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Lately, my new mission has been getting as many people to use Linux as possible. Toward this end, I am searching for a linux distribution to show off. I wanted ...
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  1. #1
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    Seeking distribution recommendations


    Lately, my new mission has been getting as many people to use Linux as possible. Toward this end, I am searching for a linux distribution to show off. I wanted this distribution to:

    * Have a nice looking, attractive interface that can run well on an old machine. When I started this Quest, I had only known Gnome and KDE and felt KDE would look too complicated to a non-technical Linux initiate and so I felt I had to go with Gnome. I'm open to others, however.

    * I don't care if the distribution isn't ENTIRELY free. That is, I want it to be able to play restricted formats like mp3, mpeg, avi, divx, etc. For my own personal computer, I'd prefer to use all open-source formats and in time I hope to convince others to as well, AFTER they become hard-core linux fans. I'm never going to port people from windows if their music collection has to stay behind.

    * I want it to run moderately fast on an old 256-ram machine. No matter what, it's going to be better than Windows, of course, but the faster it runs the better. The people I'm introducing this to probably won't run many things at once, but it should bootup pretty quick and the browser should respond with all possible haste.

    * Dual-booting with windows is not terribly important to me. An easy install, partitioner is. I recently discovered that I really want installation as easy as possible, including and especially everything related to GRUB.

    * I'd like it to run games. I'm screwed in this department, especially from what I hear that Wine is not easy to use. But so long as wine is included or easily available, I'm satisfied in this department. I haven't yet seen any distributions that comes with cool games.

    * It must have a live CD/DVD and/or live-USB to try out. I would prefer if the files on the computer (probably running windows at the time) could be easily accessed from the live CD/DVD/USB so that I can demo that it can actually run all the restricted formats.

    * I want it to auto detect EVERYTHING, including wireless internet. The distributions that detect and setup internet during install have always really impressed me.

    * A firewall and antivirus program would be nice. Are these included in most distributions or do they usually have to be downloaded seperately?

    * Apt-GET is my favorite program installer yet.

    * I would prefer one central "Control Center" for all of my configuration needs. A general Configuration wizard would be helpful, since doesn't everyone generally need to configure the same stuff anyway after a new install?

    So I figure to run the various restricted formats, it will need Mplayer. To be easy to use, it will need Firefox and Gnome. I thought I needed Open Office for maximum document compatibility with microsoft office. And I thought the rest would be a pipedream...

    PuppyLinux surprised me. It played almost all my restricted formats, even when running from a liveCD. Installation was annoying, but I got the hang of it after a couple attempts. It ran fast; really fast. It had an interface I hadn't heard of before that was pretty attractive. And the best part, it introduced me to the concept of Remastering a CD.

    I loved PuppyLinux. I loved that a fact that it seemed to run (almost) everything right out of the box, had internet radio all ready to go, easily got internet up (why wasn't this automatic?), and had an easy graphical program for mounting/unmounting drives (the best I've seen yet).

    Unfortunately, it froze up the second day of use and wouldn't boot-up properly afterward. So PuppyLinux will not be my distribution of choice.

    I liked what I heard about Knoppix, but I took a look out of it and it looked like it would intimidate a lot of the people I'm trying to help. Too many options, too many configuration stuff, too much stuff that makes you go "huh?", too much...

    So now I don't know what to do. Should I keep working with Puppy? Should I try to strip down and re-master Knoppix? Should I keep searching for other distros?

    I'm sure plenty of people have embarked on similiar quests. Care to share your wisdom?

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    What do you guys think of the idea of installing the Xubuntu (Xfce) interface into Linux Mint?

    I'm not even sure how easy that is to do; it's an idea I just had. I have no idea how its included programs will interact when not using Gnome.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Taltos View Post
    What do you guys think of the idea of installing the Xubuntu (Xfce) interface into Linux Mint?

    I'm not even sure how easy that is to do; it's an idea I just had. I have no idea how its included programs will interact when not using Gnome.
    isnt mint based of *buntu? wouldnt it make sense to just use xubuntu instead and add other stuff after?

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    Trusted Penguin Dapper Dan's Avatar
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    I agree with zen_dog. Everything you said describes *buntu and what is not included can be added later. Kubuntu and regular Ubuntu seem to fit the bill to me.
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  5. #5
    oz
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    You'll probably have to try a number of different distros to see which if any will meet all of your requirements. I don't think there is anyone here that can guarantee that any distro will meet all of them.

    Best of luck with it.
    oz

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    Linux Guru techieMoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Taltos View Post
    * I'd like it to run games. I'm screwed in this department, especially from what I hear that Wine is not easy to use. But so long as wine is included or easily available, I'm satisfied in this department. I haven't yet seen any distributions that comes with cool games.
    Have you tried Sabayon? It's a DVD and it comes packed with games.

    * I want it to auto detect EVERYTHING, including wireless internet. The distributions that detect and setup internet during install have always really impressed me.
    Auto-detecting wireless absolutely nothing to do with which distribution you choose and everything to do with what wireless hardware you have. If you use an Intel or Atheros chipset, chances are it will be detected and configured automatically. If you have a Broadcom, though, no such luck.

    * A firewall and antivirus program would be nice. Are these included in most distributions or do they usually have to be downloaded seperately?
    Most distributions don't include these because quite honestly they're not as mission critical on a Linux system. Sure, you can download them, but there's just not a big Linux virus market out there yet.

    I'm sure plenty of people have embarked on similiar quests. Care to share your wisdom?
    Yes, I have an ongoing quest myself. Most everything you wanted would probably be in Linux Mint. Regular Ubuntu and Xubuntu won't include your multimedia codecs, but if you have an internet connection those things can be added easily later. It's pretty much one line:

    Code:
    sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras
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    In case anyone's curious, I think I finally settled on Wolvix Hunter.

    (And for the record, Puppy wasn't broke, just confused. I typed 'startx' and it ran just fine thereafter. It's a shame that it took me three days to think fo that.)

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