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Author Topic: Steven's handy desktop Linux guide  (Read 2034 times)
zridling
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« on: August 20, 2009, 04:30:15 AM »

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols provides a nice guide toward Linux choices. It's short, so I copied most of it over.


(Links at source.)
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With so many desktop Linux distributions, unless you're an expert it's hard to know what's what. Since I've been using desktop Linux almost since day one, and I've used every major distribution out there and many of the minor ones, I think I qualify as a desktop Linux expert.  So here's my quick and dirty guide to picking out the right desktop Linux.

You're sick of Windows, but you don't want to spend a lot of time learning Linux. If that's you, get a pre-installed Ubuntu Linux PC. Ubuntu is easy to use, and you can get ready-to-go laptops from Dell and System 76 among other companies.

You no longer want Windows, or you're not interested in 'upgrading' to Windows 7, on your business PCs, but your office is using a Windows-based server infrastructure. If that's you, you're in luck. While some people really dislike Novell for partnering with Microsoft, if you want a Linux desktop that will work hand-in-glove with Microsoft servers and AD (Active Directory), Novell's SLED (SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop) 11, is for you.

You want nothing to do with proprietary software what-so-ever. There are several desktop Linuxes that steer clear of any contamination from closed-source programs or drivers, and the Free Software Foundation has an up-to-date list of closed-source free Linux distributions. Of these, I like gNewSense the best.

On the other hand, if you want a Linux with some proprietary goodies, such as support for some Wi-Fi hardware or Windows media formats, you have two good choices. OpenSUSE, which like SLED, works well with the business side of Windows, and Mint, which is built on top of Ubuntu. I use both a lot and I can heartily recommend either.

If you want a Linux that has great community support, but is also right on the cutting edge of technology, Fedora is your distribution of choice. Fedora 11, I might add, is also an excellent distribution in its own right.

Finally, if you just want a Linux that works really well, let me recommend one of my personal favorite Linux distributions: SimplyMEPIS. MEPIS, which is based on Debian is remarkably stable, easy-to-use and full-featured Linux.
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jgpaiva
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« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2009, 05:17:45 AM »

Defining fedora as being "on the cutting edge of technology" is a giant understatement. What the author really means is "fedora frequently ships unstable software which will get you into trouble".
Unfortunately, not every user can tell that being "on the cutting edge of technology" will involve suffering with your pc every day.
I think it's this kind of guides that make the linux newbies make a wrong turn right at the beginning. You can't just give half of the information, if you're trying to help anyone that doesn't know enough to read what isn't written.

I also have a few doubts about fedora's community being better than ubuntu's (which isn't mentioned at all).
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urlwolf
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« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2009, 06:25:38 AM »

I followed up the MEPIS recommendation, but the reviews I found were lukewarm...
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hpearce
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« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2009, 06:37:21 AM »

I don't know why so many people like Ubuntu, when I tested out 4 distros, it came in last. For one thing, it is totally ugly and feels like it belongs in the windows 3.1 era or something.

I highly recomment Linux Mint for beginners. A write up recently appeared. http://www.makeuseof.com/...e-for-a-desktop-linux-os/
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« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2009, 09:16:54 AM »

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  I have used both Ubuntu and Mint, and while I prefer the aesthetics of Mint I still use the Ubuntu 64 bit edition which allows me to use more RAM in order to run VMWare to access my office for remote support.  64 bit Mint is usually a step behind the Ubuntu release schedule.  Regardless, it is great to see more people trying out Linux these days.
~Chris
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« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2009, 03:18:55 PM »

More articles/guides like this are needed. It's hard for someone who is curious about Linux and wants to try it out, but knows hardly anything about the OS to choose what distro to use.

What distro one chooses plays a major role in what kind of user experience the user will have & it's easy for beginners to get lost in the techie details and distinctions of each distro when they go to choose which one to run. It seems to be the first decision one must make on the road to Linux is also one of the hardest for the newbies to make.
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