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ok, allow me to preface this by saying that even though I'm a linux noob, this won't be another thread asking "what distro is the best" or any other question ...
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  1. #1
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    Post Can someone point me in the right direction?


    ok, allow me to preface this by saying that even though I'm a linux noob, this won't be another thread asking "what distro is the best" or any other question that is sure to irritate.

    Let me tell you my situation. I have a laptop, AMDx64. it has nvidia 7150m graphics and atheros 5006eg wireless.

    I decided to check linux out after a long bit of curiosity. now let me tell you what I have used and why I no longer use it in the order it was tried. I'm hoping that someone can steer me in the right direction even if that direction is "linux is just not for you", so at any rate, my wife will stop yelling at me for burning up all the blank cd's.

    ubuntu: this was my first. I really didn't like the idea that to make my atheros wifi work, I had to plug into lan, and download backports which I had no idea how to do, I was walked through it by a nice member of the ubuntu community.

    then came mandriva: at first it wouldn't boot the liveCD and someone ended up telling me that for my video card, I had to give it a text only boot. then it worked and seemed awesome. wifi worked, my hp printer showed up automatically... then, I installed Nexuiz and my graphics just weren't good enough for the game so when I uninstalled it, it destroyed my installation of mandriva. the community gave me all kinds of (to me) complicated commands to type and I just got frustrated and unimpressed. linux was supposed to be so bulletproof.

    downloaded fedora 10 and I can't even get that to boot! gives me some disc error. too much trouble period. reburned that cd a couple times.

    then I found openSUSE: wow. best yet hands down. everything worked except I had to do a bit of tweaking to make it see my printer. not a big deal. however, I tried to install the nvidia driver and I guess I made a mistake and it disabled my gui. finally someone told me what to type at boot to reinstall the old driver to make it work again but I had already done a fresh install. everything was great. I installed it, did all the updates, then I woke up the next day (today) and my wifi no longer worked. no idea why. plus, it takes forever to shutdown now. I have no clue what has happened but I did nothing to make it. I just installed the updates the OS had listed in Yast. someone told me to type "rcnetwork restart" so I did and it worked again but I have to type that each time I boot. I still don't know what the heck ever happened to this brand new installation.

    a couple other things I would add are that ubuntu and openSUSE would freeze during boot and I wuold have to keep hitting keys to make it continue the boot process. very annoying. the other thing is that my computer (compaq presario v6719NR) has soft buttons for volume and what not and it seems that gnome desktops automatically work with them and KDE do not. odd.

    so... if you are still reading, either you are laughing at me (which is fine) and my story or you really want to help or a little of both. either way...


    Am I hopeless to find a distro that just flat out works? I was excited to try fedora because everyone raves about it but it just doesn't work for me. I know laptops are hard to cater to with linux but I figured there must be something out there for me. I just want my graphics, wifi and printer to work.

    I was considering investigating CentOS, it looks pretty robust. I've also entertained DamnSmallLinux.

    Does anyone have an opinion on which way I should go? or should I just go crawling back to my XP cd?

  2. #2
    Linux Guru coopstah13's Avatar
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    Since linux is community supported, there is almost no way for any distro to have all hardware automatically work out of the box. Your best bet is to stick with the one you liked the best and work through the problems that you encounter. Most of the problems you are encountering have been encountered before and have known solutions. They may seem daunting at first, but if you stick with it I promise it will be worth it in the end. Linux has come a long way in the last few years, but it is still unable to hand everything to every user on a silver platter (not even Windows accomplishes this.) If you are willing to stick with it and learn to use it, you will be rewarded with a great machine, but if you don't feel like working that hard, or some things just don't happen automatically, then you should stick with what you know and what works best for you.

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    that makes sense. well, let me ask this then, which distro would you say has the largest community? The reason I ask is because I am one who would have many questions and potential problems so my need for a lot of support to get questions answered in a reasonable time. does that make sense? for example, I posted a question in the linux mint forum and it never even got answered .

    I must say I am super pissed I never got fedora 10 to load. I was excited to check that out and by the looks of it, that is a pretty popular area of this forum.

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    Linux Engineer GNU-Fan's Avatar
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    Ubuntu has the largest community but the experts use Debian or Gentoo
    Debian GNU/Linux -- You know you want it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GNU-Fan View Post
    Ubuntu has the largest community but the experts use Debian or Gentoo
    hehehe, experts as in I'm not one so I should not even attempt it or experts as in those versions are extremely popular?

    thanks btw.

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    I agree absolutely w/ coopstah13, especially the part about "worth it" and I am so new to linux I can't always spell it. At this stage I have also tried lots of distro's, also made more than a few "coasters" or "mini-frisbees"!! Might I sugest that you "waste" one more cdr, and get Puppy Linux, I find it extremely "newbie" friendly. and especially fast. but I don't use a printer much, and my old wifi cards "just work". RP
    BTW it is too bad that you had a falling out w/ Mandriva, I am using it on my desktop and really like it alot. No Games though for me!

  8. #7
    Linux Guru coopstah13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GNU-Fan View Post
    Ubuntu has the largest community but the experts use Debian or Gentoo
    I disagree.
    I use ubuntu almost exclusively.
    Techiemoe uses ubuntu as well.
    Ozar uses arch.
    MikeTBob uses crux.
    DC uses debian I believe.

    These are just some people to name off the top of my head.

    I would say that ubuntu and fedora will have the most community support.

  9. #8
    Linux Engineer GNU-Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moveright View Post
    hehehe, experts as in I'm not one so I should not even attempt it or experts as in those versions are extremely popular?
    Experts as in guys who know their system and can give advice.
    Debian GNU/Linux -- You know you want it.

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    interesting bunch of opinions.

    well, I don't really have a lot of hardware to make work. I really just want to be able to have a driver for my nvidia 7150m and also for my atheros 5006eg.

    oddly enough, I have always wondered if there was a way to preinstall the madwifi package into an ISO then burn it. that way upon installation, I can just get my wifi working and go from there.

    I assume that the nvidia stuff is supported in nearly all distros as I have never had trouble with any of mine getting it to work.

    ubuntu is built on debian but what is gentoo built on? it looks like yellow dog to me. gentoo looks SWEET.

    may have to just burn a bunch more cd's lol.

  11. #10
    Linux Engineer GNU-Fan's Avatar
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    Gentoo is genuine -- not build on anything
    It's a "metadistribution". You cherrypick what you want and get a tailor made suit instead of receiving a prepared distro. But the downside is that you have to spent a considerable amount of time to think about what are your needs.
    Debian GNU/Linux -- You know you want it.

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