Which Linux Distro should I use?

Hey everyone, I’m bored this Winter Break from school with only work and the forums to keep me entertained. So I’ve decided on a little project for myself.

For a while I’ve been wanting to look at Linux and see what it can do. I just so happen to have an old (and when I say old I’m thinking at least 3-4 years) HP laptop laying around that I haven’t been using much.

I’ve been doing my reading (at least a little) on a few of the different distros out there and have picked a few out that seem to be the easiest for newbies to master based on what others have said. I think of myself as somewhere in the intermediate range on my skills with working with Windows. I know that they’re two completely separate ways of working, but I’m kind of hoping some skills will carry over.

Anyway, based on research I’ve downloaded and burned the ISO’s of the following distros

  1. Xubuntu Gutsy Gibbon 7.10
  2. PC Linux OS 2007
  3. Freespire 2.0.8
  4. Mandriva One 2008 (with drivers and plugins)
  5. Simply Mepis 7.0 (based on debian once again, instead of Ubuntu)

So far, Freespire has simply been the easiest. Everything loaded up and worked fine except for one small glitch with the wireless. Simply Mepis is still downloading. Mandriva and Pc Linux both seem ok at first glance.

MY PC: An HP ZV 5120

Microprocessor Intel Celeron processor 2.8GHz* Microprocessor Cache 128KB L2 Cache Video Graphics ATI MOBILITY RADEON 9000 IGP Video Memory 128MB DDR (shared)* Hard Drive 40GB enhanced-IDE hard disk drive (4200rpm) Display 15.4 inch WXGA TFT wide viewing angle (1280 x 800) display Fax/Modem Integrated v.90/v.92 56KB modem (RJ-11 connector) Network Card Integrated 10/100BASE-T Ethernet LAN (RJ-45 connector) Wireless Connectivity 54g Integrated 802.11 b/g Wireless LAN Sound 16-bit Sound Blaster Pro-compatible audio; internal Harman Kardon speakers

Note: I’ve upgraded the Ram to just over 1 GB

It’s not anything fancy, but it still works :slight_smile:

My offer: Pick a distro. If you want to, give a reason. At the end, whichever has more votes gets installed on my laptop. Simple.

For my sake, lets keep this simple. And friendly. I have seen users of one distro just outright bash the other, though I haven’t seen much of it it’s still there. So please, lets not do that here. We’re just better! :BNC

My reason for doing this is also simple: I take forever to make a decision such as this and in the end it usually ends up working out just fine regardless.

So… LET’S GET IT ON!

I can’t vote, i didn’t try those. I did try Ubuntu, and it is very good, so Xubuntu should be good too.
What can help you differentiate distros, apart from other things, is the desktop environment (GNOME/KDE/XFCE) and the package management (dpkg - Debian , rpm - RedHat ).
TRy them in a VM, then live cd (when available), then installing. Only the actual install will show you what problems you can encounter (video, audio, net). It’s all pretty much solvable though, whatever distribution you use (if you actually get problems that is, with older hardware chances are everything will be ok).

I use Debian, i started using it a few months ago, and it was my first.
I had problems with it, but solving them is a matter of searching the web. It’s not hard to use (in fact it was the first to use package management i think), and it’s both stable and safe.
If i wanted another, it would be Ubuntu (has a bit more automagic stuff :slight_smile: ), Debian based. But i much prefer Debian for a few reasons.

try xandros very easy like freespire,linspire and wireless is very easy to setup and get connected.ive been using it and like it

I was using Kubuntu Feisty Fawn, up until about 3 months ago. I switched to OpenSuse 10.3, and like it a lot. Easy to setup, nice package mangement, and “it just works”. Very friendly support forum, too.

I have pclinuxos dual booting with windows xp. It is working perfectly except that I couldn’t make it to connect to my wireless network using wpa encryption. But I recon it has to do something with my chip on the wireless adapter. With wep I didn’t have any problems. Oh and the beryl 3d desktop effects are awesome.

Hi. I’m planning to install Linux OS and have a dual boot with Vista. Which version should I choose ? Ubuntu or Kubuntu ? :THNK Now I’m a long time Windows user (and not a total noob here), but Linux is new for me, so please - bare with me (:SHY). I’m planning to use Linux mainly for browsing (for security) (:AGL). I would like it to be simple and tidy. Eye-candy is also welcome :SMLR
Thanx guys. (:WAV)

Hey Commodus, I ended up installing PCLinuxOS. I have it on two laptops now, one with PCLinux,on the entire hard drive and on another dual booting with XP. On this latest one it picked up ALL hardware with no problems (a Lenovo R60), and on the other one it took some work with my wireless driver and sound but nothing that a little research didn’t take care of.

It’s pretty nice with firefox stable, firefox latest beta (i think) and opera all in it’s repositories. As far as eye candy if you choose PCLinux OS 2007 compiz-fusion comes already installed along with firefox and almost all the other software you’ll ever want.

PCLinuxOS Minime 2008 is out now also. It’s bare bones install with almost NO software you’ll ever need installed (but plenty of it in the repositories, they boast over 7000).

Also, they’re forums are pretty helpful but make sure you search first before asking a question. They stress this a lot over there. Over there it’s a great distro, great for someone straight from Windows but still Linux enough for the average person. Check it out.

www.pclinuxos.com

They also have a magazine that gives a lot of helpful tips and articles that comes out monthly.

If you insist on the gnome desktop I think Ubuntu is a good choice.

Dave

Thanx psych (:TNG) I’ve installed Ubuntu at first, but I think it will be too difficult for me to get the network working, so I’ll try PCLinuxOS2007 and see if it will catch everything by default :SMLR So far - I like Linux (:CLP)

Glad to hear that Commodus, I personally prefer KDE to Gnome which is one major reason why I chose PCLinux. Also, I tried OpenSuse, Freespire, SimplyMepis, and a bunch of others but this is simply the only one that worked for me right out of the box pretty much. As a user fresh from Windows this was the best one for me, like I said before I think.

And I might add, I just made up the dual boot partition with XP yesterday and it is simply the best of both worlds right now.

Also, just to let you know there are quite a few users that frequent this forum that actually use PCLinuxOS as well. I’ve gotten quite a lot from here believe it or not.

Enjoy your venture.
Dave

I’ve downloaded PCLinuxOS 2007. Burned the iso at a quite slow speeds with InfraRecorder.
Booted. Selected my keyboard, language, you know stuff, and then the internet settings. Selected ethernet and … allright ! PCLinux found my SiS 191 Gigabit ethernet adapter :BNC So I selected next and… no go ! Install just froze…

Then I tried the following - selected cable modem - Linux again found my ethernet adapter and after clicking next - froze (:AGY)
Again - rebooted and this time I selected cancel (oh and before I checked the cd for corruptions - everything was fine).
I got to the LinuxOS desktop. Quite nice :SMLR But no sound. Ubuntu discovered my sound card out of the box.
Anyway…countinued messin’ around a bit with usuall things like where is the control panel,settings, etc.
Found out that I can’t change my internet settings in the desktop (:SAD) Can’t change my screen resoliution and best of all, when I tried to install the LinuxOS - it found out that there is no space allocated. But I did created a 30 gb drive for it :THNK

Any suggestions ? I connect to the network via the router, maybe that’s the problem ? And what should I do with the drive ? How to format it for LinuxOS ? Please help. I would like to learn how to use Linux. :SMLR

Thank you.

Commodus, I went through almost the same thing you are with the sound. Lets see if we can work through this.

I apologize for the lack of quotes (trying a new extension in thunderbird that lets me view this from the email itself, but no copy/paste apparently).

First, what kind of PC are you using? I’ve tried the following on both an HP ZV5000 model and a Lenovo R60.

Right click on the little volume applet (you know, the gray thing on the taskbar) and click on select master channel, then on the window that pops up click on master. Near as I can tell this is to make sure you are using the speakers or something. Not sure exactly, but it worked for me. Then right click on the same icon again and go to show mixer window. Go to settings, configure global shortcuts, and you can configure your keyboard shortcuts for the dedicated volume buttons (if you should have any) on your laptop/desktop keyboard. To do that just click on custom, press the volume button you want, and select ok. See if that works to get you sound. PCLinux recognized it both times for me, it just wasn’t configured right.

For the internet settings, are you familiar with the concept of root/superuser? In PCLinux to change the internet settings (I believe) you have to be logged in as root. Click on the blue icon, bottom left of taskbar with the wrench and ■■■■■ driver (I think) on it and type your root password (if you haven’t picked one its “root”). You can change internet settings under tab network and internet.
(If you are already logged in as root, you won’t have to enter the password, etc. and you should just be able to go in and do it).

This should be the same issue with screen resolution where you need to login as root. Unless of course, you are already.

If thats not it I’m actually not sure what the problem is as I was able to do it just fine. I’ll see if I can do a search on it somewhere and find out. In the meantime, someone else may know.

There shouldn’t be a problem with install. PCLinuxOS installer formats for you. I don’t have the installer on my desktop anymore, but there are plenty of tutorials out there to install for you as well as (I believe) a help icon on the desktop to guide you through it.

I’ll edit this with more detailed instructions, just let me dig up the live cd I have and I can go through it to see where you might be getting hung up.

Also, a few more things that might help you. key touch editor is a program in the repositories that might help you customize keys on your keyboard. Acme does the same thing and might be more helpful.

Linux (as I’m sure you already know) can’t install to NTFS which seems to be the default in Windows. Ext3 works well for this. Once installed on your hard drive I managed to get Linux to read and write to NTFS partitions. There is a way to do this in Vista to since you’re dual booting with Vista you said. Just do a quick google for it or else if you’re interested I can tell you the program I’m using later.

For Linux install make sure you give yourself a /home partition, a / (root) partition and some swap space along with your Vista of course. Recommended swap seems to be double your RAM. I’ve never even used the swap though so smaller might be ok.

EDIT Ok, found the livecd for installation. We have to be logged in as root for this. So get there, select the drive you want to format (hopefully its normal ide, sata) since thats the only one I’ve worked with. If you went to use existing partitions before and your drive was formatted in NTFS/another windows partition that might explain why it didn’t see it. Go to custom partitioning. Here’s where you have to be careful because I’ve erased entire disks by accident. For you, I’m assuming one part of your drive is Blue since thats where Windows is (I’m assuming you’re doing this on one hard drive). If you don’t already have a partition set up shrink your Vista one. Click on it, go to resize and resize as appropriate. Click on the other partition, then select type from the list at the left (may have to toggle to advanced mode), I’d recommend clicking on Journalised FS ext3 because thats what I did and thats what a lot of people recommend. From there you’re going to need partition that free space twice more by resizing the space that isn’t vista. Once you’ve done that you can go to mount point and select the mount points ( /, /home, and swap).

At this point make sure you like everything the way it is. I’d also recommend writing down the device (whether its hda 3, 5, 6, whatever and the size as it could come in handy. From there you can click on done and format your disks. Another helpful hint, to dual boot Windows it’s always been helpful to make sure that Windows is your first partition (at least that helped for me).

CAUTION: THIS WORKED FOR ME, MAY NOT WORK FOR YOU

At the boot loader screen I left the defaults and just made sure the bootloader went into the first partition available on the list. For me this was Windows XP since it was the first partition (why I said it might be helpful if Windows was first) and I just next’ed my way through. Restarted and there Windows was.End Edit

Ok, good luck. May the force be with you :BNC :BNC (:CLP)

Thank u for your quick reply :■■■■ I did some of the reading in forums about root and guest rights, about compiling thingy and so on.

But why the installer freezes after I check my internet adapter ? And there is no wizard on making and formating partitions in LinuxOS as it was in Ubuntu. It just says - I wasnt able to find free space or something like that … Now I’m trying to set back my hard drive as it was before the installation of Ubuntu. Managed to get rid of the Grub, formated, now I only need to know one thing. How to put those 30 gb of partitioned space back to the original drive, cos Partition Magic 8.0 doesn’t work on Vista (:SAD)

Then I will try installing Linux again :SMLR

Psych, maybe you know a link on where I could download LinuxOS ? Cos maybe that installer was corrupt ?

Man, your quick! See my reply above on partitioning, etc. Maybe that will help sort out the kinks.

I’m not sure why your freeze is happening though. It could be its trying to get access to the internet right away? Maybe try disconnecting your ethernet cord and see what happens.

For the install and to format partition etc, click on Install PCLinuxOS on the desktop and custom disk partitioning. From there you can follow what I said above I think. As far as it not being able to find free space perhaps your just clicking use existing partition and not doing the custom disk partitioning. That’s the only thing I can think of.

Managed to get rid of the Grub, formated, now I only need to know one thing. How to put those 30 gb of partitioned space back to the original drive

I’m not sure what you mean by this, could elaborate some more?

Psych, maybe you know a link on where I could download LinuxOS ? Cos maybe that installer was corrupt ?

http://www.pclinuxos.com/index.php?option=com_ionfiles&Itemid=28

I picked the Indiana site from there, but only because I’m in the U.S and it was the fastest.

I also used this program Check the Ubuntu Live CD File for Errors | Linux for Travelers

Except I found the md5 numbers for my install to check the cd for errors. As this is such a critical cd and components even one error can mess up your system (but from what your saying I suspect the cd is ok)

Dave

O.K. I’ll start from the beginning. English is not my primary language so … (:SHY)

As I said. I downloaded Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon. Burned with InfraRecorder. Then I made 30GB space for this installation. I used the shrink feature in Vista
Booted Ubuntu Live CD. Nice desktop. Neat and and I like that brown color :SMLR (Ubuntu discovered my sound card, but no internet, so I googled some info on how to compile SIS 191 drivers for Linux. Very difficult installation, long descriptions and lots of typing commands. If I only knew where to type them in the first place (:SHY). And since I had no internet on Linux, I had constantly boot up Vista for additional instructions. Annoying.

So I came here - to Comodo forums, cos I saw this thread and I knew that some smart dudes like Grampa and Leopard19 are usin’ Linux. (:WIN) Didn’t know that you too have been using it, cos you were mostly talking about CFP 3 and things like that (:TNG)

So here comes 1610 and says - "hey man there is another Linux distro much more like Windows :BNC
Googled some wallpapers - liked what I saw, liked what I read about it. Downloaded PCLinuxOS2007. Burned.

Tryed to install - no free space. No options. Logged as root. Then I thougt I have to get rid of Ubuntu. Got my Vista disk. Booted. Deleted the Ubuntu partition. Booted again. Grub error 12. Installed Ubuntu back. No Grub error. Booted Vista. Google. Removed Grub. Unninstalled Ubuntu. Formated the Ubuntu partition to NTFS. Want to put those 30 gigs back to where they were.

(:LGH)

Any help ? ;D

I’ve been very lucky using Freespire on a few laptops and a number of desktops (Yes I’m a PC ■■■■■■ :). Wireless is fairly easy using the KNetworkManager tool in the system tray (just click and all open access points will be listed). Another advantage is access to CNR.com

I've been very lucky using Freespire on a few laptops and a number of desktops (Yes I'm a PC ■■■■■■ Smiley. Wireless is fairly easy using the KNetworkManager tool in the system tray (just click and all open access points will be listed). Another advantage is access to CNR.com...

I have to say, Freespire worked for me, and worked well. On my older system it was clunky and I just didn’t like the feel of it at first, and as they first impressions count the best. In addition I liked the community out there for Texstars distro. I’ve read a lot of complaints about Freespire though and I think I have to give credit where credit is due, they’re doing a heck of a job and I think its a great, easy to use, easy to install distro. For me it just wasn’t what I wanted. As for CNR, I still crave that but I know I’ll never get it. :slight_smile:

O.K. I'll start from the beginning. English is not my primary language so ... Shy

I still understand what your saying. That’s all that matters. Heck, you speak better english than some people I know whose primary language it is.

As I said. I downloaded Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon. Burned with InfraRecorder. Then I made 30GB space for this installation. I used the shrink feature in Vista Booted Ubuntu Live CD. Nice desktop. Neat and and I like that brown color Smiler (Ubuntu discovered my sound card, but no internet, so I googled some info on how to compile SIS 191 drivers for Linux. Very difficult installation, long descriptions and lots of typing commands. If I only knew where to type them in the first place Shy. And since I had no internet on Linux, I had constantly boot up Vista for additional instructions. Annoying.

So I came here - to Comodo forums, cos I saw this thread and I knew that some smart dudes like Grampa and Leopard19 are usin’ Linux. Wink Didn’t know that you too have been using it, cos you were mostly talking about CFP 3 and things like that Tongue

So here comes 1610 and says - "hey man there is another Linux distro much more like Windows Bounce
Googled some wallpapers - liked what I saw, liked what I read about it. Downloaded PCLinuxOS2007. Burned.

Tryed to install - no free space. No options. Logged as root. Then I thougt I have to get rid of Ubuntu. Got my Vista disk. Booted. Deleted the Ubuntu partition. Booted again. Grub error 12. Installed Ubuntu back. No Grub error. Booted Vista. Google. Removed Grub. Unninstalled Ubuntu. Formated the Ubuntu partition to NTFS. Want to put those 30 gigs back to where they were.

Laugh

Any help ? Grin

So assuming you’ve gotten rid of the grub error you should be almost set. Try deleting the NTFS partition that was once ubuntu and just leaving it as unformatted space. Then start up the PCLOS installer and go to custom partitioning and see what you get out of that. I’m thinking one of the reasons its telling you there is no space is because you’re trying to use the NTFS formatted partition and it doesn’t like that. (In all honesty though, since you’re just going to format it into ext3 (lets say) there shouldn’t be a problem.)

Also, at what point are you getting the “no free space” error. Is it right when you start the installer or after you select one of the options (like custom partitioning, install next to windows, take over Windows, or one of the other ones). Just remember Linux can’t install itself on an NTFS partition. Thats a Windows deal only. If not, try their forums at http://www.pclinuxos.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=58

Are you trying to install this all on one hard drive?

How big is it?

There’s a great wealth of information there and people a heck of a lot more knowledgeable than me at this stuff, though I’ll keep on trying to help you figure this out any way I can. Don’t give up on it though, I think there can be a great pay off at the end.

Dave

“No Free Space” could also potentially refer to a lack of RAM. Officially, PCLOS2007 should work fine on a little over 300MB (if I recall correctly), but unofficially I’ve been told minimum of 500. I installed it on a box with 640MB and had no problems (other than sound card, print driver, and a minor confusion with installer wizard). Installer Wizard could be a bit clearer at one point, IMO; I think they left out some info regarding applying the formatting to finish the install, but don’t remember exactly.

Yoper Linux also looks very simple has a nice feel to it. Freespire/Linspire and Xandros are designed to be user-friendly to Windows users.

LM

Well it certainly couldn’t be due to the lack of RAM. I have 4 GB and even Vista spins nicely :THNK

Thanks Dave :■■■■ I will try again. I don’t want to be Windows-Dumb user (:WIN) I want to try something new.
Well honestly I would like to have a Mac. An iMac for example with Leopard OS X. I would use BootCamp and make a dual boot with Vista.

Leopard for work and browsing,Vista for games. :SMLR But Macs are so friggin expensive. And the upgrades for it too. (:SAD)

I could of course download a pirated version of Leopard and make a Hackintosh, but the performance would be poor and…it’s not fair :cry: I want LEOPARD !!! (:LGH)

No flames please ! :smiley:

I’d like a Mac to, so no flaming from this direction. But you’re right, they are kind of expensive.

"No Free Space" could also potentially refer to a lack of RAM. Officially, PCLOS2007 should work fine on a little over 300MB (if I recall correctly), but unofficially I've been told minimum of 500. I installed it on a box with 640MB and had no problems (other than sound card, print driver, and a minor confusion with installer wizard). Installer Wizard could be a bit clearer at one point, IMO; I think they left out some info regarding applying the formatting to finish the install, but don't remember exactly.

Yoper Linux also looks very simple has a nice feel to it. Freespire/Linspire and Xandros are designed to be user-friendly to Windows users.

LM
Posted on: Today

Interesting Little Mac, I’ve never heard of that error relating to a lack of RAM. Something to keep in mind next time.

Dave