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Old 10-13-2004, 02:43 AM   #1
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Registered: Oct 2004
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What distribution to get?

Howdy! So, a slight deviation from the usual "what distribution" question, but probably not enough :

My processor is: Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 CPU 1.90GHz

I need to be able to: Use my DSL connection and run the AIPS program

I was considering running Debian, but I don't even know what version of that to get... oy!

Thanks so much for everybody's comments!!
Old 10-13-2004, 05:32 AM   #2
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Registered: Oct 2004
Location: Birmingham, UK
Distribution: Fedora Core
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I've always used Red Hat (and now, Fedora Core 2). Fedora is a joy to use, very easy to install, good hardware detection, and lots of nice applications. It's a bit of a pain in some areas (e.g. Fedora doesn't contain any proprietary codecs, so you may find that you can't play mp3s as soon as you install). But I've got it working with a variety of USB drives, printers, wireless cards (I use a wireless ADSL router to connect to the internet, and connect to that from a laptop with a wireless card), etc.. It's also fairly cutting edge, so you get a 2.6 kernel, KDE3.2 etc., with lots of decent drivers.

However, what I'd recommend to make it really easy to use is to install apt4rpm (you can download it from see Run it from the command line with "apt-get mirror-select". Then configure it to pick up the Fedora Core, Extras and Macromedia repositories (this is straightforward, and apt4rpm will prompt you about what you need to do).

Next add the livna repository, which gives you all the multimedia goodies, like this:

cd /etc/apt/gpg
rpm --import /etc/apt/gpg/RPM-LIVNA-GPG-KEY

(basically, what we're doing here is importing the livna gpg key, so you can install their RPMs)

You then need to edit the apt configuration to add in the livna repository, like this for Fedora Core 2:

Edit /etc/apt/sources.list and add these two lines:
rpm fedora/2/i386 stable unstable testing
rpm-src fedora/2/i386 stable unstable testing

You can now upgrade your entire distribution with "apt-get update" followed by "apt-get dist-upgrade", and install packages like mplayer with "apt-get install mplayer". Very easy and stable. I also use synaptic as a front-end to apt4rpm, which is great if you're not sure what's available and want to browse.

As for software in Fedora: I use k3b for CD burning, grip for CD ripping, GAIM for instant messaging, Mozilla for email and browsing (with Flash and Java plugins), gftp as an FTP client, xine for watching DVDs, dvd::rip to rip DVDs, OpenOffice, the GIMP, Kate text editor, MySQL for databases, MyCC as MySQL front-end, Realplayer for Amazon audio previews, XMMS for mp3s/oggs, Konqueror file manager (I'm a KDE fan), Apache web server, Tomcat. This lot suits me: some of the applications might look a bit old skool, but they are stable and very flexible.

(Sorry if this is a bit abstract and/or not much help: I'm not sure what your level of experience with Linux is.)
Old 10-13-2004, 05:46 AM   #3
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Debian Sarge is the way to go. Or Slackware The two best as far as I'm concerned. If you want to try a Debian based distro, get the Knoppix live-cd and give it a try.

You also may want to try the LQ search feature. This type of question is asked seversl times a day. Take a look at
Old 10-13-2004, 10:38 PM   #4
Registered: Aug 2004
Location: Atlanta
Distribution: Slackware 10
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Well, if your new to Linux, I'd say get all the major distros, and try them all. True, this is time consuming, but it's really the only way to go. Not only will it give you experiance on using the diffrent styles of Linux, but you'll also get first hand experiance with each one you try so you can pick the one you like best. Asking which Linux distro in a forum like this is like asking a group of frenchmen what wine goes best with which cheese. It's basically all about personal preference.
Old 10-13-2004, 11:21 PM   #5
Registered: Oct 2004
Distribution: Fedora Core 2, Knoppix
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I agree with all of the above. No such thing really as a "best" distro, only a distro thats good for you. I recommend Mandrake Linux as you can download it and a ton of extra packages on 3 cds; installation is a breeze with the advanced graphic interface the distro provides. It took me only half an hour to get my system fully set up and running with just about every extra app. (My machine is an Intel pentium 4, 1.6 gigahertz, 256 megs of RAM) Mandrake Linux also has a program called Rpmdrake that allows easy installation of additional apps. Overall, I find that it is a super beginner friendly linux distro. I originally wanted to download Debian, but I had no idea how to go about doing that (mind alone installing it). Then, I tried Gentoo Linux, because I had heard great things about that distro: it was way to advanced for me. I got lost in all the technicalities of trying to configure my system for Gentoo. (I have a feeling that Slackware might present some of the same difficulties and frustrations...Just don't quote me on this ) So anyway, I scratched off Gentoo and went with Mandrake. Just for the fun of it, I think I might try out Fedora next. I'm really interested in the apt-get thingy. Good Luck Distro hunting and Welcome to Linux!


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