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ShelterWolf 08-03-2010 05:24 PM

Optimizing my system - Need Your Opinions!
At the moment I have Xandros 4.2 in dual boot with WinXP Pro. I have only worked with the xandros flavour of linux and I'm mainly a windoze trog since win 98. I like to produce e-docs, music, and videos as part of my business.

Once again, Xandros is broken because I attempted to download an app to replace windoze apps - my bad. I've worked with Xandros for 5 years - I should know better. I've also become tired of Xandros for the same reasons.

For this reason, I've been looking at other flavours. PCLinuxOS has been the most attractive one so far. I also learned that it supports NTFS, auto mounting. (I recently learned that most new distros support NTFS. I stuck with Xandros this long because I thought it was the only flavour that supports NTFS.)

At first, I was considering a triple boot system with Xandros, PCLinuxOS, and WinXP. Then I thought, "Why should I triple boot, If PCLinuxOS completely replaces the old, abandoned Xandros? IF I can set up a dual boot with WinXP just as easily, why not just put Xandros to rest?"

I also plan on getting a new WD 1TB SATA HD as a nice new home for my lovely linux system - and use the old HD as an external safe keep for my stuff.

Right now, I still live in the fear of not being able to do something in linux that I can do in windows, and visa versa. Although windoze is a high maintenance byotch, it still offers me some security because I use win apps for audio/video file conversions and audio editing/productions.

Linux has been my sweetheart for video productions (and document / graphic productions until I broke it). At the moment, I would prefer a dual boot system - only because I'm ignorant.

What would you do for an optimal system? If you were me?

indelible 08-03-2010 05:43 PM


I will admit straight out that I've never used either PCLinuxOS or Xandros. In the past I've used Gentoo, Fedora, Red hat and even knoppix briefly. Currently my flavour of choice is Ubuntu. As much as doing things your own way is nice, I would personally recommend going with a more mainstream version of linux, to get you started. If it's more mainstream, it will have more community support. It's also more likely to have a better range of packages available.

If you're a newbie, installing and running gentoo will force you to learn about linux fairly quickly, but it gets old compiling for 3 days every time KDE makes a bugfix release (I'm exaggerating, but it's still a pain).

Debian has a nice philosophy, in that everything in it must be Richard Stallman Free - so you're free to choose anything you want. It just means that setting up a basic system has a slightly higher difficulty rating than say, Ubuntu or Fedora.

Ubuntu is Debian-based. It takes away a bit of the freedom of Debian, but adds a little bit of polish.

Fedora is Red-Hat based and is a similar idea to Ubuntu. It's linux for the masses (but I haven't used it since Fedora-Core 4, so I'm not exactly up with the play there)

I do know that ntfs support has been in the mainline kernel for a couple of years now, so if there's a distro that doesn't support it, it's because they've made a decision not to - it's no longer a technical reason.

Anyway, what all this is leading up to is:
Put your home directory in its own partition, and install a couple of different linux distros to see which one you like. If you're sharing the home partition between them, it's not nearly as frustrating as triple-booting and it should feel just like you're natively working with the same stuff.

But whatever you do, choose a distro with a decent package manager (I'm pretty sure all the ones I've mentioned have them). It makes life a million and four times easier.

ShelterWolf 08-04-2010 02:01 PM

I have to look up how to install diff flavors on the same home directory, but thanks for the heads up! I wish my local frys or best buy had all those flavors to taste, but all I can find is windoze on their PCs.

craigevil 08-04-2010 02:21 PM

You can try pretty much any distro without installing it. Either run it when you boot as a livecd or in a virtual machine like vmplayer or virtual-box.

tealio 08-04-2010 03:08 PM

I recommend Ubuntu. I used debian for years on my personal fileserver. It's great but tends to be behind the curve for all the newest bells and whistles. For a server that will only be logged into remotely, debian is a powerhouse. If you want a graphical environment, go for ubuntu. In my opinion it's one of the more user-friendly distros out there.

ShelterWolf 08-05-2010 01:50 PM

Thanks everyone for your help. At the moment, I'm simply looking for an idiot proof hammer and chisel set that helps me produce yet can't be broken - at least not so easily like Xandros.

spoovy 08-05-2010 02:32 PM

I agree with going with Debian or a Debian-based distro, as Debian has the largest selection of packages and the best package handler (APT), and is very stable in terms of the organisation behind it - time spent learning it is not going to be time wasted. Ubuntu or LinuxMint (based on, but more highly polished than ubuntu) would be best bets I think - they are the most popular for a reason.

However, stability-wise both of these leave a bit to be desired imho. If you really want something that won't break, go for either Debian stable, or alternatively CentOS (not Debian based though CentOS, it's a Red Hat clone) - both are rock solid, commercial-server-grade distros that contain older software, but will not crash on you, ever.

PCLOS is really nice, but it is kind of a one-man project, and as you seem to be the kind of person who is loyal to a distro for years, you might not want to throw in with that sort of thing (this years PCLOS release is great, but the previous one was poor, largely because the guy who runs in was ill and didn't spend much time on it). Similarly, Mandriva's latest release is absolutely brilliant in terms of ease of use, stability and modernity; but the company seems to be forever on the verge of folding - which isn't great if you are a long-term invester in a distro.

EDIT - I've just read that Xandros desktop is an enterprise-class product, with an old kernel (2.6.18) and old desktops (KDE 3.5). I think if you downloaded and installed Debian Stable or CentOS 5.5 you would probably be very happy with them, as they are very similar in terms of modernity/stability.

I personally love CentOS, I use it for anything business critical. It's an exact copy of Red Hat's flagship commercial product - exactly the same, but free. The forums are nice and friendly and helpful too.

pljvaldez 08-05-2010 02:42 PM

Xandros was based on Corel Linux which was Debian based - So you may feel more comfortable with Debian, Ubuntu, or Linux Mint.

But PCLinuxOS, Mandriva, Fedora, or OpenSuse would all probably meet your needs. Go to distrowatch and due some research to find out what some of the strengths and weaknesses of each are. In the end, you're not going to know until you try one. But linux has come a long way since the last Xandros release in 2007.

Drakeo 08-05-2010 03:24 PM

look for a system that is transparent uses the KISS Method and does not rely on a thousand config programs to just edit a file.
It is out there take your time and read.

tiomoco 08-05-2010 03:34 PM

Try several "live" Linux versions. Browse I would recommend Ubuntu 9.10 because of all the reasons above mentioned and also because i use it. Good luck..!

gasdim 08-05-2010 03:40 PM

Now ubuntu is in edition 10.04 and alpha maverik is 10.10!! In your position i would select CentOS as you mentioned

ShelterWolf 08-06-2010 05:35 PM

thank you, everyone for your input. As you can imagine, I have a stone age system, therefore, I have only worked w/ stone knives and bear skins. With your help, I am a trog thrust into a linux future that keeps moving forward.

I believe one of the main reasons I stayed w/Xandros so long is that tech support was bending over backwards to help me when things went wrong (which happened a lot) - then again, they were always helpful AFTER their trademark long weekends (which happend a lot).

zrdc28 08-06-2010 06:57 PM

I am using xandros ubuntu & pclinuxos on three different computers. My personal opinion is that you are headed in the right direction going with pclinux. In about 20 to 30 minutes you will have a kde desktop that works with your hardware, plays music video working and on the internet.

ShelterWolf 08-07-2010 11:01 PM

WD Advanced Format Drive on linux
My new 1 TB SATA HD is optimized for linux kernal 2.6.34:

I don't know if this helps to narrow my choices because I have yet to examine the entire menu of linux flavors at distro watch.

A parameter that might narrow my choices might make most of you sad or even sick: I still want to have a dual boot system with WinXP Pro. I have had to use Windoze because Xandros has been so lacking. I have projects going in windoze apps, app specific projects like acid pro.

Therefore, I need a linux flavor that is easy to place in dual boot w/windoze, hopefully as easy as Xandros.

Since I like using Cinelerra and I only know of a cinelerra debian, I assume that I'm need a debian system. I could be wrong. Your guidance is deeply appreciated. Thanks in advance.

jay73 08-08-2010 01:56 AM


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