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  1. #1
    Joined
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    Which distro to try?

    Right folks, I need some suggestions. I've decided to have another go at playing with Linux, after not touching it for a year or two, and I need suggestions of which distro to go for. In the past I've used Mandrake (several versions), Redhat/Fedora (which I don't like) and several revisions of SUSE. My first thinking is Debian 4.0, which I gather is just out, but I'm open to suggestions. Ubuntu is out though, purely because the hype annoys me. Yes, I'm that shallow....


    I'm not a complete n00b, but not far off. I'm not scared of the command line, but that doesn't mean I want to use it all the time, especially if there's a sensible package management system. The distro needs to be popular enough that googling will find me solutions to most problems. The hardware will be:

    XP3200+
    Abit NF7-S v2.0
    1GB RAM
    ATI 9800 Pro
    IDE HDD
    on-board sound

    The difficult one wll be the NIC: a Netgear WG311T wireless card. I'd prefer native support for that, but most distros seem to do without, leaving me to use MadWifi. I'm not worried about the terrible ATI driver support as I doubt I'll do much 3D work - it's really just trying to learn Linux.

    The machine will be Linux only, so dual-boot isn't needed. I'd prefer a distro with a fairly mainstream way of doing things.

    So - what do people recommend?


    M

  2. #2
    Joined
    Jun 2004
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    Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
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    71
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    585

    Re: Which distro to try?

    Why not have all of them?

    No law against sleeping with several Linux. You can enjoy an orgy by throwing Windows and other systems into the same PC. Go wild by choosing one to run a VMware too.

  3. #3
    Joined
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    UK
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    Re: Which distro to try?

    Well, you seem to have covered most of the major distro's in your comments.

    Whilst I too am very shallow and dislike a lot of the hype around Ubuntu, it still would be a good choice especially since you're keen on debian and Ubuntu is based off debian. It will also cover your requirements for googling solutions better than most simply because of the exposure it's getting plus you have as good a chance at getting things like wireless working in Ubuntu than anything.

    Fedora and Suse are also both good options too.

    I've not really played much with wireless but did manage to get my no name OEM wireless nic working by using the Windows drivers and NDISwrapper. Native support is always nice though when it exists. The rest of your hardware will be fine with any modern distro - I've run Fedora core 3, CentOS 4 and 5 on my NF7-S in the past.

    As your motives are to learn Linux, our usual advice of trying out a few distros holds particularly true (no one distro will ever suit everyone) - you'll learn more in the first few weeks installing and setting up than you will in the next few months due to the steep learning curve. So try out a few - debian, Fedora, Suse, Ubuntu and see which you like best.

  4. #4
    Joined
    May 2005
    Location
    Texas
    Age
    47
    Posts
    239

    Re: Which distro to try?

    I first tried PCLinuxOS 2007 and was pleased with it. I had some problems with sound on my laptop and got it sorted out. I never could get my wifi to work though. I was very happy aside from the wifi, it is based on Mandrake and has synaptic manager and I never had a problem with it. But, I switched to Ubuntu 7.04 Fiesty and everything worked... Almost.... Hardware wise everything worked. I had to do some finagling to get DVD to work and I am truly not that impressed with the quality. Other than that it is really simple to install and just works. It has Synaptic Manager as well as a software repository. I am ok over all with Ubuntu. This is my vast experience with Linux.... Keep us updated with what you choose and what you like/dislike.


    System Specs:
    1)Asus A8N32SLI Deluxe, Opteron 165, 4gb Crucial Ballistix BL2KIT12864Z503, Hitachi 160gb HD, DVD Burner, CD Drive, X-FI extreme, liquid cooling, Alienware Star Wars "Dark Side" case, Windows Vista Ultimate 64bit.
    2)DFI NFII Ultra Infinity, AMD Athlon XP 2500+ Mobile (AXMH2500FQQ4C), Sony AWG170S-B2 Sata DVD Burner, 1GB mixed memory dual channel, 160gb Hitachi Dekstar HD, Coolmax CX-450B PSU, Linux-Ubuntu 7.04 Fiesty.

  5. #5
    Joined
    Dec 2000
    Location
    Out there, just read my posts
    Posts
    5,473

    Re: Which distro to try?

    Well, you've knocked my suggestions down already - for ease anything RedHat based, Cent, Fedora.

    For Flair Suse.

    For Stability - Cent and Ubuntu.

  6. #6
    Joined
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Arizona's White Mountains
    Age
    73
    Posts
    3,630

    Re: Which distro to try?

    MEPIS 6.5 It just works.
    FRH
    If more sane people were armed the crazy ones would get off fewer shots.

    Win 7 Premium SP1 / MX 15 KDE / MEPIS 11

  7. #7
    Joined
    Mar 2004
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    Nchas,SC
    Age
    53
    Posts
    272

    Re: Which distro to try?

    Newbie here. I have tried a few releases myself and have been looking into release forums to see what kind of help or how much help was being offered.

    Ive run ubuntu and can honestly say I could make anything work that I needed to just by doing a search in their forums,except for my printer which doesn't work in linux.

    I'm currently running Sabayon now.Not as newbie friendly as Ubuntu and support looks like it would be alot less helpful.But everything worked after install.The only problem I had to figure out was audio on my tv card.The only thing I had to do is unmute something in alsa mixer.

    Sabayon installed nvidia drivers,drivers for my tv card,compiz fusion,codecs for video and dvd.All things i had to search for and do manually in Ubuntu Feisty fawn.I haven't tried the new releases yet.

    Sabayon is based on Gentoo and comes with Kde and gnome.It also compiles from source. Which can be very slow. They claim its better,less chance to bork up your system then binary packs.I do plan on installing new Ubuntu or Kubuntu on another hdd in the near future as well as try some other releases like maybe pclinuxos.

  8. #8
    Joined
    Dec 2002
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    70

    Re: Which distro to try?

    toadman:
    Your experience with Sabayon mimics my own. Very easy to install. Had some probs with the audio but eventually got it working. Compiz/Beryl with XGL worked right "out-of-the-box". All of the media "goodies" you have to d/l and search for under Ubuntu were already installed. The Sabayon forums could use more members, however, the Gentoo forums are very helpful to search.

    Except for a handful of crashes while playing the installed games, it was stable. After restarting "X", Sabayon picked up where it left off.

    Since you like Sabayon for the features that Ubuntu does not provide "out-of-the-box", you may want to consider LinuxMint's Celena (not the Light Edition). It's an Ubuntu clone with everything already installed. Furthermore, it uses Beryl instead of the newer Compiz Fusion. Beryl has more working plug-ins and is currently more stable since CF is still in development.
    DFI Expert Bios 04/06; Opty 165 (CCBBE 0615) 9x323/264@1.425Vcore 24/7; G.Skill F1-4000USU2-2GBHZ @ 2.6V; Sapphire X800GTO^2 (16p-stock); OCZ Powerstream 520ADJ; Air-cooled SI-120_Panaflo FBA12G12U 120X38MM @ 115CFM;

  9. #9
    Joined
    Mar 2004
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    Nchas,SC
    Age
    53
    Posts
    272

    Re: Which distro to try?

    I been trying to stick with Sabayon because it forces me to use the terminal more and I really need to learn how to use it.Still borking up things there.The only thing keeping me from dropping windows totally is I play one game,Guildwars.I always manage to get it to work within wine but never keep it working long.

  10. #10
    Joined
    Aug 2000
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    Vvardenfell
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    58
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    10,958

    Re: Which distro to try?

    Okay, an update.


    I've started gently, with Mandriva 2008. Apparantly I downloaded it via a time machine...

    Easy to install for a n00b - in fact too easy. It just asks you which desktop you want (KDE, Gnome, Windowmaker and one other IIRC) then loads a default set of packages. Later I discovered that this meant I now had the kernel for a laptop loaded! It also meant a lot of dev stuff like kernel sources were missing. Work was also slowed down by two different gfx cards going t*ts-up, leaving me with an old Leadtek Ti4600 with one fan removed (a blade had broken off it, making it very noisy).

    Of course the biggest problem was what I expected: getting the WG311T with its Atheros chipset working. Mandriva recognises it, and offers you a choice of Madwifi or ndiswrapper to get it running, but neither worked. I also had several tries at loading the Madwifi drivers from source but got nowhere. Turns out that I needed an extra command when installing from source:

    make clean

    before

    make

    (Does this mean that Mandriva already has a set of drivers?)

    Once I did that it threw up on a single error message about dependencies, but loaded anyway with modprobe. Mandriva was now prepared to configure it and after four days I could now get on the internet. It even loads properly when I reboot.


    M

  11. #11
    Joined
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Northern Ireland
    Posts
    354

    Re: Which distro to try?

    Get ubuntu, its gooood

  12. #12
    Joined
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    Re: Which distro to try?

    Quote Originally Posted by urbeg View Post
    Get ubuntu, its gooood
    ....

    Quote Originally Posted by Meridian View Post
    Ubuntu is out though, purely because the hype annoys me. Yes, I'm that shallow....


    M

  13. #13
    Joined
    Jun 2002
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    Anywhere but here.
    Posts
    4,513

    Re: Which distro to try?

    I may have to try Mandriva as I'm having no luck with my wireless card in Kubuntu 7.10. I figure it can't make things worse.
    R.I.P Brad (BWM). You will be missed.

  14. #14
    Joined
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    Re: Which distro to try?

    And after no more than three quarters of an hour I now have SETI up and running.

    A quick Linux/BOINC question: when I start BOINC, I get a window. If I close the window, BOINC stops, unlike with Windows where the process continues to run. How can I get either a) BOINC to start in the background on boot, or b) BOINC to hide itself so it's not clogging up the toolbar? This is the contents of .BOINCmanager if it helps:


    GUISelection=1
    Language=0
    ReminderFrequency=60
    DisplayExitWarning=1
    NetworkDialupConnectionName=
    X_Position=0
    Y_Position=0
    Skin=Default
    DisplayShutdownClientWarning=1
    DisplayViewType=1
    CurrentPage=1
    [ProjectsGrid]
    SortColumn=-1
    SortAscending=1
    [ProjectsGrid/Project]
    Width=150
    [ProjectsGrid/Account]
    Width=80
    [ProjectsGrid/Team]
    Width=80
    [ProjectsGrid/Work\ done]
    Width=80
    [ProjectsGrid/Avg.\ work\ done]
    Width=80
    [ProjectsGrid/Resource\ share]
    Width=85
    [ProjectsGrid/Status]
    Width=150
    [TasksGrid]
    SortColumn=-1
    SortAscending=1
    [TasksGrid/Project]
    Width=125
    [TasksGrid/Application]
    Width=95
    [TasksGrid/Name]
    Width=285
    [TasksGrid/CPU\ time]
    Width=80
    [TasksGrid/Progress]
    Width=60
    [TasksGrid/To\ completion]
    Width=100
    [TasksGrid/Report\ deadline]
    Width=150
    [TasksGrid/Status]
    Width=135
    [TransfersGrid]
    SortColumn=-1
    SortAscending=1
    [TransfersGrid/Project]
    Width=125
    [TransfersGrid/File]
    Width=205
    [TransfersGrid/Progress]
    Width=60
    [TransfersGrid/Size]
    Width=80
    [TransfersGrid/Elapsed\ Time]
    Width=80
    [TransfersGrid/Speed]
    Width=80
    [TransfersGrid/Status]
    Width=150
    [Messages]
    [Messages/Project]
    Width=115
    [Messages/Time]
    Width=145
    [Messages/Message]
    Width=550
    [StatisticPage]
    ModeViewStatistic=0
    SelectedStatistic=0
    NextProjectStatistic=0



    M

  15. #15
    Joined
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    UK
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    Re: Which distro to try?

    Quote Originally Posted by Meridian View Post
    A quick Linux/BOINC question: when I start BOINC, I get a window. If I close the window, BOINC stops, unlike with Windows where the process continues to run. How can I get either a) BOINC to start in the background on boot, or b) BOINC to hide itself so it's not clogging up the toolbar?
    There are two apps here to consider. Boinc is the command line boinc client that launches and controls the science app (in your case, SETI). Then there's boincmgr which is the GUI app.

    If you start the GUI app (boincmgr) and no instance of boinc is running, then I think it will launch it (boinc, that is), but as you've found when you then close the boincmgr window boinc also exits. If you launch an instance of boinc first in a command line window and then run boincmgr, boincmgr will monitor that running instance of boinc and won't close it when you close the boincmgr GUI window.

    I normally just keep boinc running in an open command line window (minimized to the taskbar). CD to the boinc directory, and launch with './boinc'

    If you don't want the window constantly left open, you can put boinc into the background and then close the window. Try the folowing... launch boinc with ./boinc &' and then press enter to regain the command prompt. Now close the command line window and boinc should still be running in the background. Another way of running boinc out of sight if it bothers you is to switch to a new terminal login (eg, Ctrl-Alt-F2), login, cd to your boinc folder and launch boinc with './boinc'. Then hit Alt-F7 to switch back to your GUI desktop and you'll see boinc running in the background.

    To launch at startup you'll need to either start it from rc.local or write an init script and put it in /etc/rc.d under the appropriate startup level(s). I've not tried this approach as I'd rather have the control of launching and stopping it manually.

    Hope that helps
    Last edited by Ned Slider; 10-26-2007 at 02:34 PM.

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