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So many distros...

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GlitchOfDoom

Member
Joined
Mar 10, 2003
Location
San Diego, Ca
There are so many linux distributions out their I don't know where to start. I want to go with the most customisable and controllable linux out their, I like to jump into stuff hardcore. So far Debian, Slackware, and Gentoo have appealed to me. Could someone list the pros/cons between them?
 

DarkArctic

Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2001
Location
Ontario, Canada
I'd like to recommend that you do try one of the easier distros first in order to get used to the command line and configuring of packages first than jumping head first into one of these distros.

Debian: Excellent package management with apt-get. Solves dependencies for you and such. Since they focus on stability the packages aren't as bleeding edge as other distros.

Gentoo: Another great package management system with portage. Compiles all your packages and solves depenencies so it's optimized for your system, but it could take time. The install may be compilcated but using the install documentation should allow you to get through it.

Slackware: I've mainly heard that Slackware is more BSD-like than other distros. Also packages are in tarballs.

Please note that I'm only really familiar with Gentoo since that's the distro that know and love. :) You can get reviews of lots of distros from http://www.distrowatch.com so that may help you in choosing which distro is for you.

-DarkArctic
 
OP
GlitchOfDoom

GlitchOfDoom

Member
Joined
Mar 10, 2003
Location
San Diego, Ca
Thanks for the advise but I think im going to jump into Debian, they seem to be very well supported and I need stability, don't worry I am going to buy a book on Debian, it also comes with the distro and shows me the basics, so Ill take it on from there. Thanks :)
 

webfreak

Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2002
Debian is a good choice. I've used it for a few years (up until last summer when I sort of stopped using linux, but that's another story), and it's my distribution of choice. Once you get used to the apt package management system, you'll love it. Believe me, I tried out redhat 9 after it was released, and I couldn't stand its rpm system and method of updating and all that, because I was so used to apt. Gentoo is pretty popular, and their portage system is also very nice. Debian has a great user base and is really community oriented with awesome online documentation and irc channels and all sorts of things. Gentoo seems to have a good user base and documentation as well, but most of my experience lies with Debian. I believe that if you DO choose to install Debian and take the time to learn it, you won't regret it.
 

airspirit

Member
Joined
Aug 10, 2002
Location
Moscow, ID
The advantage Gentoo has over Debian is twofold: the documentation and userbase is better IMHO (friendlier, for sure), and I feel that the emerge/portage system is superior to apt-get in its user friendliness and capability of customizing your system. Just changing the flags and custom building to your particular hardware can make a massive speed difference between machines. The downside is that Gentoo takes much longer to set up (on relatively modern hardware expect it to be a three day project, with most of that being compiling time ... just check back every few hours), though in the end you get a more custom-tailored system. As far as stability goes, I see no difference between Gentoo and Debian. In fact, I feel that unless you are insane with your compiler flags, a Gentoo box will be more stable than the Debian since you can more easily keep the latest and most stable version of your software packages on your system ... as long as you aren't installing buggy or masked packages, you will almost always be safe in Gentoo. I deal with over two dozen Gentoo boxes and I've yet to see one crash. Just a thought.

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fiji

Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2002
Location
berlin
(this is comming froma gentoo fanboy)

good points airspirit, but debian has at least 2 things i can think of that are "better" than gentoo

#1 a good install program
#2 since its apt-get is all binary based(yes you can get binary packages from gentoo portage but not all of them), theres no compiling making getting/installing applications much faster especially on older machines
 

kaltag

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 28, 2002
Location
Boise Idaho
I've used slackware, gentoo, Red hat, and mandrake. Favorite so far is slackware. VERY straight forward install process and it's very fast. My most favorite feature is that everything follows the kind of universal standards for file structure and what not which has not been my personal experience with distros like red hat and mandrake. My 1.8 celeron with 256 MB RAM with slack 9.1 ran FASTER than my 2.4 P4 512 RAM running red hat 9. I now have slackware as my distro of choice and have been very happy so far. The fan base is not that big though so alot of problems I've had I had to hunt down a single person who knew what they were doing. I have yet to try debian but I hear good things.