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Old 10-20-2006, 08:29 AM   #1
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Location: Sydney, Australia
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Recommendations for distributions

G'day everyone,

I have been running a custom-built desktop with WinXP for the past 4 years and have over time become sick and tired of the viruses, spyware etc slowing everything down. A recent enforced full reinstall of ALL my programmes was the last straw - when I upgrade next year I'm going to forget about Vista and migrate to Linux.

I've been researching the Wiki entries on this site, as well as the various distributions on Distrowatch and reviews on other sites, but the range is so dazzling I just feel lost! I'll try and describe what my needs on my new computer will be in the hope that someone might be able to offer some advice:
  1. Multi-language capability. I use my computer to do stuff in Italian, Chinese (simplified) and Korean, apart from English. I thus need to be able to input and display text, view websites etc in these languages as well as possible.
  2. Entertainment. I plan on using my computer as my primary entertainment device (DVDs, music, TV), so preferably I'd like the distribution to have as much support as is practical.
  3. Hardware support. I was planning on getting a laptop, but I have recently seen some apparently excellent desktops that seem to do what I want. If I were to get a laptop, it would definitely be a brand-name computer like Asus or something, but if I got a desktop it'd probably be custom-built again. As a result hardware support will be something important. I've also noticed that often Linux distributions have problems detecting some laptop-specific items (wireless cards etc). Is this something that is such a drastic problem that I should opt for the desktop on the grounds of a better chance of hardware support? Or does it really make no difference and I'm going to have initial hardware teething problems whichever way I go?

While I'd still call myself a newb to Linux, I have had some exposure to it and programming in general through university, so I would consider myself relatively technologically competent

I realise this is a long post, so I thank you for your patience in reading to this point. I would be most appreciative of any suggestions or advice you might be able to pass on.

Many thanks in advance.
Old 10-20-2006, 09:17 AM   #2
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Registered: May 2004
Location: Albuquerque, NM USA
Distribution: Debian-Lenny/Sid 32/64 Desktop: Generic AMD64-EVGA 680i Laptop: Generic Intel SIS-AC97
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Stickied at the to of the "Distributions" forum is the SuperMegaThread where all queries of this nature are merged. This one has benn reported for inclusion. Most of the major Distros will fill you needs.
Old 10-20-2006, 11:17 AM   #3
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Start with any of the free distros that appear in the top 5-10 listed at Distrowatch. I doubt if ANYONE stays with the first one they try. When you see what one will/won't do, then you'll know better what to look for.

Just went thru the drill of getting Linux on my compaq nc8000 laptop. Ubuntu 6.06 worked 100% out of the box. Demo version of Xandros also worked.

My current favorite is Mepis 6, but it did not work on the laptop. Another very good choice is PCLinuxOS
Old 10-20-2006, 12:30 PM   #4
Registered: Jul 2005
Distribution: Fedora fc4, fc7, Mandrake 10.1, mandriva06, suse 9.1, Slackware 10.2, 11.0, 12.0,1,2 (Current)]
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try Mandriva 2006/7, Fedora FC5, or Ubunto... these are pretty competible distribs..

you can download all of them from

goodluck and welcome to, feel free to ask any question :]#
Old 10-20-2006, 02:28 PM   #5
Registered: Jan 2004
Location: East Central Illinois
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I tried Mandrake (now Mandriva?) as my first foray into Linux, and I thought it was okay. I've since moved on to Fedora Core (I've used versions 3, 4, and 5) and like the latest version a lot.

Good luck!

Old 10-20-2006, 02:38 PM   #6
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Use Ubuntu if you're a novice to beginner ... the package manager's it comes with by default are superb (apt-get, synaptic) and hardware compatible is excellent. I only had to install one package on my new dell laptop to get it to recognize 1280x800 resolution.
Old 10-20-2006, 02:43 PM   #7
Registered: Jul 2005
Distribution: Fedora fc4, fc7, Mandrake 10.1, mandriva06, suse 9.1, Slackware 10.2, 11.0, 12.0,1,2 (Current)]
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Originally Posted by griffey
I tried Mandrake (now Mandriva?)

but the new versions (mandriva >=2006) are much more hardware competible :]
urpmi is a great tool aswell...
Old 10-20-2006, 07:20 PM   #8
Registered: Nov 2005
Location: Townsville, Australia
Distribution: PCLinuxOS .93 Junior
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PCLinuxOS .92

This is the distro I use and recommend, Why because it works right out of the box. No need to configure Everything, everything just works. It also comes as a 1 CD install that is a live CD that you can install later if you wish.

Linux Distro choosers

Old 10-20-2006, 07:53 PM   #9
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Everything out of the box??

Beat this

3+GB of insane software
Old 10-21-2006, 08:24 PM   #10
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Thanks very much for your suggestions.

I'm just a little bit worried about the foreign languages issue. Very few of the distributions (according to DistroWatch) have foreign language support, and even fewer have both foreign and Asian language support. Also, having read some of the distributions' user forums, people seem to be finding it difficult to get (especially Asian) language support to work. Is this a very difficult/finicky thing to do? How do distributions get non-English language support to work in general?
Old 10-21-2006, 09:09 PM   #11
Registered: Aug 2005
Distribution: Ubuntu Intrepid and Meerkat, formerly used Debian 3.1 (Sarge) with Gnome Desktop
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Hi DaXiuyi,

Personally I would recommend Ubuntu. However, the Linux distribution chooser Wizard may help you. Take the test at:

Old 11-02-2006, 01:01 AM   #12
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Location: Sydney, Australia
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Thanks heaps guys!

I'll keep looking and researching things a bit more, but I'll keep in mind the help you guys have given me and pointed me to.

Will let you know what happens in the end when I tak the plunge :P


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