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Which distribution of linux?

  1. May 18, 2007 #1
    I'm planning on installing linux on my hard drive, having never done it before, and was doing a bit of research and found out there seems to be tons of different distributions of it!
    As one without so much knowledge of such things, I was wondering if anyone had any advice on what would be a good one to install.
    I'm going to be doing astrophysics/astronomy in the not so distant future perhaps there's one that's geared more towards that field?
    Like is it better to go with something like Scientific Linux or redhat or ubuntu?

    Thanks much.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 19, 2007 #2

    Dr Transport

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    Scientific Linux is a variant of Redhat, I forget which release. Unbuntu and its related releases I have notheard too much bad about. I recently bought a laptop, had it set up in dual boot for FedoraCore and XP and it runs fine.

    Mandrake has commercialized somewhat but I have not heard if anyone is complaining. I will say that the best I have heard is Gentoo, but it is hard to get up and running unless they finally got their installer working correctly. Gentoo had the most complete list of applications ported to it that I had ever seen and makes it possible to upgrade on a weekly basis to the latest of everything you have without too much trouble.

    Now, I am not a complete expert, I dork around with Linux at home and am forced to use XP at work.
     
  4. May 19, 2007 #3
    I have no qualms in recommending Ubuntu. And for someone new to Linux, I
    would definitely suggest installing it. Yes, a few people might say that
    they had problems installing proprietary drivers and such, but my comp's
    hardware is somewhat old that I didn't have any of those problems. The
    installer of the latest version (7.04 Feisty Fawn) is supposed to have a
    Windows Migration Tool, which lets you transfer all your bookmarks, IM
    contacts etc. from XP. I haven't used it, though. Also, the Ubuntu
    Forums is a great place to seek help. Whatever questions you might have,
    I'm sure most of the them would have been answered at least twice
    earlier. :biggrin:

    And here's a site that you are bound to visit in the initial stages, if
    you do go on to install Ubuntu.
    http://www.psychocats.net/ubuntu/index.php
     
  5. May 20, 2007 #4

    ranger

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    Ubuntu is an OK distro. But the integrated installer that starts from the liveCD has been known to cause major problems for people. Especially when it comes to installing grub (bootloader). I myself have had the unfortunate experience of having several of its installations fail. The partitioning tool (gparted) also seems to be confusing for some new users, because I've had several people as me to help them with it.

    I would recommend that you use Zenwalk linux, which is based on slackware. However, it takes much of the hassles out of managing the system (most things are automatically done for you). It still retains the pkg package management system that is native to slackware, but they've added a tool called netpkg which does dependency checking. This is in some ways similar to ubuntu's apt-get system. I'm sure that you can find programs within your area of interest on the zenwalk repositories or linuxpackages.net. If you cant, drop by the zenwalk forums and request that someone make a native package!
    http://www.zenwalk.org/
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2007
  6. May 20, 2007 #5
    wish i could use XP in my office =] Forced to use linux: mandriva...not liking it all too much...the shortkeys are alot different from windows. And linux crashes on me way to often(3-4 times a day)?
     
  7. May 20, 2007 #6
    In that respect, I haven't had troubles, because I have always installed Linux on a second hard-drive. Also, I have only used the altenrate installer CD...the LiveCD runs too slowly for me. But, yes, installing a linux OS alongside XP can be a hair-raising experience to the new comer.
     
  8. May 27, 2007 #7
    Thanks so much all for the suggestions. I'm planning on doing the deed some day this coming week:biggrin:
     
  9. May 27, 2007 #8
    Yeh all newbs must do ubuntu first. Just try out others once you get the gist of it.
     
  10. May 27, 2007 #9

    graphic7

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    May I ask why you are only considering Linux as an alternative operating system to install? There are many free UNIX/UNIX-like variants out there that do not all follow Linux's mis-designs and flaws. It may be advantageous to start out on the right foot by using an operating system that respects standards and presents some level of backwards compatibility to the user for future releases of the operating system.
     
  11. May 28, 2007 #10
    http://img442.imageshack.us/img442/9898/berylkv8.jpg
     
  12. May 28, 2007 #11
  13. May 28, 2007 #12

    graphic7

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  14. May 28, 2007 #13
    ^_^

    lol yeah kinda. I like the green, but I couldn't find anything to go with it so I just left the starry background from the previous wallpaper. I don't spend much time with it in midair anyway. The green looks a lot better on its own.
     
  15. May 28, 2007 #14

    graphic7

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    No, I meant the whole concept of Beryl and Compiz, in general.
     
  16. May 28, 2007 #15
    To each his own? Now that I'm used to it, I find it hard to do without it. I'm fairly sure that's where desktop linux is going.
     
  17. May 28, 2007 #16

    graphic7

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    And I'm completely uninterested in 'desktop Linux,' which has become a wasteland for Microsoft-escapees who have a clue-level of approximately zero. None of the hardware I own is capable of running such an environment (an assortment of SPARC systems, a Tadpole, an IBM pSeries, and several peecees), and I feel that I would gain nothing by 'upgrading' [sic] to hardware that would run Compiz or Beryl. I often ask 3D desktop monkeys what advantages does it offer over a standard windowing system, and I rarely get anything but nil. (non-nil values are usually nonsense and a mis-understanding of user interfaces)
     
  18. May 28, 2007 #17
    Yeah I wonder why you rarely get anything, seeing as you ask so nicely. The answer is you're asking the wrong question & probably because you're getting old. This appeals to generally younger people who buy new computers & wonder what to do with the power that's otherwise going to waste. It's so much better than the standard windowing system that I don't even need a taskbar anymore.
     
  19. May 28, 2007 #18

    graphic7

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    Check my 'blog' in my signature. You'll see that I'm 18.
     
  20. May 28, 2007 #19
    "Probably" being the key word. Worse for you, anyway.
     
  21. May 29, 2007 #20
    If you are just starting out Fedora isn't that bad. One thing you should be ready for is that it is completely different thand running XP or Vista. Also you may have a little difficulty installing some windows programs. But there are programs like Cedega out there or WinX to help you out. I like Linux way better than Windows, I just wish there was a little more support for Gaming, other than that they have OpenSource everything and you are all set.
     
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