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View Poll Results: If you were to suggest a first distro to someone who has never used Linux, which would it be?

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  • Mandriva

    2 4.17%
  • Fedora

    6 12.50%
  • SuSE

    17 35.42%
  • Mepis

    3 6.25%
  • (K)Ubuntu

    8 16.67%
  • Knoppix

    4 8.33%
  • Debian

    1 2.08%
  • Linspire

    2 4.17%
  • Xandros

    4 8.33%
  • Other (please post which and why)

    1 2.08%
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Originally Posted by TruthSeeker A distro chooser quiz is great in theory, but I don't much like the ones I've seen so far. That's why I don't recommend just the ...
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  1. #21
    Linux Enthusiast aysiu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TruthSeeker
    A distro chooser quiz is great in theory, but I don't much like the ones I've seen so far.
    That's why I don't recommend just the distro chooser quizzes. They're a great option to propose (because they appeal to the lazy, who can't do any of their own research), but it's a good idea to supplement it with a link to DistroWatch, so people can see all the distros, read reviews, etc.

    Fact of the matter is that most newbies have no idea where to begin. If they have to do trial and error anyway, why not point them to a distro quiz where they can get directed to one distro that makes sense for them to try, even if it's not the perfect distro for them.

    It's better than saying, "Hey, just use ________. It works for me."

  2. #22
    Trusted Penguin Dapper Dan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aysiu
    See? Already we've already had seven different distros suggested individually. If I were a newbie, I wouldn't know whom to believe. One person says SuSE, another Mepis. Distro chooser quizzes and DistroWatch are the only ways to go on recommending distros.
    I disagree. Those who may consider using Linux might not know how to answer the distro chooser questions in a way that would best benefit them. Most will have never heard of the distro chooser at any rate. Of course you are going to have different opinions as to which distro would be best for a new user. That's the point isn't it? So new users can see the results of the poll, read the posts and consider his/her options, and have it all in one thread? I think anyone considering Linux could only be helped in their search by reading the recommendations of those of us who have tried the very distros they may be considering.
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  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by a thing
    Fedora for a Unix newb: it's only FOSS, it has tons of packages and good GTK configuration tools.
    I use Fedora Core and I am very experienced with it. It's really nice and I love it for what I need it for. But frankly, I don't think that Fedora Core is very recommendable to Newbs in its current state. These are some of the issues I wish were addressed:

    * Many commonly-expected programs and features are not available from default repositories, and only available from 3rd-party repositories (with no instructions on how to do so), including:
    ** NTFS support
    ** Mplayer, VLC, Xine, MP3 support, DVD playing, and other multimedia features
    ** ATI and Nvidia drivers

    * Stuff like Java are really difficult to install correctly (and different people have different methods to install it)

    * They do not make it obvious to the user that they should use Yum to install software (except a recent tutorial on the site posted not long ago); and there is no default GUI for it. People confuse it with stuff like Apt / Up2date / Add-Remove Packages.

    * There is what amounts to a war between two groups of repositories (Livna and what used to be fedora.us (now Fedora Extras) vs. Dag, FreshRPMS, ATrpms, NewRPMS, Dries, etc.). There are incompatibility problems when mixing these groups of repositories and it's very confusing to newbs

    * Different 3rd party "guides" and different people who help newbs on forums like this one point to different methods and different 3rd-party repos to obtain software, producing confusion and conflicts for newbs

  4. #24
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    I prefer to see new users try 2 or 3 different distros and then make up their own minds about which one to stick with. Even then it doesn't hurt to change to another distribution now and then, as our comfort level and tastes regarding Linux do tend to change after a while. The ISO downloads are free, or are easily obtainable for as low as 99 cents per CD, so there's really no reason to pick only one distro and then allow your decision on whether or not Linux is for you to be based on that single experience.

    In addition, it usually only takes about 10 to 30 minutes to do a complete install depending on the distro, and new users do develop confidence from successfully installing alternative distributions, so it only makes sense to do so.

    That said, I voted Suse since you can only select one option.

  5. #25
    Trusted Penguin Dapper Dan's Avatar
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    I agree with spoon! wholeheartedly. With FC there's just too may things you're up against right from the get-go. I use and love FC and run it on several boxes. I don't think I would have liked it as a first distro for the above stated reasons. If many of these issues were ironed out, FC would likely be one of the very best choices in my mind because it has so many really good configuration tools. That is something any new user needs and would like to have.
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  6. #26
    Linux Enthusiast aysiu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dapper Dan
    I disagree. Those who may consider using Linux might not know how to answer the distro chooser questions in a way that would best benefit them.
    Have you actually read the questions? The first question in this quiz is Do you know what a "Linux distribution" is? If you say "no," you're taken to this question: Please select what you want to know more about, from the options below
    I want to know more about "GNU/Linux"
    I want to know more about "Linux distributions"
    No thanks


    The questions aren't technical if you don't say you know things you don't really know.

    Most will have never heard of the distro chooser at any rate.
    Which is why I link to the distro chooser quizzes when people ask, "Which distro should I use?" Now they have heard of it.

    So new users can see the results of the poll, read the posts and consider his/her options, and have it all in one thread? I think anyone considering Linux could only be helped in their search by reading the recommendations of those of us who have tried the very distros they may be considering.
    I'm not denying the use of a poll. I just don't think it's the be-all and end-all. The most helpful thing I've found is presenting new users with two options:

    1. A distro chooser quiz.
    2. DistroWatch

    DistroWatch in itself is a poll of sorts, a much better poll than this measly one. Plus DistroWatch has reviews, breaking news, links to disk images, etc.

    Between #s 1 and 2, any newbie would definitely have a good place to start.

  7. #27
    Trusted Penguin Dapper Dan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aysiu
    Quote Originally Posted by Dapper Dan
    I disagree. Those who may consider using Linux might not know how to answer the distro chooser questions in a way that would best benefit them.
    Have you actually read the questions?
    Understanding questions and knowing the best way to answer them are two different things. The second question you quote is. "Do you know what a "Linux distribution" is? If you answer "no" and then select, "I want to know more about "Linux distributions," you are thrown to Wikipedia which reads in part:
    A Linux distribution, or GNU/Linux distribution, or less formally Linux distro, is a Unix-like operating system comprising software components such as the Linux kernel, the GNU toolchain, and assorted free, open source, and possibly proprietary software.

    Companies such as Red Hat, SUSE and Mandriva, and community projects such as Debian and Gentoo Linux, assemble and test the software before releasing their distribution. There are currently over three hundred Linux distribution projects in active development, revising and improving their respective distributions.
    Will this explanation put new users on the road to understanding which disrtro they should try first? The distro chooser has its place but the new user needs more. The recommendations of those who have used the different distros would also be beneficial.
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  8. #28
    Linux Enthusiast aysiu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dapper Dan
    The distro chooser has its place but the new user needs more. The recommendations of those who have used the different distros would also be beneficial.
    I'm not disagreeing with you there. That's why I also recommend DistroWatch--which, as I said before, has rankings based on some lame form of popularity (it's just web hits or clicks, right?) and reviews. I'm not discouraging people from reading this thread. I just think that there should be an easy option, too, for people who just want to answer a few questions and have a suggestion--it would have saved me a lot of time in the beginning.

  9. #29
    Trusted Penguin Dapper Dan's Avatar
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    Maybe we both agree that the distro chooser, Distrowatch and recommendations from seasoned users are all indispensable in the new users quest for the right distro, but we don't necessarily agree on the order in which the three should be explored?
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  10. #30
    Linux Enthusiast aysiu's Avatar
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    I don't think it should be the same order for everyone. We should just be honest about it:

    If you want a quiz where you answer a few questions and get recommended a distro, go here.

    If you want some very specific user opinions, read this thread.

    If you want a comprehensive site with reviews, rankings, and disk images, go to DistroWatch.

    Let the user make her own mind up about what order she wants to explore those possibilities.

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