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Old 2004-05-17, 18:41   #1
ThomRuley
 
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Default Good Linux distro for a beginner

I'm probably going to accidentally start a fight among Linux users here , but I was wanting to put Linux on one or more of my computers. However, I am a little confused as to which distribution is right for me. Based on what I have read, my current top choices are recent versions of RedHat, Mandrake, or SuSE. Keep in mind, I have been a DOS/Windows user for as long as they have been around (yes, I still remember how to get around in DOS). I am looking for something that is relatively simple, reliable, secure and overall hassle-free. Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 2004-05-18, 00:36   #2
Prime Monster
 
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I use RedHat, SuSE and Fedora Core, and have done so for a while. I haven't used Mandrake, so I won't say anything about that distro.
If you can get hold of SuSE 9.1 then that would be a very good starting distro for a Linux newbie. Fedora Core 2 is still fairly new, but also worth a shot. You can get a live-CD version of SuSE , which is a version to try it out without installing it to the harddisk.

PM
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Old 2004-05-18, 06:06   #3
Pablo the Duck
 
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I don't think we'll fight because Linux is all about choice. Personally I don't get on with Red Hat/Fedora. Suse was the distro that convinced me that Linux was a viable desktop system and remains a good newbie choice. If you buy a copy you get good printed manuals. The "Personal" edition used to be a good trade off between price and features. Lots of people like Mandrake but I've never used it. Nowadays I like Libranet/Debian. A friend of mine has just taken the plunge with Libranet 2.8 as his frist distro and, after exchanging a few emails, he seems to be getting along fine.

If you just want a text based sytem for mprime then Slackware has to be a consideration. It might be viewed as "hard" by some but you'll soon progress up the learning curve (and learn to RTFM!) Slack is a very "Unix like" variant so what you learn there is portable to other ditributions.

In end your attitude is the key. Remember: you did not learn Windows in a day. It might seem that way but there will have been many days of frustration, of asking friends, of uninstalling and re-installing. When I first made the move to Linux I found the differences extremely irritating. I was dual booting so whenever I hit a snag I re-booted into Windows. When I bought a new PC to run Linux, that much was better. After 6 months I removed Windows from my old PC and I've never looked back.

Now it's just the opposite; I have a couple of dual boot machines that I can access Windows on but I rarely bother. You'll need to be a little bit cautious when you buy hardware (but you'll have loads of money that you've saved on not paying for software so you can afford the odd mistake).

Welcome to the Darkside!
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Old 2004-05-18, 13:03   #4
Xyzzy
 
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Fedora Core 2 goes live this morning...

http://fedora.redhat.com/
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Old 2004-05-18, 20:50   #5
ThomRuley
 
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One more question. How compatible are different distros of Linux? If I were to create a file in Mandrake, could I access it in Debian or Fedora? Or is each distro its own universe? I'm a little confused about this point.

By the way, thanks for your help with which distro. I think I'll start with Fedora. If that doesn't work out, I might try Mandrake or SUsE.
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Old 2004-05-18, 23:47   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThomRuley
If I were to create a file in Mandrake, could I access it in Debian or Fedora?
Yes...
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Old 2004-05-18, 23:53   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThomRuley
One more question. How compatible are different distros of Linux? If I were to create a file in Mandrake, could I access it in Debian or Fedora? Or is each distro its own universe? I'm a little confused about this point.
I'm not a Linux expert, but I can comprehend the file systems they use. ext2 is standard but most distros also support reiserfs as well as the various FAT incarnations plus a handful of more obscure ones.
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Old 2004-05-19, 06:10   #8
Pablo the Duck
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThomRuley
One more question. How compatible are different distros of Linux? If I were to create a file in Mandrake, could I access it in Debian or Fedora? Or is each distro its own universe? I'm a little confused about this point.
With any mainstream Linux distribution you don't just get the operating system but a choice of GUIs, word processors, text editors, spreadsheets, web browsers, email readers etc etc. If you save text in a standard .txt file you should be able be able to read it in text editor on any operating system. Likewise, if you create an HTML document, a jpeg or a .wav file.

But some of the word processors use their own file format, if you tried to send someone a document saved in a Star Office (.sdw) format they could open it successfully if:

a) they had Star Office.
or
b) they had another word processor that could handle .sdw files. (e.g. Open Office.)

Otherwise they'd need to install a suitable word processor or you'd need to tell your word processor to re-save the file in a mutually acceptable format.

People send me Word docs and Excel spreadsheets all the time, I have no problem with them unless they're using macros. If I'm sending documents to some one I tend to stick to plain text (or HTML if formatting is required).

BTW - since you've clearly been around for a while - when you come to look at a text editor try installing Joe and feel all those Wordstar commands come flooding back to your fingertips. ^kh even gives you the old help screen! Remember Xtree? - Try typing "mc" in a terminal window. (Not sure if it's included the default Fedora package, you may need to install it.)
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Old 2004-05-19, 17:20   #9
Xyzzy
 
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In Fedora, as root, type:

yum -y install mc
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Old 2004-05-24, 14:04   #10
ThomRuley
 
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Thanks for your help everybody. I just installed Fedora Core 1 on one of my computers and there is an excellent chance it will end up on the other boxes. Having a little trouble getting mprime on there, but my brother (who introduced me to Red Hat) is going to help me with basics.
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Old 2004-06-23, 14:10   #11
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If you mostly care about free software, use Debian. www.debian.org

From the commercial distros, a good one I use is SuSE Linux 9.1 Professional. www.suse.com After installing SuSE, I never felt the need for Windows again.

I fell in love with Slackware from the first moment I saw it, but unfortunately the last version (9.1) is a bit outdated... :-( www.slackware.com

Last fiddled with by optim on 2004-06-23 at 14:10
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