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Old 12-22-2004, 08:56 PM   #1
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So many versions

I'm hoping to get into Linux, but there are so many versions to choose from.

I was wondering if someone could explain, or point me to a guide that explains, the differences between the major versions, and the benefits they have over each other.

I'm probably going to start out with knoppix to avoid problems configuring linux, and then move on to whatever you guys suggest.
Old 12-22-2004, 09:05 PM   #2
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If you're new then I'd suggest SuSE, Mandrake or Fedora. In that order
Old 12-22-2004, 09:07 PM   #3
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Most first-timers do pretty well with a RedHatesque variety of Linux: Mandrake, Fedora Core, or Red Hat. There are lots of software packages for all of those distros and they are fairly user friendly.
Old 12-22-2004, 10:12 PM   #4
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Dear Antilocust,

I started out on Red Hat 7, then moved on to RH9. Right now, I have Fedora Core 3 installed and working. I have always been partial to Red Hat. But, Suse and Mandrake are also very good. I used Suse for a while and found it very easy to use, as long as everything installed properly. If you want trhe best hardware support, Fedora Core/Red Hat are known for having tried to test every piece of hardware under the sun. FC/RH is the distro with the least hardware probs from what I've heard, so I would give Fedora Core 3 a try.
Old 12-22-2004, 10:39 PM   #5
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Take a look at -> major distributions

Old 12-22-2004, 10:51 PM   #6
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In the past, I've had the best luck installing Mandrake on my hardware when SuSE and Red Hat wouldn't. SuSE has gotten better after 8.0.

The downside of this is that Mandrake has patches in the kernel, so if you are a purist, this might be a problem.

SuSE has a KDE style similar to XP. Mandrake does a good job of applying menu changes also to the other window managers like gnome.

SuSE uses setup scripts that run to apply changes you've made to the /etc/sysconfig configs, and you need to run /etc/SuSEconfig after making changes. This may mean that you have to make changes the SuSE way, and you won't be able to alter some standard setup files in the /etc directory directly lest a later run SuSEconfig changes them back. This may also mean that you can't use both YaST and Webmin.

One difference that I noticed is that SuSE give users the default group of 'users'. If you don't change the default, one user can read another users files. Mandrake creates a new group of the same name as the user name and uses that as the default group for new files.

The three distros that you mentioned all are RPM based. This is the packaging system that keeps track of program versions that are installed or available to install.

I believe that all three are good at supplying security patches. This is an advantage of using a distribution. Otherwise you'ld have to keep track of this yourself and manually apply patches yourself.
Old 12-23-2004, 01:37 AM   #7
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There are also "Live" cds available, where you don't actually install to your hard drive, so you can test them out without actually touching your computer's configuration.

I know Mandrake has "Mandrake Move 2.0" and SUSE has "Live Eval", I'm not sure if there is a live CD of Fedora around...

Actually there are a lot of Live cd's for different distrobutions, so if you have the patience to download each live cd and burn it to try it out before you install a particular distro, you would save some time of installing a bunch of different distros and a lot of cds (1 for a live version, 2-4 for most full versions)

I didn't go that route, so I have cds around for slackware 9 & 10, Mandrake 9, 10, and 10.1, suse 9.2, fedora 1 & 3, debian, and ubuntu, heh, probably about 25 CDs or so


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