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Help me pick my next Distro!

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Arkaine23

Captain Random Senior Evil
Joined
Nov 8, 2001
Ok, I'm still a newb but I'm no longer intimidated by the usual problems one has when unfamiliar with Linux.

At home I have a dual boot 2k/Redhat 8 box. I'm about to do an ftp install for a friend to switch him over from Mandrake 8.2 to Suse 8.1. At work, we're in the middle of upgrading the whole network to Gentoo 1.4. We also have Sun's with Solaris 8, and some Free & OpenBSD servers.

So I'm trying to cover the whole spectrum here. :D

Anyway, I'm putting together my 3rd home box- another XP 1600+. Not gonna be dual-booting windows on this one. What should I try? Debian? Slackware? I'm actually thinking I should try a middle-of-the-road distro, rather than the super-guru distros. But definitely not any of the mainstream- MDK, RH, Suse types. Any recommendations? I know I'm not making it easy... Whatever I use, I'll probably install apt-get, since I use portage at work and rpm on my RH box.
 
OP
Arkaine23

Arkaine23

Captain Random Senior Evil
Joined
Nov 8, 2001
Distro

Yeah, I was thinking debian or maybe LFS... but I forgot to mention time constraints. I generally have only 4 to 6 hours total in any given week where I'm at home and not asleep. So anything that has a long involved install process could take me a month or more to get going. Maybe I could take the box to work and put gentoo on it, but our custom gentoo install package for XP's in not finished yet since we hit a big bug yesterday. Obviously I need to get this rig up ASAP so it can fold! Maybe I'll settle for a pre-compiled distro and do something advanced in the future when I'm not working 2 jobs... maybe Suse will have to do for now...
 

moorcito

Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2002
Location
Chicago, IL
Despite the misconception that distros like Slackware or Debian are super-guru, they are really quite easy to install and configure. My first real linux experience was with Slackware, and it wasn't that hard to figure out, plus I've done installs in under 20 minutes.

One of the main differences between distros like Slackware, Debian, Suse, Mandrake, Redhat, etc. is that the Redhatesq distros tend to have gui/mouse installations, and the others have curses/command line installations. And for some reason if you have to install a distro by command line it all of a sudden becomes a super-guru distro, and everyone tells noobs to stay away.

LFS is good if you want to understand how Linux works from the inside out, but I think you'll end up spending more time on it than you have to spare.

Plus, once you've tried one distro, you've basically tried them all. They all have a linux kernel, X, gcc, basic gnu stuff, window managers, etc. Sure there are differences in where the scripts are located, and how they might start up, but they're almost all the same. They all come with installation CDs, so that if you want to you can do a basic install and then either install off the CD everthing else, or compile the programs that you want by hand. That's Linux, you can make it what ever you want, and many times that fact is over looked.

But in the end, since you'll probably use apt-get, I'd say just go with Debian.
 

PolyPill

Senior Member
Joined
May 20, 2001
Location
Germany
Off topic here, you said your whole work is using linux, solaris, or a BSD. Are you implementing any kind of groupware? If so what are you using or have tried?

I find low cost unix type groupware to be lacking in functionality.
 

Ghastard

Member
Joined
Mar 12, 2002
Location
Minneapolis MN
Debian. The apt-get feature is worth using debian alone. After a while, downloading, extracting, configuring, compiling, installing, etc. gets really tedious. With apt-get, a command like

apt-get update

followed by

apt-get install (package name here)

will install almost any package out there. There's great gui tools that go on top of it too. The best part:

apt-get update
apt-get upgrade

will search for new versions of all software installed, download new versions, and install them. I have played around with many many distros, but currently am using debian almost exclusively.

If you're pretty familiar with Linux and feel pretty comfortable using it, I highly recommend debian.
 
OP
Arkaine23

Arkaine23

Captain Random Senior Evil
Joined
Nov 8, 2001
linux

Settled for RH8 for now. I needed something I could install in an hour. In a few months when i quit my night job, I'll redo it and give debian a try.

The gentoo install we're tinkering with at work... seems like portage is like apt-get, except portage installs upgrades from source, so the compiling can take awhile.

Poly- I just started at this company and I'm more or less an assitant admin. Meaning its the end of the year and they have no projects going on, so I have 3 months to get trained. I actually just started with *nix. I'm not aware of any groupware. There are a dozen or so dually MP boxes that process their jobs (Magma software for designing computer chips), and a mail server, back-up sever, NIS server, DNS servers, ftp server, webserver, gateway, plus all the nodes.
 

Ghastard

Member
Joined
Mar 12, 2002
Location
Minneapolis MN
Gnufsh said:
portage is alot like apt-get, I think it is a little better, even. I'm prefering gentoo to debian right now.

Portage does have the benefit of being able to have specific optimizations for your specific architecture, since you compile each package, but on the downside, compiling can take a while. While debian packages may not be optimized, since they are precompiled, installation is much shorter.

I like gentoo a lot too, but in its current form, it's pretty picky about what hardware you are installing it onto.


If all you need is speed and simplicity of installation and setup, stick with RH or Mandrake for now.