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Which distro for somebody learning linux

Posted: Tue Feb 28, 2006 6:32 pm
by Trem
Hello everybody

After trying a couple of distro’s out late last year and pretty much giving up after not being able to figure out how to get wireless to work, I have had a second wind and decided that it would be beneficial to me to learn the ropes.

As a complete beginner using linux are there any distributions that you could recommend as being more user friendly or ones to stay away from, also if anyone had any tips that would be great

my pc spec is AMD64 Athlon 4000+ / ATI X800XTPE and 2 gig or ram if that is of any relivence.


Posted: Tue Feb 28, 2006 6:39 pm
by Maniaman
I personally like Fedora. I have heard good things about Ubuntu, but I've never tried it.

Posted: Tue Feb 28, 2006 7:46 pm
by Master of Reality
For a beginner I would recommend Fedora, or Kubuntu. (in fact i just made a system for someone, put fedora on it, and am now going to switch it to Kubuntu).

Theres only two complaints I have with Kubuntu:
1) The systems settings window is stupid (the K control centre is way better/easier).
2) Theres no root account kinda.... as in you cant login as root anywhere, sudo is used for the root commands with the users password. I don't understand it yet, so i'm not sure how secure it is this way.

When i installed Fedora there seemed to be quite a few things left for me to do after the install. ie install apt, java, mp3 support, and some other things.

The real difference between the two is the packages used. Either rpm with fedora and deb with Kubuntu. I dont really know the low down differences so i have no comment on them right now.

Posted: Tue Feb 28, 2006 8:49 pm
by Void Main
Also, you mention you had trouble with wireless. One thing you have to get used to is checking the chipsets on all your hardware and researching for it's compatibility. I use the Linksys WPC55AG cards (I have 3 of them) with the madwifi drivers (Atheros chipset) on a few of my laptops. I also have an HP laptop with a built in wireless card and use the ndiswrapper with the native WinXP driver (It's not on at the moment and I don't remember what chipset it is off the top of my head). I have used Red Hat and Fedora (currently Fedora 4 on most of my machines) since Red Hat came into existence. Fedora Core 5 is due out in about 2 more weeks.

EDIT: I just remembered I wrote a thread about that HP laptop and how I got the wireless driver working with WPA encryption: ... php?t=1666

It's a Broadcom BCM4318 chipset.

SuSE 10

Posted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 4:11 pm
by dickinsd

It's been a while since I posted here (although I do stop by fairly often to see what's happening).

Anyway, to the point. I absolutely love Fedora. There's a long story there that I won't go into, it's just fair to say that I used to tinker with Linux - found it a little hard for me to get on with so returned to Windows, then about 18 months or so ago I decided to try the Linux scene again and the first distro that 'worked' enough for me to be happy with it was Fedora Core 2 and I have struggled to find anything that can top it yet.

However I have tried loads of distros' in those last 18 months. I think for simplicity; you can't beat Ubuntu. I think the install is great and lots of things work very well out of the box, no tinkering just install and go.
Fedora seems to be getting better at this (for me at least), and the current FC4 supported all of my hardware including my wireless card, right from the off. Unfortunately I know of many others that are still having issues with getting certain 'Designed for Windows' hardware to work.

I've also tried SuSE and so comes my recomendation. Although it is not my favourite flavour; I think SuSE Linux 10 is excellent for new commers. The installation is painless, and so far it has worked with every piece of Wireless hardware I have tried, right from the get go. (This includes internal wireless h/w from Intel on a friends laptop).

Now although I personally don't much like YaST, it does seem to do a very good job. I honestly think you can't do much better than SuSE to start with.

I've tried loads of distros, and at the end of the day choice comes down to personal preference; but if you're looking for suggestions then I'd start with SuSE, then try Ubuntu or Kubuntu (If you prefer KDE) and then my personal favourite; Fedora Core.


(I listed Fedora last; only because this distro has made me think about things more than the others - but perhaps thats why I like it. And of course if you don't mind trying to sort out *possible* problems with hardware then places like this excellent forum can usually help)

Posted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 5:12 pm
by Trem
Hi all

Thanks for the replys , since my original post i have tried mandriva 2005 limited edition , mandriva 2006 and fedora 4 which i probably prefer the most.

I did try kubuntu but the install didn't go quite according to plan like the others had previously and i ended up wiping the xp i had as a dual boot and messing the partitions up,leaving me with a freshly formated harddrive :oops:

I'll carry on, and proably end up using fedora when they bring the next release out in a couple of weeks,i had a free trail of xp pro 64 lying around so i have put this on to keep me going allthough i think it can be just as difficult to find the right drivers for this as any linux distro i have come across yet.

So far i have learnt that my wireless card should work fine even if it means using ndiswrapper and that the people that make my tv tuner card have just realeased linux drivers for it ,i'll get there in the end its been harder to get used to and pick up then windows but a a lot more satisfaction to be had from acutally have to a little work to get something to work.


Posted: Tue Apr 04, 2006 11:59 am
by X11
Ubuntu sucks, don't touch it with a 100 foot pole ever, I have used it. It is the biggest piece of crap on the earth. I wish there was a new version of the GPL that Torvalds could use to give him the power to abolish the distribution of the system, I hate it that much I'd like to make a Benevolent Dictator for Life even more damn Benevolent!

I would suggest FC5, it is great, it isnt that hard to install, its pretty damn easy to use as well. It is straightforward, there is reasonable documentation, and there is this forum to help you as well :P.

But seriously do not waste your time with Ubuntu. It has this terrible lockin problem, and I have noticed it with Ubuntu noobs a million times, they use it, then they get interested in something remotely technical, and are baffled by the distributions lack of ability to be configured in a (sain) manner. Then they move to something else and cry over what is considered a typical linux distro (and that does not mean difficult). Ubuntu will kill your brains in the same way, learning Visual Basic will rape you when you try to learn a language like C, or C++.

Ubuntu isn't for people new to Linux, it is for idiots, if you are lacking the intellectual capability to do simple tasks (a task I could compare with using Linux, is something as simple as cooking, if you forget what to do you RTFM (Read the F***ing manual).

Another distro I hear is very good is SuSE.

Oh and another note, try KDE and GNOME, try variations in things when you are new to Linux, that is one of the good things about it, it brings a lot of choice to the user.

Yeah, I can go on all day.

Posted: Tue Apr 04, 2006 8:53 pm
by Void Main
Heh heh, so I take it you like FC5? :)

Posted: Wed Apr 05, 2006 2:25 am
by X11
Yeah, quite a lot really. Don't mind slackware either, or debian, but FC5 seems to work quite well.

Posted: Thu Apr 06, 2006 2:32 pm
by Jenda
I love Ubuntu.
It fits all the needs of a stupid user, thank you very much, X11 :)
It's available, custamisable, easy - very easy, if that's what you're looking for, and Dapper (out june 1) should really be something.
The best part is the community, although once you know this place, you can never ever get lost in linux... unless you lose your internet connection or get abducted by micros... errr - aliens.

ON a side note: hello Void, X11, MoR, possibly other familiar faces - i'm too busy to be around too much, and when i am on the puter, i give the time to teh Ubuntu Marketing Team or Wikipedia :)

Posted: Thu Apr 06, 2006 7:36 pm
by Void Main
Very cool! Good to see you on here again Jenda.

Posted: Fri Apr 07, 2006 7:40 am
by Master of Reality
wow.. did i recommend Kubuntu up there... After using it for the past semester at school I retract my recomendation of it. Fedora Core all the way for beginners (Debian once you get past that)

Posted: Fri Apr 07, 2006 11:24 am
by Jenda
Hmm... sorry to hear that. What did you not like, apart from the control center?

Thanks Void - good to be back, if back it is :)

Posted: Fri Apr 07, 2006 12:15 pm
by Master of Reality
well we were going to do a kernel recompile, maybe i just dont know what im doing, but its not working.

First came up with couldnt mount rootfs (so then i made an initrd, although anything i needed should have been in the kernel anyway). Now its trying to tell me it cant find modules.dep because there is no hda2.
Usually i would think this is because i forgot to add the root filesystem (ext3 in this case) support into the kernel, but i double checked and its there.

I found 64M of ram is not enough to run adept, (i wouldnt know if it is enough to run other package manager GUIs. ie. synaptic, pirut)

When i right click on the clock and go to set date and time, nothing comes up at all. Theres a few other nuances like this that annoy me.

I get the impression that the distro has been rushed.

Also wasnt there a little slip in the earlier ones where the users password was kept in plaintext in a world readable file?
..that kinda puts me off.

Posted: Fri Apr 07, 2006 2:07 pm
by Jenda
I must say that's not exactly a thing that should turn away a new user, nor a non-techie user, such as my-self (well, i'm half way, i guess).
Unfortunately, i cannot dignify most of what you said with a proper response, since it means nothing to my n00bish self.

There was, however a possword issue, but it's solved now, I believe. I can only say - oops happens. That was a serious mistake at the least.
There are little things that make it look rushed - because Breezy was rushed. That's why Dapper has been put off for a while. I myself don't whole-heartedly agree on the hard planned release cycle but what can you do...? well, choose, of course :)