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Linux Desktop Distro Shootout

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the slow-news-day dept.

Operating Systems 383

An anonymous reader writes "InfoWeek has posted an open-source OS comparison. Linux Shootout: 7 Desktop Distros Compared pits openSUSE, Ubuntu 8.4, PCLinuxOS, Mandriva Linux One, Fedora, SimplyMEPIS, and CentOS 5.1 against each other. And the winner is ... Ubuntu. Author Serdar Yegulalp writes: 'Ubuntu 8.4 remains one of the best desktop distributions for many good reasons: it works with almost any hardware you throw at it, and has tons of features for both existing Linux users and prospective converts from Windows.' He also gave openSUSE points for ease of use on the desktop, and Mandriva kudos for ease of administration."

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383 comments

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8.4? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23300798)

8.04.

Re:8.4? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23301110)

Now how the hell did a post made at 11:00AM get modded redundant, while a similar post at 11:06 got modded informative?

why CentOS? (4, Informative)

trybywrench (584843) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300804)

Isn't CentOS the free version of Redhat Enterprise Linux? Why is it in a desktop linux shootout?

Re:why CentOS? (4, Informative)

lgarner (694957) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300890)

It includes elements from all RHEL packages: RHES, RHAS and RHED.

Re:why CentOS? (2, Insightful)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301716)

I'd Replace CentOS with Linux Mint. There are only two Deb based distros in this lineup (kick me if I am wrong...) and no Debian?

If they include CentOS and RHEL, surely Debian could have made a bow... or is that too advanced for your average Linux Desktop?

Re:why CentOS? (-1, Flamebait)

immcintosh (1089551) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301790)

For reference: The Debian installation guide. [debian.org]

Any distro whose install guide needs to contain a section "Setting Up Your System To Use E-Mail" I think should be fairly disqualified. I think "desktop" distros should be those that are basically plug and play (I've never used Debian myself, so if I'm wrong here let me know). Don't get me wrong though on one account, my distro of choice is Arch, and I wouldn't really call that a desktop distro either; nothing wrong with that.

Yawn (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23300840)

Linux is boring.

Add free version. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23300870)

Here [informationweek.com]

Re:Add free version. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23300924)

of what?

Re:Add free version. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23301318)

It's such s shame that so many slashdotters can't seem to wrap their heads around the differences between 'add' and 'ad', or 'too' and 'to'.

Re:Add free version. (2, Informative)

ajs (35943) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301298)

Summary: Each of the distributions had their strengths and weaknesses when it came to hardware, but beyond that were essentially competing on common ground.

That said, Fedora 8 was tested, and the beta for Fedora 9 is currently in full-swing and will be released in 8 days [fedoraproject.org] , so the comparison is slightly weighted (as all Linux desktop distribution comparisons tend to be) to the most recent release: Ubuntu in this case.

Re:Add free version. (1)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301784)

Well yes and no.

Just the other day on /. everybody was complaining that an early adoption of an Ubuntu release was fraught with problems, my first week with Ubuntu confirmed that for me...

So this comparitive test does not really lend Ubuntu an unfair advantage, if it were done with Hardy a bit matured one would be able to say that...

Correction to article (1, Redundant)

cryptodan (1098165) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300876)

It is Ubuntu 8.04 not Ubuntu 8.4. http://www.ubuntu.com/getubuntu/download [ubuntu.com]

Re:Correction to article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23300932)

Maybe I'm overly-pedantic, but I came here solely to point that out.

Better methods of statistical comparison. (4, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300888)

1 - Make a live disk of each.
2 - Build many identical robots.
3 - The round starts upon insertion of the disk.

Last standing robot wins.

THUNDERDOME!!!

Gentoo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23300912)

Gentoo uber goober!

If you can (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23300926)

If you can read this, you're a douchebag.

Re:If you can (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23301156)

Yeah! All the cool kids are illiterate!

Hey!!! (5, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300936)

No fair! Who gave OpenSUSE that AK47?!

Re:Hey!!! (3, Funny)

twitter (104583) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301352)

Bill Gates did but they only used it to shoot both of them in the foot.

Re:Hey!!! (1, Funny)

explosivejared (1186049) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301388)

What's really unfair is the fact that, being bred in Africa and all, Ubuntu uses guerilla tactics that border on terrorism.

Nothing is off-limits to Ubuntu's crazed, fundamentalist frenzy.

Ubuntu: Answer me this Mr. Suse, what good is that superior firepower of yours if you can't even boot. [cut away to a man masked with a smiley face mutilating an innocent young grub]
OpenSUSE: St. Linus perserve me, I'll exact my revenge on you, all of you monsters!

Re:Hey!!! (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301570)

Working with Microsoft has its, shall we say, advantages.

Ubuntu 8.04 (5, Insightful)

SkankinMonkey (528381) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300944)

I'm quickly finding that I prefer 7.10 to 8.04. The overall system seems a lot more bogged down, lots of freezes with programs that never occurred in earlier versions. I do like a lot of the new functionality but I hope that they iron out some of the outstanding issues (especially considering it's supposed to be a LTR).

Re:Ubuntu 8.04 (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23300972)

Feel free to file a bug: https://launchpad.net/ubuntu/+filebug [launchpad.net]

Re:Ubuntu 8.04 (4, Insightful)

SkankinMonkey (528381) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301040)

I've submitted almost all of my crash reports to them, and all the crashes I've experienced are known bugs (and had multiple page threads on their forums during alpha/beta testing). That being said, I think they should have held off a bit on a final release and squashed a few more bugs that were pretty proliferate and user inhibiting.

Re:Ubuntu 8.04 (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301316)

I'm a bit split on this, I guess. It seems like they shouldn't release an unfinished product, but on the other hand I like that they actually stick to a 6-month release schedule.

I think I'd rather see them releasing every 6 months as best they can, and if during my testing I run across any showstopper bugs, I'll stick with an older version. After all, that older version will be (at most) 6 months old.

Re:Ubuntu 8.04 (2, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301596)

That's what happens when you release on schedule, and not when it's ready. That's one of the reasons I like Debian Sid so much. Bugs crop up from time to time, but usually they're fixed within a day or two of me noticing them. If it's not, I can always apt-pin a working version until it is fixed.

Re:Ubuntu 8.04 (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23301042)

I am running 8.04 since the beta releases - no issues apart from the (now fixed) https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/215728 [launchpad.net] . Please send out bug reports - most times I reported one, I have gotten a useful response - workaround, fix etc.

Re:Ubuntu 8.04 (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300974)

Ditto. Since it's an LTR, I figure I'll stick with 7.10 for another year.

Re:Ubuntu 8.04 (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301200)

Ditto. Since it's an LTR, I figure I'll stick with 7.10 for another year.
No. 8.04 is the LTS version.

Re:Ubuntu 8.04 (4, Informative)

TheLink (130905) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301144)

I heard the freezes are due to some scheduler thing they did - rather than all processes competing equally, you have some weird situation where programs that have root and user instances have problems with one starving out the other.

Re:Ubuntu 8.04 (4, Informative)

Dystopian Rebel (714995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301174)

There was a decision to use the old scheduler on the Desktop version of Heron. It is causing problems. Try the Server version.

I find that it's as wise to wait for stability in an Ubuntu release as it is with an MS Windows release. The difference is that stability comes to Ubuntu faster. (o:

I will give Heron a month or two to settle down and then switch.

Ubuntu does more right than any other Linux distribution ever has.

Re:Ubuntu 8.04 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23301344)

I always used the server one, and in this release, they compiled in xen stuff. The NVIDIA driver refuses to install because of that. Now I have to use the generic one, which doesnt give me more then 3.1 gigs of ram.

Re:Ubuntu 8.04 (1)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301864)

There was a decision to use the old scheduler on the Desktop version of Heron. It is causing problems. Try the Server version.
Yes, the scheduler in the Server version may give better responsiveness, as well as fix some sound crackling and related issues. The relevant switch (CONFIG_FAIR_CGROUP_SCHED) will be coming to the Desktop kernel soon [launchpad.net] in 2.6.24-17, which is currently in the hardy-proposed repo (you can install it by enabling the 'proposed' repo, but note that in general stuff in proposed hasn't yet been 100% tested, so you might want to wait).

Re:Ubuntu 8.04 (2)

prestomation (583502) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301346)

I had a serial-to-USB adapter that didn't have drivers in the kernel pre-.24, but they are in Hardy, so I upgraded during the beta. Also, the new kernel has b44 native drivers for my broadcom wireless..no more ndiswrapper for me!

Re:Ubuntu 8.04 (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23301420)

Funny how the worlds "most popular" operating system is full of bugs and other problems. While the worlds "most popular" linux operating system has a noticable number of bugs and other problems. Perhaps we should make linux more buggy so that the masses will like it more!

Re:Ubuntu 8.04 (2, Interesting)

hey! (33014) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301830)

well, on the plus side, the intel sound card on my laptop works under hardy. on the minus side, i have had issues with the keyboard driver under gnome 9illustrated by this post0. this same bug with modifier keys also seems to lead to program crashes. running the keyboard prefs app fixes the problem when it crops up.

overall, hardy feels very rough, and the upgrade process is even rougher. the upgrade removes the network manager applet, so i had to configure wi-fi from hand and sudo apt-get install network-manager-gnome.

all the problems i've run into have been reported, with the exception of an acpi related boot issue 9e.g., laptop won't boot when running from battery0. i'm going to check my laptop initramfs before looking into that one. i have various acpi related problems including the inability to resume from suspend that may be bios specific.

i'd recommend looking upon hardy as a 'beta' release. it's promising, but not something you want to install on your non-linux friends' machines yet. i've been using it for some months now starting with the beta release, and it's still seems to be in the fix two bugs, create one new bug phase. if feisty doesn't have any obvious hardware problems on your setup, i'd stick with that for a few months yet. i really missed having sound though. the new sound architecture is interesting and has features that might prove useful to some people.

overall, i'm ok with hardy; i can deal with its oddities. i'm a little happier running under xfce, which also leaves me more room to run virtual machines. bottom line -- a few people will be somewhat happier with hardy, many will be considerably happier with feisty, at least for a few months yet.

And the winner is ..... (3, Insightful)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 6 years ago | (#23300960)



No matter which distro takes the #1 spot, the real grand prize winner is ....

                                                              THE USER !!!!

Re:And the winner is ..... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23300994)

No matter which distro takes the #1 spot, the real grand prize winner is ....
Mac OS X

Re:And the winner is ..... (1)

strabes (1075839) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301510)

... for the tough-to-beat price of a $2000 computer.

Re:And the winner is ..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23301046)

No matter which distro takes the #1 spot, the real grand prize winner is ....

                                                              THE USER !!!!
That's like saying the score is perpetually tied, and that everyone gets a participation trophy.

This isn't tee-ball anymore.

Re:And the winner is ..... (1)

strabes (1075839) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301496)

The point is that the user wins because there are so many distributions from which to choose. The user is not stuck with whatever crap a large corporation decides to shovel to him/her.

Fedora (4, Insightful)

BountyX (1227176) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301004)

Fedora 9 comes out 8 days 3

Re:Fedora (1)

BountyX (1227176) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301036)

Ignore the 3 I made a typo, I meant comes out in 8 days.

Re:Fedora (4, Funny)

pavon (30274) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301350)

Fedora 9 comes out 8 days <3
Fixed that for you.

No Slax? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23301010)

Slax has been improving and it's really a great desktop now. I've been using it on and off for a while now.

"Almost any hardware you throw at it" (5, Informative)

loteck (533317) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301064)

I sincerely enjoy the Linux experience and appreciate the community, but this statement is positively absurd. Ubuntu's own help files [ubuntu.com] contain extensive lists of wireless cards that have a big fat "No" listed under the "Works out of the box" column. And that's just wireless cards.

One of the primary reasons that the average person abandons Linux is the frustration caused by these types of misleading claims. Somebody says, "Hey, virtually everything works out of the box!" and they think... wow, well, I buy my stuff at top retailers from top brands, surely then my stuff is supported.

Unfortunately for them, their stuff may not work at all, or may work partially. Lots of gotchas for Video cards [ubuntu.com] , scanners [ubuntu.com] .. the list goes on and on. Nobody is well served by making statements that indicate anything except that hardware support is still a major obstacle for the adoption of Linux on the desktop.

Re:"Almost any hardware you throw at it" (5, Funny)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301280)

In keeping with industry practices, maybe they should have rephrased the claim to say: Almost any random hardware is "Ubuntu Capable".

Re:"Almost any hardware you throw at it" (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301702)

Wireless is just a red herring.

It's a pain and a big can of worms even when it's "working" under Windows.

It's hardly the best thing to hold up against Linux.

Re:"Almost any hardware you throw at it" (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301354)

Yes, but on the other hand, I've found Ubuntu to generally provide better hardware support than Vista. Also, while Windows tends to make you install drivers, more things seem to be supported in Linux without any user intervention.

So overall, I probably would say that Ubuntu offers very good hardware support.

Re:"Almost any hardware you throw at it" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23301362)

Amen. I was all excited about the release of 8.04. I just bought a cheap Acer and was unhappy with the performance of Vista. I thought Ubuntu *had* to be better than this. I should have known when even the Live CD wouldn't boot. But I tried (4 hours) in vain to install the OS, but no luck. I have no time to look for drivers, so whenever I see "Works on any hardware", I say BS.

Re:"Almost any hardware you throw at it" (2, Interesting)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301390)

I tried many different Linux distros about 6 months ago, and could not find anything that worked out of the box. I couldn't get all my hardware working even on Ubuntu, the most hardware-friendly (for me) distro that I tried.

The average user has enough trouble keeping his machine from being hijacked and free of viruses and malware. If Linux is ever going to be the OS of choice for a consumer desktop, it has to be something a consumer can get running just by popping in the CD.

I was fed up with Windows and I couldn't get Ubuntu usable (to my satisfaction) even after spending several days on it. Result? Apple sold me a laptop.

I'm a supporter of Linux in all its flavors but getting it set up is, for the vast majority of people, still going to be a huge problem.

It's a mistake to act like it isn't an issue, because every person who pretends it isn't an issue pushes further out the date when it will no longer be.

Re:"Almost any hardware you throw at it" (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301678)

What kind of weird ass hardware are you using? The reason most people say that most hardware is well supported on linux is because it's the truth. If you're that unlucky that you bought oddball hardware, that's too bad and it does need to be fixed. But it really does work with almost all hardware you throw at it. Emphasis on the almost.

And I'll point out that OS X works with even less hardware than Ubuntu does. That didn't stop you from choosing it. Why should hardware support stop anyone from choosing Ubuntu?

Re:"Almost any hardware you throw at it" (1)

Dannkape (1195229) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301874)

I still haven't managed to get linux as much as finishing the installation without either massive x.conf failures, or even freezing up while booting the installer.

But then, I'll be the first to admit that my setup is anything close to "normal". I guess that's what you get from having some cheap motherboard that has both a AGP slot and an PCI-ex slot, both equipted with graphic cards to feed my 3 screens...

(And as for my HTPC, well, resolution independed font sizes (activated by the nvidia driver?) kind of suck, when having a 40" screen, resulting in 3px fonts...)

Re:"Almost any hardware you throw at it" (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301776)

Compared to Windows, Linux IS ALREADY something that they can get running just by "popping in the CD".

The only thing that can come even come remotely close to this with Windows is an OEM restore CD.

Linux falls down in this respect sometimes because IT IS NOT THE MONOPOLY. Even so, it already does a number of things in an easier and more accessable way than Windows.

Windows is the OS that makes USB vendors resort to little warning stickers: "don't plug this in before you install the driver".

The real problem is that the sort of consumer you're worried about is too much of a herd animal to even try a Mac (nevermind switch to something else).

It worked for them. Why make FUD? (0, Troll)

gnutoo (1154137) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301488)

They threw seven distributions at five random computers and saw that most of it worked, what's wrong with reporting that again? Put another way, how is telling the truth misleading? Lying, like the Microsoft people did about Vista is a huge mistake but no one said everything works - that's a commercial software thing. The situation is worse for people who make the Vista mistake, so places like Inforworld are starting to recommend software that works.

Re:It worked for them. Why make FUD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23301802)

hi twitter!

Re:It worked for them. Why make FUD? (1)

loteck (533317) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301860)

Oh, brilliant! Users were almost universally disappointed with Vista's inability to live up to its hardware support claims, so why not ride that train right through Ubuntu's face?

I mean, come on, folks. Microsoft could have setup 5 computers that would have run Vista flawlessly as well. As my links pointed out above, claiming that Ubuntu (or Vista) supports almost everything you throw at it is not "telling the truth". It is just another irresponsible claim made by overzealous writers and marketers that would prefer to use some nice fuzzy language to breeze over an issue, rather than actually stop and address it.

- "Lying, like the Microsoft people did about Vista is a huge mistake but no one said everything works - that's a commercial software thing."
- "Ubuntu 8.4 remains one of the best desktop distributions for many good reasons: it works with almost any hardware you throw at it"

Linux to Infoworld: please leave the ridiculous hardware support claims to Microsoft. Vista drivers should make the Vaporware top 10 list, Ubuntu has never made any claims such as the one you just did, primarily because it isn't true.

Re:"Almost any hardware you throw at it" (5, Insightful)

strabes (1075839) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301594)

I feel like everyone on slashdot should know this, but I'll repeat it once again. Not having support for various wireless/video/etc cards is not the fault of linux or the kernel developers. It is the fault of the vendors for not providing proper drivers and/or documentation. This will only improve with time as the popularity of linux grows and greater pressure is put on vendors to provide the aforementioned drivers & documentation.

Re:"Almost any hardware you throw at it" (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301760)

I installed Ubuntu on my Dell 1505 laptop thinking it would be a cakewalk. I mean, Dell sells these laptop with Ubuntu installed as an option. I had previously tried Fedora 8 (no sound) and SuSE (didn't recognize my video card). So when I installed Feisty Fawn, I was hoping for the best. All went well, except it didn't find my integrated 802.11 card. I had to go through an elaborate series of steps [ubuntuforums.org] to get it working. Not exactly 'out of the box' functionality - especially considering this was OEM hardware.

Re:"Almost any hardware you throw at it" (4, Interesting)

Kaitnieks (823909) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301898)

I recently installed Ubuntu on laptop (my 1st linux) and had problems with wireless as well. Thing is, the wireless card problem can be easily fixed, but for some strange all tutorials, manuals and forum posts offer long, non-working instruction lists, that involve "wget" and "make". It's like asking - please, go away. The real solution was to open synaptic package manager, configure it to use 3rd party repository and install ndiswrapper. That's it! Ndiswrapper found and downloaded the drivers automatically and everything was bright and sunny again. Why isn't ndiswrapper in standard installation I have no idea.

UBUNTUs strength (2)

noshellswill (598066) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301084)

Ubuntu flawlessly and effortlessly enables a standard set of desktop functions. Kit doesn't matter much. This is bottom-line success for the casual *nix lusr. Little else matters. In particular, no tools exist to allow bullet-proof (CNL) modification or extension of the std-fun-set. Local networking stands out as a prime example of such (lack of) "extension", which CNLs evaluate (and disregard) as a cost-of-doing-business in UBUNTU. Gawd help the Lusr should he get 1/4 step off the automagically trodden path.

How many of those distros (4, Insightful)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301102)

even claim to be a desktop distro? I use Fedora on my desktop, but I don't think they claim it to be a desktop distro.

Re:How many of those distros (1)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301670)

I believe PCLinuxOS is trying to target the same windows-transition crowd that Ubuntu's been targeting. I started with them when I tried out the CAELinux distribution. (recommended for all engi-nerds by the way. www.CAELinux.com [caelinux.com] )

I always rule out Mandriva Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23301104)

Mandriva sounds too close to "Mangina" for my liking.

Why Mandriva One? (4, Informative)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301118)

Why did they opt to use Mandriva One, over Mandriva Free? Mandriva Free is a bigger download, but comes with a lot more software on the disk. It also seems more suited to an actual install, whereas Mandriva One is more of a Live CD.

Re:Why Mandriva One? (1)

theaceoffire (1053556) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301412)

I believe he chose it because he thought it supported more hardware than the Free version.

Re:Why Mandriva One? (2, Interesting)

coats (1068) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301528)

Should have been Mandriva PowerPack. That's what's on my various desks -- all 4 of them.

Lastest Ubuntu, Older other distros (4, Interesting)

vossman77 (300689) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301136)

Fedora 9 comes out in two weeks, but we are comparing the nw born Ubuntu to 6 month old distros. Ugh. Let's compare apples to apples people!

Re:Lastest Ubuntu, Older other distros (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23301394)

Apples people! I hate those guys. They're always falling on me.

Recent Linux convert from Windows (5, Interesting)

goltzc (1284524) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301148)

I need to start out by saying that I am a web developer and other than very basic work deploying code to HPUX boxes at work I have had 0 exposure and no formal training with *nix Operating systems. I started playing around with Ubuntu during the Feisty release on my windows desktop with Wubi. Once I saw that I could get all my work done reliably and how stable Ubuntu was I knew that It would be my main operating system... someday. When I purchased a laptop with Vista preloaded on it I realized that Ubuntu was going to have to come to the rescue sooner than I was planning. Right about the time gutsy came out I put in on my no frills middle of the road laptop and haven't looked back. I had my fair share of issues and there was a learning curve for the administrative stuff but the. For day to day uses Its a rock and couldn't be more intuitive. My girlfriend who is not tech savy thought it was the neatest thing and demanded that I put it on her aging 6 year old laptop that came with Windows ME but had been limping along on Windows XP with a slim 128 megs of ram. Xubuntu loaded even easier on the old lappy and everything worked out of the box including a pcmcia wifi card. It brought new life to a machine that had been used mostly as a coaster for the past couple years. Then came the big upgrade to Hungry Hippo I mean Hardy Heron there were some hiccups but I reminded myself that windows has a similar trouble shooting learning curve that I had 10+ years vested in. The fact that I was able to upgrade to a new version of the OS with such few issues and trouble shoot the ones I had in a couple hours is really a testament to how Robust and friendly Ubuntu and the Ubuntu community has already become. Not only is Ubuntu becoming easier to use but with another few years of experience under my belt I'm sure that fixing the rare problems will be a snap.

Re:Recent Linux convert from Windows (5, Funny)

initdeep (1073290) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301224)

can you be a recent convert to formatting now? :D

Re:Recent Linux convert from Windows (1)

goltzc (1284524) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301268)

I knew that was coming the second I hit submit :-)

Re:Recent Linux convert from Windows (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301726)

Many's the time that I wished Slashdot would eliminate the submit button and force a preview.

Ubuntu (1)

gsmraxe (442187) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301152)

I've tried several times to install Ubuntu, I can get through the install, but when it boots, it freezes up. I've tried this on several different machines to no avail. I think I'm Ubuntu cursed. =]
It looks slick and easy to use, but the Linux gods just don't want me to use it.

I've been running Slackware for 10 years and for me it makes a fantastic desktop and server.

Re:Ubuntu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23301720)

The plural of "anecdote" is "anecdotes", not "evidence".

Re:Ubuntu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23301846)

Your DVD burner is probably stuffed.

Re:Ubuntu (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301854)

There was a kernel bug on (I think) the 7.04 CD that caused timing on Intel Core Duo (not Core 2) CPUs to hang for a long time. Try letting it sit for a couple hours (there's also a boot option, but I don't recall it), then do a semi-quick apt-get update && apt-get upgrade. Of course, using 8.04 is an option too.

Debian (3, Interesting)

name*censored* (884880) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301192)

I'd be interested to know why debian was left out - it's widely used, and it's different enough from Ubuntu (despite Ubuntu being a fork of debian).

Re:Debian (2, Insightful)

adlucem (1158083) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301418)

Simply because the guy doesn't know what he's talking about. MEPIS based on Mandriva? lol. Desktop-centric paper, what need is there to include CentOS (esp. if you already have Fedora)? etc.

I'm sort of ambivalent at this "shootout" (1)

UPZ (947916) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301212)

I don't think linux distros can be compared with each other, since even desktop distros are designed with different philosophies. However, the "shootout" brings more attention to linux, which is usually a good thing.

Poor research (5, Insightful)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301258)

The guy simply didn't do his homework. For starters, he thinks MEPIS is based on Mandriva - but it's based on Debian. Then, uses the latest beta of Ubuntu to compete with older distros. Finally, there is NO COMPARISON CHART.

What kind of research is that? He just shows a separate review of each distro, to finally announce "and the winner is...". I call this bull. Much more informative is the "girlfriend linux test" article.

Mod article down.

Re:Poor research (1)

Xogede (1064902) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301676)

I'll second that:

Finally, I also tried out the alpha 3 edition of openSUSE 11.0, although it locked up in the hardware detection phase on most of the systems I booted it on. I'll be looking at it again when there's a more stable build available.
Article written on: May 5th.
openSUSE beta 2 release: May 3rd.
Compare the Most Annoying Bugs [opensuse.org] list of Beta 2 vs. Alpha 3.

Sure, I'll switch to Gentoo... (-1, Troll)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301260)

...when my debian distrib stops working.

Ubuntu 8.04 needs support (1)

moteyalpha (1228680) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301310)

I installed 8.04 on two of my machines so I can do testing and I had problems with Gutsy at first, but it is not possible to get the bugs out unless people are willing to help support the new versions. I get the ISO and install a new partition on my main machine and use it as an opportunity to repair some of the mistakes I made on the last upgrade.

Xandros - shot up in popularity (1, Redundant)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301326)

Thanks to the huge success of the Eee PC, Xandros is gaining a lot of new users. And I, for one, am finding it very nice (once you switch to the "Advanced desktop" on the Eee). Things seem to work fine, and I can launch the apps I need - and that's pretty much all I ask of the OS.

Re:Xandros - shot up in popularity (2, Interesting)

British (51765) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301600)

I actually like the Xandros included on the EEE PC more than Ubuntu. There's a few things here and there that are more Windows-like and just simply easier to use. The only downside is that the software repositories. For the Xandros repos, there's only a handful available, but with Ubuntu, there's quite a bit more. Eh, maybe I'm nitpicking.

Ubuntu 8.4? (4, Funny)

X.25 (255792) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301410)

I'd like to order 1 copy of Ubuntu 8.4.

Thank you.

Speeds & Feeds Perils (4, Interesting)

mpapet (761907) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301468)

These kinds of articles harm practically everyone. They eliminate variety and here's how.

1. Focusing on a couple of winners. In Ubuntu's case they've got PR hucksters doing the shouting for them
2. Eliminating new features. These shootouts leave no room for testing new features, programs, etc. It's yay or nay and the nay's always win when something is -really- new.

3. There are a number of "What about distro X, Y or Z?" comments and they are, for the most part legitimate questions. Most of those non-chosen distros simply haven't made a good enough impression in media circles. Those aforementioned "good impressions" usually cost some money.

4. Eliminating new distros. There are -lots- of other linux distros who's first purpose is _not_ a desktop. The problem I'm pointing out is multifaceted and troubling. To boil it down: "Everyone knows that Linux is that other computer system they buy for less and put their stolen XP OS on."

My 2 cents: Debian Testing -still- manages to be completely ignored when it's a good apples-to-apples comparison to whatever new version Ubuntu puts out.

Re:Speeds & Feeds Perils (1)

roe-roe (930889) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301894)

Let me start by saying I am a Debian testing/unstable user since woody. I think debian is the best distro available. However I would never
1)take the time to install and configure all of the packages need on a "grandma" ready desktop. For my machine I use just-in-time-apting which for the lay user is not usable.
2) the more desktop oriented distros focus on these things called "wizards". While I abhor the wizard give me a conf file any day of the week, you show a normal person a terminal and they begin to shake and sweat. This is a problem I agree, but it needs to be solved at education time not when they are 45 and trying to get their work done.

Again, I love debian, and for any curious individual that is the first distro I point them to, unless they are masochistic then I give them gentoo and wish them the best of luck. But for the indoctrinated, these frilly polished, slightly bloated versions of GNU/Linux fit the bill perfectly.

They all Suck! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23301560)

OS X!!

Inspiron 1501 runs hot. (-1, Offtopic)

SilentBob0727 (974090) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301568)

I still can't get my core CPU temperature below 55 degrees Celsius while doing anything useful on my Inspiron 1501, regardless of the Linux distribution, even with it propped up on stilts and pointing an AC fan on high at the rear. None of the available CPU fan control software packages work with my hardware, not ACPI, not i8k, not speedfan.

Running Vista, it rarely creeps above 38 degrees Celsius, even though I could be running SETI@Home while simultaneously watching a DVD and playing WoW. Go figure.

Re:Inspiron 1501 runs hot. (1)

wolfemi1 (765089) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301708)

Is it an AMD processor? If so, try out the powernowd package. I've had good luck with it in the past, but it sometimes requires some work to get it working correctly.

Re:Inspiron 1501 runs hot. (1)

SilentBob0727 (974090) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301838)

I do have cpufreq working on my machine which I believe achieves the same goal. It runs relatively cool (and slow -- ~800MHz) when I'm not doing much but when I kickstart the CPU with say glxgears the CPU temp jumps back up again.

Also, to whoever modded me offtopic: booooo....

Re:Inspiron 1501 runs hot. (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301822)

Mebbe you should consider controlling the speed of the CPU rather than trying to blow harder on it.

Ubuntu installs and activates this stuff by default. I am sure all the other genuine desktop
distros in the current roundup do the same.

what... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23301580)

no Debian?

Relatively worthless, even harmful, comparison (5, Insightful)

MaulerOfEmotards (1284566) | more than 6 years ago | (#23301684)

This review/comparison is posted May 4th or 5th, when the distros out there are Ubuntu 8.04 release (not beta, and featuring FF 3b5, not b4); Mandriva 2008.1; openSUSE 11.0 beta; and Fedora 9 preview. Thus, the selection of distros compared is outdated already at the time of review, and worse, unfair between distros (bias?). Compounding this, there are factual errors and lack of in-depth coverage.

This review sais very little about the current state of affairs and is of minimal real benefit to anyone not already initad in the Linux world. It might even do a misfavour to newbies wanting to take the plunge.

Admittably, it takes some time testing seven distros on five platforms, but that doesn't change the fact that it fails to represent the actual state of LinuxLand and the distros pitted against each other.

OpenSUSE start menu? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23301772)

That opensuse start menu looked pretty slick. Is there a way to get that into UBUNTU??
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