once you get any distro running, you will learn and then you'll not have
to ask about which distro except when you and friends discuss their and your favorites. (by then maybe the preference for "XP-like" will have changed)

Old 08-04-2005, 04:35 PM   #13
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kbusche I appreciate your comments but I think you may have not read some of the earlier comments. I am looking for a Linux distro and setup for my family and friends to use instead of XP. We are upgrading our home pc for one, with a mum and an 11 year old sister, I simply need to be as compatible, and like XP as possible. I may well use a different distro, or theme, that's another matter. I'm told all KDE desktops have XP themes built in for instance, hence this is part of the reason of large considering a KDE distro, as I can have my theme, whilst my sister can have an XP like theme, and notice little difference, if anything be able to use Linux even easier, with similar logic.

I have knocked out several distro's already from research and this debate, and know I can end up with two options, to maybe then if needs be test on my own. For instance, Fedora has problems with mp3 and wma. well I of course am not therefore considering it because I and my family have huge collections in these formats.

These and other reasons have lead to being able to identify an increasingly shrinking list of what distro's are suitable.

I've managed to get from 9, to 5 distro options, and know a further 2-3 can be knocked out with a little more info, research, and comments from others.

Last edited by diddykong; 08-04-2005 at 04:37 PM.
Old 08-04-2005, 06:22 PM   #14
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Distribution: Currently: Linspire 5.0, SUSE 9.3. Testbed: PCLinuxOS, FC4, Ubuntu, Freeduc, Turkix
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Re: Best overall distro for novice XP user

Originally posted by diddykong

Linspire (but always costs?)
Not always...

Originally posted by newuser455

Lightbulb Linspire 5-0 for Free ( post #1)

I just got Linspire 5.0 for free. Below is what i did:

1) go to
2) add linspire 5-0 to your cart
3) click on "apply code"
4) enter promotional code "JDSWelcome"
5) select "update"
6) register an account
7) you will be taken to the download area where you can download via bittorrent, ftp, or http

Good luck.
Originally posted by newuser455

There is anotherone (free Linspire Coupon), which you should probably use if you are downloading on a weekday between 7 AM and 1 PM Eastern.


This is the full install version. I use Linspire (among other distros) and feel that it is the most XP-like Distro and one of the most comfortable distros for new Linux converts. I personally use CNR and recommend it to new users, this way they get the hassle free software installation and can also play around with manually installing software. If they don't want to pay for CNR, then there are other ways of installing software free of charge, such as apt-get and Klikit!

Another Distro to check out would be PCLinuxOS.

Last edited by PusterRacing; 08-04-2005 at 06:29 PM.


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