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Myrddins Druid 03-02-2005 11:10 AM

Decent Distro for the uninitiated
Having watched from the side lines for long enough I am about to take the plunge into the LINUX pool.

I have been looking at a number of distributions & was wondering what the learned fellows here would suggest as an easy starting point for a M$ user.

Distros I have so far.

SUSE 9.2
Mandrake 10.1
Xandros 3.0 Deluxe

Views on the above would be apreciated & any other distro possibilities.

theYinYeti 03-02-2005 11:13 AM

I'm a very happy Mandrake user, and I recommend it for easy usage.


zeroz52 03-02-2005 11:31 AM

Ubuntu is a Very nice distro, powerful yest easy to set up, and the ubuntu website has great documentation on how to set up about everything if you run into problems. The only problem I have with Ubuntu is it doesn't detect the on board sound chip, but I guess it has something to do with the fact that it is Nforce2 ultra. I have not used mandrake as I couldn't get it to install. Xandros, I used very little of, but EVERYTHING worked right after installation, sound, video. I really like ubuntu, but that is prolly because that is where 90% of my linux experience lies. I'm n00b to linux as well, 1 week without M$. FC3 is also a pretty good distro, have used that some too. Same problem for me with sound. Xandros, Ubuntu, and FC3 all have very easy installation steps. Xandros to me would be a good starting place if you want windows like familiarity. Hope that helps.

Myrddins Druid 03-02-2005 11:49 AM

Well I will be installing it onto an old Compaq Deskpro SFF P3 600MHz PC with 256Mb memory & have only been using it as a bittorrent client on my house network.

The missus uses my main system atm so until I get a new job & can build a new AMD 64 unit I will have to settle to play about with Linux on the Compaq & leave M$ XP Pro on the other.:(

quimby 03-02-2005 12:55 PM

Being pretty much a newbie myself, I use Santa Fe. It's a Debian based distribution that is specifically tailored to make sense and be easy to use for people that have used to Windows all thier lives.


ploosh 03-02-2005 01:12 PM

I just installed Mandrake 10.1 a couple weeks ago. I was considering the same distros you were, including Ubuntu. I put in a good week of research on the following topics:

Supported Hardware. Print out your hardware spec (Windows Device Manager) and compare it to the supported hardware listed on most distro websites. Most sites provide this info although you may have to search for it.

Philosophy. The philosophy drives the development, the support, and the user community. It's worthy of consideration.

Integrated Tools. Primarily thinking about how easy it is to get and install apps and updates, but also tools for managing and navigating the system.

Problem Resolution. I trolled these boards for a bit (not since '03 tho!) looking at the different user problems, the types of responses given, and how long it took to resolve issues. Most people wear their favorite distros proudly and I also felt it was worthwhile to see what all these good folks were like, how they responded, etc.

Another decent source of info is DistroWatch if you haven't already been there. Good Luck!

uglydot 03-02-2005 01:15 PM

I have to say, a lot of people are directed towards the "easier" distros such as Mandrake, or Fedora/Redhat, but I find the best way to dive in if you are some initiative, is to go right into a distro such as Gentoo or Slackware. You will have to read a bit, but they aren't that much harder, but teach you so much more much more quickly. With Slackware I rapidly gained knowledge in the power of the command line, rather than depending on the GUI, like we are in Windows.

thorn168 03-02-2005 08:31 PM

I suggest that you consider Conectiva 10.

You will need to D/L all three disk for it since you are going to do a laptop install. You will also have to D/L the Updates .iso unless you have a really fast internet connection.

Conectiva uses Apt-get via Synaptic so installing and uninstalling software in this distro is fairly easy.

I recommend Conectiva because it is for those of us you just want Linux to work without a lot of hassles and "diddling".

It is also one of the most visually appealing distros that I have tried to date.

Well that is just my 2 cents worth.


ploosh 03-02-2005 09:15 PM

Just saw that Connectiva is merging with Mandrakesoft

amosf 03-02-2005 09:23 PM

THere are a lot of good ones now, tho I use mandrake out of habit...

Gibsonist 03-02-2005 10:52 PM

I started years back using SuSe6.4 and my "learning curve" wandered over RH 7.2 7.3 8.0 to SuSe 8.2 9.1 till recently I started with Debian (first Woody then) Sarge.

Debian Sarge might not be the easiest of distributions but it clearly gives you a good learning environment without much of the hassle i later had when i learned more and had problems configuring some of my network stuff

Also with 'aptitude' there is a nice front end to the package manager (also a nice one available under KDE)

cavalier 03-02-2005 11:59 PM

I'm a happy Slackware user, and have probably used a dozen different distros.

That said, if you're interested in learning the basics of Linux as a user, without too many initial headaches, please consider a liveCD distribution like Slax, Knoppix, or one of the other, very well designed liveCD distributions.

gillmanmac 03-03-2005 12:14 AM

I would recommend running Mandrake as your first linux distro due to ease of installing and initial use.


uglydot 03-03-2005 12:17 AM


Originally posted by cavalier
I'm a happy Slackware user, and have probably used a dozen different distros.

That said, if you're interested in learning the basics of Linux as a user, without too many initial headaches, please consider a liveCD distribution like Slax, Knoppix, or one of the other, very well designed liveCD distributions.

An excellent suggestion. You can't mess much up when it's all on a cd. those will give you a nice feel for the OS before you really invest much time. A good way to tell if you are really interested in doing much with linux.

ayrus 03-03-2005 12:36 AM

I have used Mandrake 8.x, Caldera and RedHat 7.2, 8.0, 9.0 .. Right now I m using RedHat Enterprise Linux .. I can't compare RedHat with others but my experience with RedHat has been great .. No hardware incomaptibility problems .. It supports all major software applications .. RedHat 9.0 was pretty stable and so is the Enterprise .. Basically a RedHat fan , u can say ..

Happy swimming in Linux Pool ..

Welcome aboard .... :)

ayrus .......

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