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Linux users?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by embellisher, Mar 12, 2006.


  1. Yup. I keep a partition around too, although I don't use it too much. Mostly just when I want to play Halo or one of the Thief games.

    The best disto to start with depends on what you're looking for.

    Ubuntu is a very popular distro these days. Its approach is to do the same things that other mainstream OSes do, but with more panache. It focuses on having an attractive desktop and "just working" (although that's a bit of a pipe dream where computers are concerned). Still, the idea is that it's for non-technical users. Not that a technical user couldn't be happy with it, but more technical people tend to prefer quirky and customized setups that the average person would not put up with. Kubuntu is pretty much the same, but it uses KDE for its desktop environment rather than Gnome.

    In all honesty, most distros are pretty similar. The big choice you want to think about is KDE versus Gnome (or neither). Those two are responsible for whatever graphical interface your computer gives you. Gnome tries to be simple and attractive, whereas KDE is more about being configurable (it's a little over the top at times). I lean towards KDE, because it has some neat features like Kparts, which are program components that can be embedded in other programs, and KIOSlaves, which make all sorts of things available through the file manager. An audio CD will show up as a CD containing audio in a few formats which you can just copy to your computer when you want to rip them, for example. Gnome is nice too though.

    One thing to keep in mind is that no matter whether you use KDE or Gnome, your desktop environment is just a bunch of programs running. It's not tied in to the rest of the system at a low level like the Windows or Mac UI is. If you like, you can uninstall Gnome and add KDE, and vice versa, or they can coexist on the same system mostly peacefully.

    There is an X windows server that provides a place for programs to draw, and there is a window manager that draws window decorations (title bars and window borders) and otherwise manages windows on your screen, letting you move and resize them. Usually they provide a task bar or its equivalent as well. KDE and Gnome go one step further and provide a whole suite of system configuration tools, extra features, and useful applications. They're not just window managers; they're full blown desktop environments. Which is cool, if that's what you want.

    Your other choice is to just run X and a simple window manager. (Technically, you could run neither, but you probably don't want to do that all the time. Even I run X most of the time. Ever try browsing the web in text mode? Yuck.) This is what I do. KDE and Gnome are nice, but that's a lot of stuff to be running. I prefer a lean system, so I just run X with a lightweight window manager, even though my system could easily handle more. Running all that stuff just offends my sensibilities.

    Like I said, most distros are about the same. There are exceptions though. Gentoo is probably the major one. Rather than offering pre-compiled packages for everything, you download the source code and compile everything. It's popular with system tuning freaks since you can pick the compiler options that you think will make the software run best on your system, as well as leaving out some features you don't want.

    Gentoo doesn't start you off with a bunch of software that you don't want, which is neat, but compiling everything, even with a package manager to help out, is a lot of trouble to go to just to get a system up and running.

    Personally, I run Arch Linux, a distro that's similar in some ways to Gentoo, but which is based on pre-compiled software. Arch's approach is to start with a minimal base system, just about enough to edit some text files, compile some software, and use the package manager to install everything else you want.

    If you don't mind using a more complicated system, I recommend going with Ubuntu or Kubuntu, depending on whether you want KDE or Gnome. If you like the sound of a simpler system, then I highly recommend Arch Linux. Take a look at the install guide to see if you think you'd be comfortable doing it. I suppose it might be difficult to know what to install if you don't know what programs you want, so playing with some Live CDs first to learn about Linux software might be a good idea.

    Information overload yet?
     
  2. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    East Bay, CA
    Hey lemur821--how's your experience with Arch's stability? I installed it a couple of times and found their packages of both Gnome and KDE to be pretty buggy (this was about a year ago). Also the Arch forum is without a doubt the nastiest/snobbiest Linux forum I've come across, filled with a bunch of l33t knowitalls (who do know a lot).

    Arch was great when I was just using XFCE4 and some of the KDE libraries, and pacman is one of the best package managers out there. Arch is definitely a distro that does not hold your hand--configuration is done by editing text files, not fancy GUI interfaces.
     
  3. However, Portage (Gentoo's program installer/compiler interface) is probably one of the most robust package handlers in the Linux world (it automatically calculates dependencies, downloads ALL appropriate software, and installs/compiles it in the correct order from source, optimized for your system)...it is the most ingenious Linux innovation I have come across...I am an avid Gentoo believer (and system tuning freak)!
     
  4. Yvon

    Yvon Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2000
    Montreal, Canada
    Is there any way to download gentoo with a GUI?

    I am ok with linux, but install everything from codes only, it's a bit too much to ask :)
     
  5. If you download the Gentoo LiveCD, it comes with a very nicely designed command line interface (it might even be snazzier than when I installed it a year ago) with help support to get you started...all the information on installation you will ever need is on their site...they walk you through install very thoroughly and their documentation pages are second to none...gentoo.org is very well thought out. Once installed, just type "emerge KDE" or "emerge GNOME" and let it compile overnight...voila, you have a fully optimized OS GUI environment.

    From gentoo-portage.com, you can look up any software available for Gentoo...simply type "emerge + the name of the software as read on gentoo-portage.com" and voila, dependencies are automatically calculated, source code is automatically downloaded, and things are automatically compiled for you...no mess, no fuss...SWEET!
     
  6. I haven't had any stability problems, although I haven't tried Gnome or KDE with Arch. I've found the forumites to be a fairly helpful bunch, if a bit opinionated. Maybe I'm just abrasive enough to blend in. :eek:

    I hear they've got a full desktop on their LiveCD now. Now you can browse the web and watch cryptic compilation messages at the same time!
     
  7. Beautiful!!! You used to have to download Knoppix and install Gentoo from there to do that...this new LiveCD rules! Now there are absolutely no excuses for you guys not to try the greatest Linux distro ever coded (IMHO). :bassist:
     
  8. Yvon

    Yvon Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2000
    Montreal, Canada
    So if I understand well, the emerge command is similar to the apt-get install from debian?
     
  9. Yes, although I feel it's dependency resolution is far superior and it builds each application from code optimised for your particular system.
     
  10. ebozzz

    ebozzz Supporting Member

    May 17, 2001
    Colorado
    I am soon to be a Ubuntu user. Version 6.06 is headed my way. What's the issue with some of you not liking Ubuntu for server use? I found a Dell Poweredge 2300 at a garage sale for next to nothing . I plan to set up a network in my home for the purpose of aiding my educational studies. I am back in school...:eek:
     
  11. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize!

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Ubuntu is designed to be a desktop, not a server distro. It has way too many bells and whistles that a server doesn't need. You can use it of course, it is just not the best choice.
     
  12. ebozzz

    ebozzz Supporting Member

    May 17, 2001
    Colorado
    Sean,

    Thanks for the reply. Now is this an earlier version or are we talking about the current distro (Ubuntu 6.06 LTS Server Edition)? I still have lots to learn about the OS but from what I have read Ubuntu is Debian based. The Ubuntu site actually has the following quote ........

    http://www.ubuntu.com/server

    Can you elaborate on what you feel isn't true about that quote?
     
  13. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize!

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    I have never *heard* of the server edition :meh: According to the website they have had it for a year now. So I take back what I said about Ubuntu being a desktop only distro.

    Go wild and have fun!
     
  14. ebozzz

    ebozzz Supporting Member

    May 17, 2001
    Colorado
    [adam sandler voice] I'm gonna do it! [/adam sandler voice]

    If all they had at time that you tried it was a desktop OS I can understand why you felt that it wasn't the best option. Now I don't know how Ubuntu compares to the other distros but at this point my learning curve is pretty steep. I need all of the support that I can get. There's a local Ubuntu chapter here that I have already had contact with and the other forms of support (forums, etc.) seem to suit me.

    Realistically, I envision myself running other distros in the future. For now I intend to run one of my desktops as a dual-boot and the others strictly with Linux. I haven't totally decided on the server as of yet. Ubuntu will be installed but I may use a dual-boot system on it as well. That is if I can find a reasonably priced Windows 2003 Server OS for sale. ;) Since I am changing career paths and pursuing a Computer Science degree, dual-booting could be used to enhance my learning.
     
  15. ebozzz

    ebozzz Supporting Member

    May 17, 2001
    Colorado
    The Ubuntu people seem to be pretty serious about developing a means of using Ubuntu as a DAW. Check it....

    Ubuntu Studio
     
  16. Trevor.A

    Trevor.A

    Jan 2, 2005
    Lubbock, TX
    linux is awesome
    that's all there is to say
     
  17. irjason

    irjason In Memoriam

    Nov 17, 2001
    Louisville, KY
    Thanks for pointing that out. I'm going to give some of it a try. Right now I'm mostly using my ubuntu PC as an SSH gateway so I can remote into my home network for work.
     
  18. Yvon

    Yvon Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2000
    Montreal, Canada
    I'm trying to install limux on my new pc. But I seem to have a problem with my dvd rom.
    It's says that it cannot mount the dvd rom. Or with Ubuntu that I have an uncommon dvd rom and I need a floppy. Or with memtest it says that oakcdrom.sys loading failed.


    Any body have an idea?


    Thank you
     
  19. irjason

    irjason In Memoriam

    Nov 17, 2001
    Louisville, KY
    Your question is out of my league at this point, but here are a few posts from the Ubuntu forum about problems booting from the DVD. Maybe these will help. If not you can always ask on there. Whenever I have asked a question I've usually gotten help.
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=208947&highlight=dvd+won't+boot
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=120697&highlight=dvd+won't+boot
     
  20. ebozzz

    ebozzz Supporting Member

    May 17, 2001
    Colorado
    Well, I finally got my Ubuntu discs. Since receiving them I have been unable to install the server OS on my old Dell PowerEdge 2300. Further research revealed that the support for PERC 2 & PERC 3 RAID controllers is not available in Linux kernel 2.6 which Ubuntu has. I've got the PERC 2/SC RAID controller.So, I guess if I want a server OS it's going to be something else. :( :rollno:

    I was able to get myself a copy of Windows Server 2003 at a great price ;) and I have my drives partitioned and ready to receive the Linux server OS when I am able to find one that will work for my configuration. Debian has been suggested along with Red Hat 9. I've yet to find anyone who is running either on the same model Dell.

    I do have Ubuntu installed on my desktops and love it. It was very easy install (smooth & fast). Everything auto-detected and I was on the net immediately after without having to do any configuring. I do have ethernet cards in all of my boxes.

    What surprised me was that my wife and kids actually like the OS. I was getting myself prepared for the resistance that I was sure would come. I was pleasantly surprised after letting them try it that they thought it was cool. My kids really liked the educational software that is available like Kalzium. My wife just wants to be able to have her productivity suite and OpenOffice fit the bill.
     

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