The trouble with Linux discussion is as soon as a distro is mentioned then there are 400 conflicting suggestions.
With all due respect Miles, that's not trouble. That's choice and informed opinion - which is what Linux is supposed to be about. Follow your own weird.
Mandrake/Mandriva has been a consistent no hassle distro since 2002, if not eariler. At any rate that's when I looked at 9.0. 9.1 they pretty much got the bugs out. Boot, choose, reboot, use.
Mandriva was a very rad and polished solution when it came out. Unfortunately, a series of bad business decisions and governance has put it in a very precarious position financially. Most informed people in the IT industry that follow Linux closely don't give it much hope of surviving long term. Here's one
of several articles that cover this issue. Do a Google search if you want to see more. Most are saying just about the same thing.
From the Mandriva website:
← Decision postponed
Not this time
Posted on January 30, 2012 by Jean-Manuel Croset_0
Unfortunately, the bid proposed by the external entity has been refused by a minority shareholder and we cannot go for this solution. Fortunately, the financial situation – far better than expected – allow us to search for a new way to solve the current issue until mid-February. We’ll be able to count on the help of the Paris Region Economic Development Agency for this important move.
With an uncertain future, Mandriva is not a good choice to start using at this point. Especially since it is a unique and independently maintained fork of RedHat and with it's own exclusive software repositories. If it goes out of business, it's pretty much over for it's users.
So short of the French government doing a bailout, it doesn't look too good for Mandriva since February is now something like the third sudden death overtime for this distro.
If someone wants an OS that is very "Windows like" they should run Windows. You can't get more Windows like than that.
Here's where we're going to have to agree to disagree. That
attitude has done a lot to hold Linux back. There is nothing wrong with different OS windows managers having cultural or visual similarities. Because under the hood, all operating systems do the same things. And anything that promotes someone's ability to move from platform to platform and still get work done can't possibly be a bad thing.
So while it may be cool in some circles to insist that Linux is so totally different from everything else
that you need to forget what you know about Windows (and all the skills you acquired using it) - the simple truth is that this argument doesn't hold water on the user level.
All modern windows managers
contain the same elements: windows, sliders, check boxes, cursors, icons, text boxes, radio buttons, spinners, a desktop metaphor, etc.
And guess what? They all pretty much work just the same. There are minor differences to be sure. But they're mostly just that:minor differences
I've probably introduced a few hundred people to Linux and migrated several businesses and organizations over to it over the years. Guess what almost everybody says? "Hey! It's a lot like Windows!" Wanna know why? Because it is
a lot like Windows. Especially if you use Gnome2. And even more especially if you use Mint.
I've booted a Mint live CD and told less tech savvy users it's a top secret beta release of Microsoft Windows which won't be coming out until late 2013. Then I turned them loose on it. Almost everyone could use it with no coaching after a little initial fumbling around getting used to where things were put. Most liked it. And about half thought it was better than Win7.
To me that's reason enough to start with something like Mint if immediate productivity and virtually no learning curve is your goal. You can always tackle Arch or Slackware later on if you want to get into the real (and fascinating IMHO) nitty-gritty of how Linux works. But in the meantime, you can get your work done and get as far away from MS Windows as possible.
Note: You probably can't BTW. Or at least I
can't. Which is why I will probably always keep at least one laptop running some flavor Windows. Mainly because there's some stuff you just can't run efficiently - or at all - otherwise. But I also have a Mac Mini for exactly the same reason. I don't have to like it. But I do occasionally need to use it. (I'm sorry Mom! But it's my job!)
I personally prefer the elegant xfce
environment for my window manager when I'm not working in a terminal session, which is where I spend about half my time. But I'm a geek so that doesn't count.
Right now, about the only people who are still insisting that their desktop and OS is fundamentally different and unique from everyone else's is Apple with OSX.
Feel free to believe them if you want to.
On second thought, with the advent of Metro
, Linux is
more Windows-like than Windows.
So much for labels, huh?
The point is that it's not Windows like. It's Linux like.
Maybe beneath the hood, and for a software developer, that's true. But for an enduser working off the desktop very much less so. I've studied a lot of OS and interface design. And I don't see it at all. So if someone can enlighten me about why it's "Linux-like" and not "Windows-like" on a non-trivial level, I'd be happy to hear it.
Anyway, enough of this nonsense. I've done this rant so often that even I get sick of listening to myself repeat it. So I'm gonna shut-up now.
The best advice I have for a new Linux user is to just start using something
- and keep your eyes and mind open in the meantime.
Oh yes - and don't forget to have fun.