OT-Which version of Linux is best?

After discoving a copy of Mandrake 9.1 that a friend had given me was
full of corrupted files...sigh... Im looking for another copy of some
sort of Linux to install on an old Compaq 350mhz 128meg computer.
Ive been putzing around with run from CD Knoppix, which is basicly a
Debian distro and have managed to configure a server, get on line etc
though finding a newsgroup reader has me stumped at the moment..shrug.
Anyways...does anyone have and preferences in a Linux distro for a
beginner? Ive got highspeed access at a friends shop and can download
and burn any of the current versions of Linux
Which one is best, with the simplest learning curve, best hardware
detection ans so forth?
"Pax Americana is a philosophy. Hardly an empire.
Making sure other people play nice and dont kill each other (and us)
off in job lots is hardly empire building, particularly when you give
them self determination under "play nice" rules.
Think of it as having your older brother knock the shit out of you
for torturing the cat." Gunner
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With a machine of that vintage, most of the current distro's will work ok although I would advise against using KDE or GNOME. If you want a graphical desktop, choose a lightweight one (FVWM is pretty good)
Thunderbird runs OK on linux/Xwindows.
The best thing to do is get a LiveCD distro similar to the Knoppix you've already played with, that way you can try it out without having to install on a hard drive.
There is a comprehensive list of LiveCD distros at
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Take a look and pick a few to try.
Mandrake (now Mandriva) is still one of the best, if I were you I'd go for Mandrake 10.1 rather than the just released Mandriva SE2005.
You're welcome.
Reply to
Jamie Hart
Have a look at Xandros. One bootable CD; sets up a virtual disk in memory and leaves your hard disk alone. Detects all the hardware I have ever tried it with. Mozilla suite, the GIMP, Open Office and Zine video player all included. If you like it, you can do a hard disk install and add any Debian packages you want. You can use apt-get to keep the whole distribution (not just the operating system) updated. Nothing to lose, I got the disk for nothing from a local electronics shop.
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Gunner i Hope you think about Novel SuSe Linux 9.x series it works nicely for me. Available at Best Buys As for your newsgroup reader I Like thunderbird myself Bit tricky to install for new guy on the system but you get a nice reader. and it has spam filters and handles Email as well. set up is a breeze.
I sword off mandrake after version 8.2. Mandrake is now mandriva and I still wonder why they have to change their names.
If you do not like SuSe try Redhat's fedora core linux it is the most like mandrake.
Reply to
the seventh sign
I have always been a user of Redhat/Fedora Core and I am generally pleased. I even run that stuff on my linux laptop, works great.
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< snip >
There a number of distrobutions at:
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I've been using RedHat/Fedora an have had good luck with it. Fedora Core-4 is scheduled to be out June 6, you might want to wait for that.
As someone else said, use the FVWM window manager. The Gnome/KDE is really a dog.
I'm running it on a 266MZ P-3 with 128meg laptop. If you need help with FVWM let me know. There are a few tricks to get it running right.
Reply to
Gary A. Gorgen
I'd like to know also. Thanks Karl
Reply to
Karl Vorwerk
We are redhat users, but my "peripheral hearing" is leaning me towards SuSe. I think that Redhat have made some poor tactical decisions in the last while that are having the effect of eroding their position as "the dominant distribution". One of our customers (a long-standing redhat person) recently did a SuSe install, liked it quite well. This fellow is a Linux zelot, has run lots of different distros over the course of quite a few years. He doesn't even tolerate UNIX well, much less anything that starts with a W.
Adam Smith Midland, ON
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Adam Smith
Gunner wrote in news: snipped-for-privacy@4ax.com:
Although BD will beg to differ (he's a FreeBSD kinda guy), I found Fedora to be great. Installed without a hitch on an old PII, easy to get around in, intuitive. The other thing that I noticed, it is about twice as fast on that old PII as was Debian.
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As another reply posted, with a system that old, better to use one of the lightweight desktop services, anything other than KDE or Gnome, like Icewm, Blackbox, etc.
Try slrn or pan. They're a little tougher to learn, but are extremely powerful in their capabilities.
I started out with Mandrake 5 years ago, but after about 3 or 4 months, went to SuSE and have stayed with it since then. If you get the 'Pro' version boxed set, you'll get two fantastic books along with 2 DVD's (one contains all the sources, an extreme plus IMO), and 5 CD's (the CD's don't have the sources, and don't have quite as much of the 'stuff' the DVD has, but they'll get everything started just fine). If you do decide to try SuSE and need any help, holler back here and I'll e-mail you and get things going. If you really want a look at what's out there though, go to and you'll get an idea of what you might want, rather than just ideas from users of certain distro's.
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Both excellent. However, I'm working with a different distro now, based on Debian, called "ubuntu". It has a BSD-ish /usr/ports directory, so if I want to properly build a new app with all the needed prerequisites and configuration, it's as simple as: cd /usr/ports/category/toolname make install ...and it'll fetch the stable version of the tool's source, compile it with the right options, pre-install any dependancies and configure those, and ...it just works. It separates the "what should I do" (which is what I should be concentrating on) from the "I need to do all this" (which is the brainless part that just eats time).
I try lots of distros. SuSe is excellent as well, but I really like the ports idea having been transfered into the Debian and Ubunto world. By the way - Ubunto seems to be basically Debian, with newer versions of packages. Debian seems _very_ conservative (read: slow) about adding things into the build.
If you have any specific questions, feel free to email me - my address is valid.
Dave Hinz
Reply to
Dave Hinz
That's a shame. I had a free copy of Mandrake 9.1 and I really liked it, much more so than Red Hat. My first version of Linux was an early version of Slackware, which I downloaded for weeks as diskette images at 28.8. After a while I gave up, as I really don't have the time to spend with it. I saw a couple of cd's around here a few weeks ago that are just loaded with Linux-compatible software including a clone of Office (can't remember the brand name). I'm sure if I had the time to spend, I would be able to migrate away from M$ forever. Maybe you should ask around - surely someone you know has a good copy of Mandrake. It installed so easily and worked on every hardware config I had available - I was really impressed. The only slight problem I remember is that it would only do printing on a network using the Appletalk protocol. That may have changed since then.
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I've tried many distros and found Ubuntu the best.
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Count your blessings. ;)
I used to use Redhat, from which Mandrake originally forked. I started with a pre-release beta of RedHat 2.0. It was a big improvement over the Slackware I had been running since 1992. But RedHat (and the derivatives) was always a huge pain to upgrade big parts (like the main libraries). I had been putting off the upgrade to 6.0 for some time, did one system, and it was as painful as I had been dreading.
Then I tried Knoppix, soon installed it to hard disk (Knoppix is a great way to install Debian) and never looked back.
I highly recommend Debian and its derivatives.
My two top choices are knoppix or ubuntu. Both work quite well. Knoppix is closer to pure debian. But many of the debian developers are now working for ubuntu.
If there was something you did not like about Knoppix, try Ubuntu. Otherwise, if Knoppix worked for you then stick with it. Install it to hard disk, add or upgrade whatever packages you like. (Eg, mozilla-thunderbird for a mail and news client comparable to outlook express. I prefer thunderbird for e-mail, and slrn for news.)
Reply to
Sylvan Butler
On a 350 Mhz machine you could look at the XFCE desktop,
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I used this for several years on an old P133 and it served me well. Gnome/KDE will be slow on a PII/350
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dunno which is best knoppix is hard to beat for hardware detection and ease of use gets boring running slowly off CD but it does survive power and harddisk crashes
SUSE might be a good bet
but if you have the time, the inclination try slackware
it will detect little hardware automagically it will make you work hard, and curse harder
but it will do whatever you need, once it trains you to ask nicely
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Amen to that. If you really ant to get to know how linux functions, and have time and patience to spare, you could go for LFS from
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Be warned, it's not for the faint hearted, but once you've built an LFS system, troubleshooting any other distro is a piece of cake.
Reply to
Jamie Hart
The question you asked often leads to a holy war in the Linux forums. Be prepared ;-)
I use Fedora Core 3 (4 due out soon), mostly because I've used Red Hat distros commercially for a long time. I'm happy with it. My son has PCLinux, a live CD distro, that he uses on his laptop, that seems to be another good one. Definitely go with one of the more popular distros for better support. See
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for choices.
For a newsreader, Thunderbird is OK (as others suggested), but I use Pan
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As others mentioned, your machine won't perform well with a GUI running. The X Window System is a pig, and Gnome and KDE add more bloat. It will run just fine using only the command line, but that will change your choice of applications. Pine for email (supports newsgroups, too), slrn for news.
Reply to
Ron DeBlock
I used Slackware on an old 386 IBM model 80, which I'm sure is incredibly slower than 350 - and it ran like a scalded dog. There's even a version I have on diskette which I believe is called "monkey linux", sort of a subset, and text interface only. But you could run the whole computer right from a diskette and do quite a bit of stuff. IIRC, though it was very sensitive to your configuration and didn't work on a lot of machines. I really enjoyed Mandrake, even though it seemed to be sort of "Linux for Dummies". But I was a dummy when it came to Linux, so it was a good choice for me. If I found out that there is a version of Firefox for Linux, I think I might just scrap the whole M$ thing at home and go for it.
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Ooops. It wasn't Monkey that ran off of a diskette, it was Mini-Linux. I see that I have copies of both, but now I can't remember much about Monkey. I do remember that with Slackware, I settled on Joe as my text-editor of choice, much more useable than that arcane piece of nonsense that was imported from Unix - can't remember the name of it.
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