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Linux distros: recommendations

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by cnemikeman, Oct 2, 2004.

  1. cnemikeman


    Jun 8, 2003
    Dallas, Texas
    I've got some free time, and I'm trying to broaden my horizons and increase my linux knowledge and abilities. I've got RedHat 9 ( last release before switch to Fedora, roughly a year old) running currently. What 'flavor' do you use, recommend, and prefer? I also would like some good book recommendations for fledgling linux noobs. :) I have a Novell & Microsoft background right now. I like the looks of Suse now that Novell has it, too.........but tell me all what I need to know to really get started.


  2. RedHat webserver
    Slackware Desktop
    Just installed Debian on a 120mhz, 24meg Ram laptop. . .

    6 of one, 1/2 dozen of the other ;f
  3. vertigo7


    Feb 11, 2002
    /me likes Debian. ;f
  4. Running RH9 right now on my home desktop.
    Running FC2 (upgraded from FC1) on my laptop.

    I plan on converting RH9 desktop to FC2, then FC3 after my relocation in November.

    I like the RH variety pretty well. Maps well to my Unix experience. Fedora Core looks just like RH a far as I'm concerned.
  5. hwyhobo


    Jun 3, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    cnemikeman, what is the main purpose of your installation? How are you going to use it?
  6. HerrGlock

    HerrGlock Scouts Out CLM

    Dec 28, 2000
    Go to or other places that have distros and order a sample pack. They're usually $20-30 and you get a handful of them.

    Install each in turn and see if it makes some sense to you. If it does, that's the one you should play with.

    Now, for support it's RedHat (Fedora Core), Mandrake, SuSE, Debian.

    As asked above, what do you want to do with it?

  7. cnemikeman


    Jun 8, 2003
    Dallas, Texas
    Thanks for replies so far........ the question of 'what do I want to do with it' was mentioned-- I want to become (at least marginally) proficient with the ins and outs of it to better expand my tech skills. I'm a Novell guy at heart ( hence the cne in cnemikeman :) ) and the newest version will run on a Linux platform I want to have a handle on it.
    It is also nice to get away from being one of "Bill's boys" and branch out. Thanks to all, and more input is appreciated.

  8. bobby_w

    bobby_w Alienigena Platinum Member

    Nov 10, 2001
    South of Houston
    If you are a Netware guy then go with Suse. Novell owns them. Go sign up for the Novell tech kit they offer. They will send it to you free. I got mine and it is great with Server and desktop versions.
  9. hwyhobo


    Jun 3, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    Then I would definitely go with the Novell's SuSe kit. It is a perfect fit for your needs.
  10. cnemikeman


    Jun 8, 2003
    Dallas, Texas
    Any ideas of turn-around time on the SUSE kit? I swear I ordered 2 months back, still haven't heard a word........

  11. chevrofreak

    chevrofreak Senior Member

    Dec 27, 2001
    Billings, Montana
    Should mention that this is a Debian distro that kicks ass.
  12. Glockinhand


    Aug 13, 2004
    stick with redhat, thats what we use at work for servers

    microsoft on the desktop, rh9 for servers
    works good
  13. eljefe6


    Jun 8, 2004
    I use and recommend Mandrake Linux for newbies. It has good hardware support and is easy to setup.
  14. fastvfr

    fastvfr Ancient Tech

    Mar 28, 2001
    SW Oregon

    If you are truly interested in learning the workings of Linux, this is what I suggest:

    Get a LiveCD version to mess with; Knoppix runs KDE and is a derivative of Debian, using aptget for updates. Go for the 3.6 Knop release.

    Play with it from the CD, learn to navigate the file structure, and READ ALL THE MAN AND INFO FILES!!

    And when you are ready, you can slave in a little HDD to install it onto, with at least three partitions (one 3-5GB, for the /root directory, one of 4-8 for the /home directory, and one of 1024MB or so for swap space) and discover the joys of a full Debian install.

    After you are proficient with the Linux way of handling code, and feel comfortable with recompiling your Debian kernel, take the plunge.

    And install Slackware.

    Trust me, you'll learn Linux or you'll go nuts trying!!

    Have Fun,

  15. frefoo


    Apr 4, 2004
    Northen VA

    Being a Novell guy at heart how dare you ask this question. :)

    I am a Novell guy at heart also, I started out with RedHat 5.2 and stuck with a Redhat distro for my systems. Because that is what I know.

    That being said I purchased SuSE and installed it on my laptop. There are differences between Red-Hat and Suse that I need to get used to and figure out.

    From my expirence you will see more Red-Hat installs in the US so that would be a better distro for income/work considerations.

    Because I am a Novell fan (Netware 2.12), I will learn SuSE.

    In the US expect more jobs looking for Red-Hat. If that is not a concern check them all out, find one that you like, but look hard at SuSE since they are Novell.
  16. The best live CD and the easiest to install on the hard drive is Kanotix.The latest is Kanotix Bug Hunter 9.It's compressed on one CD and is Debian.It runs better than Knoppix.Knoppix 3.6 has sound problems and Kanotix is more up to date.Can download it here File: KANOTIX-BUG-HUNTER-09-2004.iso .719184 KB .10/04/2004 . 01:18:00 PM. Only download the first file.It's the CD.
  17. David_G17

    David_G17 /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/

    Oct 7, 2002
    i got mine pretty soon, back in september when there was a thread on here about it.
  18. MikeG22

    MikeG22 CLM

    Jun 24, 2002
    San Diego
    I am going to second Mandrake. Version 10.1 comes with everything you could possibly want to do whatever you want. Free version is 3 cd's.

    Best installer there is, good administration tools, nice package. Also, Mandrake has some really good support websites that can help you if you get stuck. Add to that you can still use rpm's if you want can be a bonus when that is all you can find for a particular piece of software.
  19. hogrider


    Apr 28, 2004
    Newport News, VA
    # Don flameproof underwear

    I'm going to counter every recommendation to date.
    If you're a techie, and
    If you're looking to expand your knowledge base...
    Stay away from the 'newbie' or 'easy' distro's.

    Debian is great for those who like it, but it'll never be mainstream (marketable skills)
    RedHat/Mandrake are mainstream, but you'll start with so many wizards & baggage that it will take 3x as long to get up to speed.
    SuSE is fine if you never plan on leaving the Novell spectrum or plan to work in Germany.

    My recommendations? Gentoo, LFS, or Slackware.
    I prefer Gentoo, but any of these distro's will force you to learn how to get around the bowels of a Linux system. The best community support (IMHO) will be found with Gentoo, followed by Slackware and LFS.

    We get many converts to Gentoo, who never realized how little they know about Linux. It's not especially difficult, but it does require you become familiar with the CLI, and understand your system.

    You're not asking for a 'joe-user' install, you're looking to learn Linux system engineering. This cannot be found in a fancy package or GUI wizard. As a former Novell guy, I can tell you I was much more effective with NDS thanks to my background with bindery mode. By the same token, you'll be much better at tracking down a problem with script, syslog, and dmesg than any 'high-level admin' with a GUI.

    Welcome to the Dark Side!