Best Linux flavor for a newbie

Ok guys I just bought a new 160gb hardrive so Im thinking of getting linux. What flavor of linux do you guys think is best for a person who has never used linux before.
I am looking for the following things:

  1. Easy installation
  2. Can compile C++, Python, Java (without downlaoding any compilers from the net)
  3. Very Stable
  4. Friendly UI

Redhat or SuSe, I’d say, although I’m not a Linux user. However, from what I’ve gathered, those two are the most windoze-user-friendly and are best documented.

Hmm. What about Fedora? Is that a newer version of Fedora or is it a different flavor?

AFAIK, Redhat is based on Fedora, but I’m not sure about SuSe. Ask a Linux zealot for more info…

ubuntu all the way.
You’ll have to download packages to be able to compile but the process is automated, it’ll take something like 10sec for download and installation… :slight_smile:

Actually, according to chronology, it’s the other way around. Fedora is Red Hat’s community project. Red Hat sells and supports a commercial distro. Fedora is a community project that grew from that when Red Hat decided to draw a line between their commercial distribution and their public distribution.

My recommendation: try a couple of 'em and see which one fits you best. Ubuntu, Knoppix, and Fedora seem to be the most popular with first-timers… but try one of the other ones, too, and find out for yourself. Quite a few distributions have live CDs, so you don’t even have to worry about formatting and reformatting your new hard drive if you don’t want to.

get Gentoo.

craziest distro ever.

General Statement:
My experience as a Linux newbie with SuSE was good at first and has quickly gone downhill to the point that I can no longer use it.

I would recommend a distro that forces you to learn something during installation. SuSE is so easy it left me dumb and I ruined it beyond the point I can fix it. So now I have 18 gigabytes available to windows on a 40 gb harddrive because I don’t know how to get rid of a broken linux install… Makes me so mad. This is a fairly big drive, and I only have 2 gb of empty space left. grr.

IMO, Gentoo is too complicated, Fedora too buggy and inconsistant, Suse and Knoppix rely on KDE, which I despise.
Check out Ubuntu, it’s a great distro. It uses Gnome and Apt.

in eply to plantperson’s note, use archlinux if you want to be forced to learn fast, plsu, when it’s all installed, it’s very simple to use, even if you have to use the commandline a bit.

Hmm ubuntu sounds good …well popular atleast. So is this distro the least buggiest or easiest to learn or what? Also how is it differnt from kubuntu?

kubuntu uses a different desktop, kde, instead of gnome, ubuntu is buggy, slow, but easy to learn and very user friendly.

Hmm. Well Ive got a little problem. My current HD (40gb) has XP on it. When I add my new HD, I want my current HD to have linux and the new one to have XP.

Does anyone how I can get this done?

mirror it?

On the contrary, I’ve never run into a stability problem with Ubuntu except for when trying to run Steam with Wine. I think that was my fault though. Just dont upgrade to the new release (Breezy Badger) until it is actually released… it’s still in development. Ubuntu also has a very nice community, and has very user-friendly how-to’s and documentation.

Also, it takes forever, but they’ll send you cd’s for free.

As for the drive issue, I’m sure there are utilities that will exactly copy the contents of one hard drive to another… might try googling for it.

If I understand your question correctly, why not just install Windoze XP on your new HD, make sure all your apps have been configured on the new HD correctly, then when you install Linux have it re-format the old HD. You can also use a partitioning tool (like Partition Magic) to make sure the old HD is in the right format.

As for what distro to use, I agree with the folks that say try several and pick the one you like the best. Ubuntu, Suse, and Debian are pretty cool. I settled on Kanotix because it’s installation was flawless on both my machines. Kanotix uses KDE (which I’ve learned to like) but I used to be more of a Gnome fan (which is what Ubuntu uses).

I -do not- agree with the folks who advocate distros that require you “learn” while installation for newbies. I think this will scare off more newbies and lead to fewer successful installations. IMHO, a newbie is better off with a distro that makes installation (and the transition to Linux) as easy as possible. Once you’ve got the hang of it, then I think digging into one of the more powerful & customizable distros may be a good idea.

Just the humble opinion of a fellow Windoze => Linux convert…


I’ve been using SUSE for a while and I quite like it. It’s also very friendly to Linux newbies. :smiley:

and another thing that comes to mind is compatibility with hardware… I have a wireless network card which is my gateway to the net :smiley:
If my distro wont support the card then there will be no point in getting it… so which distro has the best support for hardware?

i suggest you give ubuntu a try.
it’s nice, simple and easily extendable (if that’s a word).
fast and easy to install… and you end up with clean desktop…

plantperson: I don’t think it’s Suse’s fault if you managed to break it. any OS is easy to break if you don’t know what you are doing.

installing OS and software is not meant to teach you how to use your system… this is the first time I hear that installation was TOO EASY, whereas usually linux has been said to be too hard to install. uhhuh.

so how is it exactly broken?

and removing broken linux installation is just a matter of formatting the partition. (actually something installation teaches you about)


if it’s a intel / centrino / nokia wifi, ubuntu will support it out of the box and most distros will. If it is a broadcom / apple you will have to setup ndiswrapper, because there is no linux drivers. You should search on google “name of your material + linux + ubuntu” or you can just see if it works with the liveCD.

in case you need ndiswrapper there is an howto here :|(ndiswrapper)