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Old 11-18-2005, 06:21 PM   #1
Simon Bridge
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HOWTO: Select the right Distro for you


"The right distro" usually means the one your guru freind uses - however, if you have the option to pick any of the millions of distros available it can be a bit confusing - where do you even start.

Before you post a new thread: "which distro is best for me" have a look at this --->

http://www.zegeniestudios.net/ldc/

This site includes a test/questionair which claims to match users with their "ideal" distro.
While it is about as reliable as a magazine personality quiz, a few of us experienced linux jocks have taken the test and been advised to use our favorite distro(!): so it can't be too bad.

As a place to start, it cannot be beaten. The distros includd in the test are well known/major ones and cover a wide appeal. Once you have some experience you'll be able to migrate to a more personal choice.

Once you have been given your ideal distro from the test, look it (them, if more than one) up in www.distrowatch.org and read the reviews. There are also reviews in LQ, and there will be threads relating to the distro here too.

Read the reviews, scim the threads, see what you think.

(i.e. treat the test result as a point of departure rather than gospel.)

Once you've got a distro installed and running (maybe a few issues like modem and some such) check out the support sites for the distro and search the threads here. Pay attention to people who have problems you don't have, this means you can help them. You will earn guru-points if your first few posts help someone else - which means the experienced guys will bend over backwards to help you out.

Good luck and above all: have fun

Last edited by Simon Bridge; 11-20-2005 at 07:37 PM.
 
Old 11-19-2005, 05:17 PM   #2
mikieboy
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Unbelievable! I took the test just out of curiosity and it came up with the very two distros that I use (having tried out and rejected quite a few in the past). So that's me sorted then!
 
Old 11-20-2005, 12:06 AM   #3
Simon Bridge
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Impressive aye - I'd like to see some mini-distros in there, one that runs under DOS, and some that are server specific.

Xandros and Linspire come up for rank newbies and mepis keeps coming up for full-featured laptops. This is fun.
 
Old 11-20-2005, 12:16 AM   #4
Tinkster
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I tried it, and found that it sucked :}

It suggested Gentoo as first choice, but I'm not a ricer, I'm a slacker ;)


Cheers,
Tink
 
Old 11-20-2005, 12:36 AM   #5
AwesomeMachine
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I took the test a couple of times. Every time it came up with xandros and something else. No matter what I did it never recommended any free distro.
 
Old 11-20-2005, 03:47 AM   #6
Simon Bridge
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AwesomeMachine: well it does have an option to specify that the distro must be free you know. I've never got any non-free when I've specified free-only.

Tinkster: cute ... not even as a second choice? It usually sticks slack in there if you tell it your expert and so on. "Sucked" is a pretty general conclusion for a study based on a sample size of one. Perhaps you don't follow the slackware norm? Have you read the slack review in distrowatch? Do you agree with it?

Well anyway - tell the authors your experience.

I don't think a questionaire is going to pick up subtle distinctions - for eg. It lists fedora as being for more experienced users only - but I used RH9 the FC2 as a newbie ... but that was because these came with the infamous books from Wiley (... for Dummies). Thus, it was great for newcomers. Though I think I'd look for an ability to troubleshoot and read technical documents before recommending it.

They also think fedora dosn't come with KDE ... missing the point that it comes with anything.

But come on - it's fun.
Try it with different profiles and see if you agree with the suggestions.
 
Old 11-20-2005, 04:13 AM   #7
Simon Bridge
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Addendum:
I note they keep suggesting Lycoris Desktop/LX ... non free... at the slightest excuse. Even though Lycoris is part of Mandrivia.
OTOH: it's still a seperate commercial nix I suppose.

I've been trying to get SuSE to come up - seems they like SuSE users to be "advanced" in technical skills. It keeps coming way down the list, dispite being #3 distro according to distro-watch.
 
Old 11-20-2005, 05:24 AM   #8
teebones
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oh my! this is BETA, that's for sure...

when i took the test i answered everything as close as the real deal was/is.

I wanted KDE as main desktop. not gnome.

so what it says:

In addition, we found these matches, sorted by how well they match:

Debian Failed these criterias: Does not use the desired desktop environment

excuse me? Debian has KDE aswell as Gnome (and many others... ) so it does meet the criteria!

Fedora Failed these criterias: Does not use the desired desktop environment

same here...

furthermore... it suggested Gentoo to me (and slack and others). Granted i Use Gentoo often, but the point is this: it's the same deal as with Debian!!
No default desktop.. YOU choose!

Last edited by teebones; 11-20-2005 at 05:27 AM.
 
Old 11-20-2005, 05:33 AM   #9
Simon Bridge
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To be fair, all these do kinda expect you to use gnome ... and a basic home/desktop install - where automated - will install gnome not KDE or any others.

I agree though, this is perhaps splitting hairs.
Would have been better to add a caveat that KDE is available in the distro and will be the default if selected.

I've already written to the designers about this. Perhaps you should too?
 
Old 11-20-2005, 05:44 AM   #10
Nylex
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It selected Ubuntu for me. I think that might have been cos I maybe underrated my skills a little bit, eg. for installation I picked graphical and not text mode. I don't really mind Slack's set-up or indeed Gentoo's (because it makes you feel like you're doing something ). Slack is what I'm comfortable with, I did try Debian once but didn't like it. The selection thing also only had KDE and GNOME, so I picked GNOME as I can't stand KDE. Although, I do prefer Xfce and Fluxbox now .

I guess you can't depend on those tests to be totally accurate, but they might be useful for some people. When I started with Linux, it was with Red Hat/Mandrake, because those were pretty much the only distributions I had heard of at the time.

Edit: good post, Simon!

Last edited by Nylex; 11-20-2005 at 05:45 AM.
 
Old 11-20-2005, 09:43 AM   #11
onjoo
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Well it's quite nice little program.

Although there is a small bug in the system.
I choose my computer as PC and when I got the result there was yellow dog third on my list...
Does it support i386? Simple answer, NO!

I wanted to find myself a easy-to-use distro,with rpm-package installer. The others were Mandriva and Suse and lycoris.
I'm ok with the results ...

And whats on-click installable applications? I thought rpms would be the one, but i guess Im wrong with that
 
Old 11-20-2005, 07:34 PM   #12
Simon Bridge
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I think Lycoris Desktop/LX and Linspire use one-click installations by default. I think they are talking about graphical package managers - like synaptic or YUMex. Or it may be that there is a utility that says "install software y/n" and you click y and it installs everything. But then, thats up2date surely (click the alert icon).

I don't thing literal one-click is possible, presumably you click many time to select the many packages to install - then click to confirm - then click to install. Perhaps it's like a brandof 5min noodles I know - takes 10min to prepare, then 5mins to make.

Nylex said:
guess you can't depend on those tests to be totally accurate, but they might be useful for some people. When I started with Linux, it was with Red Hat/Mandrake, because those were pretty much the only distributions I had heard of at the time.


And true. As I said, I've suggested they include some lighter distros - which would add Xfce and fluxbox to the desktop possibilities. However, the main contention is between gnome and KDE.

I like gnome - I find it more intuitive. Though I acknowledge the increased power of kde, I find the default configuration gives me a headache and it takes a while to reconfigure it the way I like it. That said, I run both.

You'll note the test says Ubuntu has not the graphical installer - so that won't be the clinch. It will be when you underrate your ability. I have found slackers tend to do this, probably to do with judging your ability against your peers. You have to remember that slackware encourages a high level of general competance. By the time you configured a slack system and assisted in a few installs you are an expert.

good post, Simon!

Why thank you <blush>
 
Old 11-21-2005, 03:27 AM   #13
zegenie
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Hi there.

Thank you for your comments, Simon, they've been noted.

We're receiving an enormous amount of feedback from this test, and while we're trying to make sure it's as up to date as possible, it's very obvious that it lacks a few things.

#1: Up-to-date package selections and distro list. Desktop/LX for instance is no more, and should not appear as a result at all. While there seems to be an artificially high amount of matches for DLX, it *was* very "one-size-fits-all", and based on the criterias alone (22 mix and match criterias) it *does* actually match what most people answer. Another thing is about OpenSuSE for instance, which is currently not updated from "Plain" SuSE. We'll fix this, and hopefully also add several other distributions.

#2: Default Desktop Environment. While it is true that most distros present an option to install a different WM, and also allows you to do so during installation, it is no secret that FC/RedHat is leaning heavily towards gnome, and does install Gnome only if you don't change it. Same goes for SuSE, and Mandriva, with KDE. It doesn't mean you can't install a different DE if you want to, but "by default", it installs only one. We'll try and see if we can't come up with a solution to these distributions. They do differ from Ubuntu, for instance, which comes *only* with Gnome (kubuntu available for KDE), and Linspire/Xandros which comes *only* with KDE.

#3: One-click installable applications. It's what IRIS (DLX), XN (Xandros) and CNR (Linspire) uses. That's true "one-click". "Click this button and you've got it installed". No dependancy issues, no missing libs, no "check this checkbox, then click install". It's "one click". Says it all. I'm always surprised about the amount of feedback we get from this question - people always say "you just click this button, start synaptic, check this here, then click install". That's not one click. It may not be the most important feature for everyone, but it's definately worth mentioning.

In addition, there are several things we want to do with the test.

Please feel free to post feedback, http://www.zegeniestudios.net/ldc/feedback.php, or as a reply to this thread.


Thank you for your interest!
-Daniel Andre, zegenie Studios
 
Old 11-21-2005, 04:32 AM   #14
Simon Bridge
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It's well received, I know a few folk who are now using it as their default answer to the typical "which distro is best?"

Your answers are well taken.

#1. Would you like assistance keeping track of distro advances. Clearly you'd have to write a bible and/or otherwise screen updates since linux-distro choice can get very... religious. For the same reason you probably don't want too many distros in the quiz.

#2. Perhaps distros with desktops both available, even though one is still "default", should still count as a "hit" - but a lower scale hit than a distro specialising in that desktop. Should also come with a note, similar to the "failed due to" note to state that the desired desktop is available at installation.

#3. Yes, I thought of Linspire ... this scheme is not very widespread or well known though is it? Perhaps an info button should be here? Same. I think, with the package manager question.

An easier and more immediately relevant and useful addition would be to link to a distro review (say one at www.distrowatch.com) under the link to the maintainer site.

...
There has been some questions raised elsewhere about the ranking of Ubuntu as for more advnaced users. It has been said that maybe it is the lack of a graphical install? Or just that it was written for warty?

Of course, there are much freindlier distros than ubuntu - so it may just be a matter of scale.
 
Old 11-21-2005, 06:29 AM   #15
theYinYeti
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Nice tool! Well explained, Well organized. I like it.

However, I asked Gnome, and Mandriva ended up at the very bottom of the screen (reason: KDE), with Debian on top.

I agree with Debian: it suits me, and I use it on my laptop.

But for Mandriva (yes I've read the previous posts), I don't agree. I have just installed latest Mdv (2006), and I rank it as the best release. I'm a Gnome user, and my Gnome desktop is better than ever! Whereas KDE users have issues with kat, kded...
In short:
- During installation, you have two checkboxes: Gnome, KDE, and KDE is checked by default but you can easily change it if it matters to you.
- I use Mdk/Mdv since version 6.0, and Gnome and KDE have always been shiped equal, minus one bug or two on either side, even though the KDE checkbox is the default on install.

Yves.
 
  


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