How did you choose your Linux Distro? [Archive] - Glock Talk

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RowdyOne
07-12-2011, 08:16
I was given an older computer by our IT guy at the office. It is a Dell Optiplex GX280. It has 1 gig of memory(will most likely spend the $35 to upgrade to 2 gig from Crucial) and a P4 processor. It only has a 40 gig HD, but I store most of my files on an external drive. I want to put it in the workshop/reloading area.

I am looking for a distro for basic uses. I am not editing video or pictures, just surfing/streaming music or video, maybe some office type uses. Nothing mission critical.

I am slightly above average in my knowledge of PCs. I have used Windows for as long as I can remember.

With all of the choices, how did you find the one you like? did you jump around every few weeks? I am not against trying a few, but I would like to "set it and forget it".

What say the collective Linux folks?

Thanks!

Linux3
07-12-2011, 09:20
Humm, pretty light on processor power and graphics.
Ubuntu is pretty easy to install and update but for this system I think I would go with;
http://www.xubuntu.org/

It's Ubuntu with xfce graphics.
With Linux you have your choice of Windows Managers. Gnome and KDE are the 2 most common ones but there are others. xfce still has shells and icons and click for stuff but nothing fancy.

Also, take a look here;
http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/6-lightweight-linux-distributions-give-pc-lease-life/

wct097
07-12-2011, 11:46
I've played with a variety over the years. Slackware, Redhat, Fedora, Suse, Ubuntu, and several others. In the end, I've had the most success with Ubuntu, so that's pretty much what I use.

GIockGuy24
07-12-2011, 12:27
It looks like that came with either ATI or Intel graphics. Some of the older video cards aren't well supported in Linux. That would be one of the things I would research to make a choice.

captainstormy
07-12-2011, 13:13
I'd take it one step past Ubuntu and recommend you try out Mint Linux. Its based on Ubuntu, but comes pre set up with a lot of things the average user needs that Ubuntu doesn't. Sure you could install them on Ubuntu, but for the average user its easier if they are pre installed.

I'm talking about things like Flash, Java, multi media codecs ect ect. Also, Ubuntu has made a whole bunch of controversial changes over the last few releases and has several more upcoming in the next one. Mint, is much more conservative about those and has stuck with the tried and true things that most users want.

All that being said. Go to DistroWatch.com and read up on some distros and try the live CDs of any that sound interesting until you find what you like and then install it.

captainstormy
07-12-2011, 13:15
It looks like that came with either ATI or Intel graphics. Some of the older video cards aren't well supported in Linux. That would be one of the things I would research to make a choice.

Well, if it isn't well supported by Linux, then it isn't well supported by Linux. The distro you choose won't have any affect on that. If there isn't an open source driver in the kernal for a piece of hardware then you must install the proprietary one if there is one.

Ubuntu, and all of its offshoots make that a very simple 1-2 click process for users. Other Distros might do something similar, I'm not as familiar with them.

GIockGuy24
07-12-2011, 13:43
Well, if it isn't well supported by Linux, then it isn't well supported by Linux. The distro you choose won't have any affect on that. If there isn't an open source driver in the kernal for a piece of hardware then you must install the proprietary one if there is one.

Ubuntu, and all of its offshoots make that a very simple 1-2 click process for users. Other Distros might do something similar, I'm not as familiar with them.

There are certain distributions that better support odd or older hardware.

GIockGuy24
07-12-2011, 13:56
If the graphics are original it looks like it came with either ATI X300 or ATI X300 SE or Intel 915G. There are Linux drivers for them but getting them working often requires a bit of work and 3d function may be limited. It should be possible to get some 3d working though. Some of the newer drivers that are often the ones that get picked by the system apps manager don't support older graphics.

GIockGuy24
07-12-2011, 15:14
Here's a couple of CD's with some of the best hardware support.

Sabayon Linux 644 MB

ftp://mirror.dkm.cz/pub/sabayon/iso/Sabayon_Linux_6_x86_LXDE.iso

KNOPPIX Linux 698 MB

ftp://sunsite.informatik.rwth-aachen.de/pub/Linux/knoppix/knoppix-cd/KNOPPIX_V6.4.3CD-2010-12-20-EN.iso

The Sabayon Linux CD is fairly new. The KNOPPIX Linux CD is from December.

The one I use is Scientific Linux. It's live CD is not as interesting to use by itself but it works well.

Scientific Linux 687 MB

http://ftp.scientificlinux.org/linux/scientific/livecd/60/i386/SL-60-i386-2011-03-07-LiveCD.iso

Smaller download, less on CD

Scientific Linux 350 MB

http://ftp.scientificlinux.org/linux/scientific/livecd/60/i386/SL-60-i386-2011-03-07-LiveMiniCD.iso

gemeinschaft
07-12-2011, 15:27
I use a tried and true method for selecting the right distro:

"Enie, Meenie, Minee, Mo!"

:rofl::rofl:

Lately, I have been installing Lubuntu on Netbooks that my friend's kids have. They are tired of dealing with virus issues and waiting forever for Windows to boot. Lubuntu is fairly light as are some of the other distros out there.

The full Ubuntu version would probably take just as long as Windows to boot.

I have found that the Dell Mini runs Lubuntu very well...:whistling:

Linux3
07-13-2011, 13:25
Lately, I have been installing Lubuntu on Netbooks that my friend's kids have. They are tired of dealing with virus issues and waiting forever for Windows to boot. Lubuntu is fairly light as are some of the other distros out there.
The full Ubuntu version would probably take just as long as Windows to boot.

Humm, interesting.
I have been installing UNE, Ubuntu Netbook Edition, and most people kind of dislike the Unity WM so they wind up using Gnome. Which by the by, in my tests and races with friends, boots faster than NT or Win 7. Finds a network faster too. (But then I digress).
I'll have to look at Lubuntu. Learn something new every day.

I started out upgrading Netbooks and laptops for friends and doing it just 'cause I'm a nice guy.
Now I change $100.00 per which includes a little training, and business is booming. Just booming.

gemeinschaft
07-13-2011, 14:04
Humm, interesting.
I have been installing UNE, Ubuntu Netbook Edition, and most people kind of dislike the Unity WM so they wind up using Gnome. Which by the by, in my tests and races with friends, boots faster than NT or Win 7. Finds a network faster too. (But then I digress).
I'll have to look at Lubuntu. Learn something new every day.

I started out upgrading Netbooks and laptops for friends and doing it just 'cause I'm a nice guy.
Now I change $100.00 per which includes a little training, and business is booming. Just booming.

Lubuntu boots in 26 seconds on the Dell Mini 9s that my friend's kids have.

Basically, they can boot up and get online faster than their mom who is running a laptop with a real processor in it with 4gb of RAM using Windows 7 64-bit.

Kind of sad really.

I couldn't get used to the Unity interface either.

Let me know what you think of Lubuntu, IGF is the one who got me rolling in that direction and I have to say it the best so far for small systems with inferior specs.

RowdyOne
07-14-2011, 07:45
Thanks for all of the suggestions. I have XUbuntu and Mint XFCE downloaded and burned. I am running them off of the live CD. So far the machine has done what I have asked of it.

Does anyone use Debian? from my reading both of the above are based on it. I also like the idea that they keep building on it instead of having to update every 6 months. It seems like it would be a pain to re-install every 6 months.

Thanks again!

IndyGunFreak
07-14-2011, 07:58
Thanks for all of the suggestions. I have XUbuntu and Mint XFCE downloaded and burned. I am running them off of the live CD. So far the machine has done what I have asked of it.

Does anyone use Debian? from my reading both of the above are based on it. I also like the idea that they keep building on it instead of having to update every 6 months. It seems like it would be a pain to re-install every 6 months.

Thanks again!

I love Debian... what exactly are you planning to use the machine for? I know you said its on your reloading bench... Where one of my old laptops is..

Basically, I use it for a spreadsheet app for load tracking, keeping track of components, and light internet surfing.

If that's your desire, Mint XFCE should serve you well. Personally, the latest incarnations of Mint, has really disappointed me. XFCE, while the goal of it is to be "lighter" than Gnome/KDE... XFCE 4 is almost as bloated as Gnome 2.x/KDE4... and has lost its way IMO. Honestly, I've had more probs w/ XFCE 4 (on several distros) than I have w/ Gnome 2.x.

Having said all that, I would totally agree w/ gameinschaft... and check out Lubuntu... It has the bare minimum "junk" on it, Has a simple spread sheet app and Word app (not an entire office suite), and an easy, clean interface.

Edit: Also, on a machine that old, you should be able to run any ATI or Intel graphics device on either Mint XFCE or Lubuntu... you may not be able to use 3D effects, but the GUI should load fine.

IndyGunFreak
07-14-2011, 08:02
Also on Debians "rolling releases"... it can be problematic at times.

If you really want to keep the upgrades to a minimum download Lubuntu 10.04. It'll be supported for 3yrs on the desktop (although the next LTS release is in April '12) and you'll be able to upgrade LTS>LTS, rather than having to include all the distros in between (which takes forever)

IndyGunFreak
07-14-2011, 08:10
Humm, interesting.
I have been installing UNE, Ubuntu Netbook Edition, and most people kind of dislike the Unity WM so they wind up using Gnome. Which by the by, in my tests and races with friends, boots faster than NT or Win 7. Finds a network faster too. (But then I digress).
I'll have to look at Lubuntu. Learn something new every day.

I started out upgrading Netbooks and laptops for friends and doing it just 'cause I'm a nice guy.
Now I change $100.00 per which includes a little training, and business is booming. Just booming.


Lubuntu is slick.. I've been pimping it to people using older machines the last few months.. or folks just wanting a faster machine. Being that it's basically a pretty version of Openbox, it's fast. They've added that "flash" without bogging down the OS, something XFCE simply was not able to accomplish with XFCE4. It's not as easy to "tweak" (lots of configuration files, etc). However, that doesn't sound like it will be an issue for the OP.

The thing that irritates me about the newest incarnation of XFCE, is that stupid compositing. It has totally slowed it down, and even when I completely disable it, it feels like my machine is moving through water (obviously, there's other issues). That's on both older and newer hardware. Frankly, Unity (ugh) ran better than XFCE4 for me.

captainstormy
07-14-2011, 09:18
Does anyone use Debian? from my reading both of the above are based on it. I also like the idea that they keep building on it instead of having to update every 6 months. It seems like it would be a pain to re-install every 6 months.

Thanks again!

As a long time Linux user I want to like Debian, but I just can't. I very much appreciate it and what it has done for Linux. Especially since I find myself usually using Debian based Distros.

For me it is far to much of a purist Distro. It is much harder to get some not open source proprietary things running on Debian then any other Distro out there. I'm talking about things like video and wifi drivers, java, flash, etc etc.

I understand that these things don't always fit into their philosophy, however here in the real world those things are necessary. Also, I can't stand how they re brand Firefox and Thunderbird with some of their own ugly art because the Mozilla art is trademarked. Pretty much every other Distro uses Firefox and has no problem with it.

All that said, their rolling releases often don't work as well as they should. Not to mention with their slow development cycle your going to be doing a fair amount of work yourself to keep the programs you most often use up to date. Which isn't bad, but for a new user can be frustrating.

Linux3
07-14-2011, 11:32
As a long time Linux user I want to like Debian, but I just can't. I very much appreciate it and what it has done for Linux. Especially since I find myself usually using Debian based Distros.

For me it is far to much of a purist Distro. It is much harder to get some not open source proprietary things running on Debian then any other Distro out there. I'm talking about things like video and wifi drivers, java, flash, etc etc.
Totally agree. I too want to like Debian but I'm a realist. I just want a solid dependable secure system.

It's like Red Hat Fedora. I started using Red Hat version 4.1, long before Fedora but it too is just too purist and time consuming to get everything I need running.
I like Omega
http://omega.dgplug.org/

GIockGuy24
07-14-2011, 13:35
Thanks for all of the suggestions. I have XUbuntu and Mint XFCE downloaded and burned. I am running them off of the live CD. So far the machine has done what I have asked of it.

Does anyone use Debian? from my reading both of the above are based on it. I also like the idea that they keep building on it instead of having to update every 6 months. It seems like it would be a pain to re-install every 6 months.

Thanks again!

If you try the Sabayon and KNOPPIX live CD's I listed they have most of the non-open source software already installed and running on the live CD. Especially Sabayon has everything enabled (3d may need to be enabled if possible) and KNOPPIX has 3d video installed and enabled by default, at least for Intel graphics. They include Flash Player and Java which makes using a live CD on the internet a lot easier.

GIockGuy24
07-14-2011, 13:42
Debian by default is stripped of anything that supports non-open source apps or supports commercial software, even if it's free. This requires that the base kernel is stripped down even more than the generic Linux kernel. With certain hardware, especially certain video cards, Debian can be difficult to install. There are distributions that add the missing bits to Debian to make it more user friendly. Mepis, Mint and Kanotix do that, as do a few others.

RowdyOne
07-14-2011, 14:09
IGF- Basically the machine is going to be used in the same way yours is. I just want something I can look-up info quick and have some music streaming while reloading/working. I have an excel sheet that I use to track my info on loads. My inventory system is to take a look at what is on the shelf and reorder when I get to half.

Thank you all for all of this info to look at. I am leaning towards one the distros that have flash, java, etc already to go when it is installed. I guess I need to download Mepis and Sabayon and KNOPPIX and...