Best linux distribution

Talk about anything at all....

Best linux distribution

Postby neil » Sat Mar 15, 2008 11:43 am

Hi there
I know that everyone will have their own (different) opinion but I want to ask the question.
Which of all the various distributions of linux do you think is the easiest to deal with, most user friendly and is most likely to succeed for someone who's only OS experience is various versions of Windows.
I have an older Dell laptop (Inspiron 1100 with 500mb ram) that I want to use to see how viable it is.
My newer laptop came with Vista but I have already dumped that and put XP on it.
I use Open Office, Firefox and Thunderbird (and other stuff obviously).
Thanks
Neil
OOo 3.2.1 on Ubuntu 10.04
User avatar
neil
 
Posts: 39
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 3:28 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: best linux distribution

Postby Hagar Delest » Sat Mar 15, 2008 11:48 am

Have tried Debian, SimplyMepis and Ubuntu, using each one around a year. Debian is best for someone wanting to have the exact system matching his needs and his machine. SimplyMepis is really good for hardware support (sometimes better than Ubuntu). I kept Ubuntu because: the LTS I use works fine on my HP laptop (had issues with previous versions on another Compaq laptop, which I have kept running SimplyMepis) and it comes full featured, no need to install yourself all what you need like in Debian.

NB: the next Ubuntu LTS version is due in few weeks. NB: as they're live CD, it's easy to try first without installing anything.
AOO 4.1.6 on Xubuntu 19.04 and 4.1.5 on Windows 7 (with winPenPack port).
User avatar
Hagar Delest
Moderator
 
Posts: 28543
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2007 9:07 pm
Location: France

Re: best linux distribution

Postby James » Sat Mar 15, 2008 2:28 pm

Ubuntu. Not perfect, but the easiest I've used, and with a large community at http://ubuntuforums.org/
James
www.8daysaweek.co.uk - A User-Focused OOo site.
Windows Easy Installation CDs & OOo on USB Keys, OOo for Mac OS X + Ubuntu CDs

Please read: Survival Guide for the forum
OOo 3.1.1 on Ubuntu 9.x + Windows XPP, Mac OS X
User avatar
James
Volunteer
 
Posts: 264
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2007 7:23 am
Location: UK

Re: best linux distribution

Postby RGB » Sat Mar 15, 2008 3:57 pm

The most "user friendly" (IMHO) is openSUSE. With a great software repository, a great administration tool (Yast) and a good community, is a great choice for both, new and experienced users.
I recommend you kde as desktop environment.
There are two types of people: those who believe that there are two types of people and those who do not.

openSUSE Leap with KDE Plasma / LibO
User avatar
RGB
 
Posts: 1454
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 1:34 am

Re: best linux distribution

Postby kingfisher » Sun Mar 16, 2008 2:34 am

I've tried all of those mentioned and I have settled on PCLinuxOS. Distrowatch is a good source of information. PCLinuxOS is good for new users because it has GUI interfaces for most operations. I rarely need to use the command line; I'm not sure I ever need to use it.
Apache OpenOffice 4.1.6 on PCLinuxOS
User avatar
kingfisher
Volunteer
 
Posts: 2120
Joined: Tue Nov 20, 2007 10:53 am

Re: best linux distribution

Postby AndrewZ » Sun Mar 16, 2008 7:14 am

I use and generally like Fedora except they are sometimes too bleeding edge with software updates---sometimes to the point of breaking things. Ubuntu seems like a good choice for newbies.
<signature>
* Did you solve your problem? Do others a favor: Post the solution
* Visit OpenOffice.org Ninja (blog) and OpenOffice.org Ninja Wiki for news, previews, troubleshooting, etc.
</signature>
OOo 3.0.X on Fedora 9 + XP
User avatar
AndrewZ
Volunteer
 
Posts: 633
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 1:25 am
Location: Colorado, USA

Re: best linux distribution

Postby ccornell » Mon Mar 17, 2008 4:23 pm

Everyone has their favorite.... picked for many reasons. Everyone will probably tell you their favorite is the best because of some long list of reasons - I'm guilty of doing this myself with my preferred Linux distribution (openSUSE) :-)

The best advice I can give is.. try a few. Each person has different requirements, and different Linux distributions will meet different requirements. For ones that are most likely to just work, try at least these:
  • Ubuntu
  • Kubuntu
  • openSUSE
  • PCLinuxOS
(no specific preference order here)
Look for one that has a LiveCD so you can try it out first. Try out at least Gnome and KDE as Window Managers so you can pick the one that suits how you think a desktop should work.

Give it all a fair chance once you pick one and get it installed. Linux operates quite differently to the old familiar WindowsXP. There is a learning curve, and sometimes it can be frustrating trying to get some things working. When you run up against trouble, go to the support community for the distribution you selected. Make sure you tell them exactly the problem, the version you have installed, any error messages etc. The more information you can provide, the better the answer back will be.
openSUSE 11.4, KDE4.6 with OpenOffice.org 3.3
User avatar
ccornell
Volunteer
 
Posts: 611
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2007 7:21 am

Re: best linux distribution

Postby kingfisher » Tue Mar 18, 2008 1:18 am

The difference between Ubuntu and Kubuntu is that the former uses the Gnome desktop, whereas the latter uses KDE. PCLinuxOS installs KDE by default but you can install other desktops and there is a Gnome version. IIRC, openSuSE installs KDE by default also. You can get that kind of information on DistroWatch. PCLinuxOS has a live cd from which you can also install to the hard drive. I don't know whether the others have a live cd. I use the Xfce desktop with many of the KDE applications; I wouldn't give you half a bootlace for Gnome. :mrgreen:
Apache OpenOffice 4.1.6 on PCLinuxOS
User avatar
kingfisher
Volunteer
 
Posts: 2120
Joined: Tue Nov 20, 2007 10:53 am

Re: best linux distribution

Postby neil » Tue Mar 18, 2008 3:27 am

Thanks heaps for your input.

Are any of these distributions better when it comes to application support than others?

Eg. does Open Office run better on some than others?

What about hardware support? If I plug in an external HDD or memory stick in a USB port will it automatically recognise it?
What about CD & DVD burning?

Thanks again for your responses. I'll let you know when I do it.

Neil
OOo 3.2.1 on Ubuntu 10.04
User avatar
neil
 
Posts: 39
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 3:28 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: best linux distribution

Postby kingfisher » Tue Mar 18, 2008 4:07 am

I doubt there's any significant difference in software support unless you want to use the Sun build of OO. You'll need to find any hardware problems the hard way. That is one advantage of trying a live cd first.

If you want to use the Sun build of OO, there is an advantage in using an O.S. for which Sun provides a "desktop integration" rpm. I'll be obliged to use the Mandriva rpm because no rpm is available for my distro. It's worked o.k. in the past but may not work this time, in which case I may stick with my old version because the ooo build which Linux distros use seems to be flawed.
Apache OpenOffice 4.1.6 on PCLinuxOS
User avatar
kingfisher
Volunteer
 
Posts: 2120
Joined: Tue Nov 20, 2007 10:53 am

Re: best linux distribution

Postby ccornell » Tue Mar 18, 2008 10:06 am

neil wrote:Are any of these distributions better when it comes to application support than others?

For the "mainstream" distributions, they are all roughly the same. Most (but not all) Linux distributions use online repositories of applications that are prebuilt and ready to install using a software install tool which communicates with the online repositories and handles all the installation and initial configurations for you. All you need to do is browse through a list of available applications, select the ones you want and click the install button.

neil wrote:Eg. does Open Office run better on some than others?

Most (all?) Linux distributions come with OpenOffice.org as well as other lesser known but useful office applications (KOffice for example). Sometimes people report problems with the distribution specific OpenOffice.org builds that came with their Linux version. Ubuntu has had some issues reported for example (search the forum here for examples). openSUSE comes with the Novell Edition of OpenOffice.org which has more things built into it that have not yet been rolled into the main OpenOffice.org builds. Generally speaking, OpenOffice.org runs fine in any modern Linux distribution, and you really do not need to make a choice of what Linux to use based on if OpenOffice.org works or not.

neil wrote:What about hardware support? If I plug in an external HDD or memory stick in a USB port will it automatically recognise it?

Again, if you are selecting a current and mainstream Linux distribution, then the answer is hardware support is generally very good. If you plug in an external USB device like a hard drive or memory stick, it should be picked up on right away, and your GUI (KDE does this) will present you a choice much the same as Windows does, to open in a file manager etc etc.

Hardware support for other things like WiFi cards, scanners, printers, etc varies. WiFi cards are probably the most difficult one to deal with. If you are lucky and have a WiFi card based on the Atheros chipset, then WiFi should work "out of the box" using the madwifi drivers which are included in almost ever Linux distribution. Most printers should work (eg HP, Brother, Canon are well supported), and the same can be said of most scanners.

It pays to do a little testing with LiveCDs and with the distribution's hardware database. For example, with openSUSE and WiFi cards, you can go to their Wiki and look up the testing reports on various WiFi cards: http://en.opensuse.org/HCL/Network_Adapters_%28Wireless%29 (I use this one for an example because it is the distribution I use and know.. Ubuntu has similar information, as do other distributions)

neil wrote:What about CD & DVD burning?

Linux has some excellent CD & DVD burning software. If you prefer something commercial, there is a Linux version of Nero. On the open source side, K3B is a very nice KDE application - one I use a lot. Gnome also has some CD/DVD burning software.

Something nice to know is that if you chose to use Gnome but prefer K3B over Gnome Baker you can use K3B in Gnome.. or if you use KDE but like Gnome Baker better, you can use it in KDE. The GUI specific apps are interchangeable - ie if you chose one GUI over the other, you are not limiting yourself to one set of applications.
openSUSE 11.4, KDE4.6 with OpenOffice.org 3.3
User avatar
ccornell
Volunteer
 
Posts: 611
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2007 7:21 am

Re: best linux distribution

Postby neil » Wed Mar 19, 2008 3:19 am

Just thought I'd let you know that I have decided to try Kubuntu 7.10.
However I haven't had a good start.
The desktop doesn't load - it simply goes to a command prompt.
I have posted some questions on the kubuntu support forum and hope to get some help there
http://kubuntuforums.net/forums/index.php?topic=3092466.0
but if anyone here has any bright ideas I am all ears
OOo 3.2.1 on Ubuntu 10.04
User avatar
neil
 
Posts: 39
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 3:28 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: best linux distribution

Postby kingfisher » Wed Mar 19, 2008 5:53 am

You may have to include a video switch with the boot command. Does the boot disk not make any suggestions? Your problem probably arises from a failure to recognise your video card.
Apache OpenOffice 4.1.6 on PCLinuxOS
User avatar
kingfisher
Volunteer
 
Posts: 2120
Joined: Tue Nov 20, 2007 10:53 am

Re: best linux distribution

Postby Hagar Delest » Mon Mar 24, 2008 5:14 pm

IIRC, you should have advanced options at startup, try the VESA mode.
AOO 4.1.6 on Xubuntu 19.04 and 4.1.5 on Windows 7 (with winPenPack port).
User avatar
Hagar Delest
Moderator
 
Posts: 28543
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2007 9:07 pm
Location: France


Return to General Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests