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Thread: Help Picking Linux Distro.

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    Help Picking Linux Distro.

    Ok I have a older machine which I don't want to do much and want it to run reasonably fast.

    The specs are:
    P4 2.4Ghz
    512Mb Ram
    on board audio
    nvidia vanta graphics
    wireless card (linksys)

    Now all it needs to do is browse the web and play DVDs.

    As you may guess I have no idea which is best for this, I don't want any bells and whistles, it doesn't have to be the most recent version etc it just needs to work as quickly as possible.

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks

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    ɯʎɔɐɹsɐʌʍ mycarsavw's Avatar
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    Re: Help Picking Linux Distro.

    www.distrowatch.com

    Ubuntu gets the page hits and is constantly ranked #1 for ease of use/support
    PCLinuxOS is my current favourite and just works
    gOS is nice and simple, very shiny shiny.
    Slax is small and perfectly formed
    DSL is tiny and basic

    They're all free to try and will only cost you a CD and a bit of download time.

    EDIT: You'll invariably have issues with a wireless card, so best to start with a wired connection.

    If you want a media focused OS, try Ubuntu Studio.
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    Re: Help Picking Linux Distro.

    could try debian lenny with xfce?

    try the live cd first to make sure it detects all your hardware correctly
    use the net installer . go to advanced options,alternate desktop environment and choose xfce.
    debian is a bit harder to do certain things.
    any distro with a light desktop environment will be good. light desktop environment such as xfce or lxde
    so you could try xubuntu or mandriva and choose eiether xfce or lxde. You can always try a live cd with gnome if you want but may be to heavy.
    Last edited by lodore; 28-01-2010 at 01:01 PM.

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    Re: Help Picking Linux Distro.

    As far as system resourses go i want something lighter than XP.

    Wiring it up for setup is fine but it does need to be wireless, how much trouble will I have with hardware detection?, an better or worse?

    Sorry to say I have been windows only up until now, so this is all rather confusing as there is so many options.

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    Re: Help Picking Linux Distro.

    Quote Originally Posted by Percy1983 View Post
    As far as system resourses go i want something lighter than XP.

    Wiring it up for setup is fine but it does need to be wireless, how much trouble will I have with hardware detection?, an better or worse?

    Sorry to say I have been windows only up until now, so this is all rather confusing as there is so many options.
    Driver support in linux is better than windows out of the box.
    its best to try a live cd of the distro you want to try before trying a proper install to check hardware compatibility. if it detects all your hardware fine.

    all modern linux distros detect my wireless card in both my laptop and desktop fine. where as with windows i have to install a driver from the manufacturer. wireless support isnt really an issue with linux anymore imo. depends what chipset it uses thou.

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    Re: Help Picking Linux Distro.

    Ok the more I look the more xubuntu seesm like it maybe the first thing to try.

    What is the difference between.

    xubuntu
    kubuntu
    ubuntu

    As i say I don't don't want it to do much, out of interest my other half is the main user of the PC, any setup problems I can deal with, but once its running it needs to be simple.

    As for DVD playback, will any of the above do it 'out of the box' or will I need to install vlc or such like?

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    Re: Help Picking Linux Distro.

    Guessing the desktop environment

    Think the standard uses GNOME, the kubuntu uses KDE and the x... (quick google).... uses XFCE

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    Re: Help Picking Linux Distro.

    But what does that actually mean, why is there so many versions?

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    Re: Help Picking Linux Distro.

    Have a read of this; http://www.psychocats.net/ubuntu/whichbuntu

    The whole site is maintained by an active member of the Ubuntu forums and most of what you want to do is covered there.
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    Re: Help Picking Linux Distro.

    Ok... how about this.....

    Install ubuntu as your primary OS. Then setup vmware and have a play with other distros?

    Why not have the best of both worlds! Btw there is alot of truth in that fact that ALL linux users eventually go debian !

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    Re: Help Picking Linux Distro.

    Quote Originally Posted by Percy1983 View Post
    Any suggestions?

    Thanks
    Doesn't matter what you choose - it'll run fine on a P4 2.5GHz with 512MB RAM.

    If I have to run Linux I like Slackware, but then again I'm not keen on distributions that feature pretty graphical installers that work 90% of the time but fail badly the other 10% (i.e. most of them).

    Try *ubuntu, debian or SUSE. Run away from Gentoo.

    Personally I'm more a fan of the BSD unixes. NetBSD and OpenBSD are perhaps a bit too hardcore for the average user, but FreeBSD/PC BSD should be pretty usable.

    PK

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    Re: Help Picking Linux Distro.

    BTW don't completely ignore Fedora, it's been good to me in the past when I was a complete linux noob (now I am just a linux noob).

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    Re: Help Picking Linux Distro.

    Quote Originally Posted by Syllopsium View Post
    If I have to run Linux I like Slackware
    Run away from Gentoo
    Wait, what?!

    Neither are good distros for beginners though.

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    Re: Help Picking Linux Distro.

    Ubuntu and Mint would be good choices for a new user. They're both backed up by a strong community support structure too.

    Maybe give Xubuntu a look if you want a lighterweight graphical interface.

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    Re: Help Picking Linux Distro.

    Quote Originally Posted by Percy1983 View Post
    Ok the more I look the more xubuntu seesm like it maybe the first thing to try.

    What is the difference between.

    xubuntu
    kubuntu
    ubuntu

    As i say I don't don't want it to do much, out of interest my other half is the main user of the PC, any setup problems I can deal with, but once its running it needs to be simple.

    As for DVD playback, will any of the above do it 'out of the box' or will I need to install vlc or such like?
    Strictly speaking, the term "Linux" refers to the kernel of the operating system. If you think of an onion, the kernel is in the centre and handles interactions with real world artifacts, disk drivres etc.

    The next layer out contains support programs. The Linux philosophy is to have lots of small programs or applications that do one thing, but does that thing very well. For example, the LS (list files) command is actually a separate program, but it is supplied with all distros.

    The next layer out is the gui, and there are many to choose from. The common two are Gnome and KDE. DEpending on the distro, you van install both and decide at logon time whicj one you want to use.

    If you are looking to try Linux, you could download several live versions (that run from a CD/DVD) and see which you like. They will run more slowly from a DVD, but it is a good way of seeing whiv=ch distro you feel most comfortable with.

    Personally. I'm a Fedora user - ut that is partly becasuse I started my Linux exerience with Red Hat, which later eveloved into the Fedora Project.
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    Re: Help Picking Linux Distro.

    Quote Originally Posted by Percy1983 View Post
    As for DVD playback, will any of the above do it 'out of the box' or will I need to install vlc or such like?
    For DVD playback no distros (as far as I know) support it out-of-the-box. This is because of patent issues which would make it illegal to distribute in (at least) the US. But it is quite easy to enable it.
    It basically consist of going to a web page (you can find it by Googling "ubuntu dvd playback" (I can't post URLs yet))
    clicking the link that says "Click here [...]", pressing the "Install"-button in the dialog that pops up, wait 5 seconds and you're done.

    I've been using Ubuntu for about three years and have been very happy with it. Bear in mind that I'm a bit of a computer geek, and the open source aspect of Linux appeals to me very much, so I might be more over bearing with the occasional bug, which does appear.

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