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Old 06-19-2017, 11:28 PM   #1
linuxmigrant
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How to select a distro?


The research I've done on this indicates that what you want to do with your computer is the deciding factor on which distro is best. At the same time, there's no apparent slam-dunk 100% definite choice that's best for what I need: graphics.

Some say Ubuntu or Mint, but those same people say both distros have failings that make them unacceptable for what I need to do. Mostly it has to do with instability or some other fatal, hair-pulling issue.

Is there a method for dialing in on which of these "flavors" is best?
 
Old 06-19-2017, 11:41 PM   #2
frankbell
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It might help to know precisely what it is about graphics that concerns you, that is, what is it the "you need to do."

If you use the LQ search for "pick [or select} distro," "best distro," and similar search terms, you will find many threads about this.

My normal suggestion is to pick some distros you are interested in and, if they offer Live Versions, to boot to the live versions and see which one you feel most comfortable with, then start with that. The selection of desktop environment may also be important. I prefer KDE, MATE, or Cinnamon; I loathe Gnome with the passion of a thousand suns. That's just me; your mileage may vary.

I normally recommend Mint, Mageia, or OpenSUSE as good for new users (Ubuntu lost me with Unity). They are all nice pieces of work. I currently run Debian, Slackware, and Magiea. I started with Slackware, and I am a Slacker at heart; whatever I try, I always come back to Slackware, but I have become quite fond of Mageia.

If stability is your primary concern, Debian and Slackware are stand-out rock-solid stable. Slackware is a bit more challenging to install, as it does not offer to partition your drive(s) automatically; it provides fdisk and cfdisk, but you could partition your drives with something like gparted, then install Slackware to the already-partitioned drives. Once you get past the partitioning, the installation routine is quite straightforward.

Oh, and welcome to LQ.

Last edited by frankbell; 06-19-2017 at 11:48 PM.
 
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Old 06-20-2017, 01:08 AM   #3
pan64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by linuxmigrant View Post
what you want to do with your computer is the deciding factor on which distro is best.
This statement is not really valid I think. The main difference among the distros are the package management tool used and the selected packages to install (and their versions) - and some config files have different names/locations. So in general (theoretical) (almost) any distro can do (almost) anything you want and work almost the same way.

That's why you will never get better answer than this: the best distro is my own one.
Use what you prefer, choose what you are familiar with or what you know. Or learn something new....
 
Old 06-20-2017, 05:32 AM   #4
hydrurga
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Don't listen to other people too much. Normally what you see on the internet are the folk who've experienced problems, not the ones for whom the system just works and works well, and those problems don't necessarily originate on the computer side of the keyboard either. It's too easy to get hung up on which distro to use. Don't get caught up in that. Choose a beginner's distro and dive in. Do as much as you can do with that distro. It is by doing this that you will find out what it is that you really need and prefer.

In saying that, for the distro you choose, before you've dived in too far, download the various desktop environment flavours that the distro provides and see which one you prefer. I'm a MATE guy, but have tried most of the other main ones, so I'm happy with my choice.
.
 
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Old 06-20-2017, 08:10 AM   #5
Turbocapitalist
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Quote:
Originally Posted by linuxmigrant View Post
Some say Ubuntu or Mint, but those same people say both distros have failings that make them unacceptable for what I need to do. Mostly it has to do with instability or some other fatal, hair-pulling issue.
Both are great for getting started. Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu. Add, remove, or re-configure pieces as you like on either one.

As mentioned, just dive in. The whole point is that you can customize them to your needs. If you stick with a long-term support version, you are unlikely to get any surprises, good or bad.

If you instead want to ride the development versions as they come along, then the cost of admission is finding (and reporting) a few bugs from time to time.
 
Old 06-20-2017, 08:42 AM   #6
snowday
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In my opinion, the most important factor is the people. Visit the website/forums/chat for a few different distros, and choose the community that seems friendly and willing to help with technical problems.
 
Old 06-20-2017, 08:50 AM   #7
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How to select a distro?
How to buy a car?
take it for a spin drive first.
 
Old 06-20-2017, 08:51 PM   #8
AwesomeMachine
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I started with SuSE (before there was opensuse) and wound up with Debian, Fedora and opensuse. So, practically any main distro will do to learn Linux. I don't know what type of graphics you want to do, but there are some spectacular graphics programs available for Linux.
 
Old 06-20-2017, 09:35 PM   #9
frankbell
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I second what Pan64 said. Underneath the GUI, Linux is Linux.

Most of the differences among distros, aside from package management and the init system, are superficial. If a distro comes with, say, Gnome or KDE or MATE and you decide you don't like that GUI, you can easily install a different one. Multiple GUIs can exist on the same install without issue. Heck, Slackware comes with six from which to choose out of the box, and you can change from one to another without any problem.

Pick a good solid distro that you feel comfortable with, then go for it.
 
Old 06-21-2017, 04:28 AM   #10
Soadyheid
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Quote:
It might help to know precisely what it is about graphics that concerns you, that is, what is it the "you need to do."
I agree with Frankbell here. "Graphics" is a bit vague to give a decent answer really.

What sort of "graphics" do you need to do; 2D drawings, 3D models, animation, image manipulation, video?

I use Mint 18, it suits me for what I want to do plus anything new I become interested in. (so far!)

I use FreeCAD to generate 3D models which I can 3D print but I've just discovered recently,(via a different thread) that if you wanted to run FreeCAD, which is downloadable from the Mint/Ubuntu repositories, you'd run into loads of dependency problems if you try to install it on Slackware. Maybe not a challenge you'd want to run into at the start of your Linux experience. So, knowing what sort of applications you need may affect your choice of Distro.

Other useful "graphic" type packages in the Mint Repos;

Inkscape A vector based drawing program
Blender A 3D modeler/renderer. Produces professional standard animation
Scribus Desktop publishing/page layout
Gimp The Linux defacto image manipulator
Digicam Photo management
Lightzone Photo image manipulation program (OK, not in the Repos but easily installed)
Xane Scanning utility
Simplescan Scanning utility

To paraphrase...

All Linux Distros are created equal, but some are created more equal than others.

Play Bonny!


Last edited by Soadyheid; 06-21-2017 at 04:30 AM. Reason: tidy up.
 
Old 06-21-2017, 09:37 AM   #11
RadicalDreamer
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I recommend going to distrowatch and try different branches of Linux Distributions.

Slackware is very stable and comes with Krita and Gimp. It follows the KISS principle. It has a community repository with many art programs called Slackbuilds.org: http://slackbuilds.org/repository/14.2/graphics/
Also there is Studioware for Slackware: http://studioware.org/

Its hard to recommend a distribution because people have different personalities. They just have different ways of doing things. The prerequisite is that it works with your hardware. I like the control and simplicity Slackware gives me but other people hate it. I'm not aware of any Linux distributions having major failings. If you run distribution branches that are in development rather than stable releases I can imagine issues would crop up occasionally but nothing compared to a Windows stable releases.

Last edited by RadicalDreamer; 06-21-2017 at 09:53 AM.
 
Old 06-21-2017, 11:13 AM   #12
DavidMcCann
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If this is for your Mac Pro then, as I said in the other thread, anything should work fine, graphics and all. Don't forget that you can run Linux from DVD or USB for a test drive, before committing yourself.

My suggestions to look at would be
Linux Mint: reliable, nice user interfaces (Mate plain, Cinnamon fancy).
OpenSUSE: good for the KDE user interface, if you like a lot of eye-candy; also easy to configure.
PCLinuxOS: another good KDE specialist, this time rolling-release — no versions, just a continuously updated system.
 
Old 06-21-2017, 05:47 PM   #13
Mill J
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There are distros that are optimized for certain tasks such as music production, gaming, multimedia editing. graphics and so on. Just do a Google search. All those distros can do anything a regular distros can.

http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/6-linux...cians-editors/
 
Old 06-21-2017, 07:45 PM   #14
Xalorous
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pan64 View Post
This statement is not really valid I think. The main difference among the distros are the package management tool used and the selected packages to install (and their versions) - and some config files have different names/locations. So in general (theoretical) (almost) any distro can do (almost) anything you want and work almost the same way.

That's why you will never get better answer than this: the best distro is my own one.
Use what you prefer, choose what you are familiar with or what you know. Or learn something new....
The most visible difference is the default desktop. I'd recommend trying a live disk of various desktops until you find one that you like. Then go with the most popular distro that uses that desktop. I say this because the most popular distros usually have the most active communities. In most cases, enabling autoupdate and using whatever GUI tool for software installation means that you don't have to understand rpm, yum, apt, or {whatever fedora's dinking with this month}.

I do server admin, the enterprise only approves RHEL, and our baseline sticks to the default RHEL desktop (Gnome). But the desktop is just a way for me to open a bunch of terminals and jot notes in the occasional desktop text file.

Clarifying 'graphics' would help us point you in the right direction. The GiMP is probably going to be the answer to many of the 'graphics' questions, and it will run on any distro running compatible desktops.

If graphics is looking at pictures or watching movies, any desktop with a browser will have that ability.

If graphics is heavy duty rendering, etc., consider LTS (long term support) distribution over short release cycle or rolling release distributions. Consider a headless install. Consider the rock solid reliable distributions. RHEL/CENTOS/SL, Slackware, Debian, Arch. Slackware, Debian, and Arch are kindof considered expert mode. The RHEL distros are a good balance of LTS, user friendliness, and availability of support.

If graphics means you want a cutting edge desktop to look good and make you look smarter, go with Mint or Fedora and explore the world of custom Destkop managers.

Graphics for gaming, too much like work, I use purpose built gaming systems for that. They don't use Linux.

Also, here's a great resource: http://distrowatch.com
 
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Old 06-21-2017, 07:49 PM   #15
Xalorous
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Cool translating for new guy

Quote:
Originally Posted by BW-userx View Post
How to select a distro?
How to buy a car?
take it for a spin drive first.
He means use a Live Disk.
 
  


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