Latest LQ Deal: Linux Power User Bundle
Go Back > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Newbie
User Name
Linux - Newbie This Linux forum is for members that are new to Linux.
Just starting out and have a question? If it is not in the man pages or the how-to's this is the place!


  Search this Thread
Old 02-02-2013, 09:30 AM   #1
LQ Newbie
Registered: Feb 2013
Posts: 4

Rep: Reputation: Disabled
Question Distro selection advice

My sincere apologies if this is not the correct forum.

I'm only experimenting with Linux for several months, and wish to full install Linux on two old PC's as follows:

1. Dell Dimension 4700 - Pentium 4, RAM maxed to 4GB, 160GB HDD

2. eMachines T5216 - Pentium D 805 / 2.66 GHz, RAM maxed to 2GB, 160GB HDD

Each machine is connected via VGA to an HDTV (32" and 42"). Current use is strictly for viewing online web content: CNET, online TV network, amazon streaming, Netflix (I'm aware there are issues), YouTube, etc. I use remote keyboard w/touchpad for input. Virtually no productivity except occasional checking web email. Both systems have internal DVD drives which it would be a plus if I could watch DVD's.

Thank you all for your suggestions.
Old 02-02-2013, 09:56 AM   #2
Senior Member
Registered: Feb 2009
Posts: 4,194

Rep: Reputation: 1182Reputation: 1182Reputation: 1182Reputation: 1182Reputation: 1182Reputation: 1182Reputation: 1182Reputation: 1182Reputation: 1182
Welcome to the forums!

Mint and Ubuntu seem to be the most popular choices for a beginner these days.

You'll find some great suggestions in our "Desktop Distribution of the Year" discussion:

ps Netflix streaming runs fine in Linux these days, hooray!
Old 02-02-2013, 10:19 AM   #3
Senior Member
Registered: Feb 2003
Distribution: debian
Posts: 3,183
Blog Entries: 1

Rep: Reputation: 676Reputation: 676Reputation: 676Reputation: 676Reputation: 676Reputation: 676
Pick whatever distro you want with that hardware. My best is 2GHz and 1GB ram. And most of my linux installs are on < 30GB partitions. You may want to add a beefy video card for more pep, but what you have will suffice for most purposes.

Ubuntu and Mint are common for new to linux types. With many live disks options these days. I boot linux off of a USB stick (although the excessively slow read/write speeds are annoying). And that's mostly for traveling to relatives and computer shopping. No need to take a computer with me when I can boot my linux installs on their hardware. Or swing by goodwill and pick up a computer for $50.
Old 02-02-2013, 10:24 AM   #4
Senior Member
Registered: Jul 2006
Location: London
Distribution: CentOS, Salix
Posts: 4,581

Rep: Reputation: 1428Reputation: 1428Reputation: 1428Reputation: 1428Reputation: 1428Reputation: 1428Reputation: 1428Reputation: 1428Reputation: 1428Reputation: 1428
In Linux terms, those are pretty powerful: anything will run, although the Ubuntu disk may be difficult with the Dell. I'd go for whichever user interface you like:
Mint (regular releases) or Fuduntu (rolling release) with Mate / Cinnamon / Gnome
OpenSUSE (better for the Pentium D than the P4) or PCLinuxOS with KDE

For commercial DVDs there's a problem in the USA that legally only Microsoft and Apple are allowed to supply the codec to play them, and the public are only supposed to have it from those suppliers. That means that some Linux distros (all produced in the USA) lack libdvdcss, but it's always available from somewhere.
Old 02-02-2013, 10:32 AM   #5
Registered: Mar 2012
Distribution: Debian for server, CrunchBang for everything that's not a server
Posts: 143

Rep: Reputation: 24
I would recommend taking a look at the CrunchBang Linux distributiojn. Although it is not specifically 'beginner-oriented' like Mint, they have the friendliest community behind them that I've seen in a long time.

CrunchBang is essentially Debian, but optimized for use with the Openbox window manager. Oh, and unlike Debian, it pretty much 'just works' out of the box. I'm running Waldorf (The CrunchBang version basd on Debian Wheezy) on my primary system - a laptop - and the only adjustment I needed to make out of the box was to install a particular proprietary driver to get my wireless working properly (see this thread).
Old 02-02-2013, 09:02 PM   #6
LQ Guru
Registered: Jan 2006
Location: Virginia, USA
Distribution: Slackware, Debian, Mageia, and whatever VMs I happen to be playing with
Posts: 12,498
Blog Entries: 16

Rep: Reputation: 3210Reputation: 3210Reputation: 3210Reputation: 3210Reputation: 3210Reputation: 3210Reputation: 3210Reputation: 3210Reputation: 3210Reputation: 3210Reputation: 3210
My Dell Dimension 4700, also maxed to 4 GB RAM, quite happily runs Debian. I'm confident it would run any linux I threw at it. I use it as my file server and regular stream media files from it to other computers.
Old 02-03-2013, 07:17 AM   #7
LQ 5k Club
Registered: Jan 2006
Location: Oldham, Lancs, England
Distribution: Slackware & Slackware64 14.1
Posts: 7,453
Blog Entries: 55

Rep: Reputation: Disabled
Everybody is going to recommend their favourite distro. Try a few for yourself, then choose the one that you like best. It's the only way.
Old 02-03-2013, 07:58 AM   #8
LQ Newbie
Registered: Feb 2013
Posts: 4

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: Disabled
I truly appreciate everyone's suggestions, and please keep them coming. I've tried a few of the ones mentioned, and some have worked better to worse, some have not worked at all. Some of the suggestions mentioned I've not heard of, so I'll keep trying different ones and see which works best with each system, and to my liking.

Particularly, Precise Puppy has worked pretty well on the eMachines system, connected to the 42" HDTV. I've been unable to install it permanently to the internal HDD (rather than booting from the CD I made), but I'm sure it's just me not following the directions properly. Lubuntu worked pretty well on the eMachines as well. However, the images were stretched wide and I couldn't locate any drivers to fix that issue (and it just BUGS ME!). I tried to install xbmcbubtu, damn small Linux and a few others on the eMachines system, most of which I couldn't get to boot at all.

I've done less experimenting ont the Dell, currently I'm dual-booting 12.04 or 12.10 (can't remember which). It works pretty well, but the images are also stretched. I plan to wipe the drive eventually and install whatever I settle on to the drive without windows xp. However, I need to first create a system disk (and a back up image), as the Dell is one of those that doesn't come with a separate disk. I just haven't gotten around to it. I bought the Dell new in 2005. Once I do that I'll try all of the different versions I've downloaded on the Dell and see what works best.

Again, thank you everyone for your suggestions. It's overwhelming, the sheer number of options upon options.

Be well,
Old 02-03-2013, 09:03 AM   #9
Senior Member
Registered: Dec 2009
Location: New Jersey, USA
Distribution: Debian, Arch
Posts: 1,163
Blog Entries: 7

Rep: Reputation: 331Reputation: 331Reputation: 331Reputation: 331
Why not give Mythbuntu a shot... it seems to be designed around this type of use.
Old 02-03-2013, 09:29 AM   #10
Senior Member
Registered: Dec 2011
Location: Michigan USA
Distribution: OpenSUSE 13.2 64bit-Gnome on ASUS U52F
Posts: 1,444

Rep: Reputation: 340Reputation: 340Reputation: 340Reputation: 340
Originally Posted by goumba View Post
Why not give Mythbuntu a shot... it seems to be designed around this type of use.
I think you should give Mythbuntu a shot. I have never use it but it looks like I should try it sometime too.

I have OpenSuse in my laptop and I oftem connect that to my TV through HDMI connection, I recently installed xbmc thinking that it was going be a better choice for entertaining but it is not. so I am thinking on removing that and stick with plain vlc for video watching.

Good luck to you man. Please let us know how Mythbuntu works for you, so other people with similar questions can learn.
Old 02-03-2013, 09:48 AM   #11
LQ Newbie
Registered: Feb 2013
Posts: 4

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: Disabled
I tried booting mythbuntu on the eMachines but it wouldn't... eh... boot I guess... I was gonna eventually try it and various others on the Dell though.

On the eMachines I will try opensuse, pclinuxos, crunchbang, fedora and debian (I'm quite sure I'm mixing up distributions with versions...)

I'll report back on my results for anyone that has similar questions in the future, unless my head explodes first!

You people are absolutely CRAZY and WONDERFUL at the same time.


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Advice on selection of distro mafdcr Linux - Newbie 5 02-04-2010 05:03 PM
distro selection pinballwizard66 Linux - Newbie 5 10-21-2008 04:46 AM
Advice on distro selection for Acer laptop scouselad Linux - Laptop and Netbook 4 01-04-2006 12:14 PM
Seeking advice on HP printer selection satimis Fedora 0 02-22-2005 06:52 AM
Some basic advice for hardware selection please plastic_gnome Linux - Wireless Networking 1 02-13-2005 02:58 PM > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Newbie

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:29 AM.

Main Menu
Write for LQ is looking for people interested in writing Editorials, Articles, Reviews, and more. If you'd like to contribute content, let us know.
Main Menu
RSS1  Latest Threads
RSS1  LQ News
Twitter: @linuxquestions
Facebook: linuxquestions Google+: linuxquestions
Open Source Consulting | Domain Registration