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View Poll Results: which OS for a newbie windows user wanting to learn linux n do what they usually do?
SUSE 8.x 8 10.26%
Redhat 8+ 23 29.49%
Slackware (doubtful) 12 15.38%
Mandrake 9 30 38.46%
Lindows 4 (wish i could buy this in UK) 4 5.13%
Debian (lol again) 2 2.56%
other (specified below) 7 8.97%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 78. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-05-2003, 06:18 PM   #1
LQ Newbie
Registered: Aug 2003
Location: England
Distribution: redhat linux 9
Posts: 18

Rep: Reputation: 0
for newbies which distro?

was wondering what to get and whether anyone could instruct me as to the best course of action

i was initially drawn to redhat 9 cos it looked kewl, basic motivation, looked professional. and i wanted to learn. i have since realised that this is having troubles that i would be able to fix with more experience

so, i have ordered SUSE 8.2 cos i saw it on offer (i like to get things on cdrom with docs - but i dont mind the odd d/l)

what i want to do:
-access the interenet via a broadband connection on a router.
-play half-life/counter-strike and soon counter-strike: condition zero
-use msn messenger and yahoo messenger to keep in contact
-run simple programs like winamp or similar programs watch dvds
-basic office stuffs (openoffice is good enough)

which to people recommend?
Old 08-05-2003, 06:50 PM   #2
Registered: Feb 2002
Location: Grenoble
Distribution: Debian
Posts: 9,696

Rep: Reputation: 232Reputation: 232Reputation: 232
It's really hard to say without knowing your personality. There are people who used only Windows befre trying Slack and enjoing it from the first try and people who can't get used to mandrake. It's hard to recommend something to you without knowing you well.
Old 08-05-2003, 07:00 PM   #3
Registered: Jul 2003
Distribution: slackware
Posts: 56

Rep: Reputation: 15
i like mandrake (my first distro) , but i cant live without slack , its not that hard to install it by the way
Old 08-05-2003, 07:03 PM   #4
Senior Member
Registered: Jun 2003
Distribution: Debian/other
Posts: 2,104

Rep: Reputation: 45
Hi Raistrik

In general - I would reccomend Mandrake 9.1 for new Linux users.

You can check out all the major Linux distributions and more at Distrowatch - currently around 140 of them :

Click here to go to Distrowatch

Also - you can buy distros from

for next to nothing - so you could try a few of them and see which suits.
Old 08-05-2003, 07:06 PM   #5
Registered: Apr 2002
Location: earth
Distribution: slackware by choice, others too :} ... android.
Posts: 23,067
Blog Entries: 11

Rep: Reputation: 927Reputation: 927Reputation: 927Reputation: 927Reputation: 927Reputation: 927Reputation: 927Reputation: 927
No offense meant, but what's the use of
the poll if you disregard a few (or at least
indicate that by the comments)?

That said, I'll go with Mara... it's hard to make
a generic recommendation. If you're the
kind of user who left everything to the OS
so far, grab MDK. If you discovered (and
used!) regedit.exe the first day in Windows,
grab Slackware. :}

Old 08-05-2003, 07:16 PM   #6
LQ Newbie
Registered: Aug 2003
Location: UK
Distribution: Slackware 9.0
Posts: 11

Rep: Reputation: 0
I tend to recommend Mandrake to Linux newbies although the Mandrake propaganda is a little bit overwhelming and sort of akin to all the Microsoft propaganda splashed all over Windows 95 and later versions. If Mandrake's not an option (don't like the French? worried about the support disappearing?) then SuSE's not a bad second choice although I dislike their stance on downloads and I avoid them for this reason (I'd rather download a distro and see whether or not it meets my needs before I choose to spend money on it. I've given money to Mandrake in the past after having downloaded the 8.x series and considering worthy of support.) Mandrake is straightforward to install and set-up (the installation procedure is pretty neat - or it was the last time I used it (Mandrake 9.0) and it'll configure a lot of things for the user, such as mousewheel support, iptables, Internet and network connections and so on. Mandrake Control Centre is quite handy but if you rely on it you'll seriously limit the potentional of your system (only the basics can be configured via mcc). DiskDrake is a very cool partitioning tool which you'll have open access to if you choose an "Expert" install (which I recommend to newbies - it's not actually complicated).

Whilst a lot of people seem to think Red Hat is great for newbies I don't particularly recommend it because of all the bloat and all the things it tries to configure "behind your back". Mandrake is a mature version of Red Hat (and the "Blue Curve" theme that people whitter on about in Red Hat really is a load of rubbish - I've no idea in what way this KDE and GNOME theme makes either of these GUIs more attractive or usable). Red Hat is easy to install but it also lacks features a lot of newbies want in their first distro, such as NTFS support, MP3 support and framebuffer support (which come as standard with distros like Mandrake). (The Red Hat graphical partitioning tool is really bad - it offers hardly any control over the partitioning process and makes a mess.)

Avoid "Lindows". Despite all of the "the Windows version of Linux" propaganda, it offers nothing special for newbies (and why do you want a Windows-type OS, anyway - surely you're moving to Linux to avoid that nonsense?) "Lindows" isn't just rubbish, it's expensive rubbish (be thankful it's not readily available in the UK).

Slackware is a viable solution for a newbie who is a quick learner and who is prepared to read up a bit before going ahead with installing and configuring the system. Debian's probably less suited to newbies than Slackware (the install process isn't so user-friendly) and I don't think it would make a good first distro, although you may come to appreciate it once you've gained experience with "newbieish" distros like Mandrake and SuSE. Newbies should also steer clear of Gentoo - the install procedure can be quite daunting for complete Linux newbies and the process will take a hell of a long time for most people, which I can imagine might be off-putting for newbies.

In summary: I recommend Mandrake - it's easy to install and configure and offers all the features a newbie could ask for. Failing that, give SuSE a go. Avoid Red Hat (because it doesn't live up to any of the easy-to-use, feature-packed hype), Debian and Gentoo (because their install procedures aren't Linux newbie-friendly). Slackware has potential as a first distro for those who aren't afraid of doing a bit of reading first and won't give up as soon as they think they've found a problem or unfixable annoyance. (Don't be deterred from trying Slackware as your first distro by the "it's only suited to experienced users" line - Slackware is easy to learn and you're going to end up using it at some stage if you want a powerful, easy to configure distro which doesn't have all the bloat of commercial distros like Red Hat and Mandrake).
Old 08-05-2003, 07:29 PM   #7
Registered: Aug 2003
Location: Mesa, AZ
Distribution: Redhat 9
Posts: 45

Rep: Reputation: 15
Redhat 9, I Went from Windows straight to RH9, and I really like it. I am probebly going to switch to Debian once I get better with linux.

Last edited by Cafrow; 08-05-2003 at 07:35 PM.
Old 08-05-2003, 09:50 PM   #8
Registered: Jul 2003
Location: Osaka, Japan
Distribution: Arch, Ubuntu
Posts: 421

Rep: Reputation: 31
If you are serious about learning linux, go straight into Slackware! I have regretted why my first distro was not slackware... Here comes the famous saying:

One learned Redhat if he learned Redhat;
One learned Linux if he learned Slackware!

*I am not sure if I have phrased it correctly but it is something like that.
Old 08-05-2003, 11:42 PM   #9
LQ Newbie
Registered: Jul 2003
Distribution: gentoo
Posts: 12

Rep: Reputation: 0
I would say go with mandrake, really easy to install and work with. If you want something interesting though, go with slack. I you wanna learn even more 'bout linux go with gentoo.
Old 08-06-2003, 12:06 AM   #10
Senior Member
Registered: Feb 2003
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 4,113

Rep: Reputation: Disabled
I'll add to the emerging consensus of Slack if you want a challenge and some hands-on stuff and to work at it and Mandrake if not.
Old 08-06-2003, 12:37 AM   #11
Registered: Apr 2003
Location: Ontario, Canada
Distribution: Arch Linux
Posts: 533

Rep: Reputation: 30
you left off Jamd, damn I love that distro!
Old 08-06-2003, 03:41 AM   #12
LQ Newbie
Registered: Aug 2003
Location: England
Distribution: redhat linux 9
Posts: 18

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 0
yeah i see your points its all about your situation.

like i say i am currenly using redhat 9 and i i like it, but have found many Gaming type actions refuse to install properly and in forums they laughed at me for getting it. I, personally, like redhat and hope that as it progesses it will become everything i want it to be.

i do, however want to get to know linux and start doing more with the system. as i say i have ordered SuSe cos i saw it at a knock-down price and i am fond of boxed software. this, i have been previosly told, is far better. if i find it no easier than rh i will probably decide which is the lesser evil and work at it

slackware looks good and i will no doubt go off and use that once i get more familiar with the command line, i am about to start studying computer science at uni - so would be good hobby. thats why i made comments, because if you read my specification on what i needed linux for it was doubtful that something as "involved" as slackware would suit me

i liked the sound of lindows, like it or loath it, windows is here to stay and many of the best programs are made for windows. the idea, to me behind lindows is the essence of what a true competitor should be aiming to do. but i agree, it does all look a bit shite.

mandrake i might get, i assume they are all much of a muchness at the top, all the RPM using OS's. but i will do my best to get it. as for the "dont like the french" comment - my fellow brit, you could not be more right, came back from paris last week... man they smell
Old 08-06-2003, 04:20 AM   #13
LQ Newbie
Registered: Jun 2003
Location: Calais, France
Distribution: Fedora Core 1
Posts: 27

Rep: Reputation: 15
Talking Mandrake 9.1

I am a newbie and i've tried many distros... my choice is currently Mandrake 9.1

Good hardware detection, many packages, good support and a wonderful linux community.

Next distro will be probably Debian or Redhat.
Old 08-06-2003, 04:38 AM   #14
Senior Member
Registered: Mar 2003
Location: Brisbane Queensland Australia
Distribution: Custom Debian Live ISO's
Posts: 1,291

Rep: Reputation: 62
I had Mandrake 9.0, now i have 9.1 and it is very nice looking and has a lot of good features for a newbie like myself. It would suit you at the newbie level and beyond.

As for games, i'm currently running SOF2 and RTCW-ET under winex3 and they work perfectly with my Nvidia card
Old 08-06-2003, 04:43 AM   #15
LQ Newbie
Registered: Jun 2003
Location: Calais, France
Distribution: Fedora Core 1
Posts: 27

Rep: Reputation: 15
U'r right ... i almost forgot. Wolfeinstein Ennelmy Territory is working fine with native linux sources on my mandrake9.1
Very simple to install ....


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