Recommend a Linux Distro(s)

I’m browsing through and I see there are quite a few to choose from. I think I’ll get a few live cd’s and see which works best. Ones I’m considering -

Mandriva one-KDE 2008 - i586 (or another version?) Does anyone know if this one is 64 bit? They’ve got 32 bit versions listed too. I don’t know why, but they’re in there.

Linspire - Another maybe. The click-and-run warehouse sounds good, but how up to date is it? Is it going to have the programs I want, the day they update?

SuSE 10.2 Live DVD

Ubuntu Studio 7.04 DVD


I use and recommend Ubuntu, especially for new linux users.
Order a free liveCD (free postage) from their site at

EDIT: you’ll get the latest version just out

EDIT2: installing programs is very easy using the add/remove program or synaptic (gui package management tool)

I use Ubuntu, recently upgraded to 7.10. Have been using it over a year now and its very stable and easy to use. I have also installed Ubuntu Studio, but frankly its got way more programs than I need. Its good to try them all out though.

Mandriva not only has a 64 bit release, but I believe that it is a full multi-lib setup. So you can run the closed source apps like Flash and Lightscribe easily.

Personally I use 64 bit Arch Linux. It’s super fast, lightweight, almost always up to date in software, easily modifiable, and has the best user community I’ve ever seen. It can be a little daunting at first because they don’t package GUI management tools. You won’t need them though once you’re comfortable.

Anyone got an idea how long it will take UbuntuStudio to upgrade to 7.10?

you can give this a try, it will give you a full blown linux install.
No partitoning and if you dont like it you can just uninstall it from the windows add and remove window.

wait a couple days and they will have the ubuntu 7.10 stuff for wubi

Live CD’s are great, but are quite slow.

wow Skottish,

Arch looks sweet!! downloading it right now :smiley:

I recommend that you (anyone really) read the installation guide. Life may seem a little unfamiliar for a little while.

Choosing a linux distro is a matter of personal preference, but it will take some time and experimentation to figure out which one suits you best.

I take it you’re not a computer newbie, but a veteran windows user. In that case I’d recommend one of the more windows like distros.
OpenSuSE is afaik the only distro where everything is managed through a gui, from install to system maintenance.
You could also try one of the instant ready linux versions like PCLinuxOS or if you want bleeding edge and everything including the kitchen sink try Sabayon

If you don’t mind the terminal you could also start with Ubuntu, but I personally prefer the distro it’s based on, Debian.

If you are really committed to linux and want to learn it as fast as possible then I recommend doing a text-based install of either Gentoo, Arch or Slackware. The documentation of those distros is very good. Not only will it result in a very clean, fast and stable linux-installation, but you’ll have a working knowledge of linux as well. Something that will take a lot more time and effort imo with the so called newbie-friendly distros.

For starters I recommend keeping a partition or harddrive on the side so you can test a few of them.

My distro of choice is Gentoo, it’s the most customizable of all and has the best and most extensive documentation of all the distros I’ve tried (I’m also counting the forum). Because it compiles the entire system according to your personal settings, it allows you to make a system tailored to your exact preference and hardware.

Before someone asks, yes I’ve tried ArchLinux.

Arch reminds me of the old debian installer, I got all the way to the very end and the boot loader failed to recognize my MBR for some reason.
I am going to try the 32bit version next.

You could try this.

My distro of choice is Arch Linux. There are some problems with updates but it’s a fast easy to keep updated distro. My fist distro I used was Slackware. I really do like Slackware based distros though.

I do run a CentOS webserver and found yum to be very good. I have found a new respect for RPMs. Where as in Arch Linux if you have a bad update it’s hard to go back. With RPMs and probably others it does allow you to revert to previous versions. So that might just be because of my experiences, but you could always try Fedora Core (which is the desktop version whereas CentOS is basically Red Hat Enterprise Linux, a server distro).

Jeremy Ray,

I highly recommend Arch if you have a 686 or x86_64 processor and have a good Internet connection. It will do two things. First, you will end up with a modern, blazing fast distro that’s easily comparable to Gentoo in performance without having to build everything yourself when you don’t feel like it. Second, it will teach you about Linux.

I started to use Linux exclusively around 10 years ago. Up until I installed Arch, I really didn’t know anything about Linux. When any big problem came up, I always reinstalled. It’s a really dumb way to do things.

I finally got fed up with being a Linux idiot. I needed to learn how to fix things, as well as having an operating system that would leverage the power of my hardware. And I didn’t want to go endlessly into the world of compiling things. Searching for a very short while brought me to Arch.

I’ve used Arch exclusively since June of 2006. In the process, I’ve learned a great deal about repairing, optimizing, and modifying Linux boxes. This box runs beautifully, and I have almost no problems anymore. And when I do, I can usually fix them with little effort. All of this using a distro that updates nearly every piece of software as soon as it’s released.

The Arch community is awesome. Their knowledge, talent, and will to help is simply amazing. The forum mods will not allow the stupidity that’s so rampant here in ‘Off Topic’ to exist. It’s all about cooperation, knowledge, and respect. Check it out:

I may have to think about this. The fact is, I don’t want to learn Linux. I want to run Blender and GIMP. I’m not interested in the technical aspects of computing.

If I were you, I’d totally go with Ubuntu. With the right hardware, everything just kinda falls into place. The latest Gimp release candidate (2.4 RC3) is installed by default in 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon) and you can get the Blender .deb from

There will be a little bit of a learning curve but, I think Ubuntu has lessened that the most of all the distros. I personally play around with a lot of them but I always use Ubuntu as my main because it just works.

If you’re not looking to learn about linux and just want to use it. I’d go with Ubuntu or Fedora Core. I’m biased to Fedora Core because I’m familiar with CentOS but either way they’re both newbie friendly. Especially (from what I’m told) Ubuntu is newb friendly.

Once you’re comfortable with Ubuntu and you do want to learn about how to run linux, definitely go with Arch Linux or Slackware (my favorites). Untill then, Ubuntu is probably the distro you want to go with.

Eventhough Novell made a deal with Microsoft that is frowned upon (understatement) by the GNU-community, I recommend you try OpenSuSE. It is most likely the most polished linux out there and also will be a lot less of a culture-shock when migrating from windows.

Ubuntu more closely resembles Macintosh and afaik it also doesn’t have the central gui for everything like OpenSuSE has. Ubuntu/Debian does fit the unix-feel more by adhering to the one tool for each job philosophy.

If you want an instant-ready Linux-distro, with the least manual intervention, but with 3d and all the bleeding-edge apps, then only two distros spring to mind: Sabayon-linux and PCLinuxOS. These two offer proprietary drivers for ATI and NVIDIA right out of the box including support for window-codecs, something that neither OpenSuSE nor Ubuntu does. Come to think of it, Windows hardly includes any drivers and most certainly not the proprietary ones.

Sabayon doesn’t have a gui for maintenance and updates, but the idea is that no user intevention is required and everything should just work out of the box. When a new releases is published you simply install it on top of your current installation.

PCLinuxOS has a nice gui for just about everything, but requires you to install a package (should still be easier than installing codecs in windows) to enable encrypted dvd-playback.

Ordered live cd’s for Mandriva, Suse, PCLinuxOS, and Sabayon. Hopefully at least one of these will recognize my modem out of the box, and hopefully it will be one that can also install to hard drive.

Thanks for your help.

kinda surprised you didn’t get Ubuntu but it looks like PCLinuxOS is Debian based like Ubuntu is… I believe both Mandriva and SuSE are RPM based distros and IMO package management in RPM distros has always been a nightmare… that is the sole reason I don’t use SuSE myself otherwise it rocks. I think Sabayon is a little more hardcore… it’s based on Gentoo and getting new packages for stuff requires a bit more work than distros that use RPM or DEB.

I’ve had Ubuntu Edgey Eft “installed” for a year. I was left a little less than impressed by Ubuntu. It didn’t recognize much of anything, and still doesn’t, because I gave up on it after I couldn’t get it to run an external serial modem (which I’m using under Windows now, and used with Mandrake in the past).

It also didn’t come with L.A.M.E - why would you want an mp3 player installed and not have L.A.M.E. installed?

There must be something to Ubuntu for it to be as popular as it is, but that something is lost on me.

Umm, lots of linux distro (including ubuntu and if I recall correctly, mandriva and suse as well a couple of years back) dont include LAME and other reverse engineered media codecs in the default install as their legality is questionable in some countries.
It was actually really simple to get LAME working in edgy and since Ubuntu Feisty this has been fixed completely as the media player will ask you whether or not to download the codec packages.