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Best distro & X for end users

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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Distros I have liked

by sinbad66 In reply to Best distro & X for end u ...

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.

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I'm no linux guru

by ReWrite In reply to Best distro & X for end u ...

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

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you might wanna try Lycoris

by petersidman In reply to I'm no linux guru

It's cheap and easy to install and use. Visit their website, www.lycoris.com. Very windows-like. Lycoris can be compared to Linspire, formerly Lindows.

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Check out Ubuntu

by Digital0ne In reply to Best distro & X for end u ...

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.

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distros and window managers

by apotheon In reply to Best distro & X for end u ...

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".

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by vdanen In reply to distros and window manage ...

You said:

<i>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>

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... =)

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ack... i broke it

by vdanen In reply to

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

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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?

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check SuSe

by pcbuddy In reply to Best distro & X for end u ...

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!!

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by Jaqui In reply to Best distro & X for end u ...

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.

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