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Old 10-02-2007, 02:25 AM   #1
scrappydoo
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Talking I want to Learn and Use Linux at the Same Time!


Which Distro would you recommend for someone that is not looking for Linux to be "Windowz ala'buntu", if you get what I mean. I'm taking the "bottom up" approach so to speak, like a geek, so automated eye candy is not as important to me as is the "power underneath the hood", and my ability to tinker with it. I don't want a bunch of redundant packages installed, just a lean, mean, efficient system that just does what I want it to do, and nothing I don't.

I will start my training with commands and file system management, while at the same time kind of cheating while I use the more automated desktop environment for day to day tasks to supplant my daily windowz usage as much as possible, as I get weened off of windowz, so whichever Disrto I use should be capable of both, and no, I don't want to simply use a "live" version. I have some "very" basic Linux experience, and am looking to really "get it" now. I've got what seems like a great book here entitled, "Introduction to Linux" by Machtelt Garrels that I'm going to start out with.

I guess I would need to set up some kind of dual boot system, where one is used as my daily driver, and the other for making it and breaking it, learning it and burning it, and then remaking it again if necessary (yeah, I'm used to windowz). So which Distro would be best in both roles? I'd like to just use the same Distro for both.

This will be operated on my notebook, so if one Distro is more supportive of that than another, that matters as well; WiFi, etc.


These are the Distros that I am most interested in, having no real preference one over the other at this point, but "Arch" and "Slackware" seem most attractive to me. Which would you recommend, and why?

Arch

Debian

Fedora

Gentoo

Slackware


I was going to include openSUSE, but I have concerns about "M$" having "touched" it.


Any help that you can offer will be much appreciated!
 
Old 10-02-2007, 02:43 AM   #2
jacook
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scrappydoo,

Having tried Both Slackware and Fedora (not Debian yet, but I have friends who use it and LOVE it) but if you were going to make me choose I'd say Slackware this is the ultimate Bare bones distro you start with little more then a shell, Graphic desktop (KDE or Gnome) and basic utilities and have to work your way up. Fedora is too "bloated" for my liking, comes with loads of stuff you don't actually need and/or will never use

Slackware sounds more like what your looking for

Jake
 
Old 10-02-2007, 03:12 AM   #3
danielph
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Which distro

It seems to be a morning of which distro

Interesting shortlist, all good distros for your purpose. Debian, Arch and Gentoo have good communities, which is important (I haven't used the others). The other thing is some distros will work better than others with your hardware, you will most likely find this out. But if you are learning, you can make anything work, right?

I am a user of Debian and Arch Linux and both have help me to learn Linux, but looking back I have gained a lot from installing Gentoo and owe a lot to Gentoo documentation, but I would not personally recommend running it. I prefer to use binary packages and do not have a need to take the time compile everything. I would recommend installing it once though and you can get a system working just as you want.

The next thanks is to Arch for a helpful community and growing wiki. The file layout is different with bsd style scripts and it uses KISS philosophy and has a good community. I now use Arch and Debian. Debian I find a little easier to set up, but still encourages you to learn.

A lot of people on this forum will recommend Slackware and this deserves credit too, but I never went there.


Good Luck and welcome

Last edited by danielph; 10-02-2007 at 03:53 AM. Reason: typo
 
Old 10-02-2007, 03:50 AM   #4
scrappydoo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacook View Post
scrappydoo,

Having tried Both Slackware and Fedora (not Debian yet, but I have friends who use it and LOVE it) but if you were going to make me choose I'd say Slackware this is the ultimate Bare bones distro you start with little more then a shell, Graphic desktop (KDE or Gnome) and basic utilities and have to work your way up. Fedora is too "bloated" for my liking, comes with loads of stuff you don't actually need and/or will never use

Slackware sounds more like what your looking for

Jake
You have actually echoed my impressions of Fedora and Slackware without me even expressing them! I guess I'm pretty on target, which is reassuring.

So that's one good recommendation for Slackware, thanks!

Last edited by scrappydoo; 10-02-2007 at 03:55 AM.
 
Old 10-02-2007, 04:14 AM   #5
scrappydoo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danielph View Post
It seems to be a morning of which distro

Interesting shortlist, all good distros for your purpose. Debian, Arch and Gentoo have good communities, which is important (I haven't used the others). The other thing is some distros will work better than others with your hardware, you will most likely find this out. But if you are learning, you can make anything work, right?

I am a user of Debian and Arch Linux and both have help me to learn Linux, but looking back I have gained a lot from installing Gentoo and owe a lot to Gentoo documentation, but I would not personally recommend running it. I prefer to use binary packages and do not have a need to take the time compile everything. I would recommend installing it once though and you can get a system working just as you want.

The next thanks is to Arch for a helpful community and growing wiki. The file layout is different with bsd style scripts and it uses KISS philosophy and has a good community. I now use Arch and Debian. Debian I find a little easier to set up, but still encourages you to learn.

A lot of people on this forum will recommend Slackware and this deserves credit too, but I never went there.


Good Luck and welcome
That's one concern I have with Slackware. I don't see as much community, although there does seem to be some good documentation.

As I'm getting recommendations and doing research, I'm leaning more towards the binary concept, for a few different reasons, one is efficiency, and another is more fine control.

So, now I'd say I'm leaning towards Arch or Slackware most likely.

Thanks for the great information; much appreciated!
 
Old 10-02-2007, 04:19 AM   #6
Su-Shee
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I also recommend Slackware.

Especially because it has - compared to other distributions - just a small slackware-specific part. Slackware has this concept of being not "intrusive" and what many people consider as "but this isn't pre-configured at all" is exactly the idea.

Therefore, if you for example like to learn how to configure your ATI card to use with 3D desktops, you'll have to do the steps on your own.

I started with Slackware in the early 90ies and after trying out x other
distributions and one or two BSDs I went back to Slackware again.

After having learned Slackware, you might give Linux From Scratch a try, also very educational.

The only kind-of annoying thing today is that very many tutorials and howtos nowadays follow the instructions of a specfic distribution - "foobar on blahblah". So you'll have to strip off the distribution specifics, if it comes to Slackware.

On the other hand: non-specific howtos translate very nicely onto Slackware.

Oh, and there is no distinction between a "desktop user slackware" and a "professional server slackware" or something like this - just one Slackware.

Last edited by Su-Shee; 10-02-2007 at 04:25 AM.
 
Old 10-02-2007, 04:22 AM   #7
Su-Shee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scrappydoo View Post
That's one concern I have with Slackware. I don't see as much community, although there does seem to be some good documentation.
There's an entire Slackware subforum right here.
 
Old 10-02-2007, 04:25 AM   #8
scrappydoo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Su-Shee View Post
I also recommend Slackware.

Especially because it has - compared to other distributions - just a small slackware-specific part. Slackware has this concept of being not "intrusive" and what many people consider as "but this isn't pre-configured at all" is exactly the idea.

Therefore, if you for example like to learn how to configure your ATI card to use with 3D desktops, you'll have to do the steps on your own.

I started with Slackware in the early 90ies and after trying out x other
distributions and one or two BSDs I went back to Slackware again.

After having learned Slackware, you might give Linux From Scratch a try, also very educational.

The only kind-of annoying thing today is that very many tutorials and howtos nowadays follow the instructions of a specfic distribution - "foobar on blahblah". So you'll have to strip off the distribution specifics, if it comes to Slackware.

On the other hand: non-specific howtos translate very nicely onto Slackware.
I've read that many people who have used Slackware at anytime, often return to it eventually.

It's funny that you mention LFS, I just got done reading about it, and I most definitely do plan on making that my next step after this one. It's interesting how everyone that has posted here is as if they could read my mind, I guess it's a case of great minds thinking alike!
 
Old 10-02-2007, 04:33 AM   #9
Su-Shee
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Let me put it that way:

I sometimes envy all the nice, shiny packages available for Suse or Ubuntu.

But on the other hand: I want a distribution not being in my way and I like distributions which I can still oversee and understand. I like to know my packages personally and by name.

And - but this is just my personal thing - I don't want to commit to any company and/or distributor any longer.

Therefore: Debian or Slackware.

And Debian fall through due to several personal dislikings.

Beyond that, I'm simply extremely satisfied with Slackware's problemlessness - at least on my systems. (Of course, the subforum suggets otherwise. )
 
Old 10-02-2007, 04:54 AM   #10
scrappydoo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Su-Shee View Post
Let me put it that way:

I sometimes envy all the nice, shiny packages available for Suse or Ubuntu.

But on the other hand: I want a distribution not being in my way and I like distributions which I can still oversee and understand. I like to know my packages personally and by name.

And - but this is just my personal thing - I don't want to commit to any company and/or distributor any longer.

Therefore: Debian or Slackware.

And Debian fall through due to several personal dislikings.

Beyond that, I'm simply extremely satisfied with Slackware's problemlessness - at least on my systems. (Of course, the subforum suggets otherwise. )
I share your feeling about wanting to have a more intimate knowledge of what's going on at the heart of it all, and this is just my personality as well. This is a large part of why I much rather prefer to design and build my own computer systems as well.

I'm currently researching notebooks as also. I hope to purchase one very soon, and that will become my main system. It will be the first time a notebook will be my main system. I would prefer to build it myself, but I've found that not to work out as well as it does with desktops, so I'll most likely end up with a pre-built system.

The thing I will miss the most about not using a desktop, is drive swapping. I love having multiple drives in a rack, each with it's own OS that I can just swap at will!

I guess it's time to enter the world of multi-boot!

Last edited by scrappydoo; 10-02-2007 at 04:57 AM.
 
Old 10-02-2007, 05:28 AM   #11
Su-Shee
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You'll be perfectly fine with a notebook, if you take a look at the hardware details BEFORE buying it.

Issues are the wireless chipset and the included graphic's chip, for example.

At home, I have only notebooks for years now - no problem at all, but I always check first, before buying a new one.

Right now, I've got an old IBM Thinkpad T40, which works with the MadWifi drivers for Atheros Wlan-PCI cards and I also got Compiz working with AIGLX with my ATI card included in the Thinkpad.

So, if you check first, you'll have all the bells and whistles coming with a recent distribution.

And if you insist on compiling it all by yourself, this will work either.

I made all my LFS' on my notebooks.
 
Old 10-02-2007, 05:32 AM   #12
indeliblestamp
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I second the Slackware + LFS suggestion. Slackware gives a fantastic and immediately usable OS that gives a better insight into the internals than most other distros would. And to really get under the hood, add an extra partition and go through LFS in your spare time. (Sadly, I've had two attempts at LFS already, and I gave up each time (for lack of time and brains))
 
Old 10-02-2007, 05:45 AM   #13
scrappydoo
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Originally Posted by Su-Shee View Post
You'll be perfectly fine with a notebook, if you take a look at the hardware details BEFORE buying it.

Issues are the wireless chipset and the included graphic's chip, for example.

At home, I have only notebooks for years now - no problem at all, but I always check first, before buying a new one.

Right now, I've got an old IBM Thinkpad T40, which works with the MadWifi drivers for Atheros Wlan-PCI cards and I also got Compiz working with AIGLX with my ATI card included in the Thinkpad.

So, if you check first, you'll have all the bells and whistles coming with a recent distribution.

And if you insist on compiling it all by yourself, this will work either.

I made all my LFS' on my notebooks.

Those IBM Thinkpads are supposed to be very nice machines. From what I understand there have been some problems with the new ones under Lenovo.

Right now I'm looking at the Asus notebooks.

From what I understand, I am best off with an Intel chipset, and NVIDIA GPU, is that right?

I've read that AMD/ATI is supposedly implementing a new stringent program of development and releasing of Linux drivers for their GPUs. If this is true, and well implemented, they may soon catch and even surpass NVIDIA in this area.

AS for my new notebook, I do plan on getting it as well equipped as possible, maybe even bluetooth. I will also have a dedicated GPU.

What about multi-core and 64 bit?

I'm exited to get a laptop, so that I can work where I want to!

Last edited by scrappydoo; 10-02-2007 at 08:32 PM. Reason: Removed Sony
 
Old 10-02-2007, 06:06 AM   #14
danielph
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Linux on Laptops

I have heard good things about Linux on IBM laptops. There are plenty of resources googleling "linux laptops". I would be cautious with Sony, check for full hardware support. A slightly older machine is usually better supported. I have an old Dell laptop which is not bad. Still get issues with Nvidia and suspend sometimes.
 
Old 10-02-2007, 07:36 AM   #15
Su-Shee
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Don't they all have BT today?

Well, I don't care for the brand of notebook mostly - I always check the hardware specifics carefully and after that I check my budget, re-check all brands again and buy.

The graphic's driver issue.. well.. I personally don't need 3D, because I don't care either for gaming or for composite desktops (Nevertheless, I'm satisfied if I _could_, because I bought nice hardware...).

I personally would buy ATI, I guess - after the announcement of AMD.

And Sony .. no, sorry. Not with their politics when it comes to digital rights management. That's the point where I issue my consumer's power to NOT buy.
 
  


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