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Good day, I have been using Linux on and off for the past 6 months, I have tried Redhat 9, which I enjoyed however decided I wanted another distro to ...
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  1. #1
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    Which distro do you suggest I use?


    Good day, I have been using Linux on and off for the past 6 months, I have tried Redhat 9, which I enjoyed however decided I wanted another distro to use which was mainstream, one that was fast, required that you have a little knowledge or you would need to learn what to do your self in order to maintain your system manually (Through configuration files, not easy to use setup). From this I come across Slackware, it was advised to me at the time, however now 10.0 has come along, and I love it, I find it nice and fast but I a beginning to see that the file structure isn't all that close to that of Fedora for example, which tends to be one of the main Distros installed on servers.

    I wish to become a Linux administrator, very much into networking so I wish to manage servers, so this requires I know Linux well, a lot of distros for that matter.

    So my question is:

    Which distro would you recommend to someone that wants to learn well, not wanting jobs to be completed for him, wishing to do everything manually - for example not allowing a package manager to install applications, but to compile them from source (Faster anyway). One that relates to the majority of other distros such as Fedora, Redhat (Enterprise & 9.0), CentOS.

    I was told Debian would be beneficial, and also FreeBSD, but with the little knowledge that I have isn't Debian a little outdated and FreeBSD is not Linux however another version of *NIX under the GNU?

    Thank you for reading this

    Regards

    DislexiK

  2. #2
    Linux Guru techieMoe's Avatar
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    Re: Which distro do you suggest I use?

    Quote Originally Posted by DislexiK
    Which distro would you recommend to someone that wants to learn well, not wanting jobs to be completed for him, wishing to do everything manually - for example not allowing a package manager to install applications, but to compile them from source (Faster anyway).
    That pretty much describes Gentoo. It takes a long time to set up a system, but you learn a whole lot about how Linux and your system itself works. It also compiles everything from source.

    I was told Debian would be beneficial, and also FreeBSD, but with the little knowledge that I have isn't Debian a little outdated and FreeBSD is not Linux however another version of *NIX under the GNU?
    Debian is a heavily "quality-centric" distribution that doesn't release new versions very often because they want to make sure that every single package interacts correctly with every other and that it runs in 40 different languages and (around) 15 different computer architectures.

    The current "stable" release is Woody, which is a little long in the tooth. The "unstable" Sarge release is actually quite stable in my experience, and it's close to becoming the new "stable".

    *BSD is a non-Linux distribution based on Berkeley UNIX, although with some work you can get most all Linux applications to run on it. I've never been a fan of it because I use bleeding edge hardware and *BSD doesn't release very often either. Also, *BSD is not part of GNU (Gnu's Not Unix) because BSD *is* UNIX. It's licensed under the BSD license which does not mandate the redistribution of code for derivative works. Hope that helps.
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    techieMoe,

    Thanks for the reply. Would you say Gentoo is the way to go then? I am not bothered abou tthe amount of time it takes to install, more about ho wmuch I learn, how much it relates to other distros.

    From what you say, and what I have read previously Gentoo is extremly fast, takes a little while to get used to it and uses ports to install software, do you still have the abilityt o compile from source, the reason I ask is, I feel allowing "something else" to install your software for you (Such as the ports system, and up2date on Fedora etc) is a sense of cheating, it may sound a little off putting however I prefer to do things my self.

    Maybe I should research more about Gentoo, and give it a try this weekend.

    Kind Regards

    DislexiK

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    Linux Guru techieMoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DislexiK
    Would you say Gentoo is the way to go then? I am not bothered abou tthe amount of time it takes to install, more about ho wmuch I learn, how much it relates to other distros.
    From the distros I've tried, if you want to learn a lot and have lots of time on your hands, Gentoo is probably your best bet.

    From what you say, and what I have read previously Gentoo is extremly fast, takes a little while to get used to it and uses ports to install software, do you still have the abilityt o compile from source, the reason I ask is, I feel allowing "something else" to install your software for you (Such as the ports system, and up2date on Fedora etc) is a sense of cheating, it may sound a little off putting however I prefer to do things my self.
    Well, gentoo uses the portage system, which is similar to apt-get or yum in that it handles dependency problems for you, but it still compiles everything from source code. Apt-get and yum (the backend of up2date) download precompiled packages (DEBs and RPMs, respectively).

    If what you want to do is actually download tarballs for everything and compile from strict source, you can still use Gentoo to get your system working (i.e. get a kernel and terminal working) and compile everything else on your own, or you could try Linux From Scratch.

    It's not a distro, more like a book that tells you how to download and compile EVERYTHING yourself. Personally, I think you should stick with Gentoo because you'll learn an awful lot and when you get tired of doing everything yourself (it will happen eventually), the portage system is there to do the work for you should you choose to use it. With LFS, you're stuck installing from scratch as long as you use the system.
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    Ok, Gentoo is looking more and more attractive to my self, however I do have a quick question, in all ditros does the file structure change, for example in Slackware the main network settings are located in:

    /etc/rc.d/rc.inet1.conf

    However in Red Hat 9 (As an example) they are in:

    /etc/sysconfig/networking

    Hope you understand this?

    DislexiK

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    *Most* distros have a pretty standard set of files that exist in the same spots, but some have little quirky features to them. For the most part the system-critical files are all in the same place (/usr/, /bin/, /etc/), but the place where a lot of distros vary is in mounting. For example, every distro will have a /mnt directory but not all of them like to use it.

    SuSE for example mounts discs and drives in the /media/ directory, whereas Linspire uses /disks/. Redhat, Fedora, Slackware and most others mount everything in /mnt.

    Aside from that, I've not really seen a great deviation from distro to distro. Your X Windows config files will always be in /etc/X11, your boot information will almost always be in /boot, and your binary files and links will always be in /bin.

    Long story short, most Linuxes are nearly identical at the system level. If you have trouble finding a file in a distro, by all means ask, though.
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    Thanks for the reply,

    I guess that makes sense, jsut I feel the need to know where one thing is in one ditro and know where it is in another one. I guess they are all around the same place, and the format of the files are different, as long as you can identify them it should be fine, knowing that th enetwork settings are in /etc/sysconfig/networking for Redhat and in a slightly different location for Slackware is good, and usually the files are well annotated, I just got to know that I cannot know everything .

    Thanks for the help, will play with Gentoo this weekend, nothing better than a 3 day weekend to play with Gentoo.

    DislexiK

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    if you really want to learn as much as poss and complie everything, try LFS

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    Topic locked as the "Which distro?" question has been covered time and again...
    Their code will be beautiful, even if their desks are buried in 3 feet of crap. - esr

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