Recommend me a distro

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jawooga
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Recommend me a distro

Postby jawooga » Sun Dec 09, 2012 17:34 pm

My PC (Windows XP) has just gone t%s up after 8-9 years of decent service and when I can eventually afford another, I shall probably be buying an OS-less well spec'd box from e-buyer, and loading a Linux distribution. The question is, which one?

I have used RHEL4 and 6 at work for several years, and my afore-mentioned PC dual booted to Cent-OS which was a flavour of Red Hat. I put on CentOS about 5 years ago and never updated it, and found it a bit basic. But my graphics capabilities on the computer were limited, and having recently used RHEL6 at work with compiz config, I was more than impressed with the glitzyness.

A strong contender at the moment is Mint. I have never used Ubuntu and its kin, but I have read good things, especially recently about Mint Cinnamon. Also, as much as I like to be able to tinker and configure my computer and do some programming, I have no desire to be a sys admin in my own house, so an 'out of the box' system is preferable.

Interested to hear you thoughts/advice...

Thanks

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GiantMike
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Re: Recommend me a distro

Postby GiantMike » Sun Dec 09, 2012 17:40 pm

I honestly don't have a clue what you're talking about. Mint Cinnamon sounds nice though.
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ChrisAOnABike
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Re: Recommend me a distro

Postby ChrisAOnABike » Sun Dec 09, 2012 17:58 pm

jawooga wrote:Also, as much as I like to be able to tinker and configure my computer and do some programming, I have no desire to be a sys admin in my own house, so an 'out of the box' system is preferable.

Is any flavour of Linux really hassle-free enough for that? I've used Ubuntu enough to boot off and recover data from a dead Windows partition, and install and play with a bit, but it did seem to need a bit more messing about with than Windows 7 does.

Nice, and getting there, but not quite, was my feeling then - admittedly a couple of years ago so it might be better now.
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jawooga
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Re: Recommend me a distro

Postby jawooga » Sun Dec 09, 2012 18:05 pm

GiantMike wrote:Mint Cinnamon sounds nice though.

:D To be honest, that was my logic as well.

To be a little more transparent about my OP, if indeed that is needed ( :wink: ), I want to get a computer without Windows and install a Linux Operating System. But, I have yet to decide on the specific Linux 'distribution', hence the post.

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Peddle Up!
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Re: Recommend me a distro

Postby Peddle Up! » Sun Dec 09, 2012 18:15 pm

Ubuntu used to score well, but their tie-in with Amazon is causing a bit of a stink. I've heard good things about Mint, but not tried it. Against that when I tried to go the Linux route I found the quality of programs dropped off sharply and even the ones with a good feature set like Open Office had compatibility problems with some documents. To be honest I find Windows 7 rock solid and very usable for business and personal use.
Purveyor of "up" :)

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jawooga
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Re: Recommend me a distro

Postby jawooga » Sun Dec 09, 2012 18:26 pm

ChrisAOnABike wrote:Nice, and getting there, but not quite, was my feeling then - admittedly a couple of years ago so it might be better now.


Exactly my sentiments/experience. When I was using CentOS, it felt very very dated compared to XP, and I never got on with the software manager - I was forever looking up the shell scripts to do software administration in the terminal. But, using Red Hat 6 at work was very slick.

I have since returned to a WIndows box (win 7) at work, and feel like I've taken a backward step. Trying to emulate shell scripts in DOS is no joke!

But my understanding is that the modern distributions, especially the Ubuntu derivatives are very user friendly. Now, I'm not cash rich, but a well known online electronics retailer have some amazing deals for PCs without an OS. When you throw in the limited need for virus software, it become very attractive.

Peddle Up! - thanks for your comments. You are quite right about the various open source office suites. Well I've never tried LibreOffice, but the Open Office Word and Excel equivalents feel very strange (and dated) indeed compared to Office. I think that is the one area where Microsoft are still well ahead - the average user not having much use for LaTeX

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jawooga
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Re: Recommend me a distro

Postby jawooga » Sun Dec 09, 2012 18:32 pm

Peddle Up! wrote:Ubuntu used to score well, but their tie-in with Amazon is causing a bit of a stink.


:shock: (nothing more to say)

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Pinno
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Re: Recommend me a distro

Postby Pinno » Sun Dec 09, 2012 21:01 pm

Woooooooooooooooosh, the whole thread - right over my baldy head. I met a couple of guys that spoke Ubuntu:

Image

Turned up one Sunday morning after a bike ride and there they were on my doorstep! Ate all my chocolate HobNobs and cleaned me out of tea. Mind you, they did give me the shrunken head of some old waff waff explorer bloke - makes for a great cricket ball.
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Cleat Eastwood
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Re: Recommend me a distro

Postby Cleat Eastwood » Sun Dec 09, 2012 21:54 pm

^^^ I've got shower curtain rings like the nosering that guy (I think his names sebastian) has in the background.


By the way why not download the live cds of the distros and give them a try.

On limited resources I found mint to be super - ubuntu is a real heavy weight, every thing simplified a real noticeable user experience. One problem I found with ubuntu is that to upgrade you couldnt miss a version - which meant huge downloads - might have changed now of course.

Mint is quite light compared to Ubuntu imo, but really quick - you can also get an ubuntu cinnamon, just to confuse things. :lol:

Linux is a minefield - so many variations - before I jumped in I bought Linux Format they have live cds of some of popular distros.
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RDW
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Re: Recommend me a distro

Postby RDW » Sun Dec 09, 2012 22:40 pm

I don't think you'll go far wrong with Mint. I like their choice of desktop environments better than Ubuntu's current default (Unity), and although I use Ubuntu at work I've changed the desktop to MATE, which has no offical support from Ubuntu but is one of the options supported out of the box by Mint. MATE is based on the Gnome 2 desktop you'll already be familiar with from RHEL. Both the MATE and Cinnamon (modified from Gnome 3) versions of Mint come with Mint's slick set of custom menus, etc. If you don't like to upgrade very often, choose Mint 13 instead of Mint 14. Mint 13 has long term support until 2017 (including security fixes and other updates), whereas Mint 14 is only supported for 18 months.

You might also try a more recent CentOS release. CentOS closely tracks RHEL and should be very similar to the RHEL release with the same version number (minus the branding).
Last edited by RDW on Tue Dec 11, 2012 11:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

edhornby
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Re: Recommend me a distro

Postby edhornby » Sun Dec 09, 2012 22:47 pm

I am on mint right now, it's great
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dynamicbrick
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Re: Recommend me a distro

Postby dynamicbrick » Mon Dec 10, 2012 08:27 am

Linux is a bit of a hobby of mine - in so much as I periodically get bored of one particular distro and install a new one on one of the many spare laptops I've got kicking about. I'm not particularly nerdy - I just immensely dislike Windows, and enjoy mucking about with Linux.

Ubuntu 12.04 LTS is heavy, requires constant updates, and is almost completely untweakable unless you fancy buggering about in Terminal. However, it does work out of the box, and is probably the easiest to pick up if you've no Linux experience.

Xubuntu is the XFCE fork, and much much lighter. Using the XFCE shell means you can tweak the GUI hugely. It does feel a bit dated compared with the newest Gnome stuff, but generally works. If anything, it requires more updates than Ubuntu - but that's more an annoyance more than anything. Worth a look, although the stock themes are very gloomy.

Kubuntu is KDE and I just don't like the front end.

I'm currently on Mint Cinammon on both the little 10" netbooks in the house. It's lighter than Ubuntu, and much prettier IMHO. You still can't tweak as much as XFCE shell stuff though. I'll probably keep it on this machine for the forseeable future.

I've also played around with CentOS, Mandriva, and numerous other forks of forks. We used to use RHEL at work. They're okay, but nothing special.

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jawooga
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Re: Recommend me a distro

Postby jawooga » Mon Dec 10, 2012 20:36 pm

Thanks all for the opinions. Interesting to hear that ubuntu is heavy weight from all accounts. I will prob download several live cds and try them out. Really looking forward to buying a new box now - just got to save up!

dynamicbrick
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Re: Recommend me a distro

Postby dynamicbrick » Mon Dec 10, 2012 23:39 pm

Oh, hang on - a new machine?

Ubuntu will be fine - it's still a featherweight compared with Windows 7. Most people use older machines for Linux, so the complaint about it being bloaty should be considered with that in mind. Ubuntu still idles at less than 300mb RAM usage. Mint, which isn't hugely lighter is around 220 on my machine with Redshift and a few other odds n ends running in the background.

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Ouija
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Re: Recommend me a distro

Postby Ouija » Tue Dec 11, 2012 02:11 am

dynamicbrick wrote:Oh, hang on - a new machine?

Ubuntu will be fine - it's still a featherweight compared with Windows 7. Most people use older machines for Linux, so the complaint about it being bloaty should be considered with that in mind. Ubuntu still idles at less than 300mb RAM usage. Mint, which isn't hugely lighter is around 220 on my machine with Redshift and a few other odds n ends running in the background.


OpenSUSE. Had Windows 7, XP, Mint, Ubuntu and Xubuntu Installed and updated on my machine until recently swapping all the drives out for solid state ones. On the new install i left Mint, Ubuntu and Xubuntu off the drives simply because i find the whole Gnome/Unity thing that's been dominating those distros irritating. Neither been a fan of the 'Fisher Price' style Gnome desktop or the "lets make it look like a phone OS" travesty that is Unity. I always find myself drifting back to KDE and OpenSUSE. If i had to be saddled with a Ubuntu variant it would be Xubuntu (simple, elegant, fast) and not the fiasco that Ubuntu is or the 'meh' that is Mint. Wouldn't touch Kubuntu either, as it's implementation of KDE is terrible (doesn't allow you to seemlessly integrate your gnome apps with KDE the way OpenSUSE does).

I'd also consider installing Wine and Virtualbox as there are very few Windows programs you can't run on Linux these days.

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Mettan
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Re: Recommend me a distro

Postby Mettan » Tue Dec 11, 2012 02:16 am

I'm currently running Debian-NetBSD-Gentoo-Lubuntu - for user-friendliness though, go for something like Mint/Mageia/Ubuntu/OpenSuse - considering you've got experience with RHEL, you could try Fedora aswell (it's straightforward to setup/install codecs and multimedia capabilities after install). Multiboot, try a few distros for a period.

SoloSuperia
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Re: Recommend me a distro

Postby SoloSuperia » Tue Dec 11, 2012 11:39 am

I am 100% Ubuntu.... I just want a rock solid operating system.
I don't want to fiddle about with the OS
Easy to use and free of charge.

I have got a few people around here( completely non-geeks) running Ubuntu and they think it is more user friendly than Windows.

Musn't forget virus free and by the nature of the system architecture unlikely if anything nasty comes along impossible to install.

Enough I am so biased!!!!

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craker
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Re: Recommend me a distro

Postby craker » Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:26 pm

Have you still got the XP license from your dead machine? I'd use that. Compared to Ubuntu 12.04 on my laptop it's much more responsive (until you hit the RAM ceiling that bit earlier).

I think we should all be a bit nicer to Microsoft now they've ar*ed up their business by allowing Apple and Google to shove them out of the phone / tablet space.

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jawooga
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Re: Recommend me a distro

Postby jawooga » Wed Dec 12, 2012 20:23 pm

Interesting comments. Before we upgraded to rhel6 at work we had kde on rhel4. I think the switch to gnome was to do with red hat support. Or maybe it was the other way around - i can't remember :oops: . Either way i should prob give openSUSE a go as well on a live boot.

Ouija - I'll take a look at wine and virtual box.

Cheers fellas.

ceeque
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Re: Recommend me a distro

Postby ceeque » Thu Dec 13, 2012 00:44 am

Loved Mint, used it as dual boot with windows for about a year, damn sight faster all round and yet has a certain windows "flavour" to it though obviously not as slick looking. Could`nt fault it really.....


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