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View Full Version : Linux OS, what's the best for newbie?



jabbapam
07-05-2007, 09:11 AM
Have just been reading about Dell's use of Ubuntu linux on their computers. I am interested in trying linux out.

What would be the best for a newbie to Linux?

We mainly email with outlook, web browse, use ms word, google earth, dvd shrink, feed reader, adobe photoshop elements.

I'm not into programming nor do I understand how to do those things.

What is linux like in regards to security and stability? Would I still need zone alarm firewall type program and the typical anti spyware/ anti virus programs?

What would be a good Linux magazine to read?

kjaada
07-05-2007, 09:26 AM
There are several posts on this forum on this subject and everyone tends to push their own barrow.I have tried many over the years and find SUSE 10.2 easy peasy but there are many more.I found Ubuntu a wee bit odd for a newbee but a good OS.For a trial a SUSE or KNOPPIX live CD is a good bet.You can trial them without putting anything on yr HDD and see if you are still interested then if you are you can install on yr HDD with out problems.

kjaada
07-05-2007, 10:48 AM
See my PM to you on yr profile

Greg
07-05-2007, 10:52 AM
How large is a knoppix download - does it actually fit on a single CD, and where's the best place to get it?

kjaada
07-05-2007, 11:03 AM
Sent you a PM too Greg

TGoddard
07-05-2007, 11:07 AM
What would be the best for a newbie to Linux?

That's a really good way to start a drawn out debate! There are a number of different Linux distributions focussed on different needs. Some focus mainly on the server environment, some on the desktop. Some focus on stability while others go for the latest versions of everything.

What you choose really depends on what you want to get out of the system. For use on a desktop Ubuntu is quite a good option for new users, though I would recommend also trying Kubuntu (the KDE version) and choosing the desktop you like the best. Suse 10.2 is also nice and extremely stable but the package manager is painfully slow. Since they cost only traffic allowance to obtain, it's easy to try a number of distributions until you find what is ideal for your situation.

With a Linux system you will not need an extra firewall (all Linux systems come with a firewall which is more than sufficient) and will not need an antivirus. Linux systems have much more sensible default settings than the home editions of Windows (yes, that includes Vista) so a virus is too simple to bypass those protections often enough to gain critical mass and spread. Worms can and have attacked Linux systems but their damage is limited by difficulty of spreading fast enough to survive.

Most of the list of applications you have listed do not have Linux versions, so if you switch you must be prepared to try equivalents and be frustrated for a while until you get settled into a new pattern. The power of habit is very strong and you will have to readjust your way of thinking about some things.

While I like to promote the use of Linux, everybody should go into that decision with their eyes open. People trying Linux while expecting it to be like Windows are all too common and become very tiring very quickly as they tend to get annoyed when things are different. If you change your system, be prepared to change how you do things with it.

Brooko
07-05-2007, 01:39 PM
Hi Jabbapam.

Not the easiest to say what would be best – there is so much choice (confusing – but in a good way). Comes down to personal preference at the end of the day. Reading reviews, googling etc will help you narrow your choice. I started with live CDs so I could try different distros first. http://shots.osdir.com/ is a good place to go to get a feel for how some of the distros look.

When I was first looking, I went to http://distrowatch.com/ , checked out their top 10 (most popular), found out which ones had live CDs, then downloaded and tested one by one (personally tried Ubuntu. Kubuntu, OpenSuse – then settled on Mepis). Will try others over time – but Mepis works well in interim, and am very happy to stick with it for now.

I’m still very much a newbie – but found that Mepis was an easy switch. They do have good forums & there’s plenty of good advice if you ask a few questions. One nice attraction was auto setup of Nvidia driver + ability to try Beryl (3D manager – cube effects etc) all set-up for you.

Re your questions re software – most of the ones I’ve listed come with the live CDs:
Email = Kmail (if using kde), or Thunderbird
**Evolution is supposed to be very good (have heard better than Outlook) – but haven’t tried yet. Needs to be installed through a packet manager.
Browser = Konqueror (if using kde). or Firefox
MS Office = Open

bob_doe_nz
07-05-2007, 03:28 PM
If you wanted a "almost like windows" version of Linux, Xandros was and probably still is the way to go.

That was by far the most realistic version of Linux that actually resembled Windows in many respects.

They have what they called the "Open Circulation Edition" which was essentially a cut down version of their home edition available for free and is probably still floating on the net.

Mind you, this was two years ago and the program was version 3.
I've heard that they are doing a version #4 (http://forums.xandros.com/viewtopic.php?t=28362&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=oce&start=15&sid=53ef98b298eaa2eb5e79167d2727886b), but have not heard much about it.

Myth
07-05-2007, 05:00 PM
Well fine then, I'll push the barrow for Mepis :p

Jen
07-05-2007, 05:10 PM
PressF1 unofficial FAQ: What distribution will suit me (http://faqf1.net.nz/index.php?title=What_is_Linux#What_distribution_wi ll_suit_me)

kjaada
07-05-2007, 05:13 PM
I do not want to get in to a debate but I have tried many linux OS's over many years starting with Mandrake about 1989 and I can remember 11 that have come since and I have to say Mepis was the most difficult a couple of years back when I tried it.Not newbee stuff at all.If we want to push linux then OS's that are near windows like are the best for a transition period
to get aquainted.

memphis
07-05-2007, 06:50 PM
Hay Brooko, great post and good one for posting those links,:thumbs::thumbs:

jabbapam
07-05-2007, 07:26 PM
Wow!
Theres alot to think about. However it's not cost anything if i chop and change.
Thank you for your replies. I tried today to load ubuntu, but it seemed to get stuck after i clicked 'next' on the personal details page.

Pete O'Neil
07-05-2007, 07:29 PM
Its been a while since I've used Linux, but imagine it would be difficult to find an equivalent program to DVD Shrink under Linux? I would have thought most linux g33ks would prefer to manually rip and encode their dvds.

Murray P
07-05-2007, 07:55 PM
Crikey, sorry Jabbapam, this is soooooo embarrassing. Here was I having an inane debate about dangerous mutts in the chat forum and left this cry for help to the mutts on this side. :blush:


Jabbapam, accept no imposters, don't be misled by pettifoggers, shysters and malcontent's, the only distro you need, the only distro you want, the only distro you should accept, is Mepis. :thumbs:

Fact.



Pete, you could run DVD Shrink under Wine. But I wouldn't bother, there are plenty of alternatives. http://k9copy.sourceforge.net/

Erayd
07-05-2007, 08:44 PM
Its been a while since I've used Linux, but imagine it would be difficult to find an equivalent program to DVD Shrink under Linux? I would have thought most linux g33ks would prefer to manually rip and encode their dvds.I can't remember what it's called, but there is definitely an equivalent.

mikebartnz
07-05-2007, 09:15 PM
Jabbapam, accept no imposters, don't be misled by pettifoggers, shysters and malcontent's, the only distro you need, the only distro you want, the only distro you should accept, is Mepis. :thumbs:

Fact.
No Murray it is PCLinuxOS:p

Brooko
07-05-2007, 09:48 PM
Wow!
Theres alot to think about. However it's not cost anything if i chop and change.
Thank you for your replies. I tried today to load ubuntu, but it seemed to get stuck after i clicked 'next' on the personal details page.

Jabbapam - can't help you with this - but definitely keep trying. If Ubuntu live doesn't work - try with others. I had one failure with e-live - just wouldn't work with my hardware for some reason. Definitely try one of the other distros - am sure you will find something that both works, and that you're comfortable with.

If you stick with the live CDs for a start you can try a lot of different flavours & see which suits you best :thumbs:

dugimodo
08-05-2007, 10:15 AM
Try dick smiths, they sell 2 or 3 versions of linux cheap. They are basically the free ones you can download and you are paying for the disk / packaging.

I got 3 different versions including 2 live CD's for a grand total of $12. Probably not everyones favourite versions but an easy way to start.

I got Knoppix, Mandrake, and another modular live distro I can't recall the name of.

As others have said Knoppix is a fairly painless way to try linux out, just boot of the CD and way you go - if you have broadband over Ethernet connection it will be able to browse the net and read E-mail in no time.

I have toyed with Linux several times but always found the learning curve / usefullness out of the box a little too severe for my liking

Erayd
08-05-2007, 10:37 AM
The DSE disks are often out of date though - certainly the ones in the Lower Hutt store are anyway.

Chilling_Silence
08-05-2007, 11:07 AM
Im with Bletch. While its nice that DSE _do_ sell Linux, you're best off downloading the latest version, or getting it mailed. In linux, things are constantly improving, and there are always reasons why its worth having the latest version of the Distro :)

jabbapam
08-05-2007, 04:29 PM
I have loaded suse10.2, which was recommended by kjaada, i like it sofar. But I can't get connected to the internet with my belkin wireless G pci card.

During installation it said that it needed a firmware upgrade?? Then after installation it said that the DHCP was already in use.

Can anyone help me with this?

kjaada
08-05-2007, 05:29 PM
Put Suse Wireless into Google and all will be revealed.

jabbapam
08-05-2007, 07:11 PM
Oh boy, this is harder than i thought.
I've tried installing ndiswrapper and the belkin files. But cant get the script to work when I type it into terminal. this is what I was worried about when i started this little project.

I don't understand how to do this terminal stuff at all.

What can I do!?

Chilling_Silence
08-05-2007, 08:26 PM
IIRC Ubuntu comes with ndiswrapper & stuff all setup ;)

Brooko
08-05-2007, 09:14 PM
Jaddapam,

OK first - take a deep breath. I found for someone who doesn't know anything about Linux (and I still know very little) that the first thing is to try not to get too frustrated. It's a little like learning to walk again - looks easy (and actually is) you just need to take time learning the basics.

Next - try googling the problem and see if these is anything that comes from the query. Next - join the Suse forums and search there. If you can't find anything - go to the newbie section and ask the question. One thing I've found so far is that Linux forums from virtually every distro are really helpful.

If you still can't get a solution - then still try other live CDs. Maybe Suse isn't going to be perfect for you. I tried it and really like the feel - but had problems setting up X with my vid card - so kept trying others. I'll go back to Suse once I'm more confident.

Suggest maybe Knoppix or Mepis? If they fire up OK from CD and recognise all your hardware then at least you're halfway home.

Once you do get going - try this link Linux Lessons (http://www.linux.org/lessons/). It has some online courses for Linux & may help with getting to know the terminal etc.

Sorry I can't help with the specific Suse problem.

mikebartnz
08-05-2007, 09:45 PM
The DSE disks are often out of date though - certainly the ones in the Lower Hutt store are anyway.
I would agree they are often 1 or 2 versions out so I don't see the point of getting them.

kjaada
09-05-2007, 07:04 AM
Jaddapam,

OK first - take a deep breath. I found for someone who doesn't know anything about Linux (and I still know very little) that the first thing is to try not to get too frustrated. It's a little like learning to walk again - looks easy (and actually is) you just need to take time learning the basics.

Next - try googling the problem and see if these is anything that comes from the query. Next - join the Suse forums and search there. If you can't find anything - go to the newbie section and ask the question. One thing I've found so far is that Linux forums from virtually every distro are really helpful.

If you still can't get a solution - then still try other live CDs. Maybe Suse isn't going to be perfect for you. I tried it and really like the feel - but had problems setting up X with my vid card - so kept trying others. I'll go back to Suse once I'm more confident.

Suggest maybe Knoppix or Mepis? If they fire up OK from CD and recognise all your hardware then at least you're halfway home.

Once you do get going - try this link Linux Lessons (http://www.linux.org/lessons/). It has some online courses for Linux & may help with getting to know the terminal etc.

Sorry I can't help with the specific Suse problem.

That is a great reply you go to head of the class.
kjaada

Faded_Mantis
10-05-2007, 01:27 AM
I agree with those who have said that Xandros 3.02 OCE (free edition) is the most windows like Linux, which makes it easy to cross over, but it's not really like any of the other linux's in the way it feels to use.

I found the Linux Distribution Chooser (http://www.zegeniestudios.net/ldc/index.php?firsttime=true) to be VERY useful.

It has a set of questions which it tailors to you. For example if you say you have limited computer knowledge it will focus on easier linux's and ask you easier questions. If you say you have alot of knowledge it will ask very complicated questions to find the best advanced linux for you.

I used it over a year ago when I chose Xandros 3.02 OCE, and have used it many times since.