Linux And All The Choices - Information To Help

Discussion in 'Operating Systems' started by DasFox, Jan 6, 2007.

  1. DasFox

    DasFox Master Guru

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    If you're new to Linux familiarize yourself with all the different versions, aka "Distros", which you can find at Distrowatch

    If you consider yourself the average, or below average computer user, looking for the simplest path to Linux, you'll want one of the Top Five Distros on Distrowatch.

    You can't always get away from learning, even with the simplest of Linux distros there's still a learning curve. You're going to run across problems because software isn't perfect, and you'll need some knowledge.

    If you're not sure about your hardware, and the software support you need with the ease of use, again pick one of the top five distros listed on Distrowatch. They are the top picks simply because they support the widest range of hardware and software no matter what your needs are.

    If you don't read on, you're going to miss out on some cool stuff to help you make life easier in Linux!

    By the way, if you're afraid to install Linux to your hard drive, there are many distros out there offering Live CD/DVD versions, meaning you simply run the system from the CD/DVD with no need to install. This is a nice way to get your hands on without much intervention, simply pop the CD/DVD in, sit back and relax and away you go!


    To begin, I'm not here to tell you one is better then the other, because the truth is there are many great distros. Linux is about making choices for yourself, rather than someone else telling you which one is the best.

    In all Linux distros there are many different desktops out there to choose from, but Gnome, KDE, and Xfce are the most popular.

    Gnome
    KDE
    Xfce

    New Edition(s) that started becoming popular:

    LXDE

    Next we have Window Managers. This means something that "Manages Windows". Gnome, KDE, and other desktops have their own, but these can be replaced by other managers to give a new look, feel, and functionality. Many window managers can also be run by themselves as a "Stand Alone" desktop.

    What does all this mean regarding desktops, and window managers? It's called productivity, the ways in which you want to handle your tasks. These choices will help you to bring out, find your best efficiency.

    Here is some Information on Wikipedia about X Window Managers.

    There are several window managers out there. These are only a few of the more popular ones.

    AfterStep
    Blackbox
    Enlightenment
    Fluxbox
    FVWM
    Openbox
    Window Maker

    Windows management in Linux has never looked better since OpenGL acceleration came along. This provides different ways and looks in managing these windows with new enhancements, and visual effects. Compiz provides Linux this new direction in window management.

    Compiz
    Compiz on Wikipedia
    Compiz-Fusion
    Compiz-Fusion On Wikipedia

    Here you can watch Videos of Compiz in action.

    Xwinman is the most complete list of desktops, and window managers for Linux.

    Moving on to packages, distros all incorporate their own ways of managing them. Besides the basic functions of installs, updates, and removal, these programs also handle other tasks dealing with packages. Some of these programs are more varied then others depending on the developers intentions, flexibility, and the ease of use intended. These programs are called "Package Managers".

    These are a few of the common types of extensions you'll find with the different versions for package management, along with various spin offs from these.

    .rpm (originally Redhat Package Management)

    .deb (Debian GNU/Linux package manager)

    .tgz .tar .tar.gz (Tarball Files).

    Here are some popular package managers:

    Apt-Get
    KPackage
    Portage
    Rpmdrake and URPMI
    Synaptic Package Manager
    YaST
    YaST2
    Yum
    Yumex (Yum Extender)
    Zypper

    Package management in each distro allows you flexibility to work with the packages to a degree, and some more then others. How flexible you want to be is up to you, the system you choose, and what your needs are. Just because a certain distro comes with it's own default manager doesn't mean you can't install another one to meet your needs better, but this isn't typically done. Some distros actually incorporate a few package managers to work with, or their default manager will run from either a GUI (Graphical User Interface), or a command terminal, where you can type commands, both allowing you different levels of flexibility, by the choices you need.

    So what does all of this package management mean, and how is it really going to help? Simply put, it means, "Management", the way in which you'll be able to manage them. What you really have to ask yourself here is, what kind of management would you really like to have?

    Here's a look at the common command terminals:

    Konsole
    Gnome Terminal
    Xterm

    Moving on to another subject, Linux like Windows during the start up, and shutdown goes through what are known as runlevels. Different functions of the startup, or shutdown processes are accessed, known in Windows as, Normal, Safe-mode and Command prompt only, etc. In Linux these are known as the User Modes, different ways in which to access the system. Besides the different modes in Linux, Services, and Daemons also come into play in these runlevels, basically in the same way as Windows does. The advantage Linux runlevels have over Windows’ boot modes is that Linux runlevels can be changed on the fly.

    Here is some information on runlevels, services, and daemons:

    Daemons
    Linux Services, Devices, and Daemons

    The runlevels most distros make use of are either the, "System V" init style, or the "BSD" init style, or a slight variation of them.

    Runlevel Init Information:

    Init Runlevels

    What this runlevel system means to you is the flexibility to change the way in which a part of Linux behaves, and how you manage certain parts of it. No matter what you use Linux for, this is an important aspect of system administration, helping you to manage, and customize Linux to your needs.

    Runlevel information:

    Run levels on Wikipedia
    Run levels on Linux.com

    With everything that has been mentioned, basically what separates most Linux distros is package management, runlevel operations, and various tools for system management.

    Linux means not only choices, it's also about personal tastes, yes your own personal tastes, and that is another great quality of Linux, the ability to make it your own. That is why it's generally never wise to decide based on someone's own belief. After all we all have our own likes, and dislikes, and that is what makes Linux so attractive, customization to satisfy the needs of everyone.

    I touched on a few of the differences, but there are even more. There are many cool things each one has to offer, but when it gets right down to it, no matter what all the differences are, "Linux is Linux", and you just have to decide what works for you.

    Now if you're really saying here at this point in time that this is for you, and you consider yourself to be a power user, or quite an enthusiast, then the sky's the limit, but go slow, or you might frustrate yourself with some of the more hands on distros that require more user intervention, setting up, tuning, and tweaking.

    For the power user, or enthusiast that wants to jump right in, start in this order, then go from there based off the Distrowatch Ranking list.

    Debian
    Slackware
    Gentoo

    Linux is a Unix based operating system, and if want to start out using the purest form of this, then start out with Slackware.

    If you find yourself, after trying any of these distros falling flat on your face in disgust, then don't worry, we've all been there. Go back to the "Top Five" picks, and get comfortable with one of them for awhile. Once you've gotten comfortable, and somewhat use to this new world, then try your luck again. Don't give up, because if you think Linux is your thing, then go for it, and have fun, but if the learning is going to be in frustration, then the journey is going to be even more painful. Just remember a good attitude learns more.

    Once you've made a go of it with Debian, Slackware, and Gentoo, then after Gentoo just have at. Go where you want to go next, and have fun, but remember go slow. Linux has a lot to offer, but there is also a lot to learn.

    For the hardcore that wants to learn it all, and do it all, and really take the leap off the deep end, this is the direction for you. Linux From Scratch (LFS)

    For those that would like to read a comparison of Linux, and Windows, Wikipedia provides some excellent information.

    Comparison of Windows and Linux

    Here is a comparison of Windows programs with their equal counterparts for Linux to help you with your transition.

    Alternatives to Windows software
    Equivalent Windows applications
    Linux software equivalent to Windows software

    Programs to help you run Windows applications and games in Linux.

    CodeWeavers CrossOver Linux
    QEMU
    Transgaming
    TransGaming (Cedega Games Database)
    Vmware
    Wine HQ

    Here are a few Linux sites with a wealth of information to help point you on your new way.

    The Linux Foundation: (Where The Man Linus Works!)
    Desktop Linux.com
    Geeknet
    GNU.org
    JustLinux
    Kernel.org
    Learning Linux.com
    Linux Central
    Linux.com
    Linux Devices
    LinuxInsider
    Linux Online
    Linux Pro Magazine
    Linux Format
    Linux For You
    Linuxhelp
    Linux HQ
    Linux Journal Magazine
    Linux on Laptops
    Linux Magazine
    Linux Planet
    Linux for Playstation 2
    Linux on the PlayStation 3
    Ubuntu On A Playstation 3
    Linux Printing
    LinuxQuestions.org
    LinuxSecurity.com
    Linux.sys-con.com
    Linux Slashdot
    Linux Today
    Linux USB
    Linux User and Developer
    LinuxWorld
    LWN
    The Linux Documentation Project
    Wii Linux
    Xbox Linux
    Xbox 360 Linux

    Down the road awhile, and after all the reading, and brain absorbing, you still find you need help, and trust me you will, then the absolute best way to get support is live, in real time one on one with someone, or phone support, but when you can't find someone, or afford someone, then nothing beats the free help you can find on IRC (Internet Relay Chat). You'll want to join Freenode. On freenode's site is a list for the servers to join, but the most commonly used one in North America is, irc.freenode.net.

    With no disrespect for forums such as Guru3D, they do have their place, and are quite popular when you can't find, or afford someone, or make the time for IRC, but when you can, nothing beats the help, and experience to be found on IRC to ease you through the learning curve of Linux, which can get steep at times.

    Freenode is the largest OpenSource IRC server in the world. Here you will find the help you seek.

    Xchat is the tool of choice for IRC, and the most popular GUI (Graphical User Interface), IRC client that you can use. Most Linux distros either come with Xchat installed, or available to install.

    There are 320 distros listed on Distrowatch. The HOME page lists the Top 100 and this link, http://distrowatch.com/stats.php?section=popularity lists the other 220. So use Distrowatch as your guide, first starting at the top, and then going from there as I have outlined in this post.

    Here's what you've learned. You're going to pick a distro, it will have it's choice of desktops, window managers, package managers, runlevels, and other various tools, and overall a look, feel, and functionality that you'll either love, or hate. You'll find what you're comfortable with and that is what you're going to stick to. The key here is, YOU, what you find that suits your needs, no one else's. Through trial and error you'll find the best Linux distro, the one you like. Everyone will have their own idea of what's best, and you need to figure out yours, it's a personal choice.

    Learn what the name Linux really means. Linux is the kernel, not the complete system as some believe.

    Now go have fun! :D


    P.S. IF YOU FIND DEAD LINKS PLEASE PM ME TO LET ME KNOW!
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2010
  2. Soldado-del-fue

    Soldado-del-fue Member Guru

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    Really informative i think i may book mark this post.
     
  3. Sash

    Sash Ancient Guru

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    STICKY!!!!
    BTW i am upgrading to linux soon, i just need 1 gb ram extra and a core 2 duo, so i can use 64 bit linux, that was excellent information! STICKY!!! STICKY!
     
  4. Finchwizard

    Finchwizard Don Apple

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    Nice thread, and you're welcome.
     

  5. bug77

    bug77 Banned

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    You certainly don't need 2GB RAM to run Linux.

    Sticky++
     
  6. Finchwizard

    Finchwizard Don Apple

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    It's like any OS, the more RAM the better.

    And it's already a sticky, nice thread.
     
  7. Sash

    Sash Ancient Guru

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    yeah, noting is better than extra ram, who knows, maybe they will make better direct x support and i can really play more games
     
  8. Finchwizard

    Finchwizard Don Apple

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    It's not going to get better, if anything it's going to get worse, it'll be getting harder and harder to emulate all the DirectX stuff in Linux.
     
  9. DasFox

    DasFox Master Guru

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    Gnome and KDE can really start sucking it up, especially if you run a lot of apps at once.
     
  10. Joey

    Joey Ancient Guru

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    I want to install linux on my dads computer and am wondering the best one for him.
    I have only tried two 'boot from cdrom' versions so I'm not sure what would be best.
    He is scared to death by change but I want to install something on his PC which is secure and simple. So 1. He doesn't have to worry about maintaining it and 2. he won't pick up anything untoward from the internet.
    I already switched him to firefox to get him email and I don't think he would notice if I switched him to open office.
    Any advice as to the best distro? Something with everything included, which auto-updates everything, would be nice. Oh and a firewall.
    It's a 2.0Ghz P4 with a gig of RAM.
     

  11. scheherazade

    scheherazade Ancient Guru

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    if you like something that's set up out of the box (video drivers, etc) and has a opengl acceleration of the gui out of the box, then try sabayon.

    -scheherazade
     
  12. DasFox

    DasFox Master Guru

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    You know everything you just asked is explained in the post.

    SO PLEASE READ IT!

    THANKS :D
     
  13. Joey

    Joey Ancient Guru

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    Yeah I read it.
    Surely there is a "starting point". You listed 5 main distros, which is the best for my needs? I haven't the time to download and install them all.
    You must be able to give me something to start with.
    Suchandsuch distro with suchandsuch window manager or package manager (do I need that, is it with the other thing?).
    Sorry to be a total newb but there is a lot to dig through on those links. A parent proof starting distro would be helpful.
    Thanks.
     
  14. DasFox

    DasFox Master Guru

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    I did give you something to start with and again if you read the post you would of done so, picking the #1 distro and going from there, you're making this more complicated then it is.

    Pick the #1 distro, it's number one for a reason. That's all you had to do, then if that doesn't work you have to try #2, #3, etc...

    That's all there is to it. ;)

    And if you haven't the time to play with them, then you're not going to find what works for you on a personal level.

    Don't expect to slap any of them in within 5 mins. be done and call it quits. Every single one of them does require a little user intervention to get them up and running.

    Also a little fore warning Unix/Linux geeks are not sympathetic to users not READING, as they say ----> RTFM :D
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2007
  15. DasFox

    DasFox Master Guru

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    I re edited the post up top for guys like you having a hard time reading, LOL, just kidding. :D

    If you consider yourself the average, or below average computer user, looking for the simplest path to Linux, you'll want one of the Top Five Distros on Distrowatch, also listed below.


    Start with #1 and then go from there.


    Now is that simple enough? ;)
     

  16. Joey

    Joey Ancient Guru

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    You have a "slightly" condescending tone, which isn't very nice.
    Before you so graciously changed your post, it wasn't clear that the "top five distros" were in order, numbers might help with that ;)

    Never mind about having a conversation, I'll go elsewhere.
     
  17. DasFox

    DasFox Master Guru

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    No one has a condescending tone. If you noticed I placed a smile avatar in my last reply as a NICE gesture to you.

    You are the one taking things all wrong, I'm not being rude towards you at all, I'm just saying PLEASE read and pay attention to what you've just read, all the information is there to help you, that's all.

    This is the first sentence:

    If you're new to Linux familiarize yourself with all the different versions, aka "Distros", which you can find at Distrowatch


    If you looked at the link you would of seen the TOP five are in order. Why wouldn't they be in order, that would kind of be pointless and confusing.

    Now do you think that is fair and considerate to me, when I have done all this work, taken all the time I did to put this together, and you can't even have the consideration to read it through completely?

    I'm here to help and I will, but FIRST you have to read and pay attention to what you read.

    Just install Ubuntu, that's all, like it was listed in the post starting with the Top Five with it as #1.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2007
  18. Finchwizard

    Finchwizard Don Apple

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    Easy ladies.

    Pick a LiveCD: Ubuntu, KUbuntu, Slax, Knoppix, FedoraCore LiveCD.

    Any of them are great way to test the distros.
     
  19. DasFox

    DasFox Master Guru

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    Finchwizard I'm fine, I'm just trying to point out that all he had to do was read a little, just the first paragraph was all, and click on Distrowatch to see the distros where in order and just pick one, of course starting at the top one.

    All my replies have simply been to point out to joeydoo that the information is there, what he is asking for, all he had to do was look and he's not.

    Now that's not being fair to any of us, and I don't mean it in any disrespect towards him.

    But hey just please read next time, that's all I'm saying, nothing more, nothing less, without any attitude at all. :)
     
  20. Finchwizard

    Finchwizard Don Apple

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    Yep, mainly joeydoo, but everyone else should make sure they've read the post twice before asking any questions.
     

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