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 Post subject: Best Linux Distros?
PostPosted: Fri May 24, 2013 10:12 pm 
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I am looking to switch to linux soon, and all of the options are somewhat overwhelming. I was wondering what distros are popular with everyne here. The more customizable it is the better. Thanks for the help.


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 Post subject: Re: Best Linux Distros?
PostPosted: Fri May 24, 2013 10:50 pm 
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I use Ubuntu but that is my personal preference. I would place my bets around Ubuntu, Arch Linux, or some form of Debian.

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 Post subject: Re: Best Linux Distros?
PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2013 12:47 am 
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Mepis, hands down. If I recall correctly based on Debian (but I have memory issues so don't quote me on that lol). Been using it since 2006. Very stable and a great small scaled but very active community to support.

http://www.mepis.org
http://forum.mepiscommunity.org

Currently working on a new release (beta2 just out) which has KDE 4.8.4.

I am not computer software savvy at all, but Mepis I can work with.


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 Post subject: Re: Best Linux Distros?
PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2013 1:35 am 
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Beans wrote:
I am looking to switch to linux soon, and all of the options are somewhat overwhelming. I was wondering what distros are popular with everyne here. The more customizable it is the better. Thanks for the help.

You should say a bit more about how familiar you are with operating systems in general and Linux specifically as well as the primary tasks you use your computer for.

For me, Gentoo is the best choice. I get the impression you're a Linux newbie and could use a big community. If that's the case Ubuntu is probably the best choice for you.

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 Post subject: Re: Best Linux Distros?
PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2013 8:17 am 
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For me Gentoo is the easiest distro. It has a steep learning curve but offers complete control and is not restrictive in the slightest way. I don't recommend it to begin with, but if you ever become fluent in *nix then give it a go. I'd also rate Arch Linux in a similar way, just with a smaller learning curve.

I found that Ubuntu/Mint/Debian are easy to learn and use but extremely complicated if you want to do "advanced things" like install libdvdcss. :roll:

Recently I installed Fedora for my dad and found that it's a good 'sweet spot'; not too restrictive and also quite simple for everyday tasks. I really like the initial installer as well; it gives many, many options for customization unlike Ubuntu which offers just a few selections.

It seems to come down to two issues:

    Stable vs bleeding-edge, in which Debian and its derivatives would score very far left, Gentoo and Fedora somewhere in the middle, and Arch on the far right.

    Ease vs control: the 'major' distros, Ubuntu, Fedora, SUSE, etc are all oriented toward ease, and will handle things like configuration and updates somewhat automatically. Debian is somewhere in the middle. Arch, Gentoo, Slackware, and maybe some others are completely opposite; the user controls nearly everything.

I'm sure a lot of us have distro-hopped quite a bit so don't be afraid to try new ones as your experience progresses.

Chandler

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 Post subject: Re: Best Linux Distros?
PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2013 8:55 am 
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I Started out with Kubuntu in late 2005 and later switched to Xubuntu because I wanted a simpler desktop. I eventually switched to Debian with LXDE, but currently use Adriane Knoppix due to recovering from a detached retina rendering me unable to use a monitor and mouse.

I would recommend something in the *buntu family for learning the Basics and moving to vanilla Debian when you feel like your ready to "remove the training wheels". LXDE is probably my favorite desktop, but that might just be at it allows me to have the barebones look I like while saving all of my system resources for when I need to use a heavy-weight application.

Once Knoppix 7.1 comes out, I am going to try an install Adriane on top of a vanilla console-only Debian install, as while I love Adriane, I hate the live-only nature of Knoppix.

I was going to try Arch Linux before my vision went south, but having to switch to a blind-accessible set-up put such endavors on the back burner. Though, if there is one silver lining to my detached retina, it is the fact that I no longer need any graphical application other than Firefox/Iceweasel, and that is only because I have thus far been unable to find a text-based browser that works with Blinux anywhere near as well as Iceweasel works with Orca.

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 Post subject: Re: Best Linux Distros?
PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2013 5:05 pm 
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Thanks for the input everyone. I think I will start off with Ubuntu and then move to something more advanced.

Bmenrigh: You are correct in assumming that I'm am new to Linux. I do not know much about opperating systems, but I was hoping to start using Linux to learn more. I eventually want to get into writing parts of a Linux based system, but that probably won't happen for awhile.


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 Post subject: Re: Best Linux Distros?
PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2013 5:28 pm 
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Beans wrote:
Thanks for the input everyone. I think I will start off with Ubuntu and then move to something more advanced.

Bmenrigh: You are correct in assumming that I'm am new to Linux. I do not know much about opperating systems, but I was hoping to start using Linux to learn more. I eventually want to get into writing parts of a Linux based system, but that probably won't happen for awhile.

It's somewhat of a myth that one distribution is "more advanced" than another. There is no reason why you can't install something and then customize it all you want. The issue is that many changes conflict with how the package manager and system is setup by the distro so it can be hard to undo the conflicting distro-specific setup and once you do, you may lose the ability to safely update or manage your system with the distro provided tools and package manager.

Gentoo's philosophy is to give the user a base system and assume they will customize it to meet their needs. To that end the package manager gives you a lot of control over how packages get compiled and configured and what packages get installed.

Ubuntu's philosophy is to give the user a feature-rich, good graphical user interface and good user experience right "out of the box". Assumptions are made about what the average user will probably want and choices are about what gets installed and how it gets configured follow these assumptions.

Most other distros fall somewhere in between. If you find the assumptions your distro makes match what you want then stick with that distro. If you don't either switch to one that does or use something like Gentoo that makes very few assumptions and expects you to do most of the work yourself.

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