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newbie to linux.. :)

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Vncent_0

Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2004
Location
Virginia, USA
hey everyone, I've been wantin to learn how to use linux for a while, and hopefully I'm finally gonna get around to starting. I have a few questions though, I've read the stickies, but theres alot of information to start out being completely new.. what distro would you reccomend for a complete newcomer to Linux--one to learn how to do the basic stuff, easiest to get/install, all that stuff :). Anyway I'm sure people will have different opinions on which is better for which, but just looking for suggestions. Also, I know you can download Linux, but how long does it take? or does it normally take multiple CDs.. or..? as always, any help would be greatly appreciated, thanks
 

Arkaine23

Captain Random Senior Evil
Joined
Nov 8, 2001
www.linuxiso.org and www.distrowatch.com are good places to begin your search for a Linux distribution that fits your needs.

A distribution of Linux needs only be 1 CD, however some are as many as 3 CD's and have additional CD's (as many as 7 or 8 total) that include the source code for all the software included.

All Linux is the same really, deep down. But for a newcomer, some distros certainly offer advantages.

1-CD distro's for a beginner that run "live":

Knoppix- This distribution is meant to run off a CD and has many cutting edge features. It can also be installed quickly and easily. It is an excellent commitment-free way to demo Linux for the first time, and as one grows into Linux, Knoppix can become an excellent utility for rescue and recovery. Being based on Debian Linux, Knoppix comes with a powerful tool for managing software installation and updating, called apt-get.

Overclockix- This is a custom version of Knoppix made by me. It's main features are the inclusion of stress testers and requested software such as the mozilla-firefox web browser and thunderbird email client, mplayer (a movie player), and many others.

Barnix- I recently have extended a helping hand to the develpoer of this Knoppix-based distribution. Barnix uses the XPDE desktop environment by default which is a GUI for Linux that emulates the look and feel of Windows XP.

All three of these distributions and the many dozens of other custom Knoppix's are a good way to dip your foot in the pool that is Linux. These are single CD downloads, and they do not require installation to run, but can be installed easily if you desire.


Multi-CD distros:
Fedora Core 2, Mandrake 10, SUSE 9.0- These are all excellent mainstream Linux distributions for a beginner.


Hardcore:
Gentoo, Slackware, Debian
These three distributions are hailed above others by long-time Linux users. Their installations methods are a bit more difficult than those previously listed. Debian has a new, easier installer though, while Gentoo and Slackware have excellent documentation and guides for their low-level, all text-based installation procedures.
 

rogerdugans

Linux challenged Senior, not that it stops me...
Joined
Dec 28, 2001
Location
Corner of No and Where
I highly recommend Overclockix for a first venture into messing with linux:
Nothing need be installed to your hard drive and yet you have a complete and excellent distribution of Linux to investigate/get used to.

Once you decide you want to install linux on your pc, one of the other distros would probably be better-Knoppix (and therefore any distro based on it) CAN be installed to the hard drive, but parts of how it is configured can actually make it harder to do some things with that way....

Personally, I use Fedora Core on most of my linux machines: Core 1 on two, and Core 2 on two more. I think it is an excellent place to start, and not a bad place to stay either. :D
It is pretty bloated by default though, and has about 2 million things running that you do NOT need! :D

Slackware is another excellent choice, but for slightly different reasons: it may be the most "standard" distro in common use....It tries to be the most "Unix-like" distro of linux, so the programmers pretty much stay away from distro-specific code and methods. The install is pretty simple and it does a good job....but you do need to partition the drive yourself- at least in Slack 9.1. (I've heard that 10 is out, but haven't looked myself.)

Gentoo is......the fastest, best performing distro I have seen.
Also the hardest to install- still a "geek-only" distro in my mind: you have to either already know a good bit about linux, or REALLY want to learn it to complete an install....successfully!

I have messed with quite a few other distros- Mandrake, Debian, SuSe, Arch, College....and a few more as well, but those are the ones that I like the best.
 
OP
V

Vncent_0

Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2004
Location
Virginia, USA
thanks for the replies all, ill read up a little more around the forums and on the different websites and hopefully try somethin or another out soon :) thanks for the input
 

bullet2binary

Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2003
everyone is going to have a different reccomendation... but my suggestion is mandrake linux. it is a 1 cd install (if you install with defaults), has excellent compadibility with hardware and comes with plenty of pre installed apps, if you're lloking for that. i found it a very comfortable distro, i liked it tons more than redhat.. which is just a mess if you ask me. so as a starter distro, mandrake is perfect, for me atleast. thats the beauty of linux though... there's so many variations to suit everyone's taste.

the most popular around here seems to be debian, but thats a very tough one to start on - i couldnt even install it :eek:
 

rogerdugans

Linux challenged Senior, not that it stops me...
Joined
Dec 28, 2001
Location
Corner of No and Where
bullet2binary brings up a very good point- one that I usually mention myself but spaced out. ;)

There are a LOT of distros and many may not suit your taste....that's ok because there are plenty more. :D

My also-usual Mandrake note: I like what little I have seen of Mandrake, but...it doesn't like me!
Over the years I have had NO version of Mandrake install for me until a few short months ago, and I have tried many times. The recent install that DID work was unstable and was replaced withing days.
I don't understand why...it IS a good and popular distro, and I have few problems with other distros....
Such is life- I only have about 999 other distros to choose from. ;):D
 

bullet2binary

Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2003
rogerdugans said:
bullet2binary brings up a very good point- one that I usually mention myself but spaced out. ;)

There are a LOT of distros and many may not suit your taste....that's ok because there are plenty more. :D

My also-usual Mandrake note: I like what little I have seen of Mandrake, but...it doesn't like me!
Over the years I have had NO version of Mandrake install for me until a few short months ago, and I have tried many times. The recent install that DID work was unstable and was replaced withing days.
I don't understand why...it IS a good and popular distro, and I have few problems with other distros....
Such is life- I only have about 999 other distros to choose from. ;):D

mandrake is actually one of the buggier distros - buggy for linux that is, which isnt saying much. no problems at all on my end though.
 

SK8

Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2003
Location
Fort Wayne , In
im on redhat (discontinued) but i love it and its easy to use and i totaly customized the desktop too so it doesnt looke like the default bluecurve desktop, i would give a bootable distro a try first so you dont mess your install up. Suse has a nice bootable cd that is easy. ive only been usng linux around 8months and i dont think im gonna go back!
 

hawk072

Registered
Joined
Mar 23, 2003
Location
Montgomery, AL
I just started trying to learn Linux in the past couple weeks. A couple years ago I tried installing Mandrake, I think it was 8.1. Mandrake installed successfully but did everything for me and left me ready to go, I didn't have a clue where to go from there. I knew a few basic commands and that was about it. KDE was installed and I poked around in it for awhile. I wasn't really impressed with KDE and I didn't have much luck installing any additional software and getting it to run properly.

Last week, I took a second stab at Linux. I planned on installing it on a second machine all by itself while I still had a Windows machine to switch to if I needed to look up a question if I got stuck on something. I wanted a challenge and really wanted to learn something so I picked Gentoo. I read all of the installation documentation and browsed the Gentoo forum before attempting the install. The documentation was detailed and well written and the process seemed long but not too difficult.

I did a Gentoo stage 1 install and manually configured and compiled my kernel. I started over twice, once because I chose the 2.6.7 kernel and had problems with my Ti4200 and Xorg. I then tried installing a 2.4 gentoo-sources kernel and used genkernel to compile it. I found the solution to my 2.6.7/nvidia problem and decided that I didn't really like using genkernel so I started over again. On my 3rd try I did a stage 1 install of the gentoo-dev-sources kernel (2.6.7) and manually configured the kernel and was successful. I then installed and configured Xorg and got it working correctly. I'm currently setting up Fluxbox and learning my way around.

I think Gentoo is a great distribution to learn on if you are really willing to READ and go slow. I learned how to do alot from the command line just from installing Gentoo. Mandrake taught me nothing. I learned how to configure and compile a kernel and set up X and a window manager. Portage is also major plus in Gentoo. It makes installing software and keeping things up to date very simple. Gentoo has sucked me into Linux and got me off to a great start. For the inevitable problems during the installation, the Gentoo forums are a BIG help. I'm not even done installing and I still have a lot to learn but I'm getting the hang of things.

I think if you read through the Gentoo installation instructions, you will realize if you are in over your head. I thought the documentation was easy to follow and very detailed. I'm sure my background also helped me get going fairly fast. I'm a programmer and have a BS in Computer Science. I never really had much Linux exposure other than configuring things on my hosted webserver that runs Linux and php.