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Linux OS decision

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Usually (once every five years or so) when I upgrade my home machine/home office server I go over all the distribution options, try out candidates on virtual machines and generally make a considered affair of it.

This time, since my machine has collapsed in a cloud of MCEs, I've got to just decide and go for it.

I've used Mandriva and basically liked it ever since Fedora forked off from Red Hat. I like KDE and have never warmed to Gnome at all. Which is really why I moved to Mandrake at the end of consumer Red Hat. Red Hat and Fedora were anti-KDE back then. I understand that's changed since.

My last upgrade was Mandriva 2007. System management tools and the like that I have been familiar with may well have changed since then. So the Mandriva-is-a-comfortable-old-shoe advantage may not still apply.

My only real knock against Mandriva in all these years has been that it's not so mainstream and sometimes it's difficult to find compatible software packages.

That's the appeal of Fedora. My impression is that it's very mainstream and everybody packages for it.

For what it's worth, my VortexBox music server runs on Fedora and I like it just fine there. Of course there's no desktop environment there, so it's not quite the same thing.

I tried Ubuntu/Kbuntu a while back and found them so stripped-down that I felt like I'd be installing stuff for the rest of my life. I don't really have any experience with a Debian-based OS either.

Sometime early next week, a new box arrives and I'll load something on it straight away.

Any thoughts?

Oh. And the 64 bit version or 32? Would I have trouble finding drivers and software for 64 bit at this point?

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No one distro is right for everyone, so it depends a lot on what you do with it. But, if the goal is to install once and not mess with it for years, then perhaps CentOS would make sense. Otherwise, Fedora seems like a good lowest common denominator. Or, Gentoo since portage is cool.

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I'm starting to lean in the Fedora direction.

I've been curious about Gentoo a couple times. Never have given CentOS any thought. They're probably too much a of a jump from the familiar to be candidates this time, but as soon as I get the machine back up and going, I should give them both a look in virtual machines.

I have to say Mandriva has been stable and trouble free except when I've wanted some desktop program for which there's no RPM. The only times I've really had to reboot have been hardware issues. I guess that explains why I haven't been on the edge of my seat keeping up with what's been going on with the distribution for the last few years. The organization has changed, though, and I'm not getting quite the warm and fuzzy vibe I've been used to.

So, barring somebody having a Fedora horror story, I'll probably go that way. I'll be careful to make all my partitions big enough to let me back out and change my mind, though.

Thanks guys!

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I looked at CentOS's site. They're kind of circumspect and I was scratching my head about "why?" So let me know if I've surmised this correctly.....

When Red Hat forked off Fedora, that somehow obviated the need for them to release a free (both upper and lower case) edition, so the equivalent of the Novell/SLED community edition doesn't exist. Therefore at some point somebody decided to build Red Hat from the sources, which I assume HAVE to be available and that's why CentOS came to be? Is that more or less the story?

I picked up the new box today. I've officially changed my mind and will try Fedora 17 in it. When I get VMWare back up and running, I'll give CentOS a spin with an eye to next time.

CJ - Have you read Neal Stephenson's 'Cryptonomicon'?

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Progress report: It's going pretty well with Fedora 17. I was quite impressed with how all the hardware gets probed and "just works". The only piece that didn't was my old monitor that doesn't report its modes properly. It worked, but at 1024 x 768 resolution. I generated an xorg.conf and put the known-good values from my old setup in the appropriate places and that fixed that.

I have no idea how they chose which programs install enabled and which ones don't. You'd think that checking "Windows file server"in the install would be a hint that I might like Samba active. On the other hand, I didn't much appreciate finding out the hard way that iptables was active and fairly paranoid. SELinux was active, too. But for some reason I saw that one coming. You think I would have looked for the firewall at that same moment of enlightenment. Oops.

Everything I have needed to install thus far has been dead easy. I had to add a symlink to an newer library in one case. VMWare may put up a fight, though.

The new KDE Plasma desktop is way different. It kind of threw me for a little while. I'm growing to like it.

And what's up with systemctl? it took me forever to learn to type "service [whatever]" and now it's something different. And I have to run the command again to get to see the reassuring green type return.

I'm liking that the machine is new and fast and spiffy. I guess ten years on, you would expect some progress to have been made.

Dusty - there are those who complain the KDE is too Windows-like. So I guess any distro that supports KDE would do for your friend. The new version seems quite Windows 7 -ish to me. (And I actually quite like Windows 7, despite being well prepared to hate it.)

Edited by CarlSeibert
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Hey guys another refugee here you know where.

So I have a friend who wants to get into linux -- he's extremely technically savvy, but wants a Windows look-&-feel -- any recommendations?

From my experience just installing a distro that does everything for you can be nice and easy but you won't learn alot about linux. If your friend really wants to know what makes linux tick and is not averse to the cli then something like Archlinux is the way to go. Basically you start out with minimal system and you build it from the ground up to include only the stuff you want and how you want it. It may seem daunting but trust me on this one you will learn so much more then just grabbing some hand holding distro. And the best part is the wiki which is imo the best linux wiki there is, it often applies to and is referenced by people using other distro's.

It has endless possibilities for customization and since it's a rolling release you don't have to install a new version every 6 month's. A simple command and you're on the latest version(there are GUI-tools if you want them). The one (dis)advantage is is that it's bleeding edge so things can and will break but that's a good thing imo, you learn how to fix things and chances are if you have a certain problem someone before you had it too and found a solution.

The default installation media is a bit outdated and requires quite a few steps after installation to fix stuff so i recommend using this instead: https://wiki.archlin...ex.php/Archboot

Installation guide: https://wiki.archlin...eginners'_Guide

Anyways that's how i learned linux and i apply that knowledge i gained to other distro's, i'm mainly a Fedora user now but i still use Arch on my htpc and inside some VM's.

Good luck.

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Dan -- that's a fairly concise synopsis if my initial response.Yeah, but then he's not going to learn anything about linux.

I'll recommend Kubuntu to him.

Good recommendation, from what I've read/heard. Didn't have too much experience with it myself so I didn't want to personally recommend something I haven't tried. Sorry I wasn't any more helpful.

Archlinux sounds interesting, I think I'll give it a try myself...

Edited by Nebby
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Good recommendation, from what I've read/heard. Didn't have too much experience with it myself so I didn't want to personally recommend something I haven't tried. Sorry I wasn't any more helpful.

Archlinux sounds interesting, I think I'll give it a try myself...

It's allot of fun diving under the hood. It's linux lego style cool.png

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From my experience just installing a distro that does everything for you can be nice and easy but you won't learn alot about linux.
Sorry, should have been clearer -- my friend is extremely tech savvy -- writes drivers, kernel mods, etc. But all experience is in Windows, wants to learn other OSsesses. Doesn't need to learn system administration, wants everything out of the way as much as possible, he knows how to dive under the hood. So it's not so much handheld that he wants as requires very little maintenance.
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