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MajorPayne
02-21-2005, 08:40 AM
Hi everyone, I have a question about which Linux distro to choose for a new system I am setting up. The system is going to be a computer to run out television from. I will NOT be playing games on it, at most, I will use it to learn more about Linux, play DVD's, and record TV. I have an ATI AllInWonder8500 for the videocard, a 10GB hard drive, 128MB of DDR, an older 1.7GHZ pentium 4, and a 802.11 G wireless card from Airlink.

I want to use this system to get familiar with Linux again (I have not used it at all in several years, and the last distro I had was redhat), as well as making it easy enough for my wife to play DVD's from, so a stable desktop environment and compatibility with the TV features of my video card are a must.

I downloaded and installed Debian 3.0 r4 last night, but I have not really had time to play with it yet. My question is, will Debian's distro work for what I am doing, or should I go with a different one. I am looking to re-familiarize myself with Linux, so I am not averse to distro's requiring an in-depth setup/config, but it MUST be easy on the end user (who will be my wife, when I am not home), or she will never let me hear the end of it ;). Also, links to download the recommended distros would be appreciated. Thanks!

sllywhtboy
02-21-2005, 08:59 AM
for a desktop load, i suggest ubuntu. it's based on debian. http://www.ubuntulinux.com/

for a server configuration, i suggest debian sarge, the rc2/beta version (based on kernel 2.4)

--slly

MajorPayne
02-21-2005, 09:55 AM
for a desktop load, i suggest ubuntu. it's based on debian. http://www.ubuntulinux.com/

for a server configuration, i suggest debian sarge, the rc2/beta version (based on kernel 2.4)

--slly

This will definetly be a desktop installation. I am not looking to run a Server (yet), and it has to be easy to use for my wife, or she will be annoyed with me (again) for putting together yet another geek toy she can't use. I have had several folks recommend Ubuntu, so I will check it out, depending on how well Debian itself works.

masterofpuppets
02-21-2005, 10:23 AM
Debian 3.0 is very out of date, but Debian Sarge should be suitable. Although, I wouldn't recommend it to Linux newbies, so you may be better off with Ubuntu.

shadowing
02-21-2005, 10:49 AM
Ubuntu is all right. I didn't like it that much. You should try out a HD installation of Knoppix. It isn't that bad. The recent "stable" version of Ubuntu has really outdated components.

masterofpuppets
02-21-2005, 10:58 AM
Dude, nobody uses stable versions. Testing versions are usually pretty much stable enough for home use anyway.

Disposibleteen
02-21-2005, 11:17 AM
for a newbie (myself being one) i find that knoppix is great to learn on, i got it and put it on a cd so it loads into memory, this way i can learn the ways of linux but not have to completely install it on my machine (yet). Once i know enough i will definatly go full in though

shadowing
02-21-2005, 01:54 PM
Dude, nobody uses stable versions. Testing versions are usually pretty much stable enough for home use anyway.

I attempted to install the "testing" version of Ubuntu on my PC. It never did install it. Ended up being corrupt.

sjohnson
02-21-2005, 02:56 PM
Better than ubuntu IMO is MEPIS. MEPIS will be going release at any time now with SimplyMEPIS 3.3

Better hardware detection and installation (again IMO) plus more tweaking than ubuntu so it works more intuitively out of the box. Debian based, so you can customize to your hearts content.

smokey
02-21-2005, 06:40 PM
I'd use MythTV for that type of system - a 'regular' distro generally requires too much tuning for a novice when used in that manner. No doubt you can Google plenty of articles on the installation/configuration/maintenance of MythTV, but I like this (http://www.linuxis.us/linux/media/howto/linux-htpc/), especially if the installer doesn't quite have a grip on The Way, yet.

MajorPayne
02-21-2005, 09:42 PM
Well, I have looked and researched several, and downloaded 2 of them (in addition to the Debian I already got). I downloaded Ubuntu, and Mandrake 10.1 Official. I will play with each one, and see which one I like best (and which one will be easiest for my wife to work in when I am not at home). So far from the articles I have read, Mandrake looks like it would be tops for ease of use/ease of install, but Ubuntu may be more configurable. I may dual boot them until I decide.

redgoo
02-22-2005, 02:26 AM
I'd recommend giving Gentoo a shot - it will definitely help you to learn about Linux, and once you have it down, you'll have a lot more control than other distros, however it will take more effort than Ubuntu or Knoppix.

Skip
02-23-2005, 04:21 PM
i was also going to just take a whirl with linux i guess you could say. and i also wanted it to be somewhat suitable with gaming, so i browsed some places and found that gentoo is really good, and just the install process alone will teach you a lot about linux. so i'm going to give that a shot over the weekend. i hope it won't be too hard.

so i guess i will be using gentoo linux and then use cedega if i want to play games.

Honda250sx1986
02-23-2005, 05:38 PM
Ubuntu is all right. I didn't like it that much. You should try out a HD installation of Knoppix. It isn't that bad. The recent "stable" version of Ubuntu has really outdated components.
I agree try Knoppix

Honda250sx1986
02-23-2005, 05:39 PM
I'd recommend giving Gentoo a shot - it will definitely help you to learn about Linux, and once you have it down, you'll have a lot more control than other distros, however it will take more effort than Ubuntu or Knoppix.
Ummm.... i hear that has no installer... he isnt an EXPERT yet

shadowing
02-23-2005, 06:12 PM
I'm going to give Gentoo a shot too. But I heard it was hard to configure, but easy to install apps.

smokey
02-23-2005, 09:09 PM
Easy to install apps? yeah... `emerge [appname]` (Gentoo), `apt-get [appname]` (Debian), `installpkg [appname].tgz` (Slackware), `cd [appname]; pkg_add [appname]` (BSD), `./configure && make && make install` (Source build).

You'll learn a lot about Linux? Hardly. You'll only learn about Gentoo. Just like if you tried Debian.

Learn RedHat, learn RedHat. Learn Gentoo, learn Gentoo. Learn Slackware, learn Linux.

Personally, and please take note (if you haven't already) of my bias, Gentoo is like the Ricer of the Linux world - a lot of noise, but nothing special for those of us over 16. Debian is for those who think that 'stable' is synonymous with 'old'. Slackware is for those that came from the UNIX world (The Real World), and would like to use Linux - seriously. Anywhere that anyone is serious about what they are doing, Solaris, AIX, HP-UX and BSD are Kings... note that Linux isn't anywhere to be found.

redgoo
02-24-2005, 12:43 AM
Ummm.... i hear that has no installer... he isnt an EXPERT yet

If you can follow instructions, you can install Gentoo. It's really not that hard, and if he gets stuck there's probably already a thread at the Gentoo forums with an answer to his question.

redgoo
02-24-2005, 01:13 AM
You'll learn a lot about Linux? Hardly. You'll only learn about Gentoo. Just like if you tried Debian.

Learn RedHat, learn RedHat. Learn Gentoo, learn Gentoo. Learn Slackware, learn Linux.


I don't agree at all. When you go through the Gentoo process, you get a better understanding of how "Linux" works. You have to partition disks, compile a kernel, install a system logger, configure apps, configure init.d, Xfree, etc. and you learn about filesystem structure and how everything comes together to make the whole. We actually use Gentoo to train newbies to Linux at my place of employment, and it works pretty well.

If you're strictly talking about package managers, then yes.



Personally, and please take note (if you haven't already) of my bias, Gentoo is like the Ricer of the Linux world - a lot of noise, but nothing special for those of us over 16. Debian is for those who think that 'stable' is synonymous with 'old'. Slackware is for those that came from the UNIX world (The Real World), and would like to use Linux - seriously. Anywhere that anyone is serious about what they are doing, Solaris, AIX, HP-UX and BSD are Kings... note that Linux isn't anywhere to be found.

It's funny how you call Gentoo the Ricer of the Linux world. That's like saying all overclockers are the Ricers of the computer world. The truth is, it is a small set of each. Gentoo gets a bad rap because of the small but vocal minority who go on about how much faster it is, just like import tuners get a bad rap because of the kid who puts a six foot spolier, an unpainted bodykit, and 10" muffler on his stock Civic.

I've been using Linux since '95 (Slackware 3.x), and have tried pretty much every major distro at some point. I always ended up back at Slackware before I switched to Gentoo. Why? I loved Slackware because I could install a base system and it was very lean, and then I could compile the packages I wanted the way I wanted. It was tedious and time consuming, but everything was exactly how I wanted it (package flags and optimizaton flags - before Gentoo there was Stampede...). Then came Gentoo, which gave me the ability to do the same thing, but in about 1/100th of the administration time. Set some USE flags, emerge whatever, and you're done. Much faster and easier to keep up to date.


Anywhere that anyone is serious about what they are doing, Solaris, AIX, HP-UX and BSD are Kings... note that Linux isn't anywhere to be found.

I thought I was pretty serious about what I was doing and I use Linux daily, I guess I must not be.

I know what you are really trying to say, but it is another generalization, and one that isn't completely true.

pancake
02-24-2005, 03:49 AM
i vote try yoper. really easy install nice and quick and easy to update using apt-get update , apt-get upgrade

masterofpuppets
02-24-2005, 10:36 AM
Easy to install apps? yeah... `emerge [appname]` (Gentoo), `apt-get [appname]` (Debian), `installpkg [appname].tgz` (Slackware), `cd [appname]; pkg_add [appname]` (BSD), `./configure && make && make install` (Source build).

You'll learn a lot about Linux? Hardly. You'll only learn about Gentoo. Just like if you tried Debian.

Learn RedHat, learn RedHat. Learn Gentoo, learn Gentoo. Learn Slackware, learn Linux.

Personally, and please take note (if you haven't already) of my bias, Gentoo is like the Ricer of the Linux world - a lot of noise, but nothing special for those of us over 16. Debian is for those who think that 'stable' is synonymous with 'old'. Slackware is for those that came from the UNIX world (The Real World), and would like to use Linux - seriously. Anywhere that anyone is serious about what they are doing, Solaris, AIX, HP-UX and BSD are Kings... note that Linux isn't anywhere to be found.

You can't say Debian Testing is old, unless you have a mental impairment or you are misinformed. And, with Debians apt system (and a fast connection :D) you can upgrade to Debian Sarge with a couple of commands.

sjohnson
02-24-2005, 02:53 PM
lol, they ALL work, BSD, Solaris, AIX, HP/UX, Linuxii :D, blah-ix, even SysV. Find one that makes yer pickle crisp and just git'r done ;)

Skip
02-24-2005, 05:07 PM
well i'm a total newb to this, but i decided to start doing a stage1 install of gentoo, which basically is the power users. and i figured i'd just learn along the way. i'm done extracting the tarball thing from my cd, but i hit a little bump because my dfi nf4 integrated nic won't work with links2 to get that portage thing, but other than that, so far the manual i printed off gentoo's site has been extremely helpful and is teaching me pretty well i think. i hope maybe to have it finished tomorrow night.

smokey
02-24-2005, 06:47 PM
I don't agree at all.
Your disagreement is fair and informed, however, a rebuttal is necessary. Using any of the more 'advanced' distributions requires one to understand partition schemes, compilation, logging, configuration files for major packages, the boot process (whether SysV init style or BSD4.4 rc style) and daemons. It is the method with which the distribution developers choose to implement these features (or in the least present them) that makes each one relatively unique. For the uninitiated reading this, Linux is not the Operating System, it is the kernel - the GNU System is the Operating System. Gentoo's developers present the image of finer control over a SysV based system, and emerge as it's answer to the terrible RPM system. Similarly, Debian presents the image of stability (through heavy testing) and a religious adherence to the GPL and GNU System. Slackware... Slackware presents itself as a system built with a Linux kernel, and a BSD4.4-like administration system.

Several things irk me about offering Gentoo and Debian to new users. First, the brain-damaged boot system. AT&T SysV and it's init scripts were terrible. They don't lend themselves easily to common sense administration tactics - which new users tend to rely on most. Gentoo's manual system is hardly a teaching mechanism. As most professional educators know, handing someone and book and telling them to follow the instructions therein seldom leads to effective, applicable comprehension of the topics covered. I will address Debian in my response to the next poster.

It's funny how you call Gentoo the Ricer of the Linux world.
Glad you think so. Overclockers _are_ the elite minority of the computing world. Those that don't realize that haven't opened their eyes to the Big Picture (TM), yet. There are a lot of Joe Users out there, and they out number Overclockers by a huge margin. Just like in any other field (e.g. automobiles), the vast majority of consumers are Users, not Enthusiasts.

I've been using Linux since '95 (Slackware 3.x)
Well then, glad to have you aboard. However, you don't sound like someone who's _used_ it since then. You sound like someone who has _dabbled_ in it since then. I won't bother commenting on my experience, but let's just say that it wasn't too long after AT&T was de-monopolized before I was managing UNIX-like systems.

The rest of your post is flame-bait... not going to go there.

smokey
02-24-2005, 06:56 PM
You can't say Debian Testing is old, unless you have a mental impairment or you are misinformed.

I don't recall ever saying anything about Debian Testing, my comment was regarding Debian (period). Please note that when generally referring to an Operating System of _any_ type, is generally common knowledge that would dictate that such a reference would be with regard to the RELEASE version of said Operating System. Should one refer to Windows, would it be fair to flame the referer due to lack of Longhorn-compatibility in their reference? I should think not.

But while we're on the topic, Debian's packages _are_ old. Debian developers have said this in public, on public fora and mailing lists on multiple occasions throughout the years. That is the whole draw of Debian - if a package is aged, it is therefore well-tested and stable. This happens to not always be the case. As well has maintaining the RELEASE tree, you have mentioned that they also maintain both a STABLE and TESTING tree. For all those that are not experienced with the management of a large software project, RELEASE is the production version of said software, STABLE is a testing branch that recieves far less updates (but receives updates nonetheless) than TESTING, while TESTING is the 'unstable' branch. The Debian team (and many like it) use an automated system to move packages from TESTING to STABLE after a certain, predefined period of time. Whether each package has been adequately tested or not before being 'automagically' moved is for the user to decide, but STABLE is still not 'production'. Other users might note the parallels in this system to the commonly used alpha/beta/release versioning system most commonly used on Microsoft Operating Systems.

sjohnson
02-24-2005, 08:33 PM
An old fierce and royal tigers take on bootstrapping (gentoo, and like distributions). Do it. Build the system the hard way. Get it out of your system. Be ready for the numerous mistakes you'll make. You'll still have a workable system if you keep at it.

Then take some time and reflect. Unless your goal is to make bootstrapping your hobby, you'll be a) proud of the system you built and b) wondering why you spent so much time doing what you had to do.

I've bootstrapped BSD on Vax and PDP11, worked with the team that ported SysV to UniSys MainFrames (OSX1100), built SysVr4 from source on a 3b2, bootstrapped a Minix system, first ran Slack on kernel 0.91 (dozens of 1.44 floppies :P ).

Yah, it's kinda fun. But I'd rather be surfing, coding, or hacking a non-working device into my running Linux system than sit, bored, waiting for cc, asm and ld to finish cat'ing characters onto a boring ascii terminal.

You can get some pretty crazy edged stuff from Debian, if you pick unstable as your repository. An average daily package update runs me from 20 to 150 Mbyte download, so the releases are very active. Use alien to get rpm's if you want to, get tarballs and build from source if you want to.

Same goes for ANY of the Linux or BSD distributions. Run it the native way, or find/build the tools you want to run it YOUR way. That's what's nice about open source systems. YOUR way. Not mine or anyone else's.

I'd disagree with smokey on one point. BSD rc isn't any easier for a newcomer to understand than SysV rc. SysV didn't even use rc until late in the game, it was all inittab-based. Some earlier AT&T systems used the rc concept, discarded in favor of inittab (init is the mother of all processes in UNIX, the init table - table of processes to be invoked directly by init - was called inittab).

smokey
02-24-2005, 08:39 PM
I don't understand your disagreement, perhaps you could clarify. I never said that SysV used rc, and for what it's worth, I had never actually _touched_ a SysV install that did. I was referring to the init script structure of certain modern distributions of Linux as the descendant of the SysV init structure. The rc script method is a BSD 'thing' and has always been primarily so. That is the easiest method to use for a new user, in my opinion, due to its relatively straightforward and sensical format. Where do you disagree again? :toast:

sjohnson
02-24-2005, 08:49 PM
Perhaps I misunderstood, "init scripts" are, by my prejudices, "rc scripts" in everything but name. inittab, OTOH, could call shell scripts but the scripts were invoked by init through the table rather than by numbered rc scripts or "magic" named rc scripts.

Having had to explain both flavors to newcomers, I don't believe either are exactly intuitive. Mostly I get dumb looks when trying to explain run levels, let alone script execution order and dependencies within a run-level.

I'm partial to BSD-flavored systems, simply because they usually had network tools that I could use 'out-of-the-box' rather than the source-code/port/compile/debug/ cycles I had to go through with AT&T systems. System 3 was highly BSD-like in administrative tasks.

AT&T UNIX, OTOH, had very nice documentation tools out-of-the-box, like roff, troff, etc. Early Berkely systems had little to offer in that respect.

smokey
02-24-2005, 10:01 PM
That really isn't such a coincidence. The missing software can be partly attributed to a general lack of interest in documentation by BSD developers. AT&T, on the other hand, needed some way to document their digital efforts as well as, if not better than, their analog ones.

dward3
02-25-2005, 05:28 AM
Fedora core 3 is pretty user friendly and was easy to install. Family members should has no problems using it. :p:

Fedora Project (http://fedora.redhat.com/)
Mirror Access (http://fedora.redhat.com/download/mirrors.html)

MajorPayne
02-25-2005, 09:45 AM
Well, I have Mandrake 10.1 up and running right now at home. I was able to get the wireless network,etc. up and going, and it looks like my wife may even be partial to it. I did keep half of the drive open for a different *nix install, and based on what folks have said above, I may try the "build it yourself" approach that is Gentoo. I have always learned by doing, and having worked with some of the older Unix versions (I spent 2 years as a sysadmin for a network of HP-UX systems some time back -- and I loved them!), I am not too scared of getting into the guts. I just needed something up and working for the time being (cause my wife does not want to wait for me to get the time to figure out Gentoo before we can play DVD's!).

Skip
02-25-2005, 12:25 PM
okay, well the gentoo installation was pissing me off, half the time when i tried to mount my cd and stuff it was giving an error, and i'd have to start over and then suddenly it would work. i really don't like putting up with crap like that to be honest. so i dl'ed the 2 cd's of slackware and will hopefully get it up and running by the end of tonight.

maybe it was because i was overclocked a little unstable at the time that i kept getting errors in the install. but either way. i just said screw it and will probably install it later to test it out. i'm going to test out all the distros and see which one i like the most. but i'll start off with slackware.

redgoo
02-26-2005, 06:32 AM
Your disagreement is fair and informed, however, a rebuttal is necessary. Using any of the more 'advanced' distributions requires one to understand partition schemes, compilation, logging, configuration files for major packages, the boot process (whether SysV init style or BSD4.4 rc style) and daemons.

This is exactly what I'm saying, but with Gentoo you have to choose the bootloader and manually install it, same with logging. It helps later to understand, say the grub file locations and config file, after you've messed up compiling a kernel or you have a corrupt filesystem and need to manually reinstall it.



Gentoo's developers present the image of finer control over a SysV based system, and emerge as it's answer to the terrible RPM system. Similarly, Debian presents the image of stability (through heavy testing) and a religious adherence to the GPL and GNU System. Slackware... Slackware presents itself as a system built with a Linux kernel, and a BSD4.4-like administration system.


I've always thought of portage as an improved version of FreeBSD ports rather than anything similiar to RPMs.



Gentoo's manual system is hardly a teaching mechanism. As most professional educators know, handing someone and book and telling them to follow the instructions therein seldom leads to effective, applicable comprehension of the topics covered.


Yes, a manual alone it it not effective, I never said it was. When combined with asking questions and receiving explanations, it is.



Glad you think so. Overclockers _are_ the elite minority of the computing world. Those that don't realize that haven't opened their eyes to the Big Picture (TM), yet. There are a lot of Joe Users out there, and they out number Overclockers by a huge margin. Just like in any other field (e.g. automobiles), the vast majority of consumers are Users, not Enthusiasts.


What did this have to do with you generalizing Gentoo users as ricers?



Well then, glad to have you aboard. However, you don't sound like someone who's _used_ it since then. You sound like someone who has _dabbled_ in it since then. I won't bother commenting on my experience, but let's just say that it wasn't too long after AT&T was de-monopolized before I was managing UNIX-like systems. The rest of your post is flame-bait... not going to go there.


Maybe you didn't read the word "using"? I've had at least one pc with Linux on it since then. Anyways, I find it odd that since I don't completely agree with you, you try to trivialize my experience and call my post flamebait.