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What's A Good Starter Linux distro?

Hemos posted more than 12 years ago | from the start-the-flame-wars-early dept.

Linux 573

alen writes "I've been working with NT for a year now, and I'm getting really tired of it. So I finally decided to learn Linux, after a year of putting it off. I've got an old P2 266 that I'm going to use. Now the next question is what distro do I get? What's a good starter version? I'm just looking to get the feel of it and to play around a little. " This question gets asked periodically - it's always good to hear have a lively discussion about it - I love my Debian but have heard that Mandrake is a good starter distro.

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The unanswerable question (5, Interesting)

DaSyonic (238637) | more than 12 years ago | (#2111044)

This question is asked often, yet there is no correct answer. Peoples preferred distributions are like assholes, everyone has one, and noone wants to listen to one. But when it comes down to it, there are 3 differant groups of Linux users, RedHat [redhat.com]/Mandrake [linux-mandrake.com], Debian [debian.org]/Slackware [slackware.org], and SuSE [suse.com]/others [linux.org].

You're probably saying already, that doesnt make sense. Let me ellaborate.

RedHat [redhat.com]/Mandrake [linux-mandrake.com] are both very similar. Often, one user of one hates the other. RedHat people will say 'RedHat is more powerful and stable' and Mandrake people will say 'Mandrakes easier and less buggy'. As you can see, these statements conflict. Overall however, there very similar, and either one is fine. They're both based on RPM, and they both can be used for virtually anything.

Then there's the Slackware [slackware.org]/Debian [debian.org] crowd. They tend to stick together, but they have differant views none the less. They take pride in their 'elite feeling', in that only people with 'skill' can use and know these distributions. They're typically harder for the novice, yet easier for the seasoned Linux user. Debian has arguably the best package management, and Slackware has probably the most loyal user base ever formed. These are top choices for someone experienced in Linux. Additionally, their is Progney [progney.com], a commercial debian-based distribution that makes using Debian easier, and provides commercial support. This is quickly becoming a good alternative.

Finally, there's the SuSE [suse.com] and other crowd. They are less known and used, and usually appeal to a specific crowd. SuSE for instance, is very popular among non-US users. These are also generally good, especially if you have really specific needs.

Now, which crowd is right? None. Which is the best? None. It depends on what you want, what crowd you fit in. If you're very technical, You fall into the Slackware/Debian crowd. If you like what's popular, easy, and commercial, you'll like hanging out with the RedHat/Mandrake folks. And if you like something very specific, or a close community, you'll like SuSE or something else.

But what is right for you? That's up to you. Research all of them, Try a few, Play with them. It's like shopping for a car. Some like Chevy, Some like Ford, and some are fine with a Honda. And some just dont care.

What I use depends on the target machine. If it's a server, I'll go with either RedHat or Debian. If it's a workstation, RedHat. Firewall, I use OpenBSD or Debian. But like I said in the beginning, my opinion, or anyone else's, means nothing. Good luck.

i think.. (1)

nyteroot (311287) | more than 12 years ago | (#2111059)

its the distro i started out with, and since then ive tried every single distro under the sun (with the exception of debian, thats next).
every time, i came back to slackware, and for the following reasons i recommend it for beginners:

1) first and foremost, its not going to mollycoddle you. redhat, mandrake, suse all make extensive efforts to be userfriendly and easy (dare i say it, like windows..), but in the long run they simply give the wrong impression: that linux is simple; its not.
2) secondly, its not going to kill you either, it lets you learn the OS at your own pace.. i started out barely being able to use xwin, and as and when i was ready i learnt about the console and its various uses and features (and correspondingly obscure things in x, too)
3) thirdly, after a year or two in slack, you'll have no problem adapting to a *bsd; i went from slack to freebsd and noticed little difference. this ofcourse is because one of slack's philosophies is to be as BSD-like as possible.

the only problem with slack is that some programs will need a little tweaking or hacking to run under it (the first thing that comes to mind is win4lin) because they are made for redhat and similarly setup systems (inconsiderate bastards that coded them.. hehe)
anyway such are my thoughts, take them as you wish..

Apples and Oranges... (3, Interesting)

SkullOne (150150) | more than 12 years ago | (#2112047)

Comparing a vast majority of Linux distros together is like comparing apples and oranges.
Each distro has its major features, enhancements, and drawbacks.
I suggest you get 2-5 distros together, for a new user, I suggest Mandrake, Redhat, Debian, Suse, and possibly Slackware as good comparisons.
Try each for a period of time, then see which one you like best after you try them all.

to each their own (2, Interesting)

cslide (126296) | more than 12 years ago | (#2113164)

I think that when starting out with linux, you must ask yourself what you will be doing, be it, starting a server, or just keeping it as your desktop, you must look at everything.
If you are an experienced computer user, that is comfertable with partitioning then, grab a distro like debian, or slakware, if you are new to the whole idea of resizing your HDD, then go with Redhat or Mandrake, they come with tools for setting up a loopback, come with graphical installs, and provide a good explanation of how and why you are doing certian things....

on second thought just install OpenBSD..

Re:to each their own (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2138946)

Im sure OpenBSD "magically" installs better than those Linux distributions. Give me a break.

Re:to each their own (1)

BawbBitchen (456931) | more than 12 years ago | (#2142010)

To be honest, it does. It takes no time at all with a fast connection. I run an Linux desktop for the applications and games but OpenBSD for my firewall. After having installed many different versions of Linux (RedHat, SuSE, Slackware, etc) I would have to say that OpenBSD is the cleanest install. Cleanest = least clutter, fastest, direct and to the point. If anyone wants to try a BSD flavor I would suggest OpenBSD. Also I would really like it if Linux had something like the *BSD ports collection.

mandrake install probs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2117263)

well, i was helping someone through an mdk8 install, and i figured "hey, you know, mandrake, its easy and purty, i'll have them use it". before you know, after a completely good install (3 of them in fact, in the end), she gets a kernel panic whenever she tries to boot it. i found that this was probably a problem with her chipset, and i didnt know how to fix it. watch out for such things while installing stuff for newbies.

It all depends on what you want to get out of it.. (1)

bloggins02 (468782) | more than 12 years ago | (#2117877)

Personally, I'd pick Debian. Mandrake is great if you just want to get a working Linux distro up and running quickly, but I find that it is really detrimental to your actually learning Linux and the ins and outs of a UNIX operating system. With Debian, it's not a PITA to install, but you actually have to LEARN how to do things. When I first started using linux in 1994, Slackware was king, there were no RPMs for installation, no pretty graphical (X or otherwise) setup routines, and compiling your kernel meant you had a choice of make config, make config, or make config. I wouldn't know anywhere near as much about UNIX/Linux or computers in general had I had something like Mandrake to hold my hand all along. Debian installs can be somewhat frustrating if you're new to it all, but the experience and enlightenment that you get will be invaluable.

Speaking as a newbie . . . (1)

Selanit (192811) | more than 12 years ago | (#2118282)

. . . who has been playing with Linux for two months, I like Mandrake. I have tried Debian, Red Hat, Progeny Debian, and Mandrake.

Progeny Debian was my first test case. I like the principles behind Debian, but was intimidated by accounts I'd heard of the horrible installer. So when Progeny [progeny.com] said "We're like Debian, but with a better installer and auto-magic hardware detection," I said "Great!"

That didn't work. For some bizarre reason, it couldn't see my PS/2 ports in XFree86. I could use my keyboard fine at the command line, and my USB mouse worked quite nicely. But.

if ($NoKeyboardinX){ delete($Progeny); }

So next I went straight on to plain old Debian (2.2r3) [debian.org]. And the installer was not as bad as I heard. It got the job done well enough. So it's not pretty -- so what?

The apt-get command makes maintenance really easy. When I'm in Debian, my sound card only works if I'm logged in as root, which probably has something to do with device permissions. It's a good distro, but not for the faint of heart. I spent four days trying to install accelerated drivers for my nVidia TNT2 M64. It involved recompiling my kernel 6 times and STILL not getting it right (unresolved symbols in my modules). Eventually, all the mistakes I made rendered my system inoperable. I had to format the hd, buy a new one, and give Windoze and Linux separate living quarters.

Red Hat [redhat.com] installed fine. I liked the option to do a "partitionless install" although I didn't use it. That might be a powerful recommendation to a total newbie who wants to play with Linux without a) giving up Windoze, or b) repartitioning. On the other hand, Red Hat uses Gnome by default. It's okay, but KDE is so much more polished.

The Mandrake [mandrake.org] installer was really cool. Not only that, it detected my TV card and had drivers for it, something which none of the other distros did. It uses KDE, and the selection of games that comes with it rocks. Pingus rules! Furthermore, it gave me the option to use an accelerated driver for my graphics card right there in the installer -- no mucking about with kernel recompilation in this distro!

Based on these experiences, I would recommend Mandrake. One caveat: when selecting partitions to format, the yellow star means that the partition is selected. There was no indication which color meant selected and which not -- choices were purple and yellow. I guessed wrong and formatted the Windoze HD by mistake. No data loss (backups are key!) but reinstalling and configuring is a pain. I mean, a checkbox would have done as well. Or perhaps the stars could have been green or red.

Anyway, I currently have Debian, Red Hat, and Mandrake on my second hard drive. I'm still evaluating them -- I haven't picked my favorite yet. But just based on the experiences, I'd say try Mandrake first. Oh, and if you have multiple distros on one disk, a boot partition for your kernels and loader helps a lost!

Oh, I almost forgot. Several months ago, I briefly flirted with DragonLinux [dragonlinux.net] , a customized version of Slackware which lives inside a giant file on a regular Windows partition. Avoid it. I couldn't even get X to run in that thing, never mind anything else.


A distro from the Philippines: AdmuLinux (1)

dido (9125) | more than 12 years ago | (#2119787)

A very interesting distribution that was recently developed at the Ateneo de Manila University [admu.edu.ph] called AdmuLinuxGO [admulinux.org] seems to be a very good distribution for newbies who aren't really sure they want to go the Linux way. It's the only distribution I know about that you can run completely from the CD, no on hard disk installation is needed. It's a great distribution for newbies to try, as it doesn't really require any installation at all, you simply boot from the CD and you get a complete graphical Linux development system.

Mandrake 8.0 (1)

Zecho (206792) | more than 12 years ago | (#2121282)

I recommend Mandrake 8 [linux-mandrake.com] to everyone who asks me this same question... the latest version basically installs itself for you. Plus there's a long list of supported hardware,, and setting up my dvd player took five minutes and three dependencies.

Good starting Distro (1)

AntiTuX (202333) | more than 12 years ago | (#2122288)

well, if you have unix experience, I'd use slackware. it's very close to a pure unix system.

If you're new to all of *nix, I'd use something like mandrake. It's very straightforward in it's design, and is great for those who don't really know what they're doing yet.

When I started out, I started with slackware, and SLS, but that was a long time ago.. :P.

Heck, even corel linux would be great for getting people used to linux. it's a great distro for those who just want a desktop machine that runs linux.

Another you might want to think about is Conectiva, as it's very easy to set up and use. I've suggest that one to people also.

Essentially, the best thing to do is grab a couple of distributions, and see which one you like best, they've all got ups and downs.

Give Mandrake a go (5, Informative)

Rockin' Az (315143) | more than 12 years ago | (#2122965)

It tends to install okay.
Gives you lots of GUI configuration help.
All in all it is a nice beginner distro. As you learn more you can move away from the GUI configuration and do it by hand. Then latter on, if you want to keep learning more you can start setting up the more expert distos like Slackware, of Linux from Scratch.

Whatever you decide to do, Mandrake is certainly nice - hell my sister and Mother in Law both manage to use it everyday, without problems.

Distros (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2123953)

I like debian a lot, but it's installer (at least the potato one) is pretty crappy. Once you install it it works pretty well though. Mandrake is pretty easy to install and use, but it's (IMHO) a bit bloated, and you won't learn as much from using it since it's so graphically oriented.

Personally I like freebsd a lot (which isn't linux at all) but Debian would be a good choice as far as a linux distribution. Apt-get is a great convenience and works pretty well most of the time. I would stay far, far away from redhat personally. I haven't used suse or slackware extensively, but they might be good choices as well.

The answer is clear..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2123954)

You must go with NINJALINUX.

Re:The answer is clear..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2139098)

Although you have to add the PANCAKE .rpms.

Slack (1)

Warin (200873) | more than 12 years ago | (#2123956)

A lot of people slam slackware for it's (relatively) difficult installation.

Thing is, I learned more about how Linux works, and what is needed and not needed for an installation to work by installing Slackware than I ever have by installing Mandrake or Redhat.

If you want Linux up and running in a quick and dirty way, go for RH or Mandrake. If you dont mind taking a little bit of extra time, and getting a distro that you can learn a lot with, go for Slack.

slackware (1)

llzackll (68018) | more than 12 years ago | (#2124134)

slackware is definately the best distro to start out with, and to stay with. After you've used slack for a while, and try another distro.. you will appreciate the simplicity of slackware.

Try Several (5, Informative)

rgmoore (133276) | more than 12 years ago | (#2124135)

Why restrict yourself to one distribution, particularly if you're going to start out by installing on an older computer? One of the best things about Linux is that you can get distributions dirt cheap. Go to a place like Linux Mall [linuxmall.com] and get a bunch. You can even get multi-disk sets containing several distributions packaged together specifically so you can try out different ones and pick your favorite. Of course if you have a fast network connection and a CD burner, you could even download the ISO images and burn them yourself instead of paying $2 per CD. If you want, you can set up your partition scheme with a separate /home directory that doesn't get reformatted with each new distribution so that your settings are preserved from one distribution to another.

The big message, though, is not to take our word for which distro is best for you; find out for yourself. But don't forget to pay full price for the one you decide you like after you've made your decision. You'll get manuals, support, and help keep the maker of your chosen distro in business so that you can keep using it in the future.

From a newbie's standpoint... (2, Informative)

TheVoice900 (467327) | more than 12 years ago | (#2125311)

I have been using Linux for just over a month now, and have tried 3 different distros in the process. This is my experience: First of all, I installed Mandrake, which has a reputation for being the easiest to install, and supposedly has a rather large user base. However, upon installing it, I was immediately dissastisfied. Mandrake did not offer to me the control I wanted over my system, and seemed too "dumbed-down" for me.. everything was oversimplified, and I was unable to get help from the linux help channels on irc.openprojects.net since Mandrake had non-standard configurations for all of the major functions. Additionally, I ran in to some package incompatibility problems, and performance in Gnome was unusually sluggish (I had used Gnome before on a friend's PC of less spec.). So seeing as I was still in the experimentation stage.. i decided to try Red Hat first. Red Hat was the distro I had heard the most about, so I decided to install that. Everything went smoothly for at least a week and a half while I started to delve deeper in to the workings of the system. Everything was fine till I decided to test-drive the new version of KDE. Problems arose when I tried to change some configuration files required for KDE to start on boot. I discovered that RedHat had it's own distro-specific settings for a lot of things in it's /etc/sysconfig directory. This is a convention I was not very happy with, as once again I started running in to support problems... So on a whim, I decided to give Debian a try, I figured I should see what the "power user" distro has to offer. I downloaded Progeny 1.0, which is a mix of Debian Potato and Woody (the stable and testing versions). It took me a few tries to get the distro installed properly (mostly due to user error during configuration). Since I like to play with fairly new software, I upgraded my Progeny install to Woody almost right away once I finally installed the system properly. And that is where I have been ever since.. I am extremely happy with Debian as a distro. The packaging system is excellent, much better than what RedHat/Mandrake have to offer. A majority of the people in the Debian help channels and mailing lists are extremely helpful, and the community atmosphere is great. I have not run in to any problems I have not been able to resolve, and have learned a lot about how Linux works in the process. Overall, I would say if you are not too experienced/adventurous and don't mind having a whole boatload of software you will probably never use installed on your system, I would recommend RedHat and Mandrake, they are not bad, just not my thing. However if you like having a distro that is extremely configurable, has a great package managment system, and a good community, I would recommend Debian. If you don't want to brave the standard Debian installation, try Progeny, the installation is extremely simple (even easier than Mandrakes) and I hear it is possible to purchase printed installation manuals/users guides as well. I hope this has been helpful. Any feedback is appreciated.

Learning Linux has gotten a bit easier (5, Informative)

proxima (165692) | more than 12 years ago | (#2125930)

When I started using Linux a few years ago, I began with Red Hat 5.1 on a 486 66 Mhz computer (it was my only spare computer to mess with). It didn't really have any difficult hardware, except for a proprietary cd-rom drive. This was my first real experience in a *nix, coming from a relatively long DOS and Windows background.

From my experience the most frustrating part of learning Linux is getting all or most of a computer's hardware to work properly. For a long time I had no sound card that Linux supported. Fortunately, hardware support and automatic detection has improved tremendously. Now many ethernet cards, video cards, and sound cards are automatically detected by various Linux installs. CD-ROMS are almost always compatible with standard IDE and SCSI drivers. I believe that new users to Linux should be focusing on learning to install software, use popular software, and learn his/her way around a shell. Learning Linux shouldn't be mostly about learning how to install Linux, and this is where a few distributions have made great progress.

As your first distribution, I would recommend Mandrake. I have been a Red Hat user since my first install (and administering Red Hat based Cobalt servers). Red Hat's install (both graphical and text based) are reasonable for a new user, but they don't explain things as thoroughly as Mandrake. I installed Mandrake a few times and was fairly impressed with the installer and explanation, but it's a little too annoying to non-newbies. However, a new user simply wanting to toy with Linux would probably be best served by starting out with Mandrake.

Mandrake is nice that they are a download-friendly distribution. No other distribution is as easy to find in downloadable iso form. Yes, Red Hat offers it, but they promote their pay package far more than Mandrake does..companies like making it no-so-obvious that they can get it for free. I can't blame them. Also, Debian offers downloads, but their website isn't as easy to navigate and I'd hardly consider Debian a newbie-friendly install. Visit the mirror list [linux-mandrake.com] for mandrake to download the install isos. There are two iso images to burn to cd-rom using common software like Easy CD Creator. If interested in Redhat, the mirror list [redhat.com] offers a variety of sites to find both RPM files (for individual software install) and iso images.

However, buying a boxed set may be worthwhile for a new user. No need for big downloads, a cd-writer, and figuring out how to install. These include support and an installation manual.

I find computer books extremely helpful in learning a new operating system or programming language. Yes, website and forums are available, but a book is generally arranged quite well for new users. My first book was "Red Hat Linux Unleashed", that huge orange book. It included Red Hat 5.2 (though I already had 5.1 installed by that time), and had a few chapters on installation. Then, as I needed a reference or wanted to learn about setting up new services, I just read through the appropriate chapter. Though many disagree, I find it most helpful to have a large comprehensive book that covers all topics lightly to give a user a start. From there many websites provide the detailed information required to complete a task. I found the how-tos helpful in most cases.

So, in short, get Mandrake (or possibly Red Hat), get a good book or two (buy from a bookstore to be able to flip through it and see if it seems right, while also looking online to find reviews). Once you get the feel of using Linux a bit - take a look at other distributions (Progeny is a nice entry into the Debian world, for example).

Good luck.

Choosing the best Linux distro for You (5, Informative)

Laven (102436) | more than 12 years ago | (#2133589)

http://www.thedukeofurl.org/reviews/misc/distrorou ndup/ [thedukeofurl.org]

DukeOfURL wrote this helpful article in choosing the best Linux distribution for your skill level, with comparisons of Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced distributions. They highly recommend Mandrake Linux for beginners, and I would tend to agree.

"Hold My Hand, Please" (2, Insightful)

Webz (210489) | more than 12 years ago | (#2133950)

I'd just like to remind everyone before all the distro zealots start pouring in... This isn't about which distribution is the most hardcore or most powerful... It basically comes down to the one that can emulate Windows the most or hold the user's hand throughout the entire process. By that I mean at least documentation for everything, because users diving into Linux will only know that help doesn't always come from a talking paper clip... With that said, an auto install is a must. Sure, the guy asking the question was an NT user, and I'm sure the implies some technical merit above 9x users, but it still isn't much. Most people won't know the details of their hardware nor will they refer to the distro's website for compatibility listings. Why? Because Windows almost never required it... Hmm, the distro also has to be easy to use (tough, this usability thing isn't it) and easy to configure. People like making their computers look pretty and have nice wallpaper, so that's probably the first thing they'll dive for. Aside from a solid interface, a cutesy one would be nice too, complete with penguin or monkey or what have you, as to lessen the intimidation factor people have when using new technology. Oh and I really can't think of a solution for this, but it must be hard for GUI based users to get used to a command prompt. It's definately a necessary and powerful aspect of *NIX, but ya gotta admit, isn't it kinda cold and scary?

So, all in all, it doesn't necessarily have to be Windows, it just has to do the same things Windows does.

yes and no... (1)

hendridm (302246) | more than 12 years ago | (#2137960)

I think there are a lot of Windows users out there that aren't afraid of the command prompt - some who even like it - but the Windows job market calls for Windows users in many areas. I know, not all areas, but up here in Wisconsin [thefirmhand.com] we don't see nearly as many Linux positions as NT/2000/UNIX (as far as I can tell).

Also, I don't think Windows users who are dabbling in Linux are necessarily looking for their hand to be held. I wasn't when I started the switch. However, they do need some help! Currently, most of the books out there aren't very good. Some only cover the GUI, which you don't need a book to learn. Others assume a bit too much about the reader, making it useless.

I think the best hope for a Windows -> Linux user is find a good Linux buddy or two, or find a that book that is a "diamond in the rough".

Oh yeah, and I think anyone who is interested in playing with Linux probably knows a little about their hardware settings. People who don't probably haven't heard of Linux anyway.

I'm waiting for WINE [winehq.com] to be a little more stable, and I won't have a reason to use Windows anymore :) (except for Diablo II of course).

Re:"Hold My Hand, Please" (1)

krogoth (134320) | more than 12 years ago | (#2142581)

>It's definately a necessary and powerful aspect of *NIX, but ya gotta admit, isn't it kinda cold and scary?

I don't really understand why so many people are scared of a command prompt - especially if it's in a windows and you're still in X/explorer. Does the thought of reading 20 lines of text scare people to death? Or maybe they think it's easier to search their GUI menu for a program that to type it's name and press enter?

Personal Experience (1)

TWX_the_Linux_Zealot (227666) | more than 12 years ago | (#2134492)

I started with Slackware in 1996, before there was much else available that I could get my hands on. I had some problems (as any newbie would) but I overcame these problems with documentation, and if I hadn't started with Slackware, I wouldn't know as much as I do today about Linux. So many Linux users don't even know what the inittab is or how to use mknod that it's driving us crazy trying to help them in IRC, and many times they don't want to read the documentation. I do want people to use Linux, but unfortunately too many people aren't willing to learn.

I'd vote for Slackware any day for the Linux distro to start with, one learns, it is up to date, and it's _free_.

For a beginning user (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2135443)

I think to get started the Only thing you need to care about is ease of installation, because if you're just starting you're definatly going to install something new/different_somehow anyway, if only just to try it after becomming familliar with linux in general.
If you dont know linux, the easiest installer is definatly Red Hat. I've tried a couple others, but Red Hat, for the beginning user , is the choice to make.
After you understand the basics, you can move on to something better, like Debian. But start with red hat.

Something I didnt know at the time, but could be helpful to you, is Partition your /home and /usr directories seperate from /
It makes changing distros a lot easier :)

Mandrake (1)

Grim Grepper (452375) | more than 12 years ago | (#2135817)

I would recommend Mandrake. Out of all the distro's I've tried, Mandrake is probably the easiest to setup. It comes with quite a bit of software set up "right out of the box".

Mandrake also has good administration-type tools. The software update facility works very well, as do the other things like the user manager. As an added bonus, the KDE Menu is organized more logically than any distro I've seen,

It's definitely a great distro for both newbies and more experienced users alike,

here's the bottom line (1)

linuxpng (314861) | more than 12 years ago | (#2136815)

Whatever you start with is probably what you are going to end up liking and using. I have been using redhat, although I have tried out slackware, debian, and suse. I came back to redhat because I started on it, was familiar with their tools, and well it's just plain easier for me. I can only think one distro would be better than another if you experiment. Alot of people suggest mandrake, well I am recommending redhat, which most people probably don't agree with. I figure it comes with standard packages that you will find in all distros (minus gcc 2.9.6) which are probably going to have bugs now and again. Plus redhat disables everything but SSH now, so the complaints about everything being "wide open" on install now shouldn't be a problem anymore.

Excellent Book for Newbies (2, Interesting)

hendridm (302246) | more than 12 years ago | (#2136855)

I've searched long and hard for a good book to recommend to newbies. This one [barnesandnoble.com] is EXCELLENT. It shows you how to do most of the things necessary to make Linux work for you, not just as a cool thing to brag to your nerd friends about. It also goes a step further and explains a few things that those people who learn best by "putting it to use" like install/config Apache and using BIND, etc. No, I'm not the author or affiliated, but if you're looking for a good book to get you from "just knowing how to install Linux", this is a good book.

Anyone know of any other good starter books?

before you install, research your hardware (5, Insightful)

khuber (5664) | more than 12 years ago | (#2136859)

Make sure that your hardware is fully supported first! That includes your motherboard, graphics card, cdrom, sound card, and any accessories like printers, modems, etc. I can't emphasize this point enough. If you try installing on unsupported or poorly supported hardware you will be disappointed and frustrated.

Once you have that down, then figure out which distribution to use and make sure that it has a kernel that supports your hardware.

I have been using Mandrake for some time and it has been my favorite.


It doesnt matter what distro (1)

Reefa (234913) | more than 12 years ago | (#2136884)

...what really matters is how competant (sp?) you are at picking up on solving issues. If you try hard enough you should be able to install any distro...and generally the more obstacles you run against, the more you tend to learn. I guess the well laid out GUI installers in some distros make it easy for a first time installer. If you want to be adventurous / enjoy a challenge, just pick any distro and go with it.

Being a linux newbie myself... (3, Informative)

1Oman (308666) | more than 12 years ago | (#2138142)

I have to say mandrake is definately the way to go. Mandrake 8 will get you started in about 30 minutes and it recognizes alot of hardware automaticly. This is a big help especially for getting your nic up and running. This really helps because you can get online for help setting up everything else. Especially if you are setting up to dual boot and can't get online from another box.

I have tried redhat 7.1 and mandrake 7.2 and I had a sound card I was never able to get working. Mandrake 8 found and configured it the first time(I did'nt even know KDE had a startup sound before).

I will admit that all the guis can make it a little to easy to set up services though. They can be a crutch and I try hard to learn to set stuff up by hand first using the gui as a last resort and trying to figure out what they did later when I can.

I really do want to learn to compile the kernel by hand one of these days especially because mandrake 8 will not install on my laptop at all(even in text mode). mandrake 7.2 did but I was never able to get my cheap ass nic to work.

But like I said I'm no expert and I use linux for work (SQl, perl, webdev) everyday.

What's a good car to buy? (3, Funny)

RelliK (4466) | more than 12 years ago | (#2138869)

I've been using public transportation for over a year and I'm getting really tired of it. So finally I decided to get a car. The next question is which model do I get? What's a good starter version? I'm just looking to get the feel of it and to play around a little.

Re:What's a good car to buy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2141134)

I'd say go with a VW GTI. You can get a good amount of power, good engineering, and pretty good gas mileage. Plus, if you ever feel like it, there are plenty of mods you can do.

Try Mandrake (1)

giannifive (240187) | more than 12 years ago | (#2138870)

Mandrake is great because it's so easy to use. It's really easy to install, and it's got a bunch of utilities that simplify tasks like changing screen resolution, etc.

It's also RPM-based, which means it's nearly 100% compatible with Red Hat, the most popular distro out there.

But if you'd rather your system's activities were more transparent, I'd recommend Red Hat or Debian.

If you're more adventurous try Slackware, but that's asking for trouble...

coupla cents (2, Insightful)

go$$amer (218906) | more than 12 years ago | (#2140531)

I decided to try the same thing a couple years ago on a tired p166 (S series - mind you, no MMX extensions here!) clocked to 200. I also had a couple drives at 1 gig and 540 megs. Not being one to take the easy route, and enjoying "first on the block" DSL download speeds, I grabbed Redhat and Debian, despite hearing that Debian could be, er, less than intuitive to the new user. I did my homework, maintained a good solid pipe to the user materials on both distros, and found that Debian actually provided the best starter platform. It forced me to break with my years of windows complacency and actually learn whatinhell the the OS was going to do and what I'd better do to make it fly. Granted, I'd already suffered through years of Dos, all the Windows os'es (from 2 on, sorry to say...) Mac, Unix and, whatever those trash 80s ran on... Do yourself a favor and get a good (O'Reilly?!? look for recommendations in the archives here) and learn it ground up. If the install is spoon fed to you, you're just another Win NT guy that ran a Linux install app... Like I said, my 2 cents...

learning linux or just using it? (1)

Webz (210489) | more than 12 years ago | (#2141058)

Hmm... I'm wondering, why would anyone want to learn Linux, other than to learn more about the innards of a computer... I treat Windows, Mac OS, and Linux as desktop operating systems for people who don't know what "compiling a kernel" means. With that said, since when did that kind of audience want to learn an operating system? Isn't an operating system supposed to be about operating your computer right off the bat? And not spending time tinkering with it and making it work?

But anyway, in the case of the guy above, if he wants to "learn Linux" I guess the more popular the distro the better, i.e. RedHat.

Depends on your needs. (5, Informative)

Faux_Pseudo (141152) | more than 12 years ago | (#2141242)

I usaly install mandrake for people and then listen to what they like or don't like about it and what they want to do. From there I install the distro that best matches their needs.

Mandrake is the Mac of Linux
Redhat is the MS of Linux
Slackware is the UNIX of Linux
Debian is the Linux of Linux.

How about a BSD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2141816)

My opinion is that Redhat and Mandrake make the best beginners distributions. Though, since you have slightly older hardware, you might not want to go with so much bloat. I use FreeBSD myself, which is of course not Linux, but a close relative. With the BSD's you get less bloat than one of the aforementioned distros but still maintain adequate ease of use for a beginner. The documentation for BSD systems is also extremely good. If you want to stick with Linux, try Debian, as it is a good distro and won't default to installing extra crap (at least when I tried it which was a long time ago). Of course YMMV, though good luck with whatever you go with.

SuSE (3, Informative)

curtS (214040) | more than 12 years ago | (#2141865)

Though I started out with Caldera, I'm on my third version of SuSE and love it. Great graphical interface, lots of install options and nearly every package you could ever want...

Re:SuSE - I second this (1)

jptxs (95600) | more than 12 years ago | (#2134114)

SuSE is great for those who are new to Linux but not new to computers. Mandrake is another good starter, but it does sorta spoon feed you.

Another vote for SuSE (4, Informative)

Mustang Matt (133426) | more than 12 years ago | (#2141724)

I've tried all the distros except Mandrake and SuSE is the best as far as getting setup and running smoothly.

Re:Another vote for SuSE (5, Informative)

JabberWokky (19442) | more than 12 years ago | (#2140390)

I've tried all the distros except Mandrake and SuSE is the best as far as getting setup and running smoothly.

I agree. If you want a good learning curve and not too many weird bits, go with SuSE. My two gripes with Mandrake are how slowly they release packages (I wound up compiling everything, thus negating the benefits of a package system), and how the had lots of undocumented automated "features", like their menusync system.

That's assuming you want to learn to *use* and *administrate* Linux. For a much higher learning curve and a path towards kernal development and manual dependancy management (which isn't necessary unless you want to make your own distro or develop Linux itself), try Slackware.


Re:SuSE - I second this (2, Interesting)

deathscythe257 (309424) | more than 12 years ago | (#2142338)

I started on SuSE, then went to RedHat, then Slackware, now I'm back on SuSE- don't know whether i truly prefer it, or whether it's because it was my first. *aww*. anyhow- i love and suggest SuSE

The mutherfuckin f1r5t p0s7 distro (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2141866)

nooch! spark a fattie! bababooey! howard stern's penis!

Red Hat - Not the best overall, but well supported (5, Insightful)

BigBlockMopar (191202) | more than 12 years ago | (#2142273)

For your first Linux distro, I recommend Red Hat Linux. While I think it's unquestionable that it's not the best Linux, especially from a security standpoint, it's very well supported. Almost every Linux FAQ you'll find on the 'Net treats Red Hat as the defacto standard.

Coming from NT/2000, for the first little while, everything is going to feel really foreign and strange. Don't lose your way. Relax and read the docs which are all over the 'Net. And don't be afraid to experiment with the system.

Red Hat has (don't flame me, this is from memory) an installed base of about 50% of the Linux market; you can't beat the support. And even if it's not the most secure or stable Linux, it blows NT/2000 out of the water in security and stability.

Specific version? Find a Red Hat 6.2 distro; make sure you turn off un-needed daemons ("services" in Windows parlance) and do the BIND upgrade, since most older Linux/UNIX distros ship with a fairly dangerous DNS server vulnerability.

I'd stay away from x.0 versions, especially RH 7.0, which, to be blunt, sucked. I like the greater maturity of the 6.2 distro over RH 7.1 because, well, RH 6.1 wasn't nearly as good as 6.2. Note that the kernel that ships with 6.x and 7.0 is a 2.2 series kernel, and a more modern distro has a 2.4 series kernel, which means better built-in firewalling, SMP support and a few other goodies.

Once you're comfy with it, consider moving up to Debian or Slackware - but that's a matter of opinion.

Re:Red Hat - Not the best overall, but well suppor (2)

BigBlockMopar (191202) | more than 12 years ago | (#2142241)

Oh, and by the way, welcome to the world of real operating systems. You know you're there once you type "ls" by accident when you sit down at a DOS box. Or when you try to open CONFIG.SYS with vi. :)

You'll never look back. Windows is such a cumbersome toy in comparison.

Re:Red Hat - Not the best overall, but well suppor (1, Informative)

Webz (210489) | more than 12 years ago | (#2136883)

I know you're joking, but define "real". If by "real" you mean "hardcore by means of text-based shell", then sure. If Windows isn't real, what is it? A fake operating system? A virus maybe?

That aside, I know exactly what you mean. There's always WinVi, which IMO is an excellent Vi clone for Windows (acts like Vi and NotePad). But you're right, Windows does seem chunky... Makes me wonder how much time M$ spent on optimization...

I started with redhat. Don't do that too! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2142409)

SuSE linux is the way to go! SuSE is the best distro that I have used the YaST installer is great and everything works! Plus you get cool dust puppy stickers! Peace, Adam

Andover is full racists (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2142410)

They fired Cliff just because he was an African-American and made Nazi poster-boy Hemos do the job instead. We all know that Andover is just a cover for the KKK, slashdot is secretly distributing their propaganda. Due to the fact that Cliff worked entirely by email and the internet his African-American status was not discovered for quite some time. However as soon as the Nazi fuckheads at Andover discovered it they fired his ass and refused to pay him his back salary. This is all true just check Ask Slashdot and see when Cliff posted last. This blatant racial discrimination should not go unpunished!

Of course if you are feeling ambitious (2)

Foxman98 (37487) | more than 12 years ago | (#2142579)

If you are feeling really ambitious and would like to learn even more than from slackware, try buildiner your own distribution. [linuxfromscratch.com] Now that would teach you a lot. Perhaps more than you are interested in, but I figure someone out there would be.

Re:Of course if you are feeling ambitious (2)

Foxman98 (37487) | more than 12 years ago | (#2142009)

buildiner is of course, building. perhaps I shouldn't post on slashdot after helping polish off a 12-pack of corona :-)

Client or Server? (2, Interesting)

hendridm (302246) | more than 12 years ago | (#2142628)

I've tried most of the popular distros. If you're looking to learn Linux and/or use it as a server, I think Debian is the best. If you just want to use it, I think Mandrake and Progeny are excellent client distributions. Debian/Progeny is easy for admin newbies, and Mandrake is great for those who just want some other OS with a decent setup, GUI, and preinstalled apps.

Short Answer: It depends on your needs. (2, Informative)

SyniK (11922) | more than 12 years ago | (#2142842)

(Actually the short answer is Slackware, but nevermind I'll stop trollin'... :) ).

First of all, it doesn't matter what distro you start with. You can always jump ship later for whatever your needs are.

Secondly, If you are looking for Linux experience to make you more attractive to businesses, go with a distro very friendly to businesses such as Red Hat, SuSE, Mandrake, etc. If you are looking for a distro to really get under the hood and see how everything works (ie. you won't be babied), try Slackware or Debian.

If you have no experience at all, play with a Tom's Boot and Root disk :) (or another distro that is a self booting "demo" of Linux such as Demo Linux, ZipSlack, WinLinux 2000?, etc). Check out www.linuxiso.org and grab some CDs to play with :).

Depends... (5, Insightful)

drudd (43032) | more than 12 years ago | (#2142923)

It really depends on what you consider necessary qualities of a "newbie" distro...

If you want something that's simple to set up and maintain (i.e. short learning curve) then mandrake is probably your best bet.

If you actually want to learn linux and its workings (which I advise) then use something which forces you to read a few faq's once in a while... like debian, or even better, slackware.


Do-it-yourself vs. Hold-my-hand (1)

Arjuna Theban (143564) | more than 12 years ago | (#2143200)

I started with Redhat 4.0 or 4.1 (I believe it was the one before Colgate) and I could only stand it for a couple weeks before I got so sick of it trying to do things for me without giving me an option/alternative. The whole reason I converted to linux was because I was so damn sick of Windows doing that to me anyway! Now it's the same deal with Mandrake. Everything is so "let me do it for you since you're probably too stupid to do it yourself" it's sickening. I know it's useful for many linux newbies, but I think if they don't want to *stay* as newbies and actually get to know what they can do using the command line themselves, they will not be bound by the limits of the GUI apps. There are a million ways to do things and as long as you don't explore you will have no idea they are there.

My boss at work is a linux newbie. He immediately says "where do i get the rpm" when i use the word install. Last week I sat with him and installed Slackware on his machine, to replace his old RedHat. He had a huge prejudice against Slackware and it took about 10 minutes before he started liking it. I showed him how to get sources, untar, compile yourself and get them running. Up until then, if an rpm was broken, he was done for, he couldn't install it, because it's ALL his distribution got him used to. Don't get me wrong, I'm not against any particular distribution, and I'm not rooting for Slackware here, even though it definately is my distro of choice. I am against distributions that treat users like they're idiots and not give them a chance to become power users.

I guess I just don't want to end up with a mainstream distro which has a 'registry'.

As I said, I am not attacking a certain distro or praising another, so don't flame me. I just hate to hear people talking about using linux when all they know is how to click on the applications menu stuff in gnome -- and they have no *clue* why something doesn't work if there is a problem.

My recommendation to linux newbies: Use linux to its full extent and don't be bound by your distro. No matter how badly a distro wants to hold your hand through everything and how much it wants to hide the inner workings of the system you can find a way around it. If you can't, well, then use Slackware. Because if I wanted an OS that will do stuff itself without telling me I'd be using Windows.


Red Hat Linux (2)

Proud Geek (260376) | more than 12 years ago | (#2143202)

It probably isn't the best distribution out there, but it has a lot of advantages. It's the most popular and best supported. It is easy to use and install, and has excellent support available. It comes with everything, but is still reasonably secure out of the box. Plus, it's the one that's easiest to convince management types to allow. I'm not sure how important that is to you, but it could be decisive.

Love my Debian too, but.... (1)

nukem1999 (142700) | more than 12 years ago | (#2143436)

Debian is definately NOT a starter distro. I would personally go Mandrake, very clean install, can get into X with next to no work (which I'm sure is comforting to first timers). Mandrake is also more well-rounded on install features than RedHat is in my experience I would recommend Mandrake to ANYONE who is just starting out

Progeny (4, Informative)

CarrotLord (161788) | more than 12 years ago | (#2143438)

It's got all the goodies of Debian, is more up to date, and has an easy install process... What more could a man want? (except perhaps an ICBM or two).


Re:Progeny (1)

nukem1999 (142700) | more than 12 years ago | (#2141241)

I personally never tried it, but in my friend's LUG, not one person who tried installing it got it actually running.

The perfect one is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2143599)


Re:The perfect one is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2141240)

I love FreeBSD and Linux...but shut the fuck up.

Re:The perfect one is... (1)

BawbBitchen (456931) | more than 12 years ago | (#2144276)

OpenBSD. ;) Let the war begin....

Re:The perfect one is... Solaris! (2)

BigBlockMopar (191202) | more than 12 years ago | (#2124130)

OpenBSD. ;) Let the war begin....

While Solaris isn't open source, and x86 Solaris software and support isn't as readily available as it is with Linux or even BSD, Solaris is *big iron* even if it's running on your little Pentium. 2 year old hardware is well supported, and it's a good taste of UNIX, too. It's *free* to download at www.sun.com! And it's Solaris! :)

Though, I still think that a bash shell is best for a newbie, and Solaris 8 doesn't come with that.

(If you're having problems burning Solaris 8 binaries CDs, there's a workaround, e-mail me.)

Re:The perfect one is... Solaris! (1)

BawbBitchen (456931) | more than 12 years ago | (#2125932)

I like Solaris, but only on Sun hardware. The x86 version is a pig, IMNSHO. BTW, I am writing this on my Ultra 10 ;)

Mandrake 8 (0)

GSPatton (453002) | more than 12 years ago | (#2143600)

All the way, Mandrake 8... Easiest installation IMHO, which is where most problems exist for newer users.

Trying to learn linux? (4, Insightful)

Foxman98 (37487) | more than 12 years ago | (#2143651)

If you are serious abot trying to "learn" linux - then nothing will teach you as much as slackware. Check it out at slackware.com [slackware.com]. It might not be the easiest, but you will know a hell of a lot more about the way linux works after installing slackware, rather than redhat or mandrake.

Re:Trying to learn linux? (1)

ankit (70020) | more than 12 years ago | (#2136857)

Slackware might be the best distribution around, but i dont think it is meant for newbies who dont even know what a command prompt looks like, and how to view a directory. Most of the people coming from the windows world dont even know about the existence of a shell prompt. You wouldnd ecpect them to modprobe their soundcard to get it to work. For such people i think mandrake is the best thing around. It is as close to win2k in ease of use as you can possibly get. Slackware might only drive away a potential linux user before he is able to understand the power and strength slackware has to offer.

just my 2c..

Re:Trying to learn linux? (1)

Ikeya (7401) | more than 12 years ago | (#2141239)

Foxman is totally correct! Slackware 3.6 was my first distro and WOW did I learn a whole ton by using it! By just starting with that, in about 3-6 months I was already ahead of a lot of people that had been using RedHat and the likes for a lot longer. I hightly recommend it! I still use Slackware 8.0 as my primary becuase I fell in love with it!

Re:Trying to learn linux? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2141243)

You should also note that nothing will frustrate you as much as Slackware. Sorry, but Slackware would be the LAST distro I'd suggest for a newbie. Certainly the user knows more about Linux after successfully installing Slackware - if he/she doesn't lose patience halfway through, decide Linux is too much for them, and goes back to the Windows ghetto. Slackware is for that crowd who hack their kernels and remain convinced that vi is all you need for editing. (No flame on vi users intended.)

Re:Trying to learn linux? (1)

aaabbbccc (313606) | more than 12 years ago | (#2141662)

True, but make sure you have a very knowledgable Linux/UNIX person to turn to. Otherwise I guarantee you'll be frustrated as hell because Slackware doesn't provide any of the UI amenities you'd find in NT or in other Linux distributions. What this means is that you'll have to compile and configure every piece of software and every part of the system by editing config files. This can get very, very annoying if you don't know what to do.

If you do have someone to help you out then by all means try Slackware. You'll learn more from it than any other Linux distribution. However, if you are trying to learn Linux alone, then I might start with a more user-friendly distribution like Redhat, Mandrake, or Suse. When you feel more comfortable with Linux, then by all means switch to Slackware.

Re:Trying to learn linux? (1)

iconian (222724) | more than 12 years ago | (#2142416)

If you are really serious about learning Linux, try to creating bootdisk from scratch after you are comfortable with whatever distro. http://www.linux.org/docs/ldp/howto/Bootdisk-HOWTO /index.html

Personally, my favorite distro is Debian because of its package managing system. What's better than 'apt-get upgrade-distro' to upgrade your distribution?

Synopsis (3, Insightful)

mosch (204) | more than 12 years ago | (#2143767)

This article will result in:
  • 27 posts saying mandrake is the best
  • 15 posts saying mandrake is lame
  • 42 posts saying debian is the best
  • 11 posts praising SUSE
  • 20 posts flaming redhat
  • 12 posts saying you should use *BSD instead
  • 75 posts with no identifiable content
  • 0 informative, well-reasoned posts
Why will it contain this crap? Because it really doesn't matter what you use as long as you learn the unix philosophy, so just pick a distro that you like, be it Debian, RedHat, Mandrake, Suse, Caldera or even FreeBSD or something.

What really matters is that you realize that your choice isn't the only choice. Make one, explore it, learn about it for a few months, then try another one and learn the differences. Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

Re:Synopsis (1)

[amorphis] (45762) | more than 12 years ago | (#2141057)

Why will it contain this crap? Because it really doesn't matter what you use as long as you learn the unix philosophy, so just pick a distro that you like, be it Debian, RedHat, Mandrake, Suse, Caldera or even FreeBSD or something

I agree upto a point, but it's a bit hard to pick a distro if you've never used one

Personally, I recommend Mandrake, but I had high hopes for the second version of Corel.

Perhaps there ought to be a distro-eval HOWTO, giving a brief rundown on the filesystem structure and explaining why you don't have to format the whole disk when you want to reinstall

go with the slack (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2144277)

If you want to learn linux.. ie, you want to be able to fix things when they break, go with slackware. It's a pretty easy install, and a nice clean distro. To get it the way you want it, you'll end up editing a lot of config files, but I think it's better that way. You actually know what is going on. Go all out and play with everything you can on your first install. It's the best way to learn. If you screw it up, you can always install again. I think it's better to learn this way rather than learning one distro's graphical tools, this way you have a base knowledge that will help you to run any linux distro should you have to.

Troll -1 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2144338)

Shouldn't he/she get a -1 for posting such a question?

Re:Troll -1 (1)

YouAreFatMan (470882) | more than 12 years ago | (#2143435)

And herein lies a problem for the Linux community. It doesn't take too many arrogant jerks like you to give Linux geeks a reputation for being unhelpful elitists (even though the vast majority *are* helpful). Go ahead, just push everyone back to Windows, because you don't remember what it was like to not know anything.

Re:Troll -1 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2136856)

It's like that in any field. People have to be experts and better than thou, not because they are, but because they are really pussies.

toughy (1, Informative)

jjshoe (410772) | more than 12 years ago | (#2144339)

i started with slackware and have stuck with it

some people prefer redhat but it does a lot of stuff for you automatically like windows would

slackware isnt the easiest to learn, but i beleive its the most beneficial in the end. it requires you to do more work on install, but once you get it were you like it, it stays that way :)

Progeny is the way to go! (-1)

CyanideHD (132907) | more than 12 years ago | (#2144965)

Recently I've decided to start a server (which isn't up yet). I've tried Red Hat (don't like it), Abit Linux (a Red Hat copy designed for my old motherboard), Mandrake (liked it, but buggy for me now), and Debian (complicated). Debian to me is the most powerful distro which allows you to customize your computer in any tailored way. But since I suck and Linux, installing it has been very difficult.

My friend suggested Progeny to me. I'm currently using that dual booted with WindowsME. Progeny has given me the easiest installation compared to any other distro I've found. Another thing about Progeny that I liked other than it's easy installation is that it install many Debian-like things. This includes dpkg, dselect, etc. So basically, Progeny is Debian, but easier to install!

I deeply recommend you try Progeny. The only thing you should learn before hand is how to partition your hard drive and some basic Linux commands!

Anything but RedHat (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2157296)

Whatever you get, don't use RedHat. :P

That wasn't a troll. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2144341)

I wasn't trolling, I've used RedHat Linux (albeit 6.2) and I had a lot of problems with it. Thank you, Mr.Overzealous Mod.

Re:That wasn't a troll. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2137875)

I use Red Hat 7.1, it autodetected all my hardware and on what I had generally worked better than Windows 98. Of course it's newer and has more drivers but other than my parallel port scanner everything, including USB, works.

Re:That wasn't a troll. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2140720)

That's probably because you didn't know what you were doing.

RedHat (3, Informative)

reverius (471142) | more than 12 years ago | (#2157297)

I personally don't use RedHat (being a seasoned linux user, I have been using Slackware exclusively for a few years) but I have installed it on occasion, and find it to be relatively easy to use in its newest incarnations.

That is what I would suggest for any new linux user, especially coming from Windows.

Re:RedHat (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2135306)

I think a good question is, What is best for a user from windows to do? learn a distro that is easier to use or to learn the distro that is more hardcore, and shed any windows-likeness in the process?

Re:RedHat (1)

silicon_synapse (145470) | more than 12 years ago | (#2130285)

That depends on the intent of the user. If he wants to become a Linux Admin or anything along those lines, then by all means dive in head first. If, on the other hand, he just wants to use his computer to do typical everyday stuff and chose Linux because of it's stability/price rather than a repulsion from all-things-Microsoft then his best bet would be an easy-to-use distro. He has no need (or shouldn't) to know how to hack the kernal.

Migration - Windows to *NIX (2)

BigBlockMopar (191202) | more than 12 years ago | (#2142580)

I think a good question is, What is best for a user from windows to do? learn a distro that is easier to use or to learn the distro that is more hardcore, and shed any windows-likeness in the process?

I look at it this way. We don't want the guy to get discouraged and go back to what seems easy (Windows). And, the way I look at it, Red Hat is a good taste, because it's so well supported. He can get hard core once he's learned how to get the box to do what he wants through the point-and-drool stuff. He's got enough to learn with just the new UNIX terminology and the basic architecture.... ("Where's my C drive? How do I save my work if I don't have a C drive?!").

I'll tell you, I had an e-mail address in 1988. It was a UUCP account, through a dial-up shell on a Sun box, and I was familiar with being a UNIX user back then. I walked away from it, and eventually moved to my Amiga systems, then finally to a 486 with Windows 95. Getting sick of Windows and going back to UNIX (Linux) was tough enough, especially when you've got root access for the first time. :)

Go gently, get a popular distro, and don't get discouraged.

Re:RedHat (1)

BawbBitchen (456931) | more than 12 years ago | (#2136854)

RedHat is the best out of the box. Easiest install and the best hardware support.

If you want to learn something more standard, IMNSHO, the I would go with Slackware. You can get the boot disk and then install it via FTP. You will have to read more docs to install Slackware. I started with Slackware years ago, then moved to RedHat 5, 6, & 7. I just moved back to Slackware because I wanted something that gave me a finer degree of control on how and what was installed. Also I got sick of trying to manage packages via RPM.

Mandrake is a better transitional Linux. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2136858)

The whole install process is very windows like. All GUI, xdm, Gnome desktop, apps all on the "start menu".

From easiest to most difficult, he pecking order is:

Red Hat
FreeBSD (not Linux, I know).

Re:Mandrake is a better transitional Linux. (1)

silicon_synapse (145470) | more than 12 years ago | (#2138143)

Why did you place Slackware above Debian as being easier? Slackware has more rudimentary package-management and is overall a more hands-on distribution. What was your reasoning?

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2157340)

fp for marco
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