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  1. #1

    Question Still can't decide which distro to use

    I did a lot of googling and wikipedia reading, and although a managed to narrow down my choices, I still need help deciding which Linux distro is the right for me.

    I have a reasonable fast cpu (AMD Barton 2600) but only 256 mb ram (don't ask)
    So I need something light on memory, infact the #1 reason I'm thinking of dumping Windows and switching to Linux is to have a lighter, faster system.

    My current list of choices include (after countless hours of reading):
    DSL (Damn Small Linux)
    Debian xfce
    Fedora xfce
    Mint xfce
    Puppy Linux
    VektorLinux Standard/Light

    I've did a few quizes, but they mostly deal with the big/major distros
    Anyway here are some of my answers that may help you:

    Have you successfully installed an operating system before? Too many times
    Do you know how to "partition" a hard drive? Yup
    Which kind of installer do you prefer? I Don't care
    How would you rate your technical skills? Expert (as far as hardware and WinDoze is concerned)
    How would you rate your knowledge of linux? Complete n00b
    Do you need easy access to a lot of ready-to-run software? Yes
    Please select what best fits you: Latest gratest stable software
    Are you building a desktop system or a server? desktop, small home server
    How important stability and maturity is for you? stability very, maturity a bit
    How important speed and responsiveness is for you? VERY!
    How important is system security for you? Very
    How much time do you plan to spend on learning new system? A lot
    Do you put emphasis on fast and troubleless software (package) installation?
    easy installation is a big plus; still I can compile and build a package once in a while
    Do you care for graphical configuration tools? yes as a beginner, not much latter on.

  2. #2
    Linux Engineer GNU-Fan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008

    I think this quiz misses one important question:
    How much time are you willing to spend customizing the operating system to your wishes? (Ok, this can also be seen as "learning time" in a way.)

    This quest for the ultimate distribution is, in my eyes, way too much seen as a one way track. But this neglects the fact that we are talking about a free operating system whose parts can be replaced, exchanged, tuned, added or removed with more or less effort.

    For this reason I usually recommend the more "general" distributions. Debian, Fedora, even OpenSuSe. You will try out a lot of software and throw away much anyway.

    PS: And try to get more ram. It makes computing more fun, really.
    Debian GNU/Linux -- You know you want it.

  3. #3
    Linux Guru smolloy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    CA, but from N.Ireland
    If you have the time, then I'd recommend installing and running with as many distros as possible. Some people may adhere to one particular distro, but for me I've never really used the same distro for more than a year. In fact, at the moment, every computer I have access to (that I installed the OS on) has a completely different distro (Ubuntu on my laptop, Fedora and Scientific Linux at work, and Debian Sid on my home server).

    Try out as many as you can, and don't attach yourself too firmly to one. That's my advice.
    Registered Linux user #388328 || Registered LFS user #15880
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  4. $spacer_open
  5. #4
    Thanks for the replyes guys

    To answer the question
    How much time are you willing to spend customizing the operating system to your wishes? Every minute at least in the beggining, later on when I make it the way I want, almost none.

  6. #5
    Just another choice. I run it on 256mb ram and it is based on Debian.

    Main Page - antiX

    I also run Puppy Dingo and NimbleX 2008 on 256mb ram. All 3 are good live distros.
    I refuse to let fear and fear of others rule my life. It puts my humanity at risk.
    Accepting Death is the only way to stay alive.

  7. #6
    Penguin of trust elija's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Either at home or at work or down the pub
    I think I may give this one a look-see myself. According to this months Linux Format it is a true hidden gem. Derived from Slackware and weighing in at a mere 93mb, I give you AUSTRUMI!
    Should you be sitting wondering,
    Which Batman is the best,
    There's only one true answer my friend,
    It's Adam Bloody West!

    The Fifth Continent

  8. #7
    Linux Guru reed9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Boston, MA
    Generally, I wouldn't recommend this for someone new to linux, but given that you seem willing to do some work and configuring at the beginning, I recommend Arch Linux. They have some great documentation to get you going: Beginners Guide - ArchWiki

    For a lean, light weight system, it's great. You get to select exactly what you want to install, without the extras and bloat of something like Ubuntu. Plus you learn a lot about linux. There aren't graphical config tools, overall, but almost all the configuring you need to do is in one text file (/etc/rc.conf), which is well also very well documented. And for what it's worth, I think the package manager, pacman, is the best (and fastest) there is. Also, it's a rolling release system, so there's no need to reinstall every 6 months to maintain current package releases. They're very on top of getting new releases of stuff into their repos. (An example, I believe KDE 4.2 was in their repository slightly before the official release anouncement, since the developers get packages early for testing purposes.)

  9. #8
    Linux Newbie sarlacii's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    South Africa
    Them what like the popular stuff, and them what like the customised stuff. The world is divided in half... LOL

    I agree with GNU-Fan... easier to stick with the general distors... they all allow you to select what packages to install and what not, so just pick what you need. At the graphical login you can then select the desktop manager to run, so even if you go for Fedora, say, just don't install KDE or Gnome, and go for XFCE. Less fiddling, great tools and all the other benifits of using a common distro.

    My 2c... can see which half I fit in. LOL
    Respectfully... Sarlac II
    The moving clock K' appears to K to run slow by the factor (1-v^2/c^2)^(1/2).
    This is the phenomenon of time dilation.
    The faster you run, the younger you look, to everyone but yourself.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    May 2004
    arch linux
    Welcome to the forums!

    The best way to pick the distro that is right for you is to download two or three of them and then install them one at a time, spending a few days or longer with each to decide what you like and dislike about each. After you've gone through all three, if none of them suit your tastes, download a few more and keep experimenting. Sometimes, it takes a while to figure out which distro you want to stick with.

    Best of luck with your experimentation efforts.

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