View Full Version : Which Linux distro should I choose?

04-29-2006, 06:08 AM
I'm thinking about migrating to one of the many Linux distributions from Windows XP, but I have no clue what would be good for a beginner. I was thinking about Ubuntu, but I tried a LiveCD and found it to be a bit too easy for a Windows migrant. It appeared as if Linux had caught a Windows bug or something while on steroids. :p

I've heard that Fedora Core is good, but I've heard more good things about Gentoo, SUSE or Knoppix. Then there is Debian, D*mnSmallLinux, Solaris, and others. Of course, this confuses me greatly, which is why I'm posting here in the first place.

If you could help, it would be greatly appreciated.

this is for personal use, mostly @ uni
(Note that you can select multiple options)

04-29-2006, 09:32 AM

ralph l mayo
04-29-2006, 10:02 AM
"Too easy," eh? You can install Ubuntu as a server and forego the desktop/GUI entirely, which will notch the difficulty up a few levels for you. The middle road may be to install a window manager that isn't as bloated and clunky as Gnome. I've been using Fedora Core for years, but I switched to Xubuntu (Ubuntu with the relatively lightweight XFCE4 window manager) with the Dapper Drake release because the speed increase over Fedora with the same WM was drastic. If you want to try it you can enable XFCE sessions on any Ubuntu install by running 'sudo apt-get install xfce-desktop'.

It doesn't matter much what you pick, honestly, I'd only specifically advise against Gentoo because you have to compile everything and it can take hours and hours for extensive apps like X.org. OpenSUSE and Fedora are roughly equivalent as bleeding edge testbeds for Novell and Redhat's supported linux distributions, respectively. This means the packages will have more recent versions typically than Debian branches, but they can be less stable, and there is a lot more (5 cds worth) bulk of junk that comes with them in order to spread more free usability testing around.

If personal use also means in a server capacity (vpn, http, w/e) you might also consider a BSD. They're really extraordinary for that kind of thing, but I wasn't really happy with it as a desktop when I tried it a while ago. ymmv

edit: since someone voted for it, I gotta give the obligatory gentoo link: http://funroll-loops.org/ (nsfw language)

04-29-2006, 03:18 PM
You can't go wrong with Fedora. The install is very windows-like. There is also a very active forum for Fedora. www.fedoraforum.org

Also Solaris is not a Linux distro it's Unix.

04-29-2006, 05:20 PM
I recommend Ubuntu, Ubuntu or Ubuntu , Xandros($$) kicks butt as well but at a cost.

I got 64bit ubuntu on my laptop, ubuntu as my development server & I even have an imac with ubuntu on it ... not that I use it ..but I could .. if I really, really wanted to :)

(OK my real server is redhat but the next ones probably gonna be debian)

04-29-2006, 05:21 PM
ubuntu will actually send you the ISO's on disc for free (no p&p either)

04-30-2006, 05:39 AM
SUSE seems to come up the most often when I do it.

Thanks, I will most definitely look into this.

You can't go wrong with Fedora. The install is very windows-like. There is also a very active forum for Fedora. www.fedoraforum.org

Also Solaris is not a Linux distro it's Unix.
Fedora seems to be kind of the middle ground between a technical Linux user and a Windows user.

Also, I know that Solaris is not a Linux distro, but that's something I threw in, in case UNIX advocates can't decide on a Linux distro. Since I listed a UNIX distro, I probably should have listed another UNIX distro too. . . In fact, I probably should have made the question open to both Linux and UNIX rather than just Linux. . .

04-30-2006, 10:24 AM
Another Ubuntu vote here.

If you take the time to get used to it (Linux in general) then you'll end up finding that the command-line is quicker for doing things most of the time- I can count the number of times I've used the 'Administration' toolbar on the fingers of one hand.
And yeah, switching from Gnome to XFCE (or fluxbox or evm or something similar) will make it a hell of a lot less windows-y)