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Ask Slashdot: New To Linux; Which Distro? 573

Posted by timothy
from the pick-and-choose dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I'm a very new user to Linux looking for a distro that allows me to control and customize, but I'm not sure where to start. I had a friend install Ubuntu 12.04 on my computer, with the E17 window manager and somehow I managed to crash it during the copying of some non-important files and now my computer won't boot (the hardware's fine though). I've found descriptions of Arch Linux to be spot on to what I'm looking for and want (Slashdot user serviscope_minor mentioned Arch a couple weeks ago and it caught my attention), but my experience in the terminal is literally about an hour. That said, I really want to learn more, don't mind hard work, enjoy challenges, and am perfectly willing to spend hours and hours for months on end to learn command line. Any suggestions, projects to start with, books to read, or tutorials to do to try would be appreciated."
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Ask Slashdot: New To Linux; Which Distro?

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  • Reinstall Ubuntu. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 24, 2013 @01:50PM (#43263877)

    Don't go looking for trouble. If you couldn't handle Ubuntu, Arch will drive you insane.

    • by arekin (2605525) on Sunday March 24, 2013 @01:56PM (#43263947)

      Don't go looking for trouble. If you couldn't handle Ubuntu, Arch will drive you insane.

      1000 times this.

      • by Gordonjcp (186804) on Sunday March 24, 2013 @02:01PM (#43263991) Homepage

        And a bunch more times, and I *like* Arch. I still switched back to Ubuntu for my primary desktop and laptop though, because Arch seems to spend half its time broken in some weird and mysterious way because of an inadequately-tested package somewhere.

        • by AliasMarlowe (1042386) on Sunday March 24, 2013 @02:07PM (#43264051) Journal
          And, as pointed out in the Firehose: if you crashed an OS (be it Windows or OSX or Linux or BSD or anything) by moving some files around, then either (i) they were not unimportant files and you must have been running with privilege escalated, or (ii) you have some kind of hardware problem, which could be intermittent.
          • Re:Reinstall Ubuntu. (Score:5, Informative)

            by chmod a+x mojo (965286) on Sunday March 24, 2013 @03:34PM (#43264629)

            It's Ubuntu. Don't take my bashing it the wrong way, it is a good thing to have an intro level distro for new users as well as pushing to make Linux more mainstream user friendly, but....

            The way Ubuntu does things is, in my opinion, insane. They track Debian unstable snapshots which is only minimally tested and then introduce their own bugs on top of the existing bugs in unstable, then try to iron out the worst of the bugs before the next point in the 6 month release cycle comes due. This does not lend itself all that well to making a truly stable user experience. You can even see that at work by tracking users reactions to releases, there have been flop releases that pushed users to jump ship to pure Debian ( seem look / feel / package management experience, just less general hand holding) or rolling back to previous releases and refusing to update.

              I know they can't really track stable since Debian has a much longer release cycle, but at the very least they should track testing. Testing generally has the worst of the major bugs worked out ( or the packages wouldn't have been able to move out of unstable ) while still remaining "fresh" enough with updated packages when not in release freeze.

            Secondly, it depends. With bug free code you shouldn't be able to crash an OS beyond repair un-intentionally, unfortunately Ubuntu, like every other piece of software out there, is not bug free. It is also possible to be updating sensitive files when doing something else causes a full blown kernel panic instead of a recoverable oops leaving said sensitive files in an unstable / un-bootable state. Not knowing exactly what the OP was doing at the time means we can't only point and say "it was this".

            • by pugugly (152978)

              Ubuntu is in my opinion the best learning system, if you need further stability I'd recommend the stable version of Debian.

              The 'stable' version is Glacial in it's upgrade approach for anything except security. That can *also* be frustrating, but it does give an utterly consistent environment to learn in.

              Pug

          • Re:Reinstall Ubuntu. (Score:4, Interesting)

            by tloh (451585) on Sunday March 24, 2013 @03:40PM (#43264669)

            While I agree with you in the strictest sense, I nonetheless feel there are legitimate grips that newbies such as this one encounter. Serious problems exist in the realm of UI design that makes usability/stability a sometimes hazardous experience, even with relatively popular and well supported projects. I've been running various distros for close to 10 years and have run into chronic intermittent issues in relatively mature software packages. The last one that I was never quit able to figure out involved panels in XFCE that would disappear for no apparent reason. More to the point, a few years ago, my Ubuntu installation manifested a misbehaving login bug that I tracked for many months on launchpad without any resolution before I finally found a way around it. Any new Linux users being introduced via the relatively user-friendly Ubuntu with the tenacity and patience to face down problems right from the get go at the login screen is not likely to develop a very good first impression. To be fair, most of my experience has been smooth sailing. Personally, the benefits of using a dirt cheap, virus free, and modern/cutting-edge OS package far outweighs the occasional problems I have to deal with. I am mostly a happy camper, but I do feel compelled to sympathize with those who might still feel Linux isn't ready for prime time.

          • by isorox (205688)

            And, as pointed out in the Firehose: if you crashed an OS (be it Windows or OSX or Linux or BSD or anything) by moving some files around, then either (i) they were not unimportant files and you must have been running with privilege escalated, or (ii) you have some kind of hardware problem, which could be intermittent.

            I've had my ubuntu 10.04 laptop lock up in the past -- the window manager stops responding to commands. Ctrl-Alt-F1, login, kill (usually the errant program -- often firefox or eclipse, but sometimes the whole manager), and switch back and it works.

            It seems that sometimes everything can lose focus, and the keyboard becomes unresponsive. I've noticed it happen when I've done a drag and drop of a file into a java program (not moving it), but sometimes it just happens anyway.

            Firefox often locks up with dns + p

        • Really? I've had more trouble with Ubuntu than with Arch. If you plan on customizing *anything*, Arch is a better choice. Ubuntu takes the "do everything for you" approach, so if you start customizing anything, stuff starts breaking, fast. Also, you'll have to redo everything once the next update rolls around (you can update in place, but I've found that that breaks more things than I'm comfortable with.)
          • by Gordonjcp (186804)

            I don't care about customising stuff, beyond maybe setting the mouse tracking speed and desktop background. I want to get work done, not dick about with settings.

      • by s1d3track3D (1504503) on Sunday March 24, 2013 @05:11PM (#43265167)
        I disagree.
        Since you have stated you have time and want to learn, now is the perfect time. I think you should install the smallest possible linux GUI-less and just run in terminal mode for a while. Learn to do everything without a GUI.

        Set up an email client (Mutt), use a web browser, (Lynx or links), set up an IM client, etc, there are GUI-less apps in linux for everything. (also, set up Apache, MySQL, etc)

        Yes, it will suck for a while but you will really learn this way, then you can run any distro you want and you'll probably have decent sys admin chops once your done. (I'd go for debian, I think you can still get a single CD ISO base system. (then, right off the bat this will teach you to use apt.

        Good luck and enjoy!
        • by Lotana (842533) on Monday March 25, 2013 @04:01AM (#43268321)

          Since you have stated you have time and want to learn, now is the perfect time. I think you should install the smallest possible linux GUI-less and just run in terminal mode for a while. Learn to do everything without a GUI.

          While I do agree that this is a guaranteed way to learn all the aspects of the new system, for a completely new user this borders on masochism.

          My recommendation would be to get something simple and stable (Debian Stable is a perfect example). Have the system up and running with XFCE GUI and a familiar browser like Firefox (Since you will be searching Google A LOT, you better be comfortable with the browser).

          After that is done, have the terminal window up at all times and try to do as much as possible using it. If he gets frustrated, alt-tab to Firefox/Iceweasel/Konqueror and get help or fall back to using the GUI. Being stuck on minimal version of Linux with terminal only is a very good way to run into an issue and give up in frustration.

      • by H0p313ss (811249)

        Don't go looking for trouble. If you couldn't handle Ubuntu, Arch will drive you insane.

        1000 times this.

        Or Mint, it's a litte more windowsy than Ubuntu but with all the rest of the ubuntuy goodness.

        • LMDE. Linux Mint Debian Edition.

          All of the pretty Mint stuff (cinnamon / MATE) but is compatible with debian testing.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 24, 2013 @02:08PM (#43264053)

      Oh, nonsense. If you are moderately technically competent, the distros which try to be "user-friendly" are usually the worst, as you have to get used to all their complex quirks and custom methods.

      Something simple like Slackware or Debian stable is a much healthier and less frustrating learning experience.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Runaway1956 (1322357)

        The anonymous submitter implies that he has time to play around, and to learn. He suggests that he is aware of the concept of learning curves, and that he is willing to study, and to work.

        Such a person might benefit from Arch or Gentoo. Such a person will be more competent than I am at the end of a year of such serious work. More competent than some other folk on here who think they know it all, I suspect. Some of us just don't have the time to invest to be that good. Others of us just aren't that smar

      • by higuita (129722) on Sunday March 24, 2013 @11:14PM (#43267203) Homepage

        If the user really want to learn and don't mind reading and experimenting, slackware is a perfect distro!

        unlike ubuntu, where you have almost everything configured and hidden in GUIs and several mysterious layers of "user-friendliness", slackware is simple and direct.
        there is no hidden config and the few user-friendly menus are just plain bash scripts, easy to read and understand. for a user that wants to learn, this is precious, as the KISS principle makes things isolated and easier to learn, step by step
        Even the package manager is just a script to execute tar, you only have standard unix tools, and so, you will learn the unix way: do one thing, do it well

        slackware is ready to use after install, but everytime you need something, you have simple scripts, good and commented config files and a great community.
        missing a program? great, grab the sources and compile... you dont know how? great, you will learn (usually its just wget url/program.tar.gz; tar zvfx program.tar.gz; cd program; less README; less INSTALL; ./configure --any-option-you-may-need-or-like && make ; su ; make install).
        in slackware there is no -dev packages, everything is there, ready to compile everything.

        yes, one apt-get install program is faster, but you dont learn anything with that, and you learn a lot by installing a program by hand.

        Everytime you hit a problem, stop and research, learn about it and you will understand why are you doing it instead of "copy&paste" a new ubuntu PPA repo

        After learning slackware, you will do well in all other distros... learning ubuntu, you still dont know anything when using other distros

        you have a working system, just like you want? fine, start thinking in new things, like web server, database, firewall, proxy, etc
        in each idea, you will learn more.

        After playing with slackware, you can jump forward to debian or arch (or using sbopkg on slackware) to have a easier system for day to day usage, or jump to LFS (Linux from Scratch) to learn the lower level of a linux system.

        Documentation, you have the slackware book: http://slackbook.org/ [slackbook.org] and the foca linux (Portuguese, but is very complete and you can use the translator): http://www.guiafoca.org/ [guiafoca.org]

        After playing with slackware, you not only will understand how many things work, but also learn how to think about and solve a linux problem, how to search for logs and errors messages and read man pages and howto's

        This is a difference between a desktop user (ubuntu) and advanced user or linux administrator (slackware, but also gentoo and arch).

        but hey, take the test: http://www.zegeniestudios.net/ldc/ [zegeniestudios.net]

    • by ZeroPly (881915) on Sunday March 24, 2013 @02:11PM (#43264081)
      As a long time Linux user, I agree wholeheartedly. I started with Slackware before version 2.0 came out, in the early 90's. I used Slackware for years, then Red Hat, and nowadays Ubuntu. If you want to be cool and different, yeah, there's plenty of niche distros out there. For my main work computer (at home), I don't want drama, and I'm not intent on making any ideological points. I just want Gnucash, LibreOffice, etc. to run reliably, updates to be easy, and maintenance time to be a small fraction of usage time. Ubuntu works great for that. If you want to experiment, throw a distro on a VM, or on a spare test machine.

      Yes, there's lots of discussion about GUI and the direction Canonical is heading in. I don't care. I have an Ubuntu Server 12.04 box as a firewall in my basement, another Ubuntu Server 12.04 box right next to it for DNS/DHCP/file shares, and Ubuntu Desktop 12.04 on the computer I'm posting this through. Works great, excellent uptime, and upgrades/installs are fairly fool-proof.
      • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Sunday March 24, 2013 @02:53PM (#43264409)
        This. BUT personally I go with Kubuntu. KDE is the interface with "least surprise", and you don't have to worry about what direction vanilla Ubuntu is going with Canonical's frankly bizarre ideas about window management.
      • Re:Reinstall Ubuntu. (Score:5, Informative)

        by anagama (611277) <obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org> on Sunday March 24, 2013 @03:42PM (#43264681) Homepage

        As a long time Linux user, I agree wholeheartedly. ... For my main work computer (at home), I don't want drama, and I'm not intent on making any ideological points.

        This is totally valid after you've put in your dues. Let's face it though, even the most noob friendly distro occasionally requires mucking around with the command line and some other basic knowledge. For example, if you need to enable extended attributes in your fstab file, you'll get that done in no time flat because you know what fstab is, you know where to find it, and you know how to edit it either locally or by sshing in from another machine and using nano or vi or X forwarding a graphical text editor. These types of simple skills and many others are ones you built up years ago and rely on now probably without even noticing, which is why a fancy distro seems so foolproof. Secondly, when you run into a command you need to learn, you know how to go about learning what you need to know. These things seem obvious and easy once you "get it" but before you get it, they're major roadblocks.

        I'm using Fedora 17 on my desktop right now and subjectively, it feels totally easy -- like everything works out of the box -- except to install the nVidia drivers directly from nVidia there's this whole process involving changing runlevels and running nVidia's install script (even "./" can be a major learning hurdle for a newbie). Or getting multimedia to run -- it isn't hard if you know what you're looking for. So to me, Fedora 17 feels brain dead easy because I only had to do a few things manually, and I compare that to first time I tried to get X going on a 486DX (vague recollection of having to open my computer to figure out what stuff was in there so I could get it configured). Anyway, I install a modern distro and I'm blown away. Just boot up from a USB stick and wow -- "it just works." In reality, that is comparatively true, but not actually totally true.

        So, I can see some value in this guy who is just starting out, learning to do things the hard way. Eventually he'll get sick of the hard way like everyone does, but by that time, the noob distros he'll be using will feel totally easy because he won't even notice the one or two things he needs to do manually that don't automagically come out right.

      • Debian (Score:4, Informative)

        by Tenebrousedge (1226584) <tenebrousedge@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Sunday March 24, 2013 @05:25PM (#43265259)

        I like Debian. Linux Mint Debian Edition is a good option, although I am using Crunchbang on my netbook. The latter is based on Debian stable.

        Stability is the kind of virtue that you appreciate most in its absence. After an enthusiastic period of Fedora and Ubuntu use, I from time to time experienced issues with packages and drivers breaking on updates. These were usually resolvable, and forced a certain amount of CLI-foo on me, but there's only so many times one wants to wrangle with things that worked just fine yesterday.

        Stability means having outdated versions of packages; you miss out on the new features as well as the new bugs. However, it's also pretty trivial to install packages from unstable if you really need them, and if all else fails you can compile from source (which is usually a painless process).

        Ubuntu was certainly far less buggy than Fedora, and I certainly don't mind all you guys being Debian beta testers ;) but my choice of OS is going to be heavily informed by whichever one has the longest testing cycle.

      • At first I was concerned about Canonicals direction with its Window System. I think given some mitigation it will be manageable, only if a rootless Wayland server is available for Mir and a rootless Mir server available for Wayland to assure application cross compatability. . This will completely eliminate the possibility of a fractured platform. Otherwise, of course it will create problems.. Most distros will go Wayland and they should, they shouldnt allow Canonical to dictate the graphics stack to the res

      • Heh - Started in 97-98 using LInux with early version of Redhat, then went to Suse, and Mandrake, back to Suse for a long time then to Ubuntu. I'm not going to talk about my experience with Gentoo, other than I spent too much time compiling. I think I had a couple of Suse boxes running for about 3 years of uptime before a power outage.

        Been on Ubuntu for about 3 years or so, and run KDE on top of it.
        I just want something that works - and Ubuntu is that - makes the computer more transparent.. Package system

    • by 1u3hr (530656) on Sunday March 24, 2013 @02:12PM (#43264087)

      Ubuntu has a command line, as many as you want.
      Every distro does.Just open a terminal.

      It just has a lot of glossy tools as well.

      It's hard to get a more hands-on Linux installed and working correctly for a newbie. Ubuntu is pretty foolproof to install. Then you have an environment you can learn in.

    • by mysidia (191772)

      I started with Slackware, back when Ubuntu didn't exist. If you're not happy with Ubuntu's stability, you don't have to start with it.

    • by fermion (181285) on Sunday March 24, 2013 @02:22PM (#43264183) Homepage Journal
      Seriously. Walk before you run. Use Ubuntu to learn, and then move on. If you want to play with lots of different *nix just to lean, install Ubuntu, intall Virtualbox, then install anything else as a virtual machine. That way you can play and learn and if something borks just reload the backup image.

      The thing is that *nix, unlike say MS WIndows, is set up to do useful work, so some of the vanity customization is not there are is other OS. Also, although there are many managers, some are more useful than others.

    • I don't think it's his handling of Ubuntu but more that Ubuntu (which is just Debian testing + unstable) can do weird things.

      I suggest running Debian stable (although testing and even unstable run fine here) with the stable, backported, contrib and non-free packages first.
      When you're comfortable with that setup installing the latest software directly (outside the Debian repositories) from source/.deb packages is next. This should give you up-to-date software like with Arch.

      E17 isn't available right now
  • Xubuntu (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 24, 2013 @01:51PM (#43263885)

    Xubuntu. Customization + hardware support + debian repo. :-)

    • Not bad. Xubuntu is pure gold.
    • Re:Xubuntu (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 24, 2013 @03:33PM (#43264627)

      This is my problem, and perhaps the article submitter's as well: people here say "flavor X" or "flavor Y" cos "Z repo" or "W window manager" but nobody says why Z repo is good and F repo isn't. I understand, this is slashdot and you all want to look l337 and act like the whys are obvious to everyone, so....

      Is there some website out there that spells out the pros and cons of each different package and window manager, wtf are updates important or not, wth is a gcc, etc.? Not for you guys who know everything of course, but for us noobs who don't have time to try out every single package mentioned on slashdot and would like to narrow down our choices to a few based on our specific needs.

      • How To Pick A Linux (Score:5, Informative)

        by Tenebrousedge (1226584) <tenebrousedge@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Sunday March 24, 2013 @07:17PM (#43265917)

        It's much easier for you to specify your needs as there are hundreds of distros and packages that can be combined. To a first approximation pretty much all linux packages are available for all distributions.

        Beyond that, most linux distributions are based off some other distribution. The description of Kubuntu as "Ubuntu, but with the KDE desktop environment" is perfectly descriptive.

        So what distinguishes one distro from another? Besides what comes installed by default, the most significant difference is how those packages got there.

        Debian is probably the distribution that the greatest number of other distributions are based on. It has a very very long testing cycle; it takes packages years to get into Debian's stable branch. Ubuntu is based on Debian unstable, and a shit-ton of things are based on Ubuntu, including Linux Mint.

        Red Hat produces the next biggest family of linuxes. Fedora and Red Hat Enterprise Linux are more or less analogous to Debian unstable and stable, respectively, but I don't think very many people are dumb enough to try and base a distro on Fedora. CentOS is RHEL with the logo removed, and Scientific Linux is also based on RHEL.

        Next up we have Gentoo, Arch, Slackware, and Suse.

        I was going to put a joke about Gentoo here, but it's taking a while to compile. Gentoo is a rolling-release [wikipedia.org] distro where most of the packages that you use are compiled on and for your machine. You mention gcc, this is related, but you will probably not ever use it directly. Compiling packages yourself can make them run faster, but it can take a long time.

        Arch is a well-documented, rolling release distribution. I'm not sure what else to say about them honestly, but "well-documented" is one of the highest compliments I'm aware of.

        Slackware is the oldest and most "unixy" of the distributions. It uses an old bootloader, old unix-style boot scripts, and by default boots to a text terminal. You should use Slackware if you want to retreat into a cave for five years, to emerge with a profound knowledge of unix, a full beard, and a solid opinion on whether emacs or vi(m) is the best text editor. I'm pretty sure these things are highly marketable. No, really.

        Suse hasn't failed yet. The last time I checked, they had a wonderful, polished experience, and great admin/configuration tools. I have no idea why they don't have more users, except that there's already a shit-ton of options.

        It's probably fair to say that Debian stable, RHEL, and any derivatives will have the longest testing cycle, and fewest updates in any given span of time. There are many more distributions for more specialized purposes, such as BackTrack for pen testing, Puppy for small installations, Bodhi for those seeking Enlightenment. You may have to figure out what you need on your own there.

        Whew! Let's take a break for a minute.

        All right. So with all that in mind, you can install, as previously mentioned, pretty much all the same stuff on any and every distro.

        Here [engadget.com] is a guide on desktop environments. If you're a n00b, you're probably going to want one of those.

        We also have another guide [engadget.com] for more experienced users, or those on resource-constrained systems, that covers some of the more popular window managers. Because sometimes 2GB of gnome libraries gets a bit old. For the truly adventurous, this post covers 30 Window Managers in 30 Days. [crunchbang.org]

        Honestly, there's really a pretty limited amount of advice that one can give about using any particular distro. They're all substantially similar. Without any specific information about what you want to use, a recommendation becomes, well, exactly what you were complaining about. "Use XYZ bec

        • by Tenebrousedge (1226584) <tenebrousedge@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Sunday March 24, 2013 @09:06PM (#43266589)

          To expand on a couple points:

          Some distros make it more or less easy to install rights-restricted software, like the stuff you need to play mp3s or DVDs. Neither Fedora/RHEL nor Debian allow nonfree software in their repos, but it's generally a fairly painless process to add a repo that does.

          Ubuntu will, IIRC, ask you during the install process if you want to install such things, and Linux Mint comes with the media codecs by default. For other distributions you should research this issue.

          Fedora and Ubuntu are the "big" distros, more or less, although Mageia seems to be climbing up DistroWatch lately. I had written off that project as dead when its Corporate Overlord bit the dust, but it's probably worth checking out. I hope I may say with enough accuracy that it is of similar quality to OpenSuse.

          Fedora and Ubuntu have the biggest corporate backing and are likely to represent the most polished experiences. Ubuntu has its own way of doing things, most notably they have implemented at least two desktop environments (Unity and UNR) and their own startup process. Startup tends to be one of those big differences between distributions, but it's something you can safely ignore as a n00b user.

          Fedora and Ubuntu use incompatible packaging systems, which tends to be irrelevant for a couple of reasons that aren't worth going over here. Generally you should figure that [a] any distro that is described as being derived from any other distro is package-compatible, and [b] it's very uncommon to need to install a package outside of your distribution's package management tools. We don't download software off websites, pretty much everything that you would ever want to install comes in the box.

          It's hard to come up with too many more big important differences between these things, really. Desktop environments make a pretty big difference. Distros, not so much, especially among the big players.

          Oh, and I forgot to mention. If you ever want to give yourself a real education in Linux, try Linux From Scratch. You'll probably even survive the experience. By contrast, slackware will be a friendly and trivial introduction, and Gentoo... ...sorry, my Gentoo joke is still compiling :(

  • SuSE (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rydia (556444) on Sunday March 24, 2013 @01:52PM (#43263891)

    SuSE has the best installation and configuration utility and has a ton of helpful user-run repos for packages. It also has builds for basically every windowing system, so you can pick your preference without any hacking, and when you do want to get down to brass tacks, the system will get out of your way (now that suseconfig is gone) and let you tinker as much as you please.

    And when you screw everything up (half the fun, right?), it ships with a fantastic system repair tool to get you back on your feet. You can also use SuSE Studio to make a custom image if you have weird hardware.

    It's a really great linux experience.

    • OpenSuse has as the default desktop KDE 4.10.1. It's a stable UI and very customizable too. I love it. I just installed it on a bunch of computers.

  • It's the distro with the largest user base and I'd assume the most active forums, which is a helpful thing when you have questions.

    • by dkegel (904729)
      +1 to that. Don't try to customize so much. Just use Ubuntu 12.04 (or 12.10) the way it comes. Once you've used to that for a month, then maybe customize. But don't go fooling around with E17 or the like until you're quite sure you know what you're doing.
  • slackware (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 24, 2013 @01:53PM (#43263911)

    ... because it still works just like 1994

    • Re:slackware (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymice (1400397) on Sunday March 24, 2013 @02:52PM (#43264397)

      You jest, but what's the old adage? "If you want to learn Debain, use Debian. If you want to learn Linux, us Slackware."
      (replace "Debian" with your packaged distro of choice)

      It really depends on what your aim is. Is this for personal use, or career/study? If the former, then go the Ubuntu/Mint route as most people are is suggesting, but if the latter, then throw yourself in the deep end & learn to swim.
      The major desktop distros are so stable now that you will rarely, if ever, need to delve under the hood. This won't teach you "Linux". If someone sat you down at a terminal, or with a distribution you had never used before, you'd be completely lost. But if you go for a system that requires you to get your hands dirty, then you will learn very quickly.

      The lessons you learn with Slackware will be transferable to every Linux/POSIX environment you find yourself in.
      The lessons you learn with Ubuntu/CentOS/$distro will only teach you how to use that particular distro.

      • Re:slackware (Score:5, Interesting)

        by mr_shifty (202071) on Sunday March 24, 2013 @03:15PM (#43264525) Homepage

        Even though I'm a diehard Mint user nowadays, I agree with this.

        I started out with Slackware, and I used it for 8 years before moving on to Ubuntu, and finally Linux Mint Debian Edition.

        Slackware, while it has a learning curve, is also (as odd as it may sound), actually quite simple. It does what you tell it to do. No more, no less.

        It's rock-solid stable.

        It's fast.

        It forces you to learn about how Linux works, because you have to tell it what to do and how to do it. It isn't as much work to get running as Gentoo, but it makes you think about things like kernel versioning, what's going on in /etc and where your system logs are, and how to compile applications from source from time to time.

        I've taken what I've learned from Slackware and found that it's applicable to every other Linux I've knocked around.

        I use Linux Mint more like a "casual desktop user" these days, but if I need something rock solid stable and reliable, I will go back to Slackware, because I trust it. It's not a Cadillac like Mint is, but a stock car that has everything accessible and tweakable, so you can bend it to your will and it'll serve whatever purpose you have in mind for it.

        So, to sum up, while it doesn't sound like a newbie distro, I still think Slackware is a great way to cut one's teeth in the Linux world, especially if one is truly setting out to learn Linux, not just using it as a launch platform for a browser and an email client.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 24, 2013 @01:54PM (#43263921)

    CentOS might be the best; it's a clone of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, without paid support. (Red Hat's stated position is that it doesn't mind CentOS's existence). So if you learn that, you'd be able to leverage that for job opportunities based on RHEL, which is the industry leader on the server side.

    One drawback: RHEL (and by extension CentOS) is oriented towards the enterprise rather than the consumer desktop; and towards the tried and true, rather than the latest and greatest. This is response to what its customers (IT administrators who have serious work to accomplish) have told them they're interested in. So it's probably not going to be a great platform for running games, for example - well it could be, but you'll have to be spend a lot of time downloading RPMs and trying to get things to work.

  • Why not FreeBSD ? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 24, 2013 @01:55PM (#43263937)

    It's the cleanest playground for learning the proper way to *NIX

  • Debian (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 24, 2013 @01:58PM (#43263959)

    Most other distros copy it anyway, might as well get the real McCoy.

    If you're concerned about software freedom, consider is gNewSense, a Free-only debian derivative.

    • Re:Debian (Score:5, Informative)

      by toygeek (473120) on Sunday March 24, 2013 @03:20PM (#43264555) Homepage Journal

      I came here to say this. Debian is a good OS and is as mainstream as you can get without lots of fluff and it Just Works. I like that its not a "flavor of the week" distro, its what "flavor of the week" is *based on*.

      The only other option in my book is CentOS, although I don't like it as much as Debian esp on the desktop. But, its the free version of RedHat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) which Fedora at least used to be based on.

      I answer these two distros because you mentioned that you want to learn- and these are, in my opinion, the best ones to learn on. Understand them, and inherently understand their derivatives.

  • Start slow (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I would suggest - Install Ubuntu with unity (or kde or gnome ..) for starters ... install Virtualbox and do full Archlinux installation there (up to desktop manager etc, so that everything is running and working and you know how you got there).
    Then you will be able to use terminal a bit and can install Archlinux on the system itself. Day to day usage of Arch normally does not involve much work on terminal.

  • Linux Mint (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 24, 2013 @01:59PM (#43263967)

    If you're new to Linux, don't use Arch. Arch requires far too much hacking to get work and although I myself am a fan, a newbie will likely rage right back to Windows. The best casual distro right now is Linux Mint (With Cinnamon as a display manager) IMO. Linux Mint fixes what Ubuntu got wrong (Unity) and Cinnamon is a beautiful display manager with intuitive and familiar design.

    As for working with the terminal, you need some motivation to keep you revisiting. Personally, my motivation was coding in C using gcc as a compiler, and vim as an editor. If you are up for a 'fun' time learning, use Vim exclusively as your text editor.

  • I had a friend install Ubuntu 12.04 on my computer, with the E17 window manager and somehow I managed to crash it during the copying of some non-important files and now my computer won't boot (the hardware's fine though).

    Ha ha! This reminds me of my first Linux experience, c. '95 or '96 with a kernel version 1.1 (Slackware version ????) that I got from a CD in a book. I experimented with mkfs(8). I learned a good lesson!

  • Grenade!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RedHat Rocky (94208) on Sunday March 24, 2013 @02:00PM (#43263975)

    Very touchy topic, which distro to run.

    I think Ubuntu is an okay start for you, mostly because it will mostly work and there's plenty of help (including various levels of help) for you to use.

    Problem one for you:
    1. You caused the boot issue. How?

    2. Fix it.

    This will start the learning process, a large part of Linux for me is it leads to learning. It's all there for one to figure out, eventually.

  • by ssam (2723487) on Sunday March 24, 2013 @02:01PM (#43263993)

    I recommend that (at least to start with) you stick with major distros. distrowatch has a reasonable list http://distrowatch.com/dwres.php?resource=major [distrowatch.com]

    there are many hundreds of distros, mostly with little to distinguish them and some maintained by very small teams. if you use a distro that has small non-fulltime development team, then how long is it going to take for them to push a security update in to the repositories? what if one of their developers is on holiday, or has exams, or whatever. with the bigger distros they will have a security team to do this.

  • Mint. (Score:5, Informative)

    by jedidiah (1196) on Sunday March 24, 2013 @02:04PM (#43264031) Homepage

    Mint is the new Ubuntu. They have been tweaking Ubuntu for years adding things that got left out by Canonical. Now that Canoncial has gone bat-shit crazy, they are in the perfect position to accomodate users that would otherwise be good candidates for Ubuntu.

    Or you could just go old school and just use Debian.

    • by Dracos (107777)

      More specifically, Mint KDE.

    • Re:Mint. (Score:5, Informative)

      by RudyHartmann (1032120) on Sunday March 24, 2013 @02:12PM (#43264085)

      The latest Mint is a Debian based distro too. Much better than that crazy Ubuntu distro.

    • by heypete (60671)

      Agreed. Mint is excellent.

      For nearly all ordinary desktop uses, Mint is a fine choice.

      In particular the update manager is fairly noob-resistant and won't make major changes that could potentially break stuff without you really intending to.

      I like Mint MATE, as I prefer the Gnome 2-style desktop, but Cinnamon is quite good as well.

  • by blind biker (1066130) on Sunday March 24, 2013 @02:09PM (#43264059) Journal

    SuSE has still the best hardware detection and fool-proof installation system of all distros - yes, even better than Ubuntu and Ubuntu derivatives.

    In addition to this, SuSE comes with one of the best KDE experiences out of the box. If you're familiar with Windows, you will be familiar with KDE.

  • by kawabago (551139) on Sunday March 24, 2013 @02:10PM (#43264067)
    Test the different distros live disks to see which works best in your situation. Then install it.
  • Live distribution (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zoefff (61970) on Sunday March 24, 2013 @02:10PM (#43264075)

    Since you're good at breaking stuff :-), try out one of the live distributions: put it on a flash disk, boot it and play around. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_live_CDs [wikipedia.org].

    And enlightenment is best to be obtained via bodhi linux.

  • Your choice of distro depends a lot on you're needs or goals I suppose.

    If you just want to learn linux for yourself and want to understand what is under the hood. Arch is definitly a good choice as you will be looking a lot to figure out stuff but you will also have a decent community and wiki pages to help you.
    Ubuntu has a good community but you probably won't need to tinker as much which may or not be good depending on your goal.
    I've never really tried it but Slaskware would also be a good choice as
  • I really want to learn more, don't mind hard work, enjoy challenges, and am perfectly willing to spend hours and hours for months on end to learn command line.

    Then Arch should suit you nicely.

    It's a very "shell-intensive" distro, but it's exceptionally well-documented. On one computer/screen, get the Arch Wiki open (possibly with linuxcommand.com in another tab), and get a fresh install of Arch on another computer/screen. If you don't have 2 computers, just load Arch in a VM. Arch is probably the best "lear

  • Is this a repost from 1997?

    • by IANAAC (692242)

      Is this a repost from 1997?

      I get the feeling it's a bored troll just trying to get a rise out of someone.

      The question will never get a straightforward answer, especially here on slashdot - and because there's no one true answer.

      • Re:Timewarp (Score:5, Interesting)

        by TrekkieGod (627867) on Sunday March 24, 2013 @03:05PM (#43264473) Homepage Journal

        Is this a repost from 1997?

        I get the feeling it's a bored troll just trying to get a rise out of someone.

        The question will never get a straightforward answer, especially here on slashdot - and because there's no one true answer.

        Definitely a troll. In fact, it's so obvious I'm surprised the editors didn't realize it.

        Let's analyze this. His computer crashed while copying unimportant files with good hardware and now it fails to boot.. Even in 1997, this would have been an unreasonable scenario. I've certainly seen applications in Linux crash, about as often as I see them crashing in other OSes. In very rare circumstances, I've seen the kernel crash. A kernel crash that prevents the computer from booting again, though? What exactly would cause that?

        One thing would be if instead of copying, he was accidentally moving system files. That's pretty hard to do, he would have to get elevated privileges, and even if he did, any file that the system was currently using would remain loaded in ram, so it wouldn't be likely to crash then, he'd just have problems booting up later. Not only that, but this so guy who is self-identifying as inexperienced anticipated this response and made sure to point out the files were "non-important". I'm pretty sure he also chose that wording to avoid saying "system files", afraid that would betray his level of knowledge.

        Another possibility is that he has a failing hard drive. Again, this would be unlikely to crash his box, but copying files around in a bad drive could maybe cause corruption of the file system preventing it from successfully booting up next time. So, of course, this guy also predicted this response and made sure to point out that his hardware is a-ok.

        What are we left with here? Linux being hard on new users cliche? Check. Using a distro that is known to be user-friendly and suggesting he might want to move to a distro known to have a high learning curve? Check. Implication that Linux's reputation for stability is underserved? Check. Trying to rile up slashdot into "what's the best distro" flamewar? Check. Anonymous submission? Of course. The only thing missing is good old-fashioned vi vs. emacs debate.

  • My experiences of the more "user friendly" distros (mostly Ubuntu) was that while they automated a lot of steps it left me with something not entirely dissimilar to Windows - bloated with similar performance and needing a lot of tweaking to trim it down.

    The nastiest part of Arch now the beautifully easy menu system has been removed is installation, though thankfully it is very, very well documented. The effort spent in understanding it and learning the command line will pay big dividends when you come to ac

  • by MadX (99132) on Sunday March 24, 2013 @02:20PM (#43264163)

    There are really a *lot* of distributions to choose from. It really boils down to what you want to do with the desktop. Ubuntu (I use it, but not overly happy with the unity interface), fedora, SuSE, even the "lesser known" distributions all have pretty intuitive installers and interfaces.

    But I cannot stress the benefit of joining a local Linux User Group. There are a lot of guys that will help you gain a better understanding of what you are actually doing - instead of copy/paste/panic (what the hell did I just do ??). You need to know WHY things work the way they do.

  • by XaXXon (202882) <xaxxon@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Sunday March 24, 2013 @02:23PM (#43264187) Homepage

    you probably didn't crash it copying some unimportant files. Linux doesn't play that game.

    The best way to learn is to fix what you've broken. That's how I learned linux.

  • by geminidomino (614729) on Sunday March 24, 2013 @02:23PM (#43264189) Journal

    Submitter's question seems to be asking two different things, so I'm not sure what exactly he's after.

    If you want to get into *using* Linux, then the suggestions of Ubuntu, Mint, Fedora, et. al. are the ones you want to go with. With snazzy GUI package managers and "app stores", they hand-hold and shelter you almost completely from the command line and the ugly under-workings as long as you don't try to mess around with them too much. They also tend to get in your way if you ARE trying to twiddle with the guts.

    If you want to LEARN Linux, then go with a minimalist, hands-dirty distro. Slackware was my first Linux love many years back, but I hear Arch is pretty good in that respect, with a few more modern conveniences. I never messed with Gentoo, personally. Using one of those, you'll learn a lot about Linux, but it'll be some time before you get a "usable" system out of it. You'll probably also end up learning bash scripting and at least one of TCL, perl, or python as a bonus.

    If your aim is the latter, though, then as far as books go, I don't think you can go wrong with the ORA "Animal" books, unless that's changed in the past few years.

  • by rsk (119464) on Sunday March 24, 2013 @02:31PM (#43264253)

    I haven't posted to SD in years, but felt compelled to brush the cobwebs off and reply to your question...

    1. This is a semi-religious question, so you are going to get a lot of vitriol in some of the responses; ignore it.

    2. Gentoo is the "dive in the deep end, with weights tied to my feet and battle my way back to the surface" answer to your question. You build everything. You won't just learn the command line, you'll learn build tools, config scripts, environment vars, libraries, manual dependency management and more. I DO NOT think this is the right choice for you right now given how new you are to all of this. This will be the "death by a thousand paper cuts" experience that runs the risk of driving you crazy after 3 days of work and you still don't have a GUI running because of some esoteric error that you don't understand.

    That said, if you insist that this is how you like to learn, go for it. The community/forums are very helpful and PACKED with information. If you do this, mentally prepare yourself for days and days of an unbootable machine. Reformatting and reinstalling over and over again. Getting a boot loader wrong, not installing Grub right, killing your install that was almost working perfectly because you changed a VGA boot option and now everything hangs... just prepare for these KINDS of things. Don't go in thinking "Awesome, I'll get this done in a day and have GNOME running" -- you won't, and if you do, something weird will break it out of no where and you won't have any idea what to do so you'll need to start over again.

    I am not trying to scare you, just setting the expectation. If that sounds like heart-burn city, move onto my next suggestion.

    3. Arch Linux -- You already mentioned this in your post and I just want to confirm that I believe THIS is the right choice for you. It is the perfect middle ground between Gentoo and something like Ubuntu -- you do get to know the ins and outs of the system, without the compiling/building/dependency pitfalls of Gentoo. This is an EXCELLENT place to start, get really familiar with everything and grow from (either down to Gentoo, or out of system management entirely into something like Ubuntu).

    4. Ubuntu / Fedora -- Use these if you want a working computer, want to "try" Linux with a nice GUI and slowly become familiar with the underlying system through SOME GUI tools, mostly command line and have tons of support for your hardware. This is the "Mac"-esque experience you can get in Linux, in that you can live in the GUI all day if you want, but there is an underlying CLI/Unix world there under the surface if you want to mess with it.

    5. Mint / SUSE / Kubuntu / Slackware / Whatever -- I have always seen these as different flavors of the same things listed above. I'd start with the primaries first and go from there.

    Have fun!

    • I have never heard Slackware called: "The simple easy to use Linux distro".

      Not that I really have not much experience, but I would only disagree with you on one point.
      Mint (et all), is a better starting point than Ubuntu right now. Why add on an esoteric, universally hated GUI on top of a normal intro level Linux OS. Mint is Ubuntu with a more normal interface that is simply a better experience regardless of if you come from a Linux, Windows, or Mac background.

    • Mint w/ Mate is probably the best of the breed out of that last group. Debian and a nice desktop, without all the nonsense of Ubuntu's "chase the next rainbow" flavor. I used to recommend Ubuntu, but they jumped off the deep end a few years back so now I recommend Mint.
  • by BroadbandBradley (237267) on Sunday March 24, 2013 @02:36PM (#43264289) Homepage

    This is somewhat dated, but just for fun:

    If Linux Distributions Were Airlines

    Red Hat Airlines:

    The standard in air travel. Most people have flown Red Hat Air at one point
    or other. Some people like it and some people hate it and move on to one of
    the other airlines. Passengers are all treated the same; they get stuck in
    their seats and told not to ask questions -- everything will be taken care
    of for them. They should just sit back, relax, and not touch of the fancy
    controls under any circumstances, lest they send the plane into a tailspin.
    Red Hat Airlines is fabulously rich.

    Mandrake Airlines:

    Mandrake bought a truckload of planes from Red Hat, put new engines in them,
    re-painted them, and now run their own airline. Considered by many to be the
    most friendly airline for first-time flyers.

    Corel Airlines:

    A new player on the scene, Corel Air thinks it can be the airline of choice
    for a new generation of first-time pleasure flyers, and maybe even lure in
    some business travelers too. Their planes are big, brightly painted, and
    like Red Hat's they protect the innocent, clueless passengers from the
    dangerous buttons, switches and blinkenlights of the cockpit.

    SuSe Airlines:

    An airline out of Europe that tries to be everything for everyone and
    succeeds -- to a degree. Recently paid a huge sum of money to use a comic
    strip in its promotional material. (And after they finally named the
    lizard...)

    Caldera OpenAirlines:

    These guys go out of their way to make things comfortable for the business
    user. They've got a pretty terminal, pretty planes, really good in-flight
    movies, etc. But I had a bad experience with these guys once. They lost my
    luggage. Quite a mess, really. Ah well, such is life. I never flew with them
    again.

    SlackAIR:

    >From a distance, their planes look just like everyone elses. But up close
    you can tell that they haven't been painted and little bits of wire stick
    out here and there. But onboard, the seats are comfortable enough and there
    are plenty of stewardesses available to help you readjust your seat if you
    manage to break it. There is no in-flight movie but if you get bored you are
    always welcome up in the cockpit. The pilots will be glad to let you try and
    fly the plane and are happy to let you push whatever buttons you want, even
    if you don't know what you're doing. Generally, novice flyers avoid SlackAIR
    as they've heard horror stories about newbies pressing the wrong button and
    causing the plane to explode.

    Debian Airlines:

    They have a single type of airplane; a huge sucker weighing 2400 tons and
    carrying just about everything you can imagine. They've got kitchen sinks,
    massage parlors, a paintball arena, and 294 types of cheese for sale in the
    onboard, 24-hour supermarket. You can see from the terminal they have a huge
    team of technicians working on their fleet, poking and prodding. Debian Air
    is the only choice for some: everything onboard is built 100% by union
    workers -- no shoddy, possibly dangerous, imports here.

  • by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Sunday March 24, 2013 @02:47PM (#43264361)

    While there are many reasons experienced Ubuntu users dislike Ubuntu, for new users it often gets very high marks. The problem is that the desktop your friend installed, E17, is not the best for new users as it is a) not widely used (as compared to the major desktops) and b) definitely an acquired taste.

    What your "friend" should have done is installed either straight Ubuntu with it's Unity interface, Xubuntu with the XFCE interface or Kubuntu with the KDE interface. They all have their pros and cons, but what they have in common is that they are all very well supported.

    Coming from a Windows world, KDE or XFCE will appear most familiar, Unity, is Ubuntu's main emphasis now, and receives the most support and the most new consumer-like features. While I am not a fan of Unity because of how I use my computer, for new users, it does seem to work very well, with a minimum of trouble.

    Without knowing what exactly is broken with your E17 install, I hesitate to suggest this, but one can always open a terminal and issue the command: sudo apt-get install XYZ-desktop
    Where XYZ=ubuntu (for unity) kubuntu for (KDE) or xubuntu for (XFCE). Assuming your networking is still working, that command may also fix whatever else is broken. But, and this is a big but, before deciding on KDE, Unity or XFCE (or even gnome-shell), I would search the internet for various opinions. They all have their pros and cons, just beware that people defend their choices like religious zealots.

  • by dutchwhizzman (817898) on Sunday March 24, 2013 @03:00PM (#43264451)
    Back in my day you weren't allowed to post on /. before you tried at least 10 linux distributions, one *BSD and one archaic closed source UNIX variant. With the new owners it's turned into Computer Noob magazine.....
  • by dn15 (735502) on Sunday March 24, 2013 @03:23PM (#43264575)

    You could save a lot of time by trying different distributions via Live CD/DVD. (Many distros install discs actually double as an installer and a live CD.) Obviously you don't want to do this long-term but it would be an easy way to test drive and see which stock interface appeals to you before jumping in.

    I'd definitely go with a major distro so that it's easy to find setup/troubleshooting instructions online. Different distros may store files in different locations so even though all Linux flavors are largely similar, it can be really frustrating trying to look for a certain config file and realizing it's not in the same place as the directions say it should be. Once you're more experienced you'll know where to look but it can be a deal breaker when you're just getting started.

    Some to look at are Ubuntu, Mint, and Fedora. Personally I prefer Debian-based distros but that choice is probably not very relevant until you start diving deeper into things.

  • by Blaskowicz (634489) on Sunday March 24, 2013 @07:33PM (#43265999)

    Years ago, you didn't have to care, install vanilla Ubuntu 8.04 and you're done. Later, it was Ubuntu 10.04. Then maybe debian 6 (debian squeeze) which was good when new but has an ancient kernel and ancient web browser, so it sucks (you have to know how to replace Firefox 3.5 with a less ancient version)

    Now Ubuntu went on a weird track. It makes us feel uncertain (and we fear it, and we're in doubt). Also, if you stay away from all 3D accelerated desktops then you won't have to deal with them not working when your 3D driver is wrong, misconfigured or unavailable for a given computer etc.

    Linux Mint 13 is the go-to choice, because it's 99.9% Ubuntu 12.04 underneath. It IS Ubuntu 12.04 for all intents and purpose.
    I can recommend the Xfce edition since it has the simplest and leanest GUI of all official edition. Mate is more flexible (it's easier to move stuff around in the panels) but Xfce is more actively developed (next versions gain a few features) and you may try other small GUIs on the side (openbox, fluxbox etc.)

    Don't deal with bugs, and don't deal with GUI crap, concentrate on learning the classical command line instead (ls, mkdir, chmod, chown, grep, less, piping stuff into head, tail or cut, sort.. also ps, top, kill, kill -9, killall ; ifconfig, lspci, lsusb, nano /etc/X11/xorg.conf, ctrl+alt+F1, chvt, service your-display-manager stop.. and for a newbie why not look at /etc/network/interfaces, /etc/hosts, /etc/hostname, /etc/default/grub)
    Learn to get info from the system without googling constantly : man pages, your-command --help, apt-cache search, apt-cache show, /usr/share/doc.. Pipe your output into something so that you can actually read it. Have fun trying to read /usr/share/doc/foo/Changelog.gz

    Also, debian vs ubuntu is irrelevant. It's mostly the same stuff.
    Other distros have a bad rep (redhat/Cent OS is a dinosaur, fedora crashes) or aren't used by many people or don't have much software (I tried OpenSuse once and there was just little software compared to the very high amount in ubuntu)
    Arch linux or Gentoo or something else may be great, I don't really know, but maybe try it after one year of linux experience.

  • by Artemis3 (85734) on Sunday March 24, 2013 @10:17PM (#43266983)

    If you wanted Ubuntu with E17, the natural choice would be Bodhi Linux, which is the actual E17 flavor.

    http://www.bodhilinux.com/ [bodhilinux.com]

  • by thatkid_2002 (1529917) on Sunday March 24, 2013 @10:32PM (#43267055)

    Ubuntu has a terrible support community and the packages are usually full of silly bugs that no other distro has. I know this sounds like Troll bait... But the reasoning behind my statement is that they consistently suggest the most bizarre fixes for even common problems. If there is a "root of the problem" they will never attack that, but rather suggest outlandish (and nearly always incorrect) fixes for all the child problems instead. This is not productive or enjoyable. Ubuntu refuses to cooperate with upstream projects - they'd rather ignore them and cry when things don't work.

    If you like Ubuntu, try Debian or some sort of direct Debian derivative instead. Unlike what many people like to say, Ubuntu is *not* Debian.

    You mentioned that you like the look of Arch Linux - great distribution and excellent community. Unfortunately your skills are not up to the level that *mainline* Arch requires, but this does not prevent you from using a friendlier derivative. I suggest Cinnarch as the best friendly derivative because unlike Manjaro or Chakra it uses the main Arch repos instead trying to mix (well actually, that's not completely true, but for the purpose of the argument it is) and become broken as a result.

    Another really good choice is Fedora - great distribution and excellent community. There are a lot of RPM haters but the truth is that anybody who has used a *modern* RPM based system knows that common arguments thrown up by crotchety old neck-beards and rabid Ubuntu fanbois are moot. There are a lot of haters of the new installer and not without reason - but keep in mind that most of that hate is purely hype. Of course there is going to be problems with the first iteration of any software.

  • by WD (96061) on Sunday March 24, 2013 @11:02PM (#43267151)

    If you crashed an OS as the result of copying files, and claim that the hardware is fine, you're clearly hiding back story. The problem is probably not which distro that you're using, but rather computers in general.

  • by luther349 (645380) on Monday March 25, 2013 @09:20AM (#43269787)
    e17 desktop uses a Ubuntu base and includes no blot at all install the packages you like.

Anyone can do any amount of work provided it isn't the work he is supposed to be doing at the moment. -- Robert Benchley

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