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  • #2285221

    Best distro & X for end users

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    by cnavarro ·

    Hello, I need help for my first project that actually involves end users, directly. A customer wants to migrate a part of their machines to linux, for cost savings. Is not defined, but at least there are 40 machines. The think is that this customer is actually a school, so they need linux to teach the students typing and other thinks like this.
    I use linux a lot, but a use more CLI than GUI, and when using GUI means, I prefer Gnome in Red Hat, but I?m not sure about which distro I must use and which GUI is better for common users. Please share your experiences and help me out with this, I want them to be happy with linux, especially the students, they are kids and I whant them to talk nicely about linux when they grow up and start working in some corp. Thanks a lot! And sorry for my English, is not my natural language.

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    • #3311719

      Distros I have liked

      by sinbad66 ·

      In reply to Best distro & X for end users

      The 2 distros most like windows are Xandros and L’Inspire’s Lindows. Xandros comes out looking like an NT 4 machine; Lindows more like XP. Built on Debian. Both have about a $50 subscription per year per machine to have access to their own distribution site. For more money, you can get commercial products like CodeWeaver etc. to run MS apps. I like Lindows best, but there are things about Xandros like a 1 click button which says “check for any updates I need”.
      I like Mandrake the best of the main distros. More unix-like, easier to install and richer than Red Hat out of the box.
      The “other” distro I have not played with much but like more and more is MEPIS. You can burn it on a cd which will run straight off the CD like Knoppix, or install from it if you wish.

    • #3311690

      I’m no linux guru

      by rewrite ·

      In reply to Best distro & X for end users

      I’m am a relatively new linux user. I have never compared any versions beyond the one I am using now. I have been a windows user since win95.

      My linux is Fedora Core 2. I don’t have any idea how it compares to other distros but I’ll tell you what, the installation went flawlessly and the gui interface is phenominal as far as I’m concerned.

      As I learn more about linux I might discover that this is the best or maybe it isn’t. We’ll see. But if you’re looking for an installation that is easy to install and understand for new users through a gui front end (I’m using gnome but you have your options when installing) then I’d say look at Fedora.

      Cheers.

      RW

    • #3311651

      Check out Ubuntu

      by digital0ne ·

      In reply to Best distro & X for end users

      I have used the various linux distro’s over the years and have recently started working with Ubuntu linux, which is also based on Debian. It is completely free, can get updates using apt-get or the included Synaptic package manager. It has a clean interface that is easy to navigate around and includes the basic set of software, including OpenOffice.

    • #3311583

      distros and window managers

      by apotheon ·

      In reply to Best distro & X for end users

      By far, my favorite distribution is Debian, and my favorite window manager is WindowMaker. For people that are used to Windows, however, and are not necessarily looking to make the switch, you would be well-served by using a distribution and GUI environment that they’ll find intuitively familiar.

      That being the case, I would recommend KDE or IceWM for your GUI environment, and an easy-to-use distribution that uses KDE and/or IceWM as its default.

      Distributions that fall into this category numerous, but those that have the best hardware support and most polished package systems are SuSE and MEPIS. MEPIS is a LiveCD distribution that is extremely easy to install on the hard drive as well, though as a LiveCD distro it is not quite as well suited to permanent installs as those distributions that were designed primarily with that in mind. As such, all things considered, I recommend SuSE for your purposes.

      Fedora is a good distro, if you’re into kitchen sink distros. For your purposes, it sounds like a kitchen sink distro (such as SuSE, MEPIS, Fedora, et cetera) is exactly what you need. Unfortunately, Fedora uses Gnome as its default, which will not be nearly as intuitively familiar to Windows users as KDE. If you were dealing primarily with Mac users, on the other hand, Gnome would be the way to go. Ubuntu is, by all accounts, an amazing distro as well, but also suffers the problem in this case of using Gnome as its default GUI environment.

      Mandrake is one you’ll probably get a lot of recommendations for, but I will advise against it. For one thing, its design is based on some very odd “user friendliness” philosophy, and it is sliding ever further toward some kind of hostageware approach to marketing.

      There’s also Knoppix, wich is a fantastic tool for converting people, but probably doesn’t suit your purposes as well as MEPIS. I guess I’d make Knoppix the third-place recommendation after SuSE and MEPIS.

      All of that having been said, if you have the time and inclination, using Debian to set up exactly the operating environment you want might be a best option. If your end users are never going to have to deal with initially installing the system, it’s a great idea to use Debian, assuming you have the familiarity with it to be able to set it up effectively without any major difficulties. Debian is much easier to install these days than it was in the past, and it has always been one of the easiest to manage and tweak to suit your preferences (because of the apt tool). This distro simply requires you to know what you want, and to be willing to put a little time into setting it up. It requires slightly longer to get a system just right in Debian than in SuSE, of course, but on the upside SuSE is always “just right” according to what Novell thinks you should use, rather than according to your own tastes.

      Every kitchen sink distro (meaning: it includes everything, including the kitchen sink) does things the way others think it should be done. Lean distros like Debian, Slackware, and Gentoo are designed to do things the way you want them done, with little or nothing in the way of system defaults that will screw with your preferences. The trade-off is that it takes longer to get the “perfect system” than it does to install a fully-featured system that is “good enough”.

      • #3290969

        Reply To: Best distro & X for end users

        by vdanen ·

        In reply to distros and window managers

        You said:

        Mandrake is one you’ll probably get a lot of
        recommendations for, but I will advise against it. For one thing,
        its design is based on some very odd “user friendliness”
        philosophy, and it is sliding ever further toward some kind of
        hostageware approach to marketing.

        I’d like you to qualify this comment if you don’t mind. You make
        these comments, yet you say nothing to back them up
        whatsoever. What’s “hostageware”? And what’s odd about the
        user-friendliness? I’m honestly interested in knowing why you
        think this way because I don’t get that at all. To me, Mandrake
        is just as user-friendly as any other distro, although there are a
        few issues (for some of the developers, english isn’t their first
        language which can make it a little akward to read in some
        places, but it’s not really that bad).

        I think Mandrake is pretty darn user-friendly, and with the
        Community versions it’s 100% open and free… no cost
        whatsoever, no subscriptions, no nothing. Sure, signing up for
        MandrakeClub or buying a box is a great way to support the
        company, but it’s not absolutely necessary.

        Call me curious… =)

        • #3290967

          ack… i broke it

          by vdanen ·

          In reply to Reply To: Best distro & X for end users

          hmmm… doesn’t do a very good job if you insert some html in
          here… sorry about that guys

        • #3349441

          User Friendly?

          by andeanderson ·

          In reply to ack… i broke it

          After reading about the different distributions I chose Mandrake because it was supposed to be “User Friendly” but I am beginning to believe there is no such thing as “User Friendly” in the Linux world.

          The first thing I have run into is not being able to change the screen resolution as set-up by the default installation of Mandrake. It set the resolution to the highest the monitor could support and I can not find any way to change it.

          Plus, one answer I read said that some video drivers have to be purchased for Linux to work correctly. I don’t think I would want to pay $50 or more just for a video driver.

          Plus the search function of the users manual and help documentation for Mandrake and KDE will only search the specific page you have selected. So, after about 10 searches for screen resolution I quit looking.

          Such a simple task in Windows, why such an illusive and difficult task in Linux?

    • #3314999

      check SuSe

      by pcbuddy ·

      In reply to Best distro & X for end users

      I find SuSe 9.0 the easiest to install and run, I use kde desk , open office, it comes with lots of appliactions. you dont need to use the CLI to configure most of the devices.It works like a charm.FYI..i ve tried dual booting different distros and always had problems configuring grub. with Suse, I just installed it on the second parttion and everything worked without any tweaking…good luck!!

    • #3301983

      Reply To: Best distro & X for end users

      by jaqui ·

      In reply to Best distro & X for end users

      debian, free / open bsd, great distros if you have the time for installing and tweaking.

      suse, if your bios supports the kernel scsi requirement. ( mine doesn’t suse locks up when loading the kernel )

      fedora, if you want no option of corporate support.
      ( red hat’s new policy is to only support corporate clients )

      mandrake is a decent, user friendly distro.
      they have taken to removing configuration options that can interfere with end user satisfaction.
      ( mdk 10.1, no reverse mapping mouse buttons for example )

      for lots of time, and to tune exactly how you want, with no distro customisations, you can always roll your own.
      ( aka lfs ( linuxfromscratch ) )
      this is where I’m going personally, as the prerolled distros all rub me the wrong way in some fashion or other.

    • #3304706

      Newer Distro – BeatrIX

      by bluecollargeek ·

      In reply to Best distro & X for end users

      I have been playing with the new distro since November. It is amazing how well it works on older machines.

      Based on Debian / Ubuntu, this is an excellent basic distro.

      From the website http://www.watsky.net

      BeatrIX Linux is a free, compact (Less than 200 megabytes), operating system aimed at both office and home users who want something simpler, safer and superior to Microsoft Windows, and that will run on just about any IBM-compatible PC made in the past 10 years.

      The new BeatrIX 2005.1 contains the latest Linux stable kernel (operating system) a Windows-like desktop (Gnome), Web browser (Firefox), e-mail program (Evolution), office suite including an outstanding word processor compatible with Microsoft Word (Open Office), instant-chat program (GAIM) and everything else necessary to get things done with no problems. You can also add almost any program to BeatrIX from the world’s largest Linux library — everything from Web servers to Web editors. Free.

      NOTE: This is NOT a multimedia / gaming system – but a working desktop platform. I have deployed dozens of systems running BeatrIX in the past month – all on hardware that was heading for the recycling center – and the users of those systems love them.

      There is an active user/developer community in their forums.

      If you are looking to recycle an old machine to a usable system, check this distro out.

    • #3299200

      probably mandrake

      by secure_lockdown9 ·

      In reply to Best distro & X for end users

      based on sound of your needs..

      if the school has fairly consisten hardware setups – you might want to A/B compare a few and chose the one that gives you the least hardware woes from default install setup.

      SL

    • #3346420

      SuSE 9.2

      by thrash cardiom ·

      In reply to Best distro & X for end users

      I use SuSE 9.2 professional on my network. It installs easily (discovered and configured all devices including wireless NIC on my laptop). My partner uses it for business with no problems and she is by no means a technical user.

      • #3346419

        Reply To: Best distro & X for end users

        by thrash cardiom ·

        In reply to SuSE 9.2

        Also, both of her sons (aged 13 & 16) for net access, word processing, e-mail and other activity. They only switch to Windows for playing games.

    • #3325922

      Debian / Red Hat / KDE

      by dyanawu ·

      In reply to Best distro & X for end users

      I’ve used both Debian and Red Hat, and also personally use more of the CLI than the GUI, but find that, for an average user, more oriented to a Windows background, that KDE is less scary at first and slightly more intuitive.

    • #3325921

      Debian / Red Hat / KDE

      by dyanawu ·

      In reply to Best distro & X for end users

      I’ve used both Debian and Red Hat, and also personally use more of the CLI than the GUI, but find that, for an average user, more oriented to a Windows background, that KDE is less scary at first and slightly more intuitive.

    • #2654549

      Ubuntu it has to be if u want a good GUI

      by votary.of.truth ·

      In reply to Best distro & X for end users

      Ubuntu because :-
      *Flawless GUI [Unlike many distros i have used]
      *Good repositories — easier to get packages for any HW / software.
      *Good kernel with support for latest hardware.
      *Good community suport.
      *Extensive written help material on wiki/ community websites will help you troubleshoot problems rather quickly.
      *Ubuntu — i feel — is as close as one can get to the whole GUI feel of windows.

      Move to Linux — we welcome all ! 🙂

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