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  • #2278360

    Which distro to install?


    by rexworld ·

    They’re upgrading me here at work to a new PC, and the old one is so old that IS doesn’t want it back. So I’d like to turn it into a desktop Linux machine to play around with. Get more experience with Linux.

    I know there’s never going to be a definitive answer to this question, but which Linux distro do folks find the easiest to install for desktop use? I’ve done some Solaris and Linux work but I’m far from being an admin, so I’d like something easy to set up, configure, and maintain.


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    • #2706730
      Avatar photo

      You have a couple of options

      by hal 9000 ·

      In reply to Which distro to install?

      Lycoris Desktop LX {the other Redmond company} makes an easy to use Linux with an interface very like XP. It is easy to install but doesn’t have Samba included so you’ll have to download that if you want to network with a Windows domain.

      However if you just want to dip one of your toes in the water so to speak you could try Morphix or Xandros Desktop OS both run from a CD or can be loaded onto a HDD. If you want to network with a Windows network then Xandros is the easiest to play with as it has Samba in its install but all of the above are easy to install with the Lycoris Desktop LS being the easiest to learn on and the others a bit more Linux orientated.

      However if you want to visit the “Wild Side” you can always try Debian and while it comes either on 7 Cd’s or a DVD I’m betting you would want the Cd’s because of the age of the computer you are playing with but it is the standard for Linux for a Rock Solid almost unbreakable Linux System. While it lacks some of the nice things like SUSE or Mandrake it is really the workhorse of the current crop of Linux Distro’s.

      Oh if you try Morphix remember take the Red Pill. You’ll understand when you load it.


      • #3308199

        Debian GNU/Linux

        by apotheon ·

        In reply to You have a couple of options

        I’m very much enamored with Debian myself. It’s all I’m using these days.

        What is “easy” to install depends on a lot of factors. Just to get something running, regardless of details, on reasonably new hardware, I’d say that the easiest distro I have yet met is MEPIS (which is, incidentally, Debian-based). Knoppix (also Debian-based) is almost as easy to install on the hard drive, but requires you to know a command to enter at the shell in order to get it started. I’m afraid I don’t recall the command.

        Both MEPIS and Knoppix are LiveCD distros, which means they boot up a fully-featured Linux distro directly from the CD. For longer-term use, rather than simply as a demonstration, I recommend installing them on the hard drive — which you can do from within the running OS after booting from CD.

        “Pure” Debian, as of the Sarge/Testing version, is absurdly easy to install as a basic, no-frills installation. The older (Woody/Stable-era) version of the installer was kind of a pain in the arse. I recommend, if you want to use Debian, to install to a machine that has broadband Internet access, and to use the install-over-Internet installation CD ISO to burn a bootable install disk, rather than downloading and burning ISOs for the full-CD install. It’s faster, simpler, and less potentially problematic to use the one-CD Internet installation.

        If you choose to install Debian on a machine, I recommend installing a bare-bones system, with zero additional software installed (choose the option for no extra software, and using apt later, rather than options for dselect, aptitude, apt cetera). Once it’s installed, use apt to install all the software you’ll want to use. This requires learning how to navigate the apt command line tools for package management, but it’s a very simple system and, once you’ve learned it, you’ll probably soon find yourself wondering how you ever survived without it.

        There are other options as well, of course, for distributions — and most distributions have their uses. Something to keep in mind is that a lot of the modern “easy to install” distributions don’t work on equipment that is too old, if only because the installer might not run if there isn’t enough RAM in the machine. The Anaconda installer, used for Red Hat, requires something on the order of 128MB to run (last I checked), for instance. Meanwhile, the Debian installer runs on only 32MB of RAM.

        • #3295662

          Ubuntu…. Warty Warthog

          by richards_unsubcribe ·

          In reply to Debian GNU/Linux

          Strong recommendation…

          Why not try the new Ubuntu Warty Warthog distro based on Debian… done by a group from South Africa…it comes on only 1 CD (as opposed to Fedora (RH10) which I think requires 3) and it has a simple no hassle installer. Installs the Firefox browser and an email client…also supports Mozilla and Thunderbird email. is included as standard issue…. Lots of support and the plug-ins are easy to install. I’m running Ubuntu on my second machine. As this disro matures … Bill Gates… be afraid… be very afraid….because this distro is getting close to being a granny approved plug and play installation. You don’t have to be a propeller-head geek to get Ubuntu working.

          Hardware? Best be running a minimum 500mhz processor and as much ram as you can. Try for 512meg… you can get away with 256 and but the box tends to run a little slower.


        • #3295501

          Reply To: Which distro to install?

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Ubuntu…. Warty Warthog

          Hmm. I’ll have to try that one out, m’self, though I rather suspect I’ll still prefer the base Debian (since Debian itself never has conflicts with the Debian apt archives and I like to install with nothing, then add applications I need individually, ensuring a lean-running system).

          What’s the default desktop on Warty Warthog?

        • #3293756

          Warty good for Grannies & Geeks but didn’t work too well for me…

          by praxxxis ·

          In reply to Ubuntu…. Warty Warthog

          Granted, I’m not a Gnome user, but I wanted to give 2.8 a spin and I’d been hearing a lot of glowing praise about the distro, so I gave it a whack.

          Setup was easy and I don’t think Granny would have any trouble using it for web browsing and email (once Evolution was configured for it), and I’m sure that Linux gurus would love it too, but for me it was not too user-friendly once I tried to configure for my needs.

          I couldn’t get SAMBA running; other distros I’ve used make this an easy matter of using a GUI, but the share browser didn’t ask for a user name or password and I didn’t see any way to enter it in the network config tool. I don’t want to read a bunch of man pages and edit an arcane .conf file. I want GUI interfaces that work, like LinNeighborhood or smb4k that made this process painless with MEPIS, Vector, Mandrake or Yoper, to name a few that I’ve tried recently. The only apt-get package they seemed to offer was some WWW interface that also didn’t work for me.

          You can’t easily boot in to a root window manager. I couldn’t access my W2K as a normal user, and even when I mounted it by command line as root I couldn’t so much as edit a text file in Windows (I didn’t have that problem with other distros).

          I broke X when trying to edit my XF86Config-4 file to work with two monitors (I never succeeded; some distros like SuSE recognize two video cards on setup and set up Xinerama for you). So I tried to edit the file from the root command line in a terminal. Guess what? The command ‘vi’ doesn’t kick up a text editor, just gives you a ‘command not recognized’ feedback. Of course, there is a vi-like program, but to start it you have to type the whole non-mnenomic name (which I kept forgetting). There should at least be a sympbolic link for ‘vi’ to the program.

          All in all, the least pleasant Linux experience I’ve had in a long while.

        • #3291600

          er . . .

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Warty good for Grannies & Geeks but didn’t work too well for me…

          Wow. What a laundry list.

          I’ve never configured samba except by way of smb.conf, and personally I prefer it that way. More GUI just means more resource overhead and more complexity to create possible stability and security issues. It’s in part the desire to get away from that nonsense that I moved from Windows to Linux.

          I don’t like Gnome, either, which is part of the reason I haven’t bothered to try out Ubuntu Warty Warthog yet. If you’re looking for vi or vim, though, you might want to just apt-get install it (either one, though I recommend vim).

          Or . . . you could go with a distro that hasn’t given you the same trouble. Use what works, I suppose. I’m typically baffled whenever anyone has a strong aversion to the CLI, but if that’s you, then you might want to just go back to a more GUI-intensive distro. If you still want a “serious” Debian-based distribution, but want it to be more GUI-intensive than it sounds like Ubuntu is, you could try Progeny Debian. It, too, uses Gnome by default, but should have a lot more of the GUI tools you expect than Ubuntu does.

        • #3291582

          Reply To: Which distro to install?

          by praxxxis ·

          In reply to er . . .

          Rexworld is looking for something easy to setup, configure and maintain. The CLI is a powerful interface, but it has a steep learning curve. Switches vary from app to app and documentation is not Newbie friendly (man pages, for instance). They are rather cryptic to those who aren’t members of the priesthood and they never give examples, it seems. None of this comports well with my notion of easy to configure.

          I’d never been on a Linux system that didn’t respond to the command ‘vi.’ Once I learned what the command was I made a symbolic link and everything was OK (actually, I was able to fix X enough to boot a single monitor).

          I just don’t have a very good memory, so it makes using the CLI difficult for me unless I constantly use it. Sue me, I’m not an ?bergeek and never will be, but I’d like to use Linux because I like the idea of open source software, not because I am particularly enamoured with the user-friendliness of unix. So I entered this thread while looking around for something a little gooeyier to help ease me in to Linux. I’ll DL Progeny and give it a whirl, though I haven’t completely given up on Ubuntu.

        • #3295564

          Debian Linux

          by answerman ·

          In reply to Debian GNU/Linux

          Yup I agree……..

      • #3312630

        Couple of Options and More. . .

        by gorto ·

        In reply to You have a couple of options

        As Hal put it there are a couple of options and possibly more. I ran Slackware for years, then Corel (Debian Based) SuSE, Redhat and Fedora and finally Debian. With Kernel 2.6 I went back to Fedora mainly for the hardware support (SATA and nVidia). It also has a very simple user interface (I prefer CLI myself). It’s also dictated by what you plan to do with it. Debian is great if you have a bit of Linux know how. It uses APT for updates and installs and has a LARGE following. SuSE is slick, has great support for all kinds of hardware, and uses Yast! (easy to use) and is backed by Novell. Fedora is also quite slick, supports tons of hardware, uses rpm, APT-GET for rpms and YUM, all quite easy to update and install from. Fedora also looks and feels like the RedHat products just in case you get a job where RH Workstation or Enterprise is used. I suggest that you download 2 or 3 distro’s and give them a try.

    • #2706096

      Mandrake is quite easy

      by gralfus ·

      In reply to Which distro to install?

      I have installed a few different distros and Mandrake seems to have a very nice install.

      On the other hand, if you want to get into the guts of things and go more command-line, look into Slackware.

    • #2722109

      Linux on older machines

      by bluecollargeek ·

      In reply to Which distro to install?

      If you want a gui, Fedora, Mandrake, Lycoris Desktop LX, and Xandros are all nice, but still want hardware with substantial horsepower and a fairly large amount of disk space to really perform well. How old is that machine from work? Don’t fall into the trap that many fall into. If you can’t install W2K or WinXP on the box and expect it to run well (due to hardware limitations), don’t expect miracles by installing a linux based operating system.
      If you have a machine with less horsepower, but has a nic and you have broadband internet access, you can’t beat Debian’s net install features for building a lean, mean functional system without all the overhead. I have Debian systems running gnome desktop on PII 266 with 128mb RAM that run great (Open Office, Mozilla, and evolution). Also serves as a webserver (apache2,MySQL,and php) for testing websites.
      Advantage of net install is you only load the bare basics to get the machine running, then you can choose which applications/options you want to load from the internet via apt-get and tasksel.
      Debian is extremely powerful, ultimately configurable, and requires you to think and learn to use effectively.
      It is not difficult to learn and use effectively, but it is not for the brain-dead stick in a disk and run crowd either.
      With limited hardware resources, running one of the full-featured gui distros may be disappointing due to the machine’s hardware limitations – just as you would be disappointed by the performace of running W2K or Win XP on the same system.

      • #2722069
        Avatar photo

        Just a short question here

        by hal 9000 ·

        In reply to Linux on older machines

        While I totally agree about the benefits of Debian don’t you think it is a little on the hard side for a Windows only Previous User?

        Don’t get me wrong I cut my teeth on Unix and love Debian but it isn’t something that I would recommend for a First Time Linux User. I’ve seen a few people actually install it because of its Rock Steady Performance and Reliability only to dump the install a few days/weeks latter because they find it too hard to come to terms with.

        The RPM’s that are used by a lot of the other Distro’s are a lot easier to come to terms with as they are so easy to install and there is none of the problems with the other files that have to be dealt with.


        • #3308188

          easy apt

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Just a short question here

          I have a very difficult time understanding how you could refer to use of RPMs as being “easier” than using the apt frontend to Debian’s package management. It is specifically because of ease of use and the ease of maintaining a system that doesn’t have anything installed in it that I don’t want that makes Debian my favorite distribution to date.

          The only thing that seems to be lacking in Debian in terms of making things “easier” for people used to Windows is a popular graphical face on apt. Frankly, I think supplying a graphical facade for it would be a mistake: ultimately, much of the power and usefulness of Linux is lost when you hide from the command line, and the ease of use of apt is a compelling demonstration that there’s nothing to be afraid of at the CLI.

          To get beyond the level of someone that simply uses a computer as an appliance, any Linux user is going to need some kind of guidance. LUGs are ideal for much of this, though a local ‘nix guru is potentially of greater benefit (I wouldn’t know, since I didn’t really have a local ‘nix guru to help me out). Without that, you’re kind of screwed in any distro, unless all you want to do with your computer is treat it like a complicated electric typewriter and web browser. The same, to a fair degree, is true of Windows — except that in Windows you can’t expand the usefulness of your computer by moving into the CLI.

          Debian’s apt system is absurdly simple and easy to use, and incredibly powerful. It can make as fully-featured a GUI system as you get from a default Fedora, SuSE, or Mandrake install in fairly short order. If this is your first foray into Linux computing, you just have to make sure you have some kind of resource you can draw on when you run across difficulties. There’s a lot to learn, but most of it is quite simple.

        • #3310337
          Avatar photo

          I couldn’t agree more

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to easy apt

          But the original poster claims to be new to Linux or for that matter Unix which was all that was used when I first started in IT.

          I just love the command line and can not live without it and then I have to use a Windows box which is a real comedown but as the original poster wants to start with Linux after being a Windows only user obviously he would want something like Gnome of KDE as a GUI so it isn’t all that much different from what he is used to.

          If only XP had a blank screen with just a prompt it would be so much easier but I suppose we have to make allowance for the uneducated masses who have no real knowledge of what a computer actually is and how it should be used. To me they are nothing more than tools but to many they are anything but a tool and people like my son think that computers are only good for playing games.

          But back to the original poster the RPM’s that are a Redhat invention are far easier for a first timer to use as they do not require that “terrible” command line string of syntax that no Windows user is aware of now days.


        • #3310213

          READ: older machine

          by bluecollargeek ·

          In reply to I couldn’t agree more

          The original poster stated he was getting an OLD machine from work. The INTENT of my post was to warn the original poster that the hardware requirements to effectively run Linux (any flavor) are not significantly lower than MS Windows in a desktop gui configuration. A Linux Desktop with gui will tax any hardware just as hard as any MS OS.
          If the original poster wants to run Linux on that older machine – they may appreciate the experience more if he/she has the ability to make a leaner install using Debian than many of the fuller (and more complete) distros mentioned by many.
          If the poster had current hardware, my suggestions would have be Mepis or Xandros – but they will be sooo sloowww as to drive a user freakin’ nuts on old hardware – just like WinXP Pro with MS Office would.
          I was not commenting on the ease of use or installation – Debian will make a geek out of anyone, but rather to warn the poster that the quality of the hardware will directly impact his experience with (any flavor of) Linux.
          And considering his hardware limitation (the poster stated – the old one is so old that IS doesn’t want it back), I believe that is still a very valid point.

        • #3310171
          Avatar photo

          You could be right there

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to READ: older machine

          I’ve run and currently run Knoppix on a dual 200 MMX and it seems to work fairly well I just couldn’t bear to throw out that M’Board & CPU’s but in all honestly there is 256 MEG of RAM on the thing. But I’ve also tested various Distro’s on a 200 MMX with 64 MEG of RAM and they work quite all right and while slow are not painfully slow.

          But here I would tend to think that they do not want the unit back because of tax reasons rather than the fact that it is so old as to be useless. Most business computers have a life of about 5 years and while they still work perfectly after that period of time they do cost the company money in lost tax rebates and the like. Also with some of the new software things can get very slow but this is mostly games as even a well built 486 running Windows 98 would work perfectly in most offices running Office and whatever other Business applications they require.

          While the new hardware is faster the new software is also bigger and requires far more processing power and at best only about 10% of any programs actually used in most cases. The last was brought home to me in a hard way when I attended a computer course as an adviser and asked at what stage they showed how to do a mail merge and was told “that advanced stuff is just too complicated for our students!” Well to me that was a basic function of any office program or for that matter any accounting package as you would use it to send out monthly bills and any advertising that you need to snail mail out but this school considered it as very advanced and well beyond their capacity to teach.

          Anyway I’m getting carried away and while I love Debian it certainly is not the perfect First Distro for a Windows only user to learn on as they will just give up out of sheer frustration as it is so different from what they are used to so something like Lycoris Desktop LX running Gnome or KDE would be a very easy transition as it has the look and feel of Windows XP even the default desktop is almost identical to the default desktop of XP and that light weight version of Linux works perfectly well on a 200 MMX with 64 MEG of ram. Granted on a 3 GIG P4 with 512 MEG of RAM and a 128 or 256 MEG video card it would blow Windows XP into the weeds I really do not think that a first timer would notice any real speed difference between their older unit compared to their new unit running XP with all the bells and whistles.


        • #3295671

          lean and light

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to You could be right there

          If I had easy access to a knowledgeable and patient Debian guru, I would have been best served by jumping directly into Debian headfirst when I started with Linux. What you learn on should be based not only on previous computing experience but also by the resources you have at hand.

          With a good LUG nearby and people willing to help often, I recommend Debian for the system in question. He said it was a Pentium Pro, I believe. For that kind of dinosaur, I would never recommend a kitchen sink distro like Knoppix, RedHat, or any of the other “user friendly” distros that makes it difficult to install without KDE or Gnome running. It sounds like the original poster needs something lean and lightweight.

        • #3295611
          Avatar photo

          It just might be an idea to have a look see

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to You could be right there

          Who actually asked the question.

          Incidental the original poster made no mention of what hardware he had but if you look him up you might be a bit surprised.


        • #3295502


          by apotheon ·

          In reply to You could be right there

          It looks like you’re right — I don’t know where I saw mention of Pentium Pro. I had that swimming around in my head for some reason, perhaps from a different discussion thread somewhere else. Mea culpa.

        • #3312537

          From Windows to Linux

          by jahernandez ·

          In reply to I couldn’t agree more

          I’m a Windows user who was introduced to Linux in 2002. Back then, we had Red Hat Linux 8.0. I found it quite easy to install (and full-featured as well). I’m not sure I’d love linux if not for that. Only after getting familiar with it did i dabble with the commandline. And i appreciate the power that it gave me over the OS. For one who’s only previous OS is Windows, I’d say RH and any other distro with GNOME and/or KDE will be a good starting point.

        • #3312505

          No command line in windows?

          by wthomas ·

          In reply to I couldn’t agree more

          I know linux is much more CLI oriented than windows, but any good Windows network admin would tell you that the entire windows o/s and them some is exposed to the command line.

          Just about anything that you can do with a command line in ‘nix you can do at the command line in windows… most windows users have just never been exposed to it. (And I can tell you that lots of users can’t even handle the GUI so exposing them to CLI would be a nightmare.)

          Just an FYI

        • #3312488
          Avatar photo

          Perfectly Correct

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to No command line in windows?

          But I’m a “Consultant” and would you in all honesty use Windows command line while a customer who knows next to nothing is looking over your shoulder?

          I’ve done it previously and had to return within a day to fix up the mess that they have made of the small networks that I build/install/maintain. When they have tried to copy my actions.

          I love it if I’m alone but would never consider using it when a customer is around. I’ve had far too many problems.


        • #3312476


          by wthomas ·

          In reply to Perfectly Correct

          I actually meant I don’t trust some of my customers with a GUI let alone CLI!!

          I just felt there was a lot of discussion about CLI and how that made ‘nix better and it sounded like a lot of folks didn’t know how exposed Windows was to CLI and scripting.

          I think some of the problems with Windows stem from the fact that it is sooo huge and hidden but there are so many places to get hooks into that the average user doesn’t understand. It all works great until it stops working and then no one knows what to do.

          The ultimate problem for widespread Linux adoption though comes down to apps… more apps for Linux will mean more installed base will mean more apps…….

          I think the move to web applications will help to level the playing field but it will take time and I don’t think FarCry will ever run over the web, even with fiber to your house!

          Games drive development, and Linux needs more big time games. Anyone know of any developers working in this area?

        • #3312393
          Avatar photo

          I couldn’t agree more

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to Perfectly Correct

          Quite often after someone has altered something unless they are willing to tell you exactly what they have done {and most are unwilling to admit that they messed it up in the first place} you just have so many possible entry points that it is almost impossible to know where to begin and quite often a lot easier to reload than fault find.

          Currently I have one customer who bought a company computer for their son to design Web Pages for the business on and he has now reloaded the thing 3 times in the last 2 weeks. I’ve just got off the phone explaining how to format a HDD and then arrange the drives so that the opticals are at the end of the drive chain. “He’ll be adding more drives within the next few weeks” so there will be another reactivation for M$ there as well.

          Anyway the trouble with this guy is that he knows enough to be real trouble and I recently caught him trying to flash the BIOS through the command line in XP Pro “well it did give some interesting results” but he is just stupid and tampers with things that should never be touched. The last time I saw it running there was no Hyper Threading enabled the RAM was switched to the slowest speed possible, he had under clocked the 3 GIG CPU and had allowed 256 MEG for video when he has a 128 MEG card in place. But at least it worked even if the CPU was constantly showing 100% usage.


        • #3312437

          Windows CLI

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to No command line in windows?

          Actually, that’s not entirely true.

          You can’t do “just about anything” with the ol’ DOS-prompt CLI that you can with the Unix shells. Probably the biggest reason for this is that in ‘nix, people actively develop applications for the command line, whereas in Windows they do not. DOS commands also lack most of the functionality of (for instance) bash commands — just try comparing the switch features of ipconfig in Windows with those of ifconfig in ‘nix, for instance. Compare also the DOS edit command with the literally hundreds of CLI text editors available in ‘nix ranging from the minimal, like ed and pico, up to the featureful, like vim and emacs.

          I’ve done far more batch scripting (back in the day) than shell scripting in Linux so far, but even with the far more limited experience I have seen a hell of a lot more power and flexibility in shell scripting. You can’t get the full functionality of grep from the DOS-style CLI, even if you install a grep clone, and the closed-source nature of Windows means that in DOS emulation mode you will never get as much power, flexibility, and stability out of Perl on the Microsoft platform as you can on any of the myriad Unices.

          More functionality is added to the shell every day, and with every iteration of Windows more functionality is removed from DOS emulation. DOS never had the same functionality as the shell, even when it was the entire operating system — and I’d know, because I was using it. It was much closer then, but it still fell short.

        • #3312389
          Avatar photo

          DR DOS was a lot better than MS DOS

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to Windows CLI

          At the time and I just ran everything on DR DOS as you had far more switches and better commands available.

          Granted they never reached the level of a bad Unix system but they made life so much easier that those who where stuck with MS.


        • #3312349

          Windows CLI

          by peregrine ·

          In reply to Windows CLI

          Actually, you’re wrong. You can do just about anything in Windows from the command line. If you know what tools to use. Ipconfig is a tool for help desk. Not admins. The real meat is in netsh which you’ve obviously never used. 😉 I use both OS’s and find them very similar in terms of functionality from the command line. Both OS’s have their good points and bad points. And just like everything else, which one you like is pretty much personal preference.

        • #3312294

          (in answer to Peregrine)

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Windows CLI

          Actually, I’m not wrong.

          I compared ipconfig with ifconfig. I didn’t compare netsh with any of about a thousand tools of similar usefulness in Unix. I didn’t compare it with any of about a thousand tools of far greater usefulness in Unix, either.

          Your statement that I’ve “obviously” never used netsh doesn’t indicate your knowledge of the l33t h2x0r inner workings of DOS: it only indicates that you are “obviously” jumping to conclusions and making assumptions about what I have and have not used without any facts in evidence upon which to base your statements. I made a simple tool-to-tool comparison, based on the intended uses of those tools. I didn’t say “the only tool in DOS for working with networks is ipconfig.”

        • #3312255

          DR DOS Rocked!

          by admin ·

          In reply to Windows CLI

          hehe… I’m glad someone else remembers this 🙂

        • #3310309

          Easy Apt – maybe not so easy

          by dogcatcher ·

          In reply to easy apt

          I think your comments are right on target for the readers of this discussion on this web site. However, that’s a pretty select, tech-oriented group.

          If Linux (any flavor) is to really challenge Windows on the desktop, it must be at least as easy to use as Windows. Most people who use the computer as an appliance or tool have no desire to learn any more about it than is necsssary to accomplish what they want to do. We know the difficulty of getting users to remember passwords, so it is unrealistic to expect them to react favorably to a need to remember command-line syntax.

          The GUI has won in the court of public opinion. Or, to put it another way, marketing beats technology.

          To go mainstream on the desktop, Linux must go GUI, regardless of code bloat or reduced efficiency.

        • #3310169
          Avatar photo

          But the funny thing here is that

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to Easy Apt – maybe not so easy

          All the current OS are modeled on a prototype copy of Unix that was developed by Xerox when they produced the Lidia that was a true networking environment and it had a GUI. When Xerox decided that there was no future in computers and returned to their “Core Business” they brought in people like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates to show them what they had achieved and ever since these companies have been killing themselves in an attempt to make their products look and work the way Xerox had in the prototype version with 1,000 PC’s networked sharing all their power.


        • #3295669

          Windows-based Perceptions

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Easy Apt – maybe not so easy

          You’re talking about making something not “as easy as Windows,” which Linux already is, but “as easy to a Windows user as Windows is.” Linux is every bit as easy to use as Windows, and in fact much easier. It’s even easier to learn to use for pretty much any given style of use. The problem arises not in a direct comparison of ease of use, but in comparing how easy it is to use Linux to how easy it is to use Windows when the person that must use them already uses Windows habitually.

          There’s nothing more intrinsically difficult about using apt-get from the CLI than there is in using Windows Update to good effect. In fact, it’s much easier to learn the syntax and functionality of apt-get, as well as the consequences of your actions when using it, than it is to memorize how to find Windows Update on every Windows version and learn how to wade through the hype and misinformation to determine which updates you should install when using Windows Update.

          As for the Auto-Update functionality of Windows, such functionality for apt-get exists as well, and some Debian-based spinoff distributions are set up by default to do updates and upgrades automatically.

          To have a Linux system just as easy to learn and use as a Windows system, just get a general sense of how the person in question will use the system, pick out an appropriate distro, and give him a few pointers. Voila. You’re in business. It will be much, much easier to use Linux when the proper approach is taken, in almost every instance, than it will be to use Windows — regardless of your approach to Windows.

        • #3295519

          New to Linux? So am I!

          by willy macwindows ·

          In reply to Windows-based Perceptions

          I have tried 5 different distributions of Linux. For ease of installation I have placed them in the order I feel helps a new user become more intuitive with the OS. I would also suggest climbing the ranks of these versions as your understanding of OS increases:

          1. Lycoris Desktop LX (idiot proof)
          2. Mandrake (not bad, write things down as you go)
          3. Red Hat (not bad, write things down as you go)
          4. Debian (write everything down)
          5. …I forgot the last one, only because I formatted it write after install.

          Debian by far is the most involved however the pay-offs once you get familiar are too numerous to count.

        • #3295494

          nice list

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to New to Linux? So am I!

          I’d cut RedHat out of that list if you intend on moving to Debian. It doesn’t really work as a stepping-stone. RHEL/Fedora is a destination all its own.

          From my own experience, I think SuSE makes a better “beginner” distro than Mandrake, though my Mandrake experience is extremely limited. I’ve never used Lycoris, but I’ve heard about it pretty much what you say — that it’s idiot-proof. That has major disadvantages for the power user, of course, but someone just learning something for the first time is not likely to be classed a “power user”.

        • #3171639

          other linux distro

          by gchatellenaz ·

          In reply to Windows-based Perceptions

          what about linspire (old lindows) or linare ?
          looks a lot as winXp

    • #3306819

      Xandros Desktop/ easier than Mandrake

      by rhema7 ·

      In reply to Which distro to install?

      Xandros has a open Circulation edition that is quite a bit easier than Mandrake. I use the deluxe edition four clicks and I was setup 30min from start to on the net. I’m sure the OpenCir. edition setsup as easy. It is Debian Based and installing apps through Xandros networks is as easy as Windows.
      Here Is a Google search to help you.


      • #3306750
        Avatar photo

        This Distro is very easy to work with

        by hal 9000 ·

        In reply to Xandros Desktop/ easier than Mandrake

        Particularly if you have it on a Windows Network as Samba is included in the basic installation or you can run it from the CD and only save your data on the HDD.

        But until this person comes back with what Distro and Version they are running it gets very hard to help them.


      • #3308184

        Xandros, Mandrake, MEPIS

        by apotheon ·

        In reply to Xandros Desktop/ easier than Mandrake

        Agreed: Xandros is extremely easy to use. It is easier, and less limiting, to use than Mandrake. I recommend Xandros over Mandrake any day of the week. Keep in mind that my experience with both Xandros and Mandrake is extremely limited, however.

        MEPIS, on the other hand, I have more experience with. It’s as easy to set up and use as you could need it to be. If you’re going for complete ease-of-use combined with flexibility and power, MEPIS is still my favorite option for the “even the lobotomized could use it” class of Linux distros. After taking a whack at MEPIS for a week or so, I suspect the average Windows user will wonder how Windows could possibly be so DIFFICULT in comparison.

        For my own purposes, I prefer other distros besides MEPIS, generally — but I’m more of a Linux power user than many former Windows users.

      • #3295559

        Xandros comes with Windows Networking

        by mfblankenstein ·

        In reply to Xandros Desktop/ easier than Mandrake

        One thing nice about the Xandros Open Circulation distro is that it comes pre-configured (aka Samba) for Windows Networking. This is great since for me the Samba configuration was a real headache.

        They have a nice file manager and recognized some legacy hardware (zip drive) and have a nice installation tool.

        The down side is that they charge $89 for the supported version (although this does include Cross Over for running MS Office) and the free version has the CD writer limited to 4x write speed.

        Michael Blankenstein

        • #3295498


          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Xandros comes with Windows Networking

          Every single LiveCD distro (MEPIS, Knoppix, SLAX, FreeSBIE, et cetera) and every single kitchen sink distro (Fedora, SuSE, et cetera) that I’ve ever seen runs/installs by default with samba preconfigured to provide connectivity with Windows systems.

          Of course, I prefer lean over kitchen sink, and for extended use (more than an hour or two) I definitely prefer a lean distro over LiveCD versions. The fact that samba isn’t pre-installed and preconfigured on a lean distro like Debian, Gentoo, and Slackware is part of what makes them good distributions to use, though — if you don’t tell your computer to install samba, samba won’t be on it. This ensures that you’ll never have crap on your system you don’t want. Because Debian is so amazingly easy (and quick) to add software packages to, it makes a really top-flight lean distro.

        • #3312557

          I must just be ignorant…

          by mfblankenstein ·

          In reply to samba

          I have worked with Redhat and Fedora and found Samba unconfigured on both. I used sample Samba configuration files from their website and still was trying to answer questions about setting Windows password security to encrypted or not and setting up Samba user names, passwords, and directories. The Xandros distro just worked…

        • #3312446


          by apotheon ·

          In reply to I must just be ignorant…

          You might be lacking in some understanding of how it’s set up in Fedora and/or Red Hat Enterprise Linux, or perhaps you mean something by “configured” with which I’m not familiar.

        • #3312542
          Avatar photo

          While I fully agree

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to samba

          It is a bit on the hard side for someone new to Linux.

          If you want the person to persevere with Linux Debian just is not the initial suggested installation. However if you where to want someone to try and forget Debian would be the way to go. It’s really for the more experienced user and as a lot have said here the “Power User” but it certainly is not a “Beginner” thing to play with.


        • #3312447

          Debian for beginners

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to While I fully agree

          It depends on the beginner. No two computer users are the same. Luckily, no two Linux distros are the same, either.

    • #3305700

      I’d recommend Mandrake

      by vdanen ·

      In reply to Which distro to install?

      I would recommend using Mandrake. It’s friendly enough for
      first-timers (my mother-in-law was using it confidently, and
      she’s by no means a computer person). The nice thing about
      Mandrake is that you can get into the “power” stuff after a while
      as well, once you’re more familiar and confident with the system.
      The new version (10.1 Community) is now out and it has some
      really nice improvements and touches (I’m currently using the
      10.1 beta for x86_64, although it’s quite similar to the x86
      version). If you’re on a machine with a little less horsepower,
      opt for using a desktop like IceWM rather than KDE or GNOME.
      Feel free to give the others a try, but you might be disappointed
      in the performance; both GNOME and KDE can be pigs when it
      comes to CPU usage “out of the box” unless you take the time to
      tweak them down. IceWM will feel nice and very responsive,
      even on older hardware.

      The good thing with Mandrake is that you can get your feet wet
      and let it do a lot of things for you, and then when you’re more
      comfortable, you can get into the server side of Linux, all on the
      same box.

    • #3310448

      Various Distros

      by nath-uk ·

      In reply to Which distro to install?

      I use Mandrake 10.0, SuSe 9.1 Pro and Redhat 9.0 on a regular basis.
      Each distro has it’s advantages but I find I use SuSe more than the others as it is so simple to re-configure and I’ve never had a problem with it recognising any hardware (except wireless cards – same for all distros). Mandrake and Redhat are fine but the graphics drivers do not seem to be so refined. Radhat is the most corporate friendly distro I have used, about as close to Windows XP in KDE as you can get. Basically it’s down to personal preference as they are all much of a muchness, unless you want to get totally propellerhead with your distro. You might want to try Knoppix, as this is a CD based version of LINUX, I use this for diagnosing WIntel problems, very useful for booting a dead or dying WIntel PC. Knoppix is based on Debian so will give you a feel for Debian. You could always download a trial version of VMWare and install a bunch of Distros so you can compare them on your PC.

      • #3310349

        Other distros to watch

        by fkewl ·

        In reply to Various Distros

        I’m watching alot of news on Linux and here are a few other distro

        > ubuntu >
        using debian and had good reviews, but might be slow on a old system

        > gentoo >
        this distro builds all packages directly from source so it works for your system, but takes a long time to install (good howto)

        from the website :
        When you want to install a package, you type emerge packagename, at which point Portage automatically builds a custom version of the package to your exact specifications, optimizing it for your hardware and ensuring that the optional features in the package that you want are enabled — and those you don’t want aren’t.

        which should be good for slow systems

        anyway, have a look at for all the distros available

        good luck

        • #3307887

          Gentoo – *not* good on slow systems

          by vdanen ·

          In reply to Other distros to watch

          Gentoo would be ok on a slow system if you didn’t have to
          compile it. Can you imagine how long it would take to compile
          KDE on a slow system? It takes too long on a moderately fast
          system as it is. Remember, in Gentoo (to get the kind of
          benefits you’re thinking of) you need to compile everything…
          kernel, apps, X, desktop manager, etc. I surely wouldn’t want to
          do that on a PII unless you have a couple days to spare.

    • #3310447

      Linux Distro

      by aldiboron ·

      In reply to Which distro to install?

      Xandros is the easiest i have found to install and work with. Its hardware detection is very good.
      It comes in an open circulation version(free download), Deluxe version (with Crossover office) $130.oo aus approx.
      Its the best distro i have found for a windows user.

    • #3310368

      I would recomend SuSE.

      by jcampbel ·

      In reply to Which distro to install?

      SuSE linux is easy to install and maintain. It has a polished desktop and can be aquired for free via ftp install. Also Novel is offering free cds on their web site.

      • #3310338

        Novell order option passed

        by ·

        In reply to I would recomend SuSE.

        NOVELL site has posted No more orders accepted

      • #3295668

        ease of SuSE

        by apotheon ·

        In reply to I would recomend SuSE.

        I agree that SuSE is very easy, as far as fully-featured GUI-intensive distros go, to set up and use. I recommend it first among the mainstream kitchen sink distros (those distros that install everything, including the kitchen sink, by default). I tend to side more with MEPIS as a “switch from Windows” distro, however, because of its design specifically to showcase how easy the migration from Windows to Linux can be.

        Debian is far, far easier to install and maintain than SuSE, if you aren’t shy about learning how and about doing things from the command line from time to time. If you’re looking for an all-GUI environment, however, SuSE is certainly a very good choice.

      • #3295640


        by dean.pengelly ·

        In reply to I would recomend SuSE.

        I would have to agree with this suggestion not only based on my experience but this is based on research done by a co-worker’s who looked at many of the distributions available before selecting SUSE. His requirements were similar to yours and he also had experience with UNIX (HP & Solairs)and Linux prior to selecting SUSE.

      • #3312293

        Reply To: Which distro to install?

        by spectre65 ·

        In reply to I would recomend SuSE.

        At this time, Novell is no longer accepting orders for the free kit.

        Just an FYI.

        • #3304914

          Free one cd ISO 9.1 at SUSE portal

          by joeshouse308 ·

          In reply to Reply To: Which distro to install?

          I was able to download a single cd iso installation disk for SUSE 9.1. Any desired additional apps are widely available as RPM’s that install easily with YAST. I’m a Mandrake user, however, I found the install easy, hardware recognition perfect, configuration was very straightforward and attached to a windows network intuitively. In other words, I liked it

    • #3310255

      Try Fedora

      by gmartos2001 ·

      In reply to Which distro to install?

      Try Fedora! Very good distro and a good way start learning Linux.
      Hava fun!

      • #3295612

        My daughter is using Fedora Core 2 at college

        by rreinha2 ·

        In reply to Try Fedora

        I was a longtime Debian user until I installed Red Hat 9 on the box I bought for my daughter to take to college. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to install and maintain and my daughter enjoys being different. Thiis year I bought her a surplus laptop and installed Fedora Core 2 and APT for RPMs which was derived from Debian. I still have Debian on my Sparc 5 though.

      • #3295547


        by thomasmac ·

        In reply to Try Fedora

        I tried Fedora core 1 and haven’t turned back
        After partioning my 40 gig 10 for linux and the
        rest for windows (used partition magic)Booted
        from CD and it installed with no problem no tweeks
        or gotya’s happened and it found everthing on my
        system !good to go
        Great system and now tutorials to lean about
        linux and some of the more hands on through
        therminal mode BUT that is me and the desktop
        has everthing that you want to play with!
        I have found it to be faster than windows in
        loading and the desk top is quite good Gnome
        Have fun and pick up some distro” from
        some other site and install any of them don’t
        like try another I did
        worked for me

    • #3310212

      know yourself & the your machine.

      by shaoul ·

      In reply to Which distro to install?

      first, know yourself – are you
      – a geek
      – an it expert
      – a user
      – a nerd (no offence)

      do you have a linux geek around ?
      (he might help if you manage to communicate with him)

      how old is you machine ?
      cpu (pentium 1, 2, 3 ,)
      memory (8, 16, 32, 64, 256 MB)

      best, locate a linux user group close to you.
      they often organise some linux install parties.
      bring your machine, some blanc cdr’s, your screen, a box with power plugs,..
      (see that your machine has a cd-rom & a network cable)
      you will have fun, meet people and get your machine installed.

      some distro’s are really plug & play.
      others are more technical.

      you would not install win xp on a pentium 1 with 16 M of ram , would you ?
      the latest distro require also a fast machine (pentium 3, best 4), 256 MB ram, best more, …

      you will not turn an old machine into a ferrari by the magic of linux.

      have fun with the penguin

      • #3295667


        by apotheon ·

        In reply to know yourself & the your machine.

        Absolutely. You are 100% on the money.

        I would like to reinforce the use and desirability of a local LUG for people new to Linux.

    • #3310170

      Xandros, Mepis, Lycoris, PCLinuxOS

      by charles farley ·

      In reply to Which distro to install?

      If you want to install a Linux distro that’s not going to be a pain in the a**, try one of these–Xandros is outstanding, if getting a little dated. It’s also the one I consider easiest to get used to if you’re accustomed to all the MS hand-holding OSes over the years. Plus, it will resize NTFS and FAT partitions because, let’s face it–most so-called newbies will not give up their Win9x/NT/2000/XP distro until someone pries it from their cold, dead fingers. Mepis is very good, very easy (and powerful) to use, hardware detection is very good (as is Xandros). Lycoris has a great desktop and well-configured file manager; I haven’t gotten around to their latest release (which just came out and will be available publicly October 31). If you have unlimited time to mess around trying to get things to work on your computer, and you also have an unlimited supply of aspirin or similar for all the headaches, then by all means, try the standard distros: Mandrake, Red Hat/Fedora “project”, SuSE, or the unnecessarily-arcane Gentoo (what’s up with them, anyhow?). [Note: go ahead and flame me, but even if you Gentoo guys explain it, I’m still not going to get it–IT’S AN OPERATING SYSTEM, DUDE–not a way of life!] All in all, if you need to get some work done and want to use Linux to do so, use a Debian-based distro. Xandros is my pick, though I have dozens of distros (all the way back from Mandrake 5 and Red Hat 5.1); there are myriad–and stunningly excellent–LiveCDs by PCLinuxOS, Mepis, Knoppix (of course), Ubuntu, the exemplary SLAX distro (a Slackware LiveCD), and even Mandrake Move is excellent (though it screws up, as does regular HD-install Mandrake, hardware detection). Stick to a good Debian install and you will be smiling while you’re getting some work done (or having some fun)–rather than editing obscure text at a command line to try to get your router or NIC or sound card to work. And I should say that Slackware is almost ready for primetime now, too–it seems that most quality Linux distros are entering a period not unlike the Windows 95 phenomenon–they are becoming easy enough to use and understand that many more people may be able to use them in a satisfying manner. But there’s so much more to be done to get to even a WinXP ubiquity milestone (though that’s WAAAAY outside this topic).

      Hey–I gotta go!

      PS – Mandrake has a sentimental spot in my heart, but they futz up the hardware detection too badly with every new release. Private note to the Mandrake boys: a SoundBlaster Live 5.1 isn’t exactly NEW hardware, fellas! Same to the Red Hat boys–get your stuff together and stop slacking on things that should be taken care of automagically–like sound- and video-card detection. My God, you’ve both had nearly a decade to do it–I would have thought you’d have made better progress by now . . .

      • #3307878

        Mandrake – bad hardware detection?

        by vdanen ·

        In reply to Xandros, Mepis, Lycoris, PCLinuxOS

        That’s odd… I’ve used every version of Mandrake, and
        soundblaster 5.1 cards, and have never had an issue. There
        used to be an issue where Mandrake would install, out of the
        box, with sound muted and it took a bit to find out how to
        unmute it, but other than that…. no problems. And I’ve used it
        on quite a bit of different hardware. About the only real
        problem I’ve ever had with Mandrake was ACPI support on one
        of my compaq laptops… I could never make it report the battery
        status properly. SUSE (forget which version) did, but they broke
        firewire so my external FW HDD was no good. So, back to
        Mandrake… =) However, on my newer compaq amd64 laptop,
        Mandrake got everything right with the exception of the
        broadcom wireless nic which no distro can do (yet)… and no,
        ndiswrapper does not work on 64bit linux.

        I can’t say I’ve used Mandrake with every piece of hardware out
        there, but I’ve used it on a number of laptops and a variety of
        other hardware (including amd64 and ppc) and it has always
        done the right thing in terms of my hardware… the only time I
        recall sound problems is with older ISA soundblaster cards back
        in the 6.x or 7.x days.

        • #3300682

          Reply To: Which distro to install?

          by jaqui ·

          In reply to Mandrake – bad hardware detection?

          have you check mdk 10.1 to see if the bluez will support the wireless nic?
          bluez being blue tooth wireless device support.

          either way send the device data from harddrake to mdk and they will try to get support into the distro.

      • #3294630

        Hardware vs. distribution: Where Linux has issues

        by pghammer21 ·

        In reply to Xandros, Mepis, Lycoris, PCLinuxOS

        This is *precisely* where the rubber meets the road in terms of Linux: hardware support.

        While my onboard Ethernet (Intel PRO 1000/CT) is supported by every distribution of Linux (and even by Solaris), my sound card is not (Audigy 2 ZS) and my graphics card (ATI All-In-Wonder 9700 Pro) has spotty generic framebuffer support (depending on what version of XFree86 is included with the distribution). TV tuner support? Surprisingly, it’s better in Solaris as opposed to Linux. (I’m talking about XjG’s commercial Summit drivers here.)

        Contrast that with Windows Media Center Edition 2005. I can use the Windows XP drivers for all of my hardware I named above and have it work, with no muss, fuss, or extra cost. (In fact, the Windows XP drivers are included with the hardware.) And don’t get me started on my ATI HDTV Wonder. (Not supported in Linux or Solaris at all.)

        And it is precisely this sort of hardware wrangling that makes IT professionals like me very chary about recommending, let alone using, Linux.

        • #3294445
          Avatar photo

          Could it be

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to Hardware vs. distribution: Where Linux has issues

          That the hardware you mention is only supported by Windows because it is aimed directly at that market?

          Come on be serious exactly how many Linux Boxes are used as a replacement to M$ Media Center 2005?

          Is it any wonder that the companies who make the hardware and go to the trouble of getting it M$ certified do not for see a Linux application for it?

          You can say exactly the same thing about the real OS out there Unix which was around long before Windows was even a much sought after Unix copy by Mr Gates. But just because hardware is made for a mass market that M$ has produced by no means implies that any other OS is inferior just that it was not for seen for that application.

          The majority of the hardware out there that is not specialist game or media center is supported by Linux and then there is the fact that most of the CGI images generated for movies are done on Linux/Unix boxes and not Windows Boxes.

          These OS are for real applications not made up uses to support M$ need for a constant income stream.


    • #3309990

      Wow, thanks for all the suggestions

      by rexworld ·

      In reply to Which distro to install?

      I hadn’t come back to this thread in a while, I apologize. Just wanted to thank everyone for your feedback–there’s distros mentioned here that I’d never heard of. Clearly I have a ton of options to choose from, which is both the blessing and the curse of Linux.

      I think I’ll at least start with one of those distros that boots off a CD. That sounds like a good quick way to experiment.

      • #3309910
        Avatar photo

        Just remember this

        by hal 9000 ·

        In reply to Wow, thanks for all the suggestions

        If you chose a Distro that runs off a CD it will be slower and unless you are only playing with it you’ll need some Hard Drive space for your data to be stored. So do not just drop in a Linux CD into your main workstation and forget about the fact that some formatting of the HDD will be required. If you have any important data on the drive DON’T chose the recommended option when you are prompted about formatting your HDD. You’ll need to use the Expert option.


      • #3295666


        by apotheon ·

        In reply to Wow, thanks for all the suggestions

        I recommend MEPIS first and foremost among LiveCD distros. If, for any reason, that doesn’t work for you, I recommend Knoppix. MandrakeMove (or whatever they call the Mandrake LiveCD version) is, bizarrely, not nearly as easy for a beginner to use as most other LiveCD distros, despite the fact of Mandrake’s reputation as the “easy Linux”.

        Above all else, if you are serious about wanting to learn Linux, find a local LUG (Linux User’s Group). They’re friggin’ everywhere, immensely helpful, and easy to get along with. They have very helpful mailing lists, tend to be full of extremely friendly and tolerant people willing to help others enjoy the world of Linux, and will continue to be a wealth of knowledge even when you’re an old hand.

        Staying with a LUG when you’re a guru yourself is also a very easy way to give back to the Linux community. You can help out newbies that are out of ideas on how to help themselves, just as some kindly LUG member helped you in the past.

      • #3295660


        by jdunys ·

        In reply to Wow, thanks for all the suggestions

        Why Linux?

        You can have KDE/Gnome/WindowMaker/etc. GUI managers on top of FreeBSD!
        The great thing about FreeBSD is that it is extremely stable, has years of developement behind it, has an extremely devoted user/developer base, runs thousand of Unix/Linux application, and…best of all… does NOT need a powerful hardware configuration.
        Installation is NOT as bs as people make it, and it is even interesting from ther web or network.

      • #3295641

        Get Linux, get on a LUG mailing list

        by alganon ·

        In reply to Wow, thanks for all the suggestions

        I have been using Mandrake for three years now, since version 7, very nice. But I would not have survived without the input and friendly assistance of the members of my local LUGs (Linux Users Groups). I subscribe to three lists, has a resident Mandrake guru. (Linux users of Victoria) is populated with Debian and Red Hat devotees, and the occasional Gentoo user, a very serious site, but sometimes graced by the presence of Rick Moen from the good old USA. is a very friendly list with a much broader uptake of “fringe” distributions, but there is excellent advice on all three lists. I am sure that you will have some good lugs to join near you. One of the best things about Linux is the strong sense of community, the willingness to help and share, and the belief that we are a part of history in the making – The Empire Strikes Out – penguins win.

        Melbourne, Australia

    • #3295663

      Linux Desktop and knowing your pc first

      by yanipen ·

      In reply to Which distro to install?

      When I was experimenting on my own, I have the luck of a mid-range pc. A Pentium 3 Class.

      As a suggestion. Know your pc first. Is it a pentium 2 class by far, or perhaps a pentium class? Why I ask? For starters, all linux softwares today can support older, and legacy hardwares. So, to enjoy the benifits of this OS you are experimenting with, it better be a p-2 class with at least 128 mb. P-Class will work just fine, especially if you can find at least 64mb to 128mb memory. But mind you, it will be slow as it gets. The kind of thing that you can get coffee and drink it halfway sort of thing. So for speed, it better be at least a p-2 class. Older than a p-class, well, you decide on that. Anyway, there are lots of used pc, or parts out there. So try a faster one.

      I have tried Caldera then, and Red Hat. I have heard mandrake is also good. But the point is, it does not matter what Linux to play with if you play with it. Being serious now has some merits.

      As you play along, you will find what Linux is for you. Me? What I like is Red Hat. Fedora? A Sibling of Red Hat? I have never tried it.

      I hope my suggestion helps. Good luck and be careful while playing with OS.

      • #3295590

        want to LEARN or USE???

        by gone to another field ·

        In reply to Linux Desktop and knowing your pc first

        If you want to Learn, use Mandrake. If you want to USE, load up Linspire. I highly recommend Linspire. It has all the functionality and feel that your CUSTOMERS are familiar with. It is stable. It loads easily. You don’t need to reboot every thirty seconds during an install. As a matter of fact, my son’s Linspire machine has run for 45 days without a reboot and NO problems. Seen Windows do that in the last three years??

    • #3295661

      How about Linux under Windows

      by netcentricity ·

      In reply to Which distro to install?

      Aren’t there any flavours of this available? I don’t want rid of my Windows installation (it’s WinXP TPC edition and would be a bind to reinstall thanks to proprietary Toshiba technology). But I don’t want to run the risk of LILO stuffing my WXP installation.

      • #3295639

        Sure, usual VirtualPC or VMWare

        by frank hudson ·

        In reply to How about Linux under Windows

        Either of these packages will let you run a Linux (or other Windows OS for that matter) at the same time as your native OS.

        Of course no free lunch, you need some RAM and disk space for the subsequent OS.

      • #3295505

        boot disk

        by apotheon ·

        In reply to How about Linux under Windows

        You could always try simply installing it as a dual-boot with a boot disk to start Linux instead of setting up LILO on the hard drive. That way, you’re not writing anything to the boot sector of the hard drive, and don’t risk your XP installation.

        Installing a “virtual” Linux environment inside of Windows strikes me as a monumentally bad idea, and while there are a few options out there for how to do this there seems little point to me in setting up Linux to run as slowly, unsecurely, and unstably as Windows.

        In any case, good luck.

    • #3295659

      Easy Linux Installation

      by keith.young ·

      In reply to Which distro to install?

      I have been happy with Sun’s Java Desktop System which uses the SuSe distro I believe. I simply put the first CD in the drive, all of the info was gathered from the current Windows installation and soon I was running Linux. Worked very well for me.

      Keith Young

    • #3295653

      Xandros is the one

      by tracyf ·

      In reply to Which distro to install?

      Definitely- Xandros. Thay used to be pay only- now that it’s a free download- it’s a no-brainer.

      I’ve installed just about all of them & can truthfully say that, other than the live version of Knoppix, Xandros was the easiest to install & found all hardware as well as having access to my Windows shares on my network.

      What else is there?

      Tracy ;^)

    • #3295652

      Mepis Linux

      by fretinatorg ·

      In reply to Which distro to install?

      Mepis Linux is a live-cd distro, which then offers the ability to install to the hard drive. This combination enables you to determine if your hardware is supported prior to installing. Very simple configuration tools, but a powerful distro.

    • #3295644

      Linux Distro?

      by dotxen ·

      In reply to Which distro to install?

      There’s only one worth bothering mate.

      SuSE 9.1, or any versoion you can get. It’s the most well developed, the most professional/commercial system and it’s a doddle to install.

      Rule Brittania

    • #3295642

      Knoppix, GUI fun without actually installing…

      by alanx86 ·

      In reply to Which distro to install?

      Linux on a bootable CD with loads of apps. Goes where you go. Leaves when you leave. And, of course, you can always get to the command line/console when you’re ready to ditch the eye-candy front end and geek out!

      And of course, the price is right!


      • #3295620

        Another vote for Knoppix.

        by madion ·

        In reply to Knoppix, GUI fun without actually installing…

        I’ve got a CD of Knoppix 3.4 at home and at work. It’s great for being able to pop into any PC that can boot from a CD and then have Linux with a GUI front-end at your fingertips.

        On my XP laptop from work Knoppix loads purely into RAM with the hard drive set to read-only mode. I can surf any site without fear of drive compromise from spyware – when you turn the computer off; it’s gone. Great for troubleshooting problems that people get themselves into. We have also used it for analysis of drives with messed up file systems to estimate chances for data recovery.

      • #3295478

        I would have to agree with Knoppix

        by drew_lgca ·

        In reply to Knoppix, GUI fun without actually installing…

        If after testing it out on the CD you can install it on your hard drive. There is a built in installer (sudo knoppix-installer @ the command promt) Knoppix is based of Debian.

      • #3312498

        Knoppix is the easiest

        by newyorkcityboy69 ·

        In reply to Knoppix, GUI fun without actually installing…

        And you can download it for free from some websites. I{m new to Linux and was extremely easy for me to install and configure Knoppix in two or three PCs.

    • #3295632

      How to match distro/version with (vintage) hardware

      by eggy ·

      In reply to Which distro to install?

      (RexWorld — I did the same myself a few months ago, and was pleasantly suprised with what I learned. Hopefully you’re having the same results! But in another case I ran into a snag…)

      Thanks for all the good knowledge. Can anybody recommend means to match software & hardware? I tried an install on a ‘vintage’ machine without success (install terminated with error message of ‘…cannot run on this hardware’). I’d like to make another attempt, but only if I can first confirm that the hw is compatible with the particular distribution. Any advice?


    • #3295621

      Easy Linux

      by rld3 ·

      In reply to Which distro to install?

      I have installed and used several.
      I like SUSE Linux the best.
      Download, burn, boot and install.
      Very much like Windows, but remember that
      Linux is NOT Windows and never will be.

      Robert L. Dunaway

    • #3295614


      by matthew ·

      In reply to Which distro to install?

      Is the best, has support by phone, is FREE, has CNR “Click -n- Run” Software as Download warhouse 90% of is free, same “download, burn, install” and is FAR more reliable than any other mentioned here. No patches to worry about has the familar look and feel of Windows but is stable and secure! You can even download a ‘demo’ self contained “FULL install on bootable CD” pop it in and boot from CD and try without really installing!

      • #3295609

        another vote for Suse

        by garryallen ·

        In reply to Linspire!

        I’ve experimented with several versions to see if they might actually be useful to any of my clients.
        Suse 9.1 was the most successful at hardware detection (incl. a USB flash drive) and the easisest to navigate (for a Windows user). Linspire came a close second but ran much more slowly on the same hardware (in fact more slowly than the XP it replaced). Novell has an ISO image of Suse 9.1 that you can download and try without touching anything on your HD. It works suprisingly well.

      • #3295486

        I second Linspire

        by cmccord ·

        In reply to Linspire!

        I was wondering when someone was going to mention this distro. I’ve been working with it through several versions and have seen it mature along the way. It is probably the easiest to install, easiest to get compatible software for (Click n’ Run) and most closely resembles Windows. So close in fact that Microsoft has been making life very hard for this company. With lawsuits filed all around the globe and pressure to change names (used to be called Lindows)it’s a wonder they’ve held on, but they’ve weathered the storm admirably.

    • #3295607

      The question should be, what distro are mu customers going to use.

      by gary ·

      In reply to Which distro to install?

      Actually you have the wrong question. If you’re like most of us, your training time is very limited, even if you learn on your own time. So learning an ‘easy’ distro to then re-learn another one, which your customers want to use, is a huge waste of time (IMHO).

      I am an RHCE, who has given up on RH, to move over to SUSE. Not because I don’t like Fedora, not because I like SUSE, but because I estimate that it is where MOST of my future customers will be going.

      Why? Well, because most IT VPs and CIOs are concervative, dur to self interest. I would love to learn Debian and Slackware, Yellow Dog and others, but I can only afford the time to learn one well, so I bought a new laptop, spent on the official CDs of Suse, because they dont publish ISOs, and only allow us to install from FTP. And I have been running SUSE on my new laptop ever since.

      Is this the best distro? Maybe, probably not for everyone.

      Is this the right distro? Maybe, depending on the reason for running Linux.

      My 2 cents, and I guess flame bait!

      Gary B

    • #3295595

      Re: Which distro to install?

      by ·

      In reply to Which distro to install?

      I am very partial to SuSE Linux. I have 9.1 Personal installed on a couple computers and am very happy. The best part (IMHO) is that you can use YAST to install/update software and it will tell you what dependencies you have and what is needed to resolve them.

      Allen Tate

      • #3295581

        Look at Yellow dog Updater, Modified

        by thatboy ·

        In reply to Re: Which distro to install?

        While not a distrubtion per say, there is a nice package management system available for RPM-based systems maintained at

        Once you have a minimal system up and running, you can easily install and update other packages.

    • #3295582

      Easy Linux Desktop

      by rthresh ·

      In reply to Which distro to install?

      I’d say by far Suse is the easiest to install and upgrade. Get yours free here.

      It doesn’t have all the bells and wistles the purchased version does, but will give you a really great intro to linux.

      Have fun!

      Robert Thresher
      TES Technology Corp.

    • #3295565

      I’ve tried lots, Gentoo my fav for a while but now: Ubuntu

      by admin ·

      In reply to Which distro to install?

      Check it out. It is a GREAT easy install! I am recommending it to all of those people getting their feet wet now!

      It’s free, it rocks!

      Check this one out!

    • #3295529

      Which distro to install?

      by jaguariuna1 ·

      In reply to Which distro to install?

      I have recently installed “conectiva 10”, from Brazil, which (I guess is a Debian type distribuition, using apt-get….) And I am amazed by it….. I am dual booting with W2000, on the first HD…… And I am a newbie used to FC1 & 2…. Conectiva requires:
      CPU: 100 mhz; VGA; HD: 2Gb; CD-ROM & Floppy Drive
      They recommend, for optimum functioning:
      CPU: 500 mhz; VGA; HD: 6Gb; CD-ROM & Floppy Drive
      One can purchase the 3 CD-ROMS cheaply from some of the cheap organizations here in the US…. Or, one could download the distro from …. The distro can speak Portuguese/English/Spanish…. The only problem is the website so far only speaks Portuguese, which means “documentation” is in Portuguese….. Also the conectiva servers are very slow, about 5 kb/sec, me using cable… Another reason to buy the cheap distros here…. Although they give a selection of several government/university/private mirrors, which run faster….Try different mirrors, some are faster then other… One can find these servers on the “conectiva” website, which unfortunately is in Portuguese…. APT also can get updates and upgrades from these servers….. The URL’ are preprogrammed, and they are selectable, once the OS is installed, using a text editor….. The company recommends using these mirrors, because of the load on the “conectiva” servers themselves…..
      I really like this distro….. It is very stable/fast/nimble….. I do belief they were in a consortium with SuSE/Debian, and as such, I expect them to be similar to SuSE……

    • #3295528

      If its an older PC, Gentoo is what you want.

      by roughequipment ·

      In reply to Which distro to install?

      For what you are doing, Redhat, or its server spin-off Fedora, are both superb choices. Both have graphical installers and are rather straight forward. If this is your first time using Linux, I would defiantly suggest a Redhat flavor.

      However, from what you have told us, this seems to be an older machine. If you want the computer to have serious performance gains, try Gentoo. Gentoo installs everything by downloading the latest source from various parent servers and then compiling them specifically for your architecture. Another nice thing about Gentoo is that it will only install what you want it too. If you don’t want support for MySQL when you install Apache and PHP, you have the option of turning it off.

      I learned a lot about how Linux works by doing a few installs and tweaks in a Gentoo environment. Granted, it does take a longer time to get up and running, but once it is, it is rock solid.

    • #3295495

      Install linux in new PC, use old PC as minimal server

      by kyuso ·

      In reply to Which distro to install?

      Since you are going to play around with linux, I would recommend partitioning the drive to contain around 3 distributions. Most distributions for desktop would be okay with 2GB, unless you do development and server setup, in which case you want about 5GB. Then allocate the rest of the drive for data/user files.

      Depending on the age of the PC, you might actually want to try older distributions like RedHat below 9, since most new distributions don’t run very well in small memory (like 64MB) unless you don’t want to install many GUI applications, like server setup.

      What I would suggest is to actually partition your new PC to run linux, and use the old PC as a minimal linux server. You get to run true desktop linux experience as it was meant to be on a new PC, and play around with server services in old PC.

      It all depends on the age of your PC and hardware setup.

    • #3312580

      RedHat 7.3

      by raysal ·

      In reply to Which distro to install?

      This is what we are learning in school. It seems fairly stable and it is fast. Is it cheaper? Don’t know do to all the products that cost when applied to it. A great many products don’t integrate with Linux very well, also the configuring of some the products with Linux carry a very heavy mental challange to most of us.

      • #3312487
        Avatar photo

        The age of that release

        by hal 9000 ·

        In reply to RedHat 7.3

        Could be the very reason why it doesn’t recognize a lot of new hardware.

        But depending on what you are actually doing it could be a very good learning platform if you are learning to integrate or write code.


    • #3312549

      If you’re just trying to find out which?

      by ruben.allas ·

      In reply to Which distro to install?

      I have tried Suse 9.1, Mandrake 10 and Fedora 2. Perhaps, since these three distros have new versions 9.2, Mandrake 10.1 and Fedora 3 try them. They are free or almost free: buy the downloaded versions first for a few dollars. Try them and find out which one you are comfortable with, then purchase the full-version, that is if you haven’t bought them already. I am currently on Suse 9.1 and upgrading it is on line is so easy through ADSL connection. If you go through their suggested file servers, you can upgrade anything in Suse 9.1, and probably goes well for 9.2 also. I will stay with Suse, until there is a definite reason to move on to the next distro.

    • #3312547

      Red Hat 8.0

      by bw65 ·

      In reply to Which distro to install?

      I have an old Gateway 2000 (200 MHz) box on which I loaded RH 8.0. It works great on my home network. I use CRT 3.0 (a wonderful telnet app) to connect to it through my XP box. Through this set up I get the best of both (Linux) worlds–“command line only” from my XP box and the GUI when I’m actually sitting at my Gateway machine.

      The RH 8.0 install went great. Since I’m only using 64 Mb (or was it 128 Mb? I forget now), the older distro was the way to go.

      • #3312445

        slow system, new distro

        by apotheon ·

        In reply to Red Hat 8.0

        I’m about to take a whack at installing Debian on a vintage Thinkpad — P2 233MHz with 64MB of RAM. I’m going to use the current Testing (Sarge) version and, since Debian doesn’t use a huge, resource-intensive installer like Anaconda (which is what Fedora uses), the newer Debian installation style will work great for me. Also, because Debian isn’t by default a “kitchen sink” distro, I can easily install a lean, mean, extremely fast set of apps for maximum performance.

        It should be fun.

        • #3312594

          Slow system even slower new distro

          by gorto ·

          In reply to slow system, new distro

          It’s been said repeatedly that Linux will run on slow PC’s with blazing speed but that was when the GUI interface was lean and very simple. Today’s GUI magic is just as complex and bloated as Microsoft XP and nearly kills anything that doesn’t have 256MB of memory and a 500+Mhz CPU. On less than that I don’t even bother with the GUI.

        • #3313255

          GUI speed

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Slow system even slower new distro

          Don’t use Gnome or KDE. You can still get the GUI working with impressive speed by using something other than Gnome, KDE, and similarly bloated desktops.

          I use WindowMaker on every Linux system I use right now, including several that have processors slower than 400MHz, with the exception of dedicated servers (which have no GUI installed at all because there’s no point to a GUI on such systems). It’s faster than XP on a 2.4GHz system. That sounds like blazing fast GUI speed on a slow computer to me. Imagine how fast everything works with WindowMaker running on my 2.4GHz system.

        • #3313222
          Avatar photo

          Well I use Red Hat 9 on an old

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to GUI speed

          Dual Tyan 166 Pentium which is just too good a board to throw out. It can not take anything faster than the 166’s but it does have 8 X 72 pin RAM slots per CPU they total 256 MEG all up.

          Currently I have Gnome running on it because I use it as a demo for Linux and while not the fastest unit around it is still reasonable about the same speed to execute as a 2 GIG P4 running XP Pro.

          I also have several 200 MMX Pentium’s with 128 MEG of RAM running different Distro’s and while by no means the fastest things around they do work well. Personally I believe that because Linux is written in a better way without the Code Bloat that M$ has in Windows that is where the idea comes from that it is possible to run the newer versions of Linux on older hardware.

          While this is correct you do not get to see the full advantages of what Linux has to offer and it is one thing that I tell everyone what the hardware is only after they have had a play with the OS and its related applications. So far everyone that I’ve allowed to have a play doesn’t believe me when I tell them that they are working on a 200 Pentium and insist that it must be something far faster. Most have 128 MEG loaded but because of some of the old RAM that is used in these things it gets hard to find the larger RAM Sticks and the one with Knoppix loaded only has 64 MEG as at the time I could only find 8 MEG sticks. That one without doubt is the fastest of the fully featured Linux units that I run here although the Lycoris Desktop LX works quite well but in all honestly I only consider this as a learner unit which has the look and feel of Windows XP so that a first time user isn’t scared away from Linux.


    • #3312521


      by oz_media ·

      In reply to Which distro to install?

      Well I thought i may be alone with this in a true Linux world and i am not after all, but SUSE is by far the most accepted version of MY customers.
      They all run Novell servers and desktop users have been scared to move from Windoze due to the Linux learning curve, Suse is welcomed with arms wide open, they LOVE it, it is just as esasy as the Windoze a home, and has a GREAT bundle for next to nothing.

      You can download a complete, BIN file to create a bootable disk, ‘SuSE Go Live’, also available on Novell’s site. It will let you boot from the disk and check it out, then just boot normally and nothing is changed.

    • #3312519

      Try SuSE Linux

      by aldanatech ·

      In reply to Which distro to install?

      There are several cool Linux packages out there such as Red Hat, but if you’re concern is the install then I definitely recommend you SuSE. Their install system is simple, reliable, and straight forward.

      • #3312507

        Linux Install

        by rustydane317 ·

        In reply to Try SuSE Linux

        I just installed SuSE Linux more or less to have a Linux box at home. Have to admit the installation was a breeze, and the included software (OpenOffice, etc.) was a plus.

        But, it didnt’ recognize either my wireless PCI card or the on-board ethernet, so I couldn’t obtain an internet connection.

        Everything I’ve researched requires the command line (console) instructions to install the drivers and they don’t work, either. Excuse me for not being extremely ‘techie’, but I installed Windows XP on the same box & it recognized both devices (& my wireless network) without a problem.

        I’m sorry, but I don’t understand all the hoopla about Linux when I have to go back to command line commands to install peripherals or devices. Why do they even have a GUI if you have to use line commands?

        I’ve used DOS since about version 2.0, and graduated to the GUI, and have been glad my few command line instructions are minimal.

        I’m a network administrator & am glad we stick with Active Directory and don’t move to Linux. It may be great for server use, but not for the individual user. The graphical interfaces are so much easier to use

        • #3312464

          That’s pretty odd

          by oz_media ·

          In reply to Linux Install

          Firstly, I don’t think people switch to Linux for reasons other than cost, stability and security not found in any Windows release.

          I have converted several offices from Windows to Suse and even XD2 Linux, with Suse I’ve never had a single issue with hardware, and that includes VERY mixed environments with new and old PC’s.

          The main issue users were concerned about was losing the windows GUI ease, however the boss saw several thousand saved per desktop so he was an easy close. Since moving to Suse, they have said how they were completely unaware just how similar Lnux is to Windows, they had command prompt fears too I suppose. Yet they ae fine with Suse.

          So I suppose that every system is different, and in that case, I have seen similar problems with XP where you usually need to buy new hardware for compatibility.

          In a business sense, Suse IS cheaper EVERY time hands down by many thousands than the MS route. I think that’s why so many businesses are switching.

          New York bank, Minnesota bank, Air Canada and a few US airlines have all recently migrated ALL systems to Novell with Suse Linux, people have concerns about things other than desktop tricks.

        • #3312432

          CLI vs. GUI

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Linux Install

          I was skeptical of the need for the command line at first when I started using Linux, too. I remembered all too well the comparison of DOS to the Windows desktop GUI.

          The DOS CLI bears some superficial resemblance to the shell in ‘nix, but the power and flexibility of the shell is far beyond that of the DOS command line. Once I got more familiar with the shell and began to understand how to make better use of it, I realized that my computing experience has become MUCH easier and more rewarding now that I’m working with computers that hybridize the environment between the CLI and the GUI.

      • #3312434

        SuSE vs. Red Hat / Fedora

        by apotheon ·

        In reply to Try SuSE Linux

        I’m a Debian man, myself — I find all of the major kitchen sink distros to be about equally odious because of the major bloat they carry with them. There are those who prefer the more Windows-like experience of one of those kitchen sink distributions, however, and to that I say “to each his own”.

        That having been said, there are two reasons that, if forced to pick between SuSE and a Red Hat product, I’d choose SuSE.

        1. The installation is, as you said, extremely simple, reliable, and straightforward. It’s easy to do what you want (so long as what you want fits within the range of what the people at Novell think you want, of course — that’s one of the downsides of a kitchen sink distro).

        2. SuSE uses KDE by default, while RHEL and Fedora (the two major versions of the Red Hat offering) uses Gnome. I loathe Gnome. It’s even more bloated and slow than KDE (or it was when last I checked, anyway — I hear the newest version of Gnome is slightly faster than previous versions). Even if it were faster than KDE, it would still be like molasses flowing uphill compared to lighter-weight window managers like IceWM, BlackBox, and others. Aside from that, Gnome is just ugly.

      • #3170793

        YAST rules

        by icealex ·

        In reply to Try SuSE Linux

        I also think SUSE-Linux is the easiest distro for newbe’s. With the setup and administration tool yast there is no problem to install and configure Linux.

        You can choose your partiions, hardware config software packages and so on.
        After installation you can use YAST to configure your services and everything else from the OS in a GUI-environment

        Cheers, Alex

    • #3312512

      maybe an older distro?

      by kraken_ ·

      In reply to Which distro to install?

      Hi there.

      I began Linux fiddling with the ol’ “Slackware” distro, back in 1995, if I remember well. It was a hell to install, to say the very least. Then I switched over to RedHat, took a look at Mandrake, and got interested in Debian, but I never took the time to look deeper into this one.

      Depending on the age of your old system, I’d recommend an O.S. of the same breed, or ages. Older distros were a bit lighter, and even if they lacked some polishing, they make potent learning machines; you’ll probably have to mess around loading modules, breaking lilo limitations and the likes, which is very good way to learn the basics of the operating system

      For example; I use Red Hat 7.3 on a Pentium-166 (64MB RAM). The O.S is quite new compared to the computer. To help reduce CPU usage, I use IceWM as my window manager. It’s not quite nice, but it’s light and does the job for a server. It’ll be a bit harsh for everyday use on a desktop box, though. I’d stand clear of KDE and GNOME on beasts from that antediluvian era.

      One thing: learn to use the command-line, it’s a must. Once you’ll start to use the command line, you’ll find it’s some times faster than using a mouse. And I haven’t even started to talk about scripting.

      Good luck!

      • #3312433


        by apotheon ·

        In reply to maybe an older distro?

        I agree with everything you’ve said, emphatically.

        I’d add that, in my experience, working with the command line is not just sometimes, but USUALLY faster than the GUI. There are certain uses to which a computer is put that just beg for the GUI environment, though, and I don’t begrudge the necessity.

        The true expert computer user makes use of both the GUI and the CLI. That’s my opinion, anyway.

    • #3312490

      Here is a TERRIFIC Linux Solution!!!!!!

      by rpgnw ·

      In reply to Which distro to install?

      if you want THE MOST comprehensive, easy, cost effective,
      and easy to maintain Linux based system to bring to your
      old PC(up and at it within minutes!), go check out the
      following website:
      don’t be put off by their bent toward education-get in
      contact with them-this is THE BEST I have seen to date.
      I know—I have used their solution with great results!

      • #3312431


        by apotheon ·

        In reply to Here is a TERRIFIC Linux Solution!!!!!!

        How much are you getting paid to say that?

      • #3312324

        definietly spam.

        by tjfarley ·

        In reply to Here is a TERRIFIC Linux Solution!!!!!!

        Wouldn’t go to that recommended site if my life depended on it.

        • #3312288

          recommended site

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to definietly spam.

          If you’ve got the right computing environment, there’s no danger in following links like that, generally. Just make sure you use a computer you don’t care about, are willing to immediately pull the plug on if need be, has no access over the network to other computers you DO care about, has all functionality turned off for cookies and dynamic content, and is behind an extremely restrictive firewall. Heh.

          Being an IT consultant that has occasion to do a lot of very strange stuff in service to clients, I have such a system at hand, and I’ve discovered that the site in question is not even finished being put together. I’m thinking about loading up some new tools for evaluating what sort of traffic occurs between the client machine and that website to see if it’s trying to load some Windows-based malware onto the machine. Should be fun.

      • #3290572

        Reply To: Which distro to install?

        by guapo ·

        In reply to Here is a TERRIFIC Linux Solution!!!!!!


    • #3312470

      Damn Small Linux is great for obsolete PCs

      by ufg1 ·

      In reply to Which distro to install?

      I managed to install Damn Small Linux on an old IBM 300GL P-MMX 166Mhz 128MB Ram 2.5GB HD PC in about the same time it took me to install Windows 2000 on it. I was also able to install FireFox V 1.0 Preview release on it with no problems. I tried GenToo but it ran out of disk space partway through the multiple day install process.

      Damn Small Linux is based on Debian and Knoppix. It includes a couple if browsers, a word processor, spreadsheet, and the usual unix internet utilities.

      This was my first successful attempt at installing a desktop linux.

    • #3312418


      by ramana ·

      In reply to Which distro to install?

      Try XANDROS linux, as it is meant for Desktop use.its much simpler than the other linux OS in market.

    • #3313565

      NLD – Novell Linux Dist.

      by bucky kaufman (mcsd) ·

      In reply to Which distro to install?

      I’m in a similar situation, and am giving NLD a shot. The other distributions are loaded with crap you don’t really need in a desktop workstation (e.g. several database servers, web servers, telnet daemons, etc.). NLD is slimmed down to just the Kernel, OpenOffice and some basic operating stuff.

      • #3313489
        Avatar photo

        But with any of the Distro’s that I’ve installed

        by hal 9000 ·

        In reply to NLD – Novell Linux Dist.

        You are given the option on what you want to install.

        There are the basic questions like is this a Server/Workstation or whatever and then with every Distro you can chose the individual components that you wish to install.

        I see this a a good thing rather than something that you want to avoid.


    • #3313512


      by elliotl ·

      In reply to Which distro to install?

      Mepis, which you can pick up for a low cost at is a Debian derivative with simplicity and ease of use as its main goals. It combines the best of Debian (package management) with an installation and configuration second to none. Boot directly from the live CD to test hardware compatibility or get accompanied with the operating system, then using the same disk, install it to a hard drive in a fashion that’s easier than a Windows installation.

      Integrate with Windows by mounting NTFS or Fat32 partitions by clicking on their respective icons, or connect to a Windows network seamlessly with Samba. OpenOffice is included for a complete office suite and all other basics a desktop would need are included as well. You won’t be short-sided in extra programs; Mepis comes with well over 600MB of packages.

      Mepis avoids the bloat of Mandrake or RedHat, while giving you everything you need. Instead of packaging 6 web browsers and 9 text editors, you get the best of each category. Mepis arguably has the best performance of all the distributions with similar goals.

      In the end, Mepis is a great choice for a newcomer who is faced with installation and all. Out of the box, it’s one of the most usable operating systems around with very little fuss. I highly recommend it!

    • #3312893

      Try CYGWIN

      by sdkarnam ·

      In reply to Which distro to install?

      If you have Windows 98 or even 95 install it. Then download cygwin from Now you have linux functionality running on windows. Once you get familiar with linux then you yourself can figure out which distro you want to use. On older machine (pentium 266) CYGWIN runs really great on windows 98. Faster than native Suse Linux 9.1.

      Note: Avoid windows 2000/XP they hog the resources.


      • #3312861


        by apotheon ·

        In reply to Try CYGWIN

        Then you get Linux with all the stability, speed, and security of Windows.


        That’s certainly not for me.

        • #3312851


          by sdkarnam ·

          In reply to cygwin

          Please read the thread and my comments in full. This suggestion is for somebody who is new to linux/unix and need some playing around before he decides which one to pick. I have installed cygwin on my old machine so that my kids get more hands on the linux/unix environment before I do a complete switchover.

          I am running Open BSD running on my laptop and it is so sweet. I do not want get into a war over BSD vs Linux but OpenBSD is really really stable and secure inherently.


        • #3312822

          cygwin, OpenBSD, Linux

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to cygwin

          I have read the thread and comments in full. I was being “funny”. Don’t take it personally.

          Why did you bring up BSD vs. Linux if you don’t want to get into a BSD vs. Linux war?

          I’m a Debian user — also very stable, with more (and easier) access to software packages, more development support, and more up-to-date software. Debian works for me. I don’t have anything against OpenBSD, though: it has its advantages as well. They’re just not advantages for which I, personally, have much use right now.

    • #3312778


      by robert_onyuma ·

      In reply to Which distro to install?

      Mandrake 10
      gives you user desktop…with admin power just at the corner 🙂

    • #3312729

      It depends…

      by house ·

      In reply to Which distro to install?

      I’ve used RH 8 to Fedora 2…it’s getting easier to use…but for a professional OS, try Suse or Mandrake. If you consider yourself an advanced user, try Debian. If you stray too far from the popular packaged distros, you are going to learn a lot real fast.

    • #3299435

      What are system stats?

      by jdclyde ·

      In reply to Which distro to install?

      Really can’t make a recommendation either way without knowing what the old system is.

      How much memory do you have?
      HardDrive size?

      Low of any of these and forget about a graphical machine for the most part.
      May also have to pick and choose what to install so it will fit on your disk.

      What do you want to use the system for once it is going? If you wish to become an admin then go with a corporate brand, RedHat or SuSe. Otherwise look at dabian or mandrake.

    • #3304720

      Newer Distro – BeatrIX

      by bluecollargeek ·

      In reply to Which distro to install?

      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

      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.

      • #3351727


        by oskarku ·

        In reply to Newer Distro – BeatrIX

        We talked to the developer — incongruously a journalist — who helped us deploy BeatrIX on 50 seats. He did it for free, using his words, “for fun.” Linux needs more people like this. He showed us how to configure our seats to eliminate Web browsers and deny Web access to anyone who didn’t need it.

        Thumbs up to BeatrIX!

        — John

        • #3351686

          People like this?

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Agreed

          Linux “has” lots of people like that. Join your local LUG and get to know a few.

      • #3239373

        Had a time getting it to HD

        by tracyf ·

        In reply to Newer Distro – BeatrIX

        …but once on it’s was great! It’s installed to a 4GB older drive on an EPIA-itx 5000. Once installed, I added music/video player- now I’m good to go.


    • #3241469

      How old is your computer??

      by camalfa ·

      In reply to Which distro to install?

      Yes nice question , How old is your computer (486or 386)how many memory and how many space for your HDD. because if you install a new technologie linux it wont work on old system.

      Shure you receive a lot of sugestion about madrake( now mandriva)and ubuntu or debian bout you must have a linux distro that is x86 , not 586 or whatever, for my own test on old computer (486 dx2 66, 4,5g HDD 128M) the old mandrake works well (version 7.0 or 8.0)

      then, i tried newer linux on a pentium 111 550 and tried with a amd slot1 550 and now i am currently using a pentium 111 800 without any problem. I am on linux Xandros open circulation 2.o and it works with winmodem, without installing any drivers.

      I am not shure if i repat someone else of this discution, but with so many reply, i didn’t read them all.

    • #3255118

      I’d recommend Suse

      by shanghai sam ·

      In reply to Which distro to install?

      I’ve been using 9.1 and 9.2 for a good while now. Both installs worked w/o any problems. I’d give that a try. It even worked fine with my dlink wireless card in it.

    • #3181091

      Old Hardware & New OS

      by pantherbigcat ·

      In reply to Which distro to install?

      I tried to install several Linux distros on an old Pentium II-400 box rescued from a bank trash bin. After putting in a 10Gb hard drive, 128Mb of PC100 RAM, a sound card & hardware PCI modem, I found that Libranet to be the only distro that would install sucessfully. It offers an embarrassment of options to play with as well. Have fun!

    • #3191258

      got and idea

      by camalfa ·

      In reply to Which distro to install?

      I’ve an idea for you my friend, why don’t you just try a live cd from a distro and check it out if it’s working???

      after that you just have to take that distro and install it!!

      you have a bunch of cd to try example:

      knoppix ” most popular debian , and you can insatll it from the cd”
      mandrake move “no comment”
      ubuntu ” they got a live cd too”
      and many more but be careful because you can catch a live cd with only one language on french only : like kaella

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