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Old 08-20-2011, 05:11 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by markush View Post
do you want to learn about Linux? or do you need the knowledge about Linux for your work?

Note that "Beginner friendly" is not necessarily the best choice on the long run, you're a beginner only for some weeks or month but a Linux-user for a long time (hopefully
A huge +1. Very valuable point that many people dont consider.

Originally Posted by markush View Post
I always find 'what distro for you' tests to be kind of amusing. Mostly because I never seem to get results with my favour distro, and sometimes I totally disagree with the results (I just redid the test, entered 'I prefer to use perfectly stable, thoroughly tested software' (which isnt exactly true, but anyway) and the #1 result? Ubuntu. Not exactly what I would call 'prefer to use perfectly stable, thoroughly tested software'.....

Originally Posted by jdkaye View Post
Why not try the n most popular distros where n=the number you want to try before your patience runs out.
Probably not a bad idea, but I wouldnt just start at #1 and work down.

A better way IMO is to try a mix and match approach. (see below)

Originally Posted by jdkaye View Post
I think the overview comes with use. Until you have tried a deb-based package system versus an rpm-based package it's difficult for you to get a general overview. Package management is one of the most important differences among distros.
Agreed, but like you said 'that sort of overview comes with use'. Its pretty hard to know if you prefer .deb, .rpm or one of the other package management systems without experience.

What is far more obvious to a beginner is the desktop used.

What I would do, if I was going to try a few distros, is get the most experience with the least amount of distros tried.

So I'd something like this (not in order)-

Fedora 15- RPM package management (yum), Gnome 3 desktop.
OpenSUSE- RPM package management, KDE desktop.
Ubuntu 11.04- DEB package management, Unity desktop.
Debian (Xfce version)- DEB package management, Xfce desktop.
Linux Mint (Lxde version)- DEB package management, Lxde desktop.

That way you get a look at all the major desktops in use today (execpt for gnome 2, which is going away, one good reason to not bother with trying it) and a few different package management methods.

If you decide that you like the KDE desktop, but prefer the DEB package management method, you can easily find distros that have a KDE desktop and are DEB based (BTW, the biggest distros that would fit that are Debian KDE version, Mepis and Kubuntu)
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Old 08-21-2011, 12:16 AM   #17
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Hi Markus,
With all this discussion I think we've lost the OP. These days, reading the homepage of the distro in question gives you a pretty quick overview about the distro in question. Two essential tools are:
2. The LiveCD List
I'd first go to Distrowatch and click on the distros I've heard of (Mint and Ubuntu in the OP's case) and read the introductory paragraph on their own webpage.
For example this is what ArchLinux says:
A simple, lightweight distribution

You've reached the website for Arch Linux, a lightweight and flexible Linux® distribution that tries to Keep It Simple.

Currently we have official packages optimized for the i686 and x86-64 architectures. We complement our official package sets with a community-operated package repository that grows in size and quality each and every day.

Our strong community is diverse and helpful, and we pride ourselves on the range of skillsets and uses for Arch that stem from it. Please check out our forums and mailing lists to get your feet wet. Also glance through our wiki if you want to learn more about Arch.
And from Ubuntu:
Ubuntu is a fast, secure and easy-to-use operating system used by millions of people around the world.
Ubuntu works brilliantly with a range of devices. No installation CDs. No fuss. And it’s compatible with Windows too! So you can open, edit and share Microsoft Office documents easily.
Ubuntu is, and always will be, absolutely free. Created by the best open-source experts from all over the world, Ubuntu is available in 24 languages and ready for download today.
And finally, Slackware:
The Slackware Philosophy
Since its first beta release in April of 1993, the Slackware Linux Project has aimed at producing the most "UNIX-like" Linux distribution out there. Slackware complies with the published Linux standards, such as the Linux File System Standard. We have always considered simplicity and stability paramount, and as a result Slackware has become one of the most popular, stable, and friendly distributions available.
Do this with a few more distros and you'll have a short list of those that speak to you. Go to LiveCD list and burn one and try it out, then the next and so on.
FWIW, that's what I would do.
Old 08-21-2011, 02:47 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by jdkaye View Post
Hi Markus,
With all this discussion I think we've lost the OP.
Hi jdkaye,

I think it was a valuable discussion since we did not recommend a special distro but showed how to get valuable information.

I hope it will help the OP to find his/her way.

Old 08-21-2011, 03:46 AM   #19
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well said and I agree.
Old 08-21-2011, 04:59 AM   #20
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Personally I Prefer Ubuntu 10.10 but Mint is easier to use.
Old 08-21-2011, 10:53 PM   #21
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You can use "Classic"

"I'd say no to that. From what I've seen unity is not that user friendly."

I set my daughter and grandsons computers up on Ubuntu 11.04 and was stymied by the Unity Toolbar, doing a little digging I found out that you can log out and set Ubuntu up on the control line below your log on to the Classic format of Gnome.. Worked for us and they're loving it...


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