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Fedora, SuSE And Mandrake Compared

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the mix-and-match dept.

GNU is Not Unix 459

gmuslera writes "This weekend 2 comparisions were made between latest Fedora, SuSE and Mandrake Linux distributions. The first one was done by FlexBeta and in general goes deep, done by people that seem to know Linux, and good around its 9 pages. The later one was done by The Washington Post (yahoo news link) and shows another view of those 3 distributions, from someone that seems to dislike Linux and don't know enough about it. In what of those extremes are the average new user experience with those distributions?" Update: 07/06 01:01 GMT by T : Note that long-time Washington Post tech writer Rob Pegaroro doesn't seem to dislike Linux -- far from it; he's just writing what he sees as truth.

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My ass and a hole in the ground compared (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9616866)

dot dot dot

Mandrake (0, Troll)

esukafurone (751424) | more than 10 years ago | (#9616867)

Fedora buggy, SUSe bloated, Mandrake the way to go?

Re:Mandrake (2, Insightful)

Too Much Noise (755847) | more than 10 years ago | (#9616982)

Depends on what you're doing. SuSe seems ok at leading newbies by the hand from what I remember, a task out of reach for Fedora. However, for an advanced user the newbie-friendliness can be a pain.

Personally, from these 3 I'd choose Mandrake, too - mostly because can fit more bills easy enough. The official release, if set up properly, is actually quite usable by newbies; and for tweaks, Cooker is the bleeding edge. Not to mention the boon that is PLF ^_^

True in part... (0, Flamebait)

DaHat (247651) | more than 10 years ago | (#9617146)

Except for the fact that recent RPM's are near impossible to get with out paying... which is a small part of why I am so against linux these days.

Waaaah! He hates teh Linxu! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9616870)

Zerg Rush! kekekekeke!

A little late for me (2, Funny)

bluekanoodle (672900) | more than 10 years ago | (#9616871)

Where was this last week when I was looking for this exact comparison?

Re:A little late for me (5, Funny)

DarkHelmet (120004) | more than 10 years ago | (#9616925)

It was in that "Mysterious Future" box that us subscribers get ;)

Re:A little late for me (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9616963)

your outhouse? ;)

www.google.com (1, Informative)

gerf (532474) | more than 10 years ago | (#9617097)

Check reviews on google, it's not too difficult. Please be more self sufficient. Not for yourself, but for all the people who you probably keep asking for help. "Is rpm revolutions per minute?" "I hope Linux has a Windows Update." ect

I however, am currently (yes, this second) installing BeOS on my laptop (or craptop, as I call it). You just have to ask yourself what you want to do with your computer, and pick and choose the OS, software from there. For me, aim, simple web browsing, and word fuctionality are sufficient for my craptop: Thus, Abiword, BeAIM, and Mozilla are all I'll be using on this P166MMX w/40MB, 2gigs.

It's come a long way, I'll admit that.... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9616872)

The only Linux based distro I've tried recently was Suse... and it blew me away. Previously, Linux Distros in general, weren't too friendly and you had to spend a lot of time configuring things yourself. When I installed Suse, EVERYTHING was detected on my text box... which is no small feat considering I had some rather obscure hardware in there. It literally blew me away... I don't think I've seen anything better than YAST at this point, even in my best case senario with Windows installations. Unfortunately, I can't say much about Mandrake or Fedora... but Suse was enough to convince me (and some other very leary friends) to make the switch. Mainly because of Yast itself.

Re:It's come a long way, I'll admit that.... (1)

HAKdragon (193605) | more than 10 years ago | (#9617032)

I've played with different flavours of Linux on and off and I recently tried the Suse 9.1 Personal ISO when it was mentioned on /. a little while back. I'm really impressed with YaST's and it's ability to get all of my hardware working. Even my iPod works (it gets mounted as a hard disk, but I just use gtkpod to load songs and playlists).

yast is good. (3, Funny)

DRWHOISME (696739) | more than 10 years ago | (#9617060)

Did have a winmodem ?

Suse never got mine to work.

literally? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9617085)

It literally blew me away...

How far did it blow you? Are you ok? Any broken bones?

You mean figuratively, not literally.

Like (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9616877)

I, for one, like Linux.

Re:Like (1)

Madcapjack (635982) | more than 10 years ago | (#9616940)

I, for one, link Linux [linux.com] .

Re:Like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9617151)

I prefer GNU/Linux you insensitive clod!

New User Experience (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9616879)

It would seem to me that new users would know nothing, if not less than the Washington Post guy, at any rate. Plus, unless they had some friends that ran Linux, they'd probably dislike it as well.

Re:New User Experience (1)

polyp2000 (444682) | more than 10 years ago | (#9616923)

Especially when he makes comments like ...

it's secure and it can run on any Windows-ready machine.

and

Unfortunately, to install any of these versions without wiping out most Windows installations, you'll need to buy a third-party program to partition your hard drive

Nick...

My email to the guy on washingtonpost.com (-1, Redundant)

Azureflare (645778) | more than 10 years ago | (#9616893)

Hello, I recently read your FastForward article on the Washingtonpost about how Linux is still an awkward alternative. Towards the end you mentioned: "That brings up Linux's biggest embarrassment: software installation. Outside of core system updates (ably handled by each distribution's auto-update software), my attempts to add new programs were routinely stymied by the chancy availability of prepackaged downloads and "dependency" issues, in which the installation failed because the computer lacked needed library files." Are you getting these packages from the servers of the distribution you are using? You should only download rpms which are specifically built for the linux system you are using. For example, if you are using Mandrake linux 10.0 Official Edition, you should only download packages which are built for Mandrake linux 10.0 Official Edition. But really, on Redhat/Mandrake based systems, you should use urpmi or the graphical installation managers that come with the distributions; they all manage dependency issues for you, if you have your mirrors set up properly. I primarily use Mandrake linux, and I can almost always find packages I am looking for in the main or contrib sections on the online mirrors. There is a great site for managing mirrors on Mandrake systems, it's http://www.urpmi.org/easyurpmi This allows you to easily add main, contrib and external mirrors. You can use these in the Mandrake Control Center, which is a GUI interface that makes installing much easier than the command line. Also, much of what makes linux what it is, is the community that surrounds it. There are many support channels on irc.freenode.net where you can get support for any issues you may have. Using a chat application such as X-Chat, you can connect to FreeNode and type /join #distributionname Where distributionname is the name of the distribution you're using; e.g. /join #mandrake or /join #suse etc. Linux certainly isn't as friendly to new users as other operating systems such as MacOS or Windows, but in order to honestly evaluate the distributions, it's important to take into account the communities that surround them. Linux is definitely a different breed of operating system, and should be treated as such. The main reason why distributions don't tout the communities is because the communities are not officially affiliated with the distributions. It is entirely a volunteer based system, and you can get any number of different types of people in those channels, ranging from experts who have worked for years in the field, to new users like yourself. I know you're probably not looking to use linux as an operating system, since it doesn't seem from your article that you are seriously considering it, but it might be nice in the future to mention some of the things I have, to get a more complete picture. Thanks!

Argh, Sorry, Formatting.... (4, Insightful)

Azureflare (645778) | more than 10 years ago | (#9616911)

Sheesh, that's what I get for not using the preview button...

Hello,
I recently read your FastForward article on the Washingtonpost about how Linux is still an awkward alternative. Towards the end you mentioned:

"That brings up Linux's biggest embarrassment: software installation. Outside of core system updates (ably handled by each distribution's auto-update software), my attempts to add new programs were routinely stymied by the chancy availability of prepackaged downloads and "dependency" issues, in which the installation failed because the computer lacked needed library files."

Are you getting these packages from the servers of the distribution you are using? You should only download rpms which are specifically built for the linux system you are using. For example, if you are using Mandrake linux 10.0 Official Edition, you should only download packages which are built for Mandrake linux 10.0 Official Edition.

But really, on Redhat/Mandrake based systems, you should use urpmi or the graphical installation managers that come with the distributions; they all manage dependency issues for you, if you have your mirrors set up properly.

I primarily use Mandrake linux, and I can almost always find packages I am looking for in the main or contrib sections on the online mirrors.

There is a great site for managing mirrors on Mandrake systems, it's http://www.urpmi.org/easyurpmi

This allows you to easily add main, contrib and external mirrors. You can use these in the Mandrake Control Center, which is a GUI interface that makes installing much easier than the command line.

Also, much of what makes linux what it is, is the community that surrounds it. There are many support channels on irc.freenode.net where you can get support for any issues you may have. Using a chat application such as X-Chat, you can connect to FreeNode and type

/join #distributionname

Where distributionname is the name of the distribution you're using; e.g.

/join #mandrake

or

/join #suse

etc.

Linux certainly isn't as friendly to new users as other operating systems such as MacOS or Windows, but in order to honestly evaluate the distributions, it's important to take into account the communities that surround them. Linux is definitely a different breed of operating system, and should be treated as such.

The main reason why distributions don't tout the communities is because the communities are not officially affiliated with the distributions. It is entirely a volunteer based system, and you can get any number of different types of people in those channels, ranging from experts who have worked for years in the field, to new users like yourself.

I know you're probably not looking to use linux as an operating system, since it doesn't seem from your article that you are seriously considering it, but it might be nice in the future to mention some of the things I have, to get a more complete picture.

Thanks!

Re:Argh, Sorry, Formatting.... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9616973)

So he gets modded up twice for reposting? Morons.

Re:Argh, Sorry, Formatting.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9617128)

See, the mods mod down the post that was not formatted correctly... I apologize for that =/

Re:Argh, Sorry, Formatting.... (1)

xsecrets (560261) | more than 10 years ago | (#9617000)

WoW!!! Seeing this explanation of how easily you can get packages for Mandrake systems Just makes me remember why I use debian.

I never want to have to deal with an RPM based system again. People keep telling me oh no it's sooo much better now with urpmi and apt-get for rpm, but from what you just wrote it just isn't good enough.

My reviews. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9617050)

First I had Windows 98. I deleted that because it was too unstable.
Then I had Windows 2000. It ran well, but I deleted it because it was a pirated copy.
I deleted Debian six months ago because I didn't like being told everything on my system was unstable.
I deleted Gentoo one month ago because it took two weeks to install on my 650mhz computer. And two days to do big updates.
I'm using Mandrake 10 now, but I don't like it either. KDE is too busy for my tastes, and though I'm going to switch it to Gnome eventually, I really just want Irix.
Eventually, I'm just switching to one of those linuxes that boot straight to a PVR interface when they support my ATI AIW.

Re:Argh, Sorry, Formatting.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9617067)

No real need to send it. Rob reads slashdot.

Re:Argh, Sorry, Formatting.... (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 10 years ago | (#9617129)

You should only download rpms which are specifically built for the linux system you are using

Ah yes I can see now how wrong it was to call it awkward. Instead of just installing something after I've verified it runs in windows, I just have to wade through rpm after rpm in the hopes that someone has made an RPM for my specific distro. Thats not a pain at all. Reminds me of why I switched to Slackware.

Re:Argh, Sorry, Formatting.... (1)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 10 years ago | (#9617148)

Are you getting these packages from the servers of the distribution you are using? You should only download rpms which are specifically built for the linux system you are using. For example, if you are using Mandrake linux 10.0 Official Edition, you should only download packages which are built for Mandrake linux 10.0 Official Edition.

As nice as this is, you just can't expect a single vendor to package everything you could ever want. At some point you're going to have to provide something packaged by someone else. That's the point where the trouble starts. Right now the only really distribution agnostic packaging system is source. Source is nice, and when well managed (say, with stow), it works very well for handling those few extra packages you want to install, but source does take a little more nouse than perhaps it should. ./configure; make; make install is great when it works, but working through any issues that arise when it doesn't (while still not that hard) is starting to get a little sticky. The fact is, there are still points at which software installation for Linux can become cumbersome and annoying for desktop users that don't want to have to fiddle. Fortunately things are being done about this. There are projects like autopackage [autopackage.org] which are looking to provide a nice clean simple to use distribution agnostic packaging format. It is worth recognising the weaknesses, and embracing the (still in development, but looking better all the time) solutions.

Jedidiah

command line is bad? (0, Troll)

preclose (718515) | more than 10 years ago | (#9616901)

"It's a clever system. Except -- duh -- there's no graphical front-end to it, forcing users to use a text-only, command-line interface."

Oh God NO!!!! Anything but the command line. I need pretty pictures and maybe a dancing paper clip thingy. It's too much to remember a few commands.

Makes me wonder if this same guy went insane when using Dos.

yeah. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9616945)

he's probably a NetBSD user!

--Gaydar

Eat a dick (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9616956)

Shithead

Re:Eat a dick (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9617024)

bash: Shithead: command not found

Maybe that's greek to you.

Re:Eat a dick (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9617059)

I wish that dumbass Micheal Simms would, and that he would also choke and die in the process, but alas, it's not going to happen.

Re:command line is bad? (1)

penginkun (585807) | more than 10 years ago | (#9616967)

He's probably one of those people who used to make fun of Mac users because we didn't have a command line, which meant our computers were inferior.

Re:command line is bad? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9617010)

Yes command line is bad for a beginner.

Command line lets the user input commands providing he already knows beforehand what commands he has at his disposal.

A graphical interface displays the commands, and lets him chose. This requires, obviously, much less knowledge beforehand.

Re:command line is bad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9617047)

Command line lets the user input commands providing he already knows beforehand what commands he has at his disposal.

Ah, whatever happened to RTFM...

Re:command line is bad? (5, Insightful)

RedWizzard (192002) | more than 10 years ago | (#9617152)

Command line lets the user input commands providing he already knows beforehand what commands he has at his disposal.
Ah, whatever happened to RTFM...
What FM? System level documentation of Linux (and Windows) is spotty at best, non-existant more often. man -k seems to be about the best bet, and that's a pretty sad state of affairs.

Re:command line is bad? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9617064)

you can get the same behaviour with bash. just press tab.

So true (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9617016)

I like the idea of forcing people to the shell (or "command line") a little now and then.

It's like owning a car; sooner or later you HAVE to pop the hood and have a look, maybe refill the oil or something.

Forcing users to the shell will, eventually, teach them how the OS works. Or at least, give them a brief idea on what's going on "under the hood".

I remember back in the good ol' days when you bought the C64. You were handed the computer and a manual. You had to tune the TV yourself, and hell, you even had to type in BASIC programs by hand. This way, many users learned BASIC and became software developers -- like myself.

Re:command line is bad? (5, Insightful)

HaggiZ (68526) | more than 10 years ago | (#9617080)

While I don't advocate the command line is removed as it offers a great level of flexibility, things shouldn't stay more difficult just because they can. It's this kind of mentality that stops a more widespread adoption of linux on the desktop. Distros are thankfully making the user experience more enjoyable and not targetting them solely at geeks.

That being said, I've read both articles (and no I'm not new here ;) and I don't think the conclusions are all that differ. Each offer their advantages, Suse seems to be the most polished. I'd been a mandrake user previously, might be worth taking a look at suse next time.

Re:command line is bad? (5, Insightful)

re-Verse (121709) | more than 10 years ago | (#9617102)

yeah. Command line is bad. Sometimes (Don't flame me, I'm a unix admin). If i'm sitting on my bed with a wireless mouse, and want to toss on some mp3s, I want at least the option ot just double click on a playlist. If a friend who has never sat at my computer before wants to load up a movie, I'd rather have them be able to click on an icon rather than try to figure out whatever cryptic command-line method there would be to do the same thing.

The fact is, for a lot of things, GUI is better. And a desktop, in most cases, is one of these things. I really love a GUI, but at the same time, i really Need to be able to slip under the GUI into a command line mode when i feel the urge.

+5 insightful? more like "-1, cleverly disguised flamebait" I'm sure you already understand the use of a good GUI. Meanwhile, chances are that you're composing this from windows XP.

Re:command line is bad? (1)

Alexis de Torquemada (785848) | more than 10 years ago | (#9617103)

He's probably spoiled. Windows provides a consistent, logical and easy to understand control panel [wiley.com] which makes it especially easy to install and configure new hardware. That, and the fact that a pink elephant ate my grandma, makes me prefer Windows XP.

Re:command line is bad? (1)

HermanAB (661181) | more than 10 years ago | (#9617149)

"Makes me wonder if this same guy went insane when using Dos."

Nope, that kid wasn't born yet - he sure won't know DOS.

I agree w/ the washington post comment (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9616919)

I've been using Linux (almost exclusively) for probably 8 or 9 years now. I set out to install Mandrake 10 on my new network last week (old thinkpad laptop and new shuttle MB). It took me several days and lots of "ifup" hacking to get my Netgear WG511 wireles card finally working. (It still causes a 60s pause during bootup, but I'm happy that it works)

I still can't get xdmcp to work right. What the hell are all those MIT_MAGIC_COOKIE-1 errors that I'm getting from my Xserver?!?

Linux is great and all, but it requires more persistance than most people have. I think that Washington Post fellow struck the correct tone. Linux still isn't for everyone. Maybe when more hardware vendors get on board and release open drivers....

Re:I agree w/ the washington post comment (5, Informative)

skyshock21 (764958) | more than 10 years ago | (#9616949)

FWIW, www.linuxant.com makes a "middleware" program you can use with Mandrake 10 that enables you to use the windows drivers that came with the wireless card. I have one of those Netgear wireless cards, and use Linuxant's middleware. I gotta say, it works PERFECTLY. No pauses on startup, and it functions exactly like my wired NIC.

Re:I agree w/ the washington post comment (4, Interesting)

AmVidia HQ (572086) | more than 10 years ago | (#9617001)

Yes, that's why I'm still have Windows on my desktop. Although Linux has all the power, security and reliability, spending a day to get IM working under Mandrake is not worth my time.

Linux server is there (minimal setup, high performance and stability), desktop is not. Redhat's CEO was right.

But of the 3, I would say Suse is the best for desktop. Feature packed and have the least number of things broken in my opinion. Fedora is nice, but only if you want the bleeding edge. I wouldn't recommend Mandrake (sorry)

Re:I agree w/ the washington post comment (1)

Too Much Noise (755847) | more than 10 years ago | (#9617031)

[flame]If you use xdmcp over wireless you're not even worth the time to root.[/flame]

joking aside, XDMCP is an insecure abomination - at least I hope you're tunnelling it over something more secure. What do you need it for that can't be done with ssh+Xforwarding anyway?

Muahahahaha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9616926)

Hell ... for the first moment I thought '... compared by Eugenia from OSNews ...'. If you want some quality and nonbiased reviews then Eugenia is your man :)

fedora core 2 gripes (4, Informative)

i621148 (728860) | more than 10 years ago | (#9616941)

several of the gripes the reviewer mentioned about fedora can be solved by the following:

# get rid of the graphical boot in fedora
edit the /etc/sysconfig/init
GRAPHICAL=no

# change your gnome splash screen
replace /usr/share/pixmaps/splash/gnome-splash.png

# reset nautilus to default browsing
gconftool-2 -t bool /apps/nautilus/preferences/always_use_browser -s true

Re:fedora core 2 gripes (1, Insightful)

John Starks (763249) | more than 10 years ago | (#9617037)

Yes, how intuitive. How did the reviewer miss that? Heck, my mom could have done that in her sleep.

Re:fedora core 2 gripes (3, Insightful)

.com b4 .storm (581701) | more than 10 years ago | (#9617121)

Not intuitive, but the grandparent didn't claim it was. They were just merely offering a solution. Sheesh... If sarcastic replies like this is why people are hesitant to help sometimes, I don't blame them.

forshame. (5, Insightful)

dignome (788664) | more than 10 years ago | (#9616943)

Unfortunately, to install any of these versions without wiping out most Windows installations, you'll need to buy a third-party program to partition your hard drive.
Yeah right. This guy has obviously never tried installing windows on a linux machine. Just see how friendly the windows setup program is towards your boot sector... yeah. Unlike most linux software which will try to preserve and inform the user of the current drives partitions and status so all can be worked out peacefully.

Re:forshame. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9616992)

Uhh....I've tried it...it works on dual boot whether you install *nix or Windows first....

Re:forshame. (4, Informative)

Too Much Noise (755847) | more than 10 years ago | (#9617054)

On top of that, he's also wrong. Mandrake and SuSe (afair) ship with ntfsresize. Provided that no ugly accidents happen, you only need a defrag before starting the installation.

Festivix? (5, Insightful)

rpbailey1642 (766298) | more than 10 years ago | (#9616948)

Am I the only one who is getting tired of these "One Distribution _MUST_ be better than the others" articles? They never comment on that fact that open source means you can mix and match features for the perfect distribution. We need some sort of "Festivix: A Linux for the Rest of Us" that will capitalize on that fact, instead of leading readers to think that the Linux market is fragmented and dying.

Re:Festivix? (2, Funny)

Wehesheit (555256) | more than 10 years ago | (#9617015)

Yes, thats exactly what I was thinking. MORE distro's, thats the answer!

Mandrake v. Gentoo v. Debian v. OS X (3, Informative)

dotslashdot (694478) | more than 10 years ago | (#9616954)

Hello--I used Mandrake exclusively for a couple of years on a Dell Laptop. It was the easiest system to install & use.

However, I wanted to learn Linux more, so I'm trying Gentoo & Debian. I like Gentoo's "from scratch" installation & that I can choose each item. However, emerging sucks--if I need to get something done but need new software, it's a pain in the ass to compile every freakin' program & dependency. I don't have time to sit around & wait for the process to complete.

Debian on the other hand didn't let me choose my kernals or bootloader. Thus, I was stuck with 2.4.x + Grub as the default. What's more, without a working network connection, Sarge's installer froze at the point where the installer tries to download security updates. How crappy!

I want Gentoo's choices with Debian's precompiled packages (Portage apparently gives you the choice to use precompiled packages but I cannot access them without a network card.)

Mandrake was by far the easiest to use but I didn't learn anything in the process.

OS X is great but makes me feel guilty because I love KDE & IMHO, OS X is not all that compared to KDE/Linux. Konqueror by itself makes KDE absolutely amazing. But OS X works & is really really awesome if you're not comfortable with Linux or are used to Windows. It can do some amazing things.

Post review of Linux is unfair. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9616968)

He tried installing himself. A fair comparison would be trying to install Windows XP on old hardware with obscure peripherals. Installing XP is as hard as installing Linux properly. XP bundled pre-installed with hardware is as easy to startup as Linux pre-installed with hardware.

Centrino? (0)

Egonis (155154) | more than 10 years ago | (#9616969)

In the Washinton Posts' article -- 'Dell's Centrino Circuitry' this proves that the Author of this Article had no idea what he was talking about......

Re:Centrino? (1)

AirLace (86148) | more than 10 years ago | (#9617107)

Actually, the article talks about "the Dell's Centrino WiFi circuitry". My emphasis on 'the', a definite pronoun, shows that you have no idea what you're talking about.

(Incidentally, open source drivers for Centrino wireless are available at ipw2100 [sourceforge.net] .)

Re:Centrino? (1)

AirLace (86148) | more than 10 years ago | (#9617130)

More accurately, 'the' is a definite article.

Re:Centrino? (2, Informative)

maxume (22995) | more than 10 years ago | (#9617118)

(the Dell's Centrino WiFi circuitry, however, didn't work)

Context makes him sound reasonably informed. You sir, are either trolling, or functionally illiterate.

Partitioning (2, Interesting)

Omega1045 (584264) | more than 10 years ago | (#9616975)

From the Washington Post Article:

Unfortunately, to install any of these versions without wiping out most Windows installations, you'll need to buy a third-party program to partition your hard drive.

Do any of the Linux Distros come with some sort of "Magic Partition" style software that can be run on install? If not, this might be a very nice addition. I know Live CD allows you to try out Linux without risk to your windows install, but a partition manager that creates a linux or windows boot up automatically would be very cool. And of course, the windows partition could be mouted under linux and directories like "My Documents" could be linked into the GUI on Lunx.

Re:Partitioning (1)

Cat_Byte (621676) | more than 10 years ago | (#9617003)

Well if you have blank space to install on it'll automatically make a boot manager to choose the OS on bootup (set default during install process or afterwards). You can also just mount the Windows partition in linux and put it in /etc/fstab to automount each time you boot. Then you have some shared space like that.

Re:Partitioning (1)

Omega1045 (584264) | more than 10 years ago | (#9617020)

I thought this was only if you had a blank partition to install it on. The newest distro I have installed outside of VMWare is Mandrake 8 so I am a little behind on what options the current installers give you on a "real" system.

Re:Partitioning (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 10 years ago | (#9617029)

I don't know about the current versions but both Mandrake and Red Hat used to ship with good, graphical, non-destructive partioners. (Fedora now offers a somewhat different "magic trick" for Windows dual-booters, but that's another matter.)

I precede new Gentoo installs with a run through the Mandrake 7.2 install process, to handle Windows re-partitioning and to generate an XFree86Config file and some other things that are iffy to write from scratch.

QTParted (3, Informative)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 10 years ago | (#9617035)

This is a grapical partition editor that is shipped with several distros.

It allows you to resize/move/delete/create/etc, as one would expect.

I dont have a list, but i know that it comes with Mepis, and a couple of 'rescue-distros'.

Re:Partitioning (1)

manabadman (589984) | more than 10 years ago | (#9617043)

This page [rulez.org] says that SuSe 9.1 was the first to include ntfs resizing. It also has links to install images for most of the major distros that have a (non destructive) partionining utility (that includes NTFS support).

Cheers

Yes (2, Insightful)

Mark_MF-WN (678030) | more than 10 years ago | (#9617084)

They ALL can do this. Linux has been able to resize partitions since... well, a long time ago. Newer incarnations even resize NTFS, although I don't know if I trust it. But VFAT partitions are no problem.

Geez, some of the partition foolery that I've gotten up lately to would frighten the pants off of the old Windows-using me of the past. QParted and GParted are my new favourite software tools.

Re:Partitioning (1)

agwis (690872) | more than 10 years ago | (#9617123)

Do any of the Linux Distros come with some sort of "Magic Partition" style software that can be run on install?

Xandros does. It holds your hand the minute you boot up with the install cd in and very nicely sets up a dual boot system, with very minimal input on your part (just answer a couple of basic questions). I asked a Xandros rep at a Linux trade show I was at recently and he said that Xandros uses Partition Magic in the background to do this.

A matter of personal preference..... (5, Informative)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | more than 10 years ago | (#9616976)

For the Windows user, one might tend to gravitate toward Mandrake for preconfiguration. Some say it's too dumbed down.

For the tinkerer, one might tend to gravitate toward Fedora for ease of use and configurability. Some say it's buggy.

For the admin, one might find that Suse fills their need for control and power. I can't comment too much on Suse, I only know one person who runs it.

These 3 distros don't even scratch the surface of what's out there. I'll elaborate on a few other distros.

Gentoo, Slackware & Debian: For those who wish to learn by doing. These distros do very little to automate your installation and configuration.

Be prepared to read man pages, how-to's, and write config files.

Slax, Knoppix and a number of other Live CD distributions: For those who want it running NOW.

These distros are running from boot with little configuration thanks to hardware detection and automatic module loading.

LFS (Linux From Scratch): For those who want intimate knowledge of the inner workings of their system.

This distro takes much time to get running....and...it's not really a distro as much as a set of basic instructions.

As I stated in the subject, there are a number of distributions to suit your level of expertise and style of system administration. When choosing a distro, be aware of the available support options and understand that Linux is (for the most part) a 'help yourself' kind of Operating System. In some cases you can pay a support team to assist you, but in most cases you should expect little direct (one on one) assistance.

My suggestion.....if you've got a buddy who's a Gentoo guru, you should run Gentoo because you've got a support system and someone to mentor you.

What are you trying to tell me? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9616978)

The first one was done by FlexBeta and in general goes deep, done by people that seem to know Linux, and good around its 9 pages.

So it goes deep and good around its 9 pages? That makes absolutely no sense.

The later one was done by The Washington Post (yahoo news link) and shows another view of those 3 distributions, from someone that seems to dislike Linux and don't know a enough about it.

No comma needed. What am I pausing for?

In what of those extremes are the average new user experience with those distributions?"

Huh?

washington post? There's a high tech news source (1)

bach37 (602070) | more than 10 years ago | (#9616981)

WTF I hate the stupid Washington Post. Could they perhaps actually talk to a computer user or techie about their story before they just post this crap for the world to see?

Getting better (2, Interesting)

manabadman (589984) | more than 10 years ago | (#9616983)

One interesting thing about the washington post's review is that they found the interface of Mandrake and SUSE to be very cluttered, while they found fedora's interface to be far cleaner. GNOME vs KDE ? Many always assume (including me) that KDE would be better liked be windows users.

Also while the washington post's article says linux is an awkward alternative, the experience was that some hardware support was better and easier than windows XP and that it was far cheaper. Since I have to disagree with the statements about it being harder to install software (look at apt-get, urpmi, yum, emerge -- the problem is that there is a LOT of outdated information on the web, this will eventually change), it _definately_ makes linux a contender. Its simply amazing to me that someone who isn't a linux head is doing an article on yahoo/washington post. Slowly but _surely_ I say.

Repartitioning (4, Interesting)

Noksagt (69097) | more than 10 years ago | (#9616989)

From the Post:
Unfortunately, to install any of these versions without wiping out most Windows installations, you'll need to buy a third-party program to partition your hard drive.
Which is, of course, wrong. Using parted and a graphical frontend like QTparted, you can easily resize partitions. The last SUSE install I helped out with had a partition resizer during the install. Did they take this feature out?

This is actually pretty good (1)

Nailer (69468) | more than 10 years ago | (#9616995)

Its the fairest review of the three I've seen _ I'm a Fedora fan, yet I can understand what they liked about Suse and Mandrake.

One thing the reviewer missed about KDE in Fedora - Konqueror is right in the root of the KDE menu. Just click 'Home dir'.

PS - I mean the Flexbeta review. (1)

Nailer (69468) | more than 10 years ago | (#9617012)

Cheers,

Mike

Fair go (1)

Neo-Rio-101 (700494) | more than 10 years ago | (#9616997)

To be fair, the article on Yahoo DID point out some of the frustrations in Linux that many clusers face when using Linux.

* Not all hardware is detected and/or supported (and when it gets supported, it's at least a year after Windows had the driver)
* Installing stuff (while automated over the internet) requires something called a command line... which scares the living hell out of Grandma. Not to mention binary &'%+$*%& only modules!
* Fedora STILL doesn't want to give us MP3 and NTFS
* Then there's that "lack of software" issue (which while considerable on Linux, still gets dwarfed by that of Windows).
* Hard disk partitioning... actually I think Mandrake does well here, but trying to get a cluser to learn what a hard disk is and what a partition is is on par with pulling teeth.

Also, that writer made an ignorant mistake saying that you needed expensive partitioning software to dual boot on a Windows system. That's just plain garbage (fdisk/cfdisk/parted on floppy-based Linux or Knoppix do the job)

Sound (2, Interesting)

darin3200 (791186) | more than 10 years ago | (#9617006)

I like the quote "SuSE didn't recognize the sound cards on two of three PCs until after a reboot". God forbid we can't listen to music in the installer, of course even if the sound did work he would have probaby had to use the evil-linux-command-line-of-death to mount a partition and listen to music.

Re:Sound (1)

DraconPern (521756) | more than 10 years ago | (#9617083)

SuSE should have asked or inform the user to reboot. It's an failure in UI design.

updates (2, Informative)

momogasuki (790667) | more than 10 years ago | (#9617007)

One thing that doesn't seem to be discussed in these reviews is updates. If you want a truly free distro, then (Fedora, Debian, Slackware) are what you want. Mandrake and Suse charge extra for update services and/or disc iso images. Fedora is the only one of the three that offers free system updates (via up2date). The up2date utility was broken on Core 1, but it seems to be working on Core 2.

I installed Mandrake 10.0 Official on one of my systems, only to discover that system updates cost extra. Also, the free downloadable iso images for Mandrake only contain 3 of the 4 discs. I was really annoyed when I found out that xdvi was on the 4th disc! I think Mandrake is a very nice distro if you are willing to pay extra for the update service and the 4th disc.

Why I use Fedora.... (4, Interesting)

CyborgWarrior (633205) | more than 10 years ago | (#9617009)

Let me begin this with the disclaimer that I am fairly new to Linux. I can do all of the basic stuff fairly well, but when it comes to having to hack out wierd stuff that doesn't work right off the bat, I'm...well, deficient.

Anyway, my first choice for Linux is definitely Mandrake. The interface is beautiful, fast and easy and it runs stable (I've had some stability problems with Fedora) all of the time. So why don't I used it? Well, first of all, Mandrake HATES my trackball mice. I have two of them, one from Logitech and one from some other company I can't remember. Anyway, both the mandrake install and mandrake itself refuse to recognize these mice. That wasn't too too bad, I can handle using the regular kind of mouse. But then came the USB problem. No distribution of Mandrake that I have tried up to and including 10.0 liked my USB flash drive. On Fedora I just mount /dev/sda1 to /mnt/jump and I'm all set. But for some reason Mandrake doesn't set up an sda1 and I'm too newbed to know how to fix that myself.

The final thing I have against Mandrake is its configuration tools. Fedora comes with a nice set of tools to configure all of the stuff I want to use / customize and it always works. Mandrake's on the other hand, have a bad habit of reverting to the settings it liked without even trying my new ones.

I'm running Fedora 2 right now and it works fairly well and does all of the stuff I need it too (it's much better than Fedora 1 for reliability IMHO), but as soon as Mandrake gets to liking my trackballs and jumpdrives I will have no hesitation in switching over.

First impression is the Best impression. (2, Insightful)

Greenisloved (689734) | more than 10 years ago | (#9617011)

When i learnt abt Linux, I dont know for some reason i chose Redhat .Looking back , Its the marketing for Redhat that pushes into the lead whne the compettition is tight.Easiness of use , good looks , robustness , help and support were the features that i relished.I never compared Redhat with other flavors as i was busy customizing my linux to defeat the co existence of windows .

And i never looked back for other Flavors.

Moral is : First impression is the Best impression.

Graphical Frontend to YUM (3, Informative)

Noksagt (69097) | more than 10 years ago | (#9617022)

From the Post:
The better solution is the smart package-installer Fedora employs; its "yum" utility fetches a program from an online archive, resolves dependency issues and sets it up with one command. It's a clever system. Except -- duh -- there's no graphical front-end to it, forcing users to use a text-only, command-line interface.
Cobind has a GUI [cobind.com]

Linux Terminology & End Users (4, Insightful)

citking (551907) | more than 10 years ago | (#9617036)

I've always wondered if this is perhaps one of the stumbling blocks for Linux's adaptation to a wide market share of the Joe Sixpack desktop world. While everything is technically correct (mounting a hard drive, loading a graphical window manager, etc.) people tend to scratch their heads and be like "huh?"

One thing that may work wonders is to just change some of the syntax to something perhaps easier to understand. For instance, instead of "mounting hda0", change it to "browse (disk label name)". Refer to a "window management system" not as a graphical interface but as the desktop or icons. Most people know what you mean when you say desktop or icons, but if you get into the KDE vs GNOME argument here then people will just get confused and leave.

As far as the Washington Post article reads I can relate to it. I tried using Linux before knowing how to code - that's rough. After learning a bit of c and c++ (enough to do some basics) I found it much easier to comprehend why things act the way they do. Perhaps Linux could stand to have an average Windows user hanging out by a programmer's desk saying "Why does that do this?" and "Can't you make this happen?". For example, my mom, who happens to be a nurse, has been attending a developer's conference in Oklahoma lately because the hospital is purchasing some new software being developed exclusively for them. Rather than just work off of the hospital's "to-do" list the developing agency asked for 15-20 end users to come down, play with the software, find any points of contention, and the developers would take care of it. I velieve this went on for 3 times at 2 weeks a pop, and the end result is a piece of software that cost a bit more to develop but was created with the end user, not the programmer, in mind.

I do believe that Linux's time is coming soon. I think the major sticking point might be some fragile egos and the "Well, EVERYBODY SHOULD know how to compile from source, download dependencies, and run command line syntax that looks like a keyboard went under a hammer." (I saw a comment in an earlier thread suggesting that ANY end user ought to be able to run complex command line code. Alas, this is not going to fly in the face of Windows or Macs, where command line is secondary to the GUI, whereas in Linux is is the exact opposite). I'm not asking for dancing paperclips or those damn pop-up balloons that won't go away...just an easy way to accomplish what can be done at the command line.

Re:Linux Terminology & End Users (1)

manabadman (589984) | more than 10 years ago | (#9617063)

To be fair, the Yahoo article only mentioned Mandrake as having strange terminology and jargon. And this was the 'PowerPack'edition. And the mention that the 'Discovery' edition has features more suited to a first time trial of linux.

He could be right. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9617041)

This will instantly be modded as flamebait, I know -- but he's right. For all the open-source community is waiting for that eleventh hour of deliverance when an intern in a cheap Penguin suit exclaims publicly that "the era of the Linux desktop is here" -- it's not happening for a while.

Why? Because every post thus far has been about why the gripes he has about various distributions can be simply, oh-so-easily changed by typing a few lines into a prompt, or replacing this file with that file -- or "God no, not the command line, sarcastically".

A few days ago I was teaching my friend how to use a few command line programs (like 'ls' and 'cd') in FreeBSD. This ended up turning into a two hour circus regarding where the spaces go.

Yes, the command line is that bad for normal people. And even a dancing paperclip?

YES, YOU IDIOT!! THE PAPERCLIP TOO!

Especially the paperclip. I don't care if it's a dancing penguin that takes up your entire screen, if it ends up being annoying as opposed to just plain hard for the normal user, that's a step up.

Washington Post article is dead on. (1)

DRWHOISME (696739) | more than 10 years ago | (#9617044)

All the different distributions hurts non techy users. Linux is just a kernel so therefore you have incompatibility like installing software across distros. There needs to be another attempt at forming a standard so apps work on all the distros.

I think linux is almost there.

To get more public usage and software devel. some government intervention is needed to stop OEM bundling of microsoft would help , or counterbalanced by including it on all new computers.

Re:Washington Post article is dead on. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9617094)

There is, it's called source code.

ATI Cards (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9617049)

Now if I could find a distro to use acceleration on my 9600xt...

Washington Post knows about English, though... (3, Funny)

pyrrhonist (701154) | more than 10 years ago | (#9617062)

The later one was done by The Washington Post (yahoo news link) and shows another view of those 3 distributions, from someone that seems to dislike Linux and don't know a enough about it.

This article submission was written by someone that seems to dislike English and doesn't know enough about it.

What about fonts...? (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 10 years ago | (#9617071)

Disclaimer: I do not touch Fedora because it will not serve me well on Multimedia as compared to MDK or SuSE. Now, for me, Linux is just OK except for fonts. I do not like anti-aliased fonts because they hurt my eyes, and they also look blurry! However, when I disabled anti-aliasing the resulting fonts looked terrible! Why...I have no clue. I must say this too: Installing the Yahoo Messenger was OK via the rpm and I also found its fonts OK with or without anti-aliasing. I wanted help till a regular good geek posted this email. This email, lives in my in-box permanently in case I need it. SuSE and MDK did not do well on fonts. So Slashdotters, if any of you can provide a better way of installing [good] fonts go right ahead. Meanwhile the geek mentioned above posted the following to help me improve fonts. I have to say it worked wonders for me. Here you go...

1)Login as root

2) Download: http://prdownloads.sourceforge.net/freetype/freety pe-2.1.9.tar.bz2?...

3)Unbzip and untar the file.

4) Uncomment line 439 in freetype-2.1.9/include/freetype/config/ftoption.h

5) Go back to the freetype-2.1.9 directory

6) ./configure --prefix=/usr

7) make

8) rm -rf /usr/lib/*freetype* (be careful here!)

9) make install

10) Grab Microsoft's core fonts and stick them in /usr/share/fonts

11) Start up KDE, go to the font preferences panel, and turn *off* anti-aliasing. Make sure to select the MS fonts as your UI fonts

My CAD 0.02

easy there, slashdotters - Pegoraro isn't biased (2, Insightful)

linux_author (691402) | more than 10 years ago | (#9617073)

- granted, one of the reviews was published by the Washington Post, or as it is more affectionately termed by the clueful here inside the Belchway, "The Washington Fishwrap," due to its many mindless liberal-biased headlines and stories... - however, Pegoraro has regularly covered Linux/OSS issues in the Fishwrap's Tech section (hidden inside an embarrassingly small Business section for a major daily), such as Red Hat's distros and OpenOffice.org... he has done so with an objectivity not found on other tech sites (hint, hint: OSNews??) - it's frustrating to read about 'Joe Six-pack' views of Linux-based operating systems... - but frankly, while Pegoraro's views have not always been 'spot-on Linux knowledgable,' they have been objective... - my point? give the guy a break, send a *nice* email (you do know how to do that, right?), and be helpful! - i suspect, and IIRC, he is a Mac OS X user...

On the surface... (5, Insightful)

MOMOCROME (207697) | more than 10 years ago | (#9617086)

Can't you see the fundamental wrongness of the bias presented here?

I mean, the write-up clearly soft-peddles the advocate review and downplays the consumer-oriented review. I think it is because the first review panders to the satisfaction unix-monkeys get in knowing the arcane and counter-intuitive technologia extremis of Linux, and condemn the consumer oriented approach for its simple, direct perspective of coming at Linux with no pre-conceived notions. The things they mention in the Washington Post article are quite accurate, if you are new to the Unix system layout paradigms.

The thing that bothers me is that there is an undercurrent of hysterical hatred for anyone speaking frankly about Linux and her Unix derived cousins. It's as if the question of OS somehow meant something deeper than what you have installed on your computer. All sorts of strident idealism and contempt for different opinions grip this community, and the community welcomes it!

This same undercurrent pops up from time to time through history, and it is quite dangerous! Consider all the book burning, witch hunting and other such miserable episodes in our collective past, and realize that what drove (and drives today) those awful episodes is the same contempt for difference that lies at the heart of the slashdot bias.

Now, I certainly don't want to conflate the relatively benign Linux over-advocacy problem and the tragedy of those horrible times in the past, but you people should realize that if you start allowing yourself to act like this here and now, indulging in what amounts to simple-minded bigotry, what is to stop you from carrying through with that thinking in realms more directly related to personal liberties, civic safety and common decency?

It's high time some of you stepped up to the plate and decry such flagrant ill manners along with me. It's not a matter of MSFT or APPL vs. Linux, it's a matter of being a decent human being. This sort of indulgent wankery is not decent at all.

Did the Washington Post vette the article? (0, Flamebait)

slashname3 (739398) | more than 10 years ago | (#9617114)

Next week we will find out the author of the Washington Post article never even saw a copy of Linux let alone install it on any computer. It was a made up story that he phoned in from home.

Or worse yet that this story was publish on slashdot three months ago. :)

tech writer? (1)

falkryn (715775) | more than 10 years ago | (#9617117)

Yeah, read the WP article earlier off of Google news. What really got me about it though was this fellow's supposed to be a tech writer. I have no problem with someone making a reasoned critique of Linux distros and such. However, I got the impression this article was rather thrown together, I mean really, using LiveCD SUSE as a test example? Come on, a tech writer who gets thrown in a whack because one of the DEs, KDE, uses single click instead of double? And who complains about having (he doesn't seem to be aware of niceties like synaptic mind you) to actually use commands to install something? Like others have mentioned, what the heck was this guy using in the 80s anyway? (LOAD "*", 8, 1 and we liked it!)

WP: Strange use of language (1)

Xerp (768138) | more than 10 years ago | (#9617120)

I mean. In this day and age. I really love the way he tries to get all "pally, pally" with Linux users right at the start. Probably best to leave things like this to professionals. Its like reading a carpenter's review of metalworking and how its so difficult to lathe sheet steel.

It's a clever system. Except -- duh -- there's no graphical front-end to it, forcing users to use a text-only, command-line interface.

It's a clever system. Except -- duh -- I only read the pictures.

Both articles are very bad (1)

saigon_from_europe (741782) | more than 10 years ago | (#9617125)

I have read both articles before this ./ article. First one, (non-NYT one) is crap. I hate those reviews where they speak about KDE look and similar stuff. I was unable to read a normal review about SuSE 9.1, although it is one an half month old distro.

Here is the list of some real problems:
I used to run RH8. It's PITAs: write something on rewritable CD (problems, probably due to my CD drive), MP3 does not work until you replace XMMS, but no such quick solution for KDE's native player. RH9 PITAs: Konqie works worse than in RH9 (I even upgraded KDE to latest version from KDE's site). Gnome's tool for CDs does not work, just like it did not in RH8. Connexant modem does not work, driver went closed source. But even that closed driver does not help me, since I have AC97 sound card (and they fight, for some reason). Fedora Core 1: unable to install nvidia 3d drivers, because kernel is not compiled with gcc that's in distro. Complete kernel compilation fails, their config files do not work. [So I moved to Suse, but i have changed the job meanwhile, so I use Linux now only for fun, and even that rarely, so I can't speak about my problems any more.]

Why I am pointing this list: I need some deep article, where someone who has real experience can say - look, i see/don't see improvement. He does not need to say "your Matsushita DVD-CDRW combo works now ok", I would be quite satisfied if he can find any real problem and to spend some time to speak about it. Single click on folders could be set up easily in KDE ages now. It is not a problem. SuSE has ugly mouse pointer, but that is not the problem, too. Say something about ssh version, apache version, whatever, but say something that may matter to someone (it does not have to be me)! Then I could be able to see if this particular distro is right way to go.

And NYT article is simple crap, full of prejudicies and full of incorrect information.

Not NYT, but WP (1)

saigon_from_europe (741782) | more than 10 years ago | (#9617137)

My apology: it was not NYT, as I said in parent, it was Washington Post.

Kernigheze-To-English Translation (1, Insightful)

Ilan Volow (539597) | more than 10 years ago | (#9617139)

From someone that seems to dislike Linux and don't know a enough about it.

Translation: "From somebody who is obviously biased against linux and spreading M$ FUD about linux being hard to use, and who is a stupid 1u53r who doesn't want to learn anything how his computer works, who wants everything all pretty GUI and clickity-click-like, who has been brainwashed into proprietary-style thinking that the command line is evil, and whose so-called 'usability problems' are nothing more than him being used to Windows."

I don't think the Washington Post article said very much about the state of desktop linux, but I think that the reaction to it speaks volumes.
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