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Linux?? But Which One??

By Steffi28 ·
OK I'm finally going to do it. I'm going to make the big move! I want to install Linux on my old laptop, but which one do you recommend?

I will admit I'm a life long M$ user, and have been using Windows since 3.1

I've heard people recommending Ubuntu/Kubuntu as its the most similar to windows. But, the main reason I have decided to try out Linux is that I will be using it in uni next year. Our university has Suse installed. So, any advice on what to use, and where to find them ??

Oh and also if theres anyone out there who knows where to find good information on HOW to use it, that is always appreciated.


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Skip Ubuntu -- I have a better idea.

by apotheon In reply to Linux?? But Which One??

Don't try Linux at all (for now). That's my advice. Instead, judging by a review by Justin James and my own reading on the subject, I'd recommend giving PC-BSD a try instead.

If you need help with PC-BSD, I'm sure you can get it from the PC-BSD community or from some of the more FreeBSD-savvy here at TechRepublic.

Go read Justin James' review and decide for yourself. Best of luck, whatever you do.

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Thanks :)

by Steffi28 In reply to Skip Ubuntu -- I have a b ...

You pointed me to a really good article!

I havent read the thread in full just yet but I will do later, thanks for your advice and showing me somewhere to start looking :)

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no problem

by apotheon In reply to Thanks :)

I'm a long-time Linux user who has moved on to FreeBSD because I found it to be even better than Linux was. Your mileage may vary, but I don't see myself ever going back to Linux at this point.

While I haven't actually put PC-BSD (and a similar desktop-oriented "user friendly" variation on FreeBSD called DesktopBSD) through its paces yet, I've only heard good things about it. Justin James' review just makes it sound even better. It's unlikely to be my choice, but as a first-timer's introduction to the world of FreeBSD it seems like an excellent choice.

I'll be able to more freely recommend it once I've given it a whirl myself, of course, but I'm having a hard time imagining it disappointing me. The only downside is that it doesn't seem to install properly on quite as much hardware as vanilla FreeBSD -- I have a laptop (a Thinkpad R52 with an ATI Mobility Radeon X300 adapter) on which PC-BSD didn't install properly. I've noticed that the X configuration generator for FreeBSD produces much the same effect as the PC-BSD install, so I think that's probably where the problem arises.

In short, unless you're using a Thinkpad R52, I tend to guess you won't have any problems with PC-BSD -- and, even if you are using an R52, I have an idea how to fix the problem.

Okay, I've rambled. I wish you the best of luck, and hope you find PC-BSD to your liking.

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Try various Linux Live CD's

by silkymon05 In reply to Skip Ubuntu -- I have a b ...

Try a live CD of various Linux distros from I always try live cd's before in install Linux to my HD. Many of these live Linux cd's can give you an indication if you hardware is compatible with their Linux distro.

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Everybody RUN!

by spam_maurice In reply to Linux?? But Which One??

Well you have started the good old discussion whats better, whats good etc. bsd vs linux etc etc. But it all comes down to what you want.

I personally use Kubuntu cause i think its quite easy to use and install. you should just download a few linux or bsd distributions and see with which one you feel most comfortable with.

One thing is for sure its easier to install linux on a bit older laptop then a brand new top of the range one cause that means that there are drivers out there for your hardware. This might all change soon for ubuntu since dell has decided to install it on its new products.

Well good luck at uni next year and enjoy trying out some linux or bsd distros

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What I Want

by Steffi28 In reply to Everybody RUN!

What I want is something that will help me when I have to use Suse next year.

But also to try something new out, since I started using PC's its only ever been windows, now there is no excuse for not trying something, I'm not asking to be told whats the best, just what is actually available and what is best for a beginner :)

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Do you know what youl be doing with Suse?

by DanLM In reply to What I Want

Your daily functions or tasks on Suse should be part of how you chose which linux you want.

Meaning, will it be command line at shell level in restricted accounts? Will it be a desk top environment? Will you be performing some administrative tasks?


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Not 100%

by Steffi28 In reply to Do you know what youl be ...

But it will be in the theme of security and forensic computing.

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by apotheon In reply to Not 100%

For that sort of thing, you definitely need to get acquainted with the command line. If you're willing and able to spend about $40 US (retail -- cheaper on Amazon) on a book, I recommend A Practical Guide to Linux Commands, Editors, and Shell Programming. It is, bar none, the all-time best general purpose reference for working with free unices such as Linux distributions and FreeBSD that I have ever encountered. The information in it is almost 100% transferable to FreeBSD, too, despite having the word "Linux" in the title.

SuSE is really its own animal, by the way -- while the stuff in the book I've recommended is entirely useful for SuSE as for anything else, there are a number of system administration tools particular to SuSE as well that you won't find on any other Linux distribution. If your real purpose is simply to familiarize yourself with SuSE, you should get your hands on OpenSUSE and try that out. If, however, you want to really know just how excellent a free unix OS can be, I've gotta say that my heart belongs to FreeBSD right now.

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So this might sound like a stupid question...

by Steffi28 In reply to interesting

But would it be possible for me to have both OpenSUSE and FreeBSD running on my laptop?

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