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Old 02-22-2005, 04:27 PM   #1
nonoitall
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Yet another newbie wondering which distro is right for me


OK, I need a little help here (duh). I've never really used Linux before (except for about 5 minutes in school last year) but have done a little research and am very interested in it. I've read over the basic features of the common distributions, but I'm having a bit of trouble deciding which one is for me.

As far as my background goes, I've gotten pretty comfortable with the Windows XP feel, so something fairly comparable to that UI would make me feel right at home (though a bit of a change could be fun too). I'm going to be backing up all my stuff and reformating my hard drive so I can start fresh, but I would like to hang on to around 10 GB or so for a Windows XP partition on my hard drive, just so I can run the few things that I'll need that can't run on Linux yet. (So a distribution that can read an NTFS partition and hopefully makes it fairly easy to do so would be preferable, just in case I want to read a few of those NTFS files on the Linux side.)

Along those lines, do certain distributions of Linux work better with WINE than others? (Seeing the screenshot of StarCraft running in Linux is probably what made my decision to try out Linux final.) I'm also going to be installing a DVD burner on my computer to make backing up my stuff a little less time (and space) consuming and was wondering what distributions have good support for DVD burners/what DVD burners have good support for Linux.

And finally, I do mostly gaming, listening to music/watching video, and programming with this computer (if that makes a difference).

Do most distributions fit those needs, or is there a specific one or few that would work better for me? Thanks for the help, as it is much appreciated!
 
Old 02-22-2005, 04:45 PM   #2
Padma
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Most distros will do what you want. If you want a Windows-similar interface, use KDE - available in most distros.

My personal recommendation is Mandrake, but Suse, Debian, and Fedora are all good, too. (Others as well, but those are the "Big Four" when it comes to newbie-friendliness. )
 
Old 02-22-2005, 04:45 PM   #3
zonen
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I have been using Slackware 10.1 www.slackware.com and for gui KDE, it's really a nice gui, not to difficult to use, and great for learning linux, I recommend checking it out.
 
Old 02-22-2005, 05:00 PM   #4
__J
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look around here, there are countless threads about this pretty much everywhere.

my 2 cents,

since you have never installed linux before, I'd recommend a live-cd to start off with. Knoppix, Gnoppix, Slax, etc.. try one of those and see how well you adapt to it before partitioning and formatting your harddrive. They will be a touch slower than a native linux install, but if you don't like it life will be much easier for you to revert back to what you had originally ( just take the cdrom out of the drive and reboot ).

music, video, etc.. not a problem, once your chosen video/music player is set up correctly they play virually everything.

programming - depending on what you want not a problem. There are so many tools available that it's hard to comment on this unless you know what you want to do/get into.

gaming -- err... generally a problem. some games ( mostly by epic and id) have linux native versions. Others you can play with wine/cadega ( which is a commercial version of wine with a little added directx support) but it goes game by game on compatiblity. Also, this depends on your vid card.

And finally, ( all of this is my opinion only, by the way) as with trying any new O.S., go into it realizing you are going to have some problems. Sometimes you are going to have to troubleshoot, read documentation, edit a config file, etc... I'd suggest reading some of the post on this forum to get an idea of what you might encounter.

P.S. distro's - Mandrake, Suse, and Fedora Core are the distro's that most people that are newer to GNU/Linux seem to agree are more "Windows like" than others. There are countless distro's available, all have pro's and con's and meet different requirements. When it comes right down to it, anything one can do they all can do ( generally speaking). You just need to try some out and find the implementation you prefer the most.
 
Old 02-22-2005, 05:16 PM   #5
nonoitall
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Thanks for all the quick replies! So, do I have to worry too much about DVD burner support? (Sounds like pretty much all of the distros can handle most of them.) Thanks again, you guys helped me narrow it down really well.
 
Old 02-22-2005, 07:42 PM   #6
nonoitall
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Trying out Slax as I type and am hooked. Like you said, a little slow, but I'm amazed at how many features are offered on just a CD boot version. Thanks again!
 
Old 02-22-2005, 08:03 PM   #7
vectordrake
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Quote:
Originally posted by nonoitall
Thanks for all the quick replies! So, do I have to worry too much about DVD burner support? (Sounds like pretty much all of the distros can handle most of them.) Thanks again, you guys helped me narrow it down really well.
Not likely a problem, for the most part. If you will be working with large files, be sure to format your Linux partition with EXT3 or ReiserFS, as EXT2 has the same 2G filesize problem as FAT
 
Old 02-22-2005, 08:43 PM   #8
Basslord1124
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Really, probably all Linux distributions offer the same GUIs. KDE and GNOME are the big ones basically...I consider KDE more "pretty" than GNOME. If you do dive into Linux, don't be afraid to try both GUI's out. I have tried KDE myself....nice but I prefer GNOME better. So you can try multiple distributions and basically have the same GUI between them. The only difference between distributions is what's underneath...differences in commands, processes, etc.. And if you do find a distribution you like, stick with it. Changing will be somewhat of a headache b/c you may have to relearn some things.

I'm a Fedora user and have been since mid summer last year and love it. Normally for newbies Fedora/Red Hat and Mandrake are common names you will hear.
 
Old 02-22-2005, 09:48 PM   #9
tan_newt
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Use gentoo. It is not the easiest to install but it is good for learning. It also allows you to try virtually anything you want via portage.
 
Old 02-22-2005, 11:00 PM   #10
uman
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um, no, _don't_ install Gentoo. Asking a newbie to install Gentoo has a high chance to put them off of linux forever. It is not user-friendly at all and you have to wrestle with it to get it to the point where you have a usable system. This is especially worse for newbs. For example, how do you expect him to know that he should emerge xorg-x11 to get a windowing system, when he doesn't even know what x.org is?

That said, I have it installed and love it, but it's not for newbs.

Last edited by uman; 02-22-2005 at 11:01 PM.
 
Old 02-23-2005, 12:31 AM   #11
tan_newt
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True, but if they know gnome or kde and do an emerge gnome then it will install x.
 
Old 02-23-2005, 01:33 AM   #12
Wim Sturkenboom
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Re: Yet another newbie wondering which distro is right for me

Quote:
Originally posted by nonoitall
So a distribution that can read an NTFS partition and hopefully makes it fairly easy to do so would be preferable, just in case I want to read a few of those NTFS files on the Linux side.
Unless you're sure that you never want to write from Linux to the NTFS partition, split your windows section in 2 parts. NTFS for OS and applications, FAT32 for data.
FAT32 can be read and written by Linux, writing NTFS reliable from Linux still seems to be an issue.
 
Old 02-23-2005, 02:32 AM   #13
uman
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NTFS write support in Linux is not possible. I think someone, somewhere might be working on it, but as of now it's not possible

(By "not possible" I don't mean it's buggy, or don't use it because it's unsafe. I mean "not possible")

You can edit files, you just can't change their size at all. (IIRC)
 
Old 02-23-2005, 02:36 AM   #14
uman
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@tan-newt, that's a good point. I still stand by my statement, however, that gentoo is not for newbs. It's for us crazy folk
 
Old 02-23-2005, 03:40 AM   #15
nonoitall
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The shared FAT32 partition with a small NTFS partition just for the XP OS seemed a logical step to me too. I've already seen how Linux perceives different partitions, but am curious how XP will see its NTFS/FAT32 partitions. Am I right in guessing that they would just be treated like separate drives (each partition with its own designated letter)? If so, that brings me to the second question of how to set up user accounts on the FAT32 partition when the actual OS is on the NTFS partition. All the files that would need to be shared would be in the directories of the user accounts (typically "<drive letter>:\Documents and Settings\<username>",) so how would I set up XP so it could use accounts on the FAT32 partition (which is not the same partition that the OS is installed on)? Or would it just be better to have a single FAT32 partition for all the XP stuff to keep it simple? Sorry about all the questions - most of them don't even pertain to Linux, but I'm still a bit of a newbie in this area. Thanks in advance!
 
  


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