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all right, here's yet another "which distro" question from a newbie. Took the distro test and dug distrowatch but couldn't make up my mind! I don't have much time playing ...
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  1. #1
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    which distro: asus w3z\stable\fast\multitask


    all right, here's yet another "which distro" question from a newbie. Took the distro test and dug distrowatch but couldn't make up my mind!

    I don't have much time playing around with installations or live CDs, so I'd like to find the right distro right away.

    So, first, my hardware is ASUS w3z laptop, main specs are:
    AMD Turion™ 64 Mobile Technology, 128KB L2 cache, 25W, MT-30/MT-32/MT-34/MT-37/ MT-40
    ATI Radeon® Xpress® 200m
    DDR333, 1G
    14" WXGA LCD
    ATI Radeon® Xpress® X200, 32MB
    100 GB 2.5" 9.5mm IDE HDD /w Ultra DMA/133 / S.M.A.R.T.

    Ports:
    1 x VGA port/Mini D-sub 15-pin for external monitor
    1 x Headphone-out jack (SPDIF)
    1 x Microphone-in jack
    1 x RJ11 Modem jack for phone line
    1 x RJ45 LAN Jack for LAN insert
    3 x USB 2.0 ports, 1x IEEE 1394 port
    1 x TV Out (S-Video composite)
    1 x Type II PCMCIA 2.1 compliant
    1 x SIR-115.2Kbps supported
    1 x Infrared Port


    My typical work scenario involves massive multitabbed web browsing, multiple documents (mostly pdf) viewing, documents editing and some peer to peer (mostly bitorrent). I use my laptop in different houses and offices, so I need to often change network configuration and peripherals (i.e.: printers, modems) set up.

    Speed (including boot time), stability and responsiveness are my main goals. I'm (no lynching here) a windows advanced user, never tried linux but I'm willing to spend some time tweaking if that's needed at the beginning in order to put together a stable machine.

    So I need:
    - fast and stable multitasking
    - not insanely complicated installation and later updating, package installing, etc.
    - customizable desktop environment
    - excellent file manager with ability to search for words inside documents, pdf\doc previews, operating on multiple (including win) partitions, file details, etc.
    - a desktop manager that allows for fast windows switching and content display
    - excellent pdf management, rendering, editing etc.
    - easy network management to get peer to peer working behind diverse network situations (wireless hag, Lan cable, etc.)
    - decent peripherals recognition (nothing weird, I'm talking about external mouse, printers, USB drives, cameras, scanners, extra monitor, etc. but they frequently change)
    - ability to read\write windows partitions
    - community support (i expect things not working

    I'm not sure my hardware will perform well under some SUSE or Ubuntu; Mint, too, sounds very tempting in terms of easy of use\installation, but similar concerns. So I was thinking more of Lubuntu for speed,; also gOS desktop environment looks interesting.

    Sorry this was long.

    What d'you guys think?!

    qwerty

  2. #2
    Linux Guru reed9's Avatar
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    Your specs are adequate for any distro, but yes, a lighterweight window manager/desktop environment like LXDE (used in Lubuntu) should feel more responsive.

    Your Xpress 200 video can be problematic. At least, I have a laptop with that card and some distros, notably OpenSuse, have given me a lot of grief.

    Otherwise, any of the major distros will be relatively comparable addressing your needs. I personally prefer Debian based distros like Ubuntu to rpm distros like Fedora/OpenSuse, but that isn't to say one is better than the other.

    My recommendation for new folks is generally to go with Linux Mint. Based on Ubuntu with some nice extras. They also have a couple of community editions based on lighter weight desktops like XFCE, LXDE, and Fluxbox.

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    desktop environment switching

    ok reed,
    thanks for reassuring me about the hardware reqs.

    let me ask:
    with Mint, if I install one desktop (say, the LXDE version) and then want to try out a different desktop environment, do I need to format and reinstall the whole S.O., or can I just install the different desktop?


    Quote Originally Posted by reed9 View Post
    Your specs are adequate for any distro, but yes, a lighterweight window manager/desktop environment like LXDE (used in Lubuntu) should feel more responsive.

    Your Xpress 200 video can be problematic. At least, I have a laptop with that card and some distros, notably OpenSuse, have given me a lot of grief.

    Otherwise, any of the major distros will be relatively comparable addressing your needs. I personally prefer Debian based distros like Ubuntu to rpm distros like Fedora/OpenSuse, but that isn't to say one is better than the other.

    My recommendation for new folks is generally to go with Linux Mint. Based on Ubuntu with some nice extras. They also have a couple of community editions based on lighter weight desktops like XFCE, LXDE, and Fluxbox.

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    Just Joined! PrinceSharma's Avatar
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    Install via a full DVD, you may have options at login time to select the desktop e.g. LXDE/KDE/Gnome.

  5. #5
    Penguin of trust elija's Avatar
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    You can install the different desktop and then choose between them when you log in. As a personal preference, I stick to one desktop environment only; there are other members here who are perfectly happy to have more than one installed.

    Just to clarify; I meant through the package manager some time after the original install.

    As a Windows advanced user, you may find things uncomfortably different under the hood for a while. One of the biggest and soonest encountered differences will be the afore-mentioned package manager.

    Instead of searching on the web, the vast majority of software is installed from repositories of software, compiled and tested for your distro. It seems alien at first but doesn't take long to become second nature.
    Last edited by elija; 10-07-2010 at 05:42 PM.
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  6. #6
    Linux Guru reed9's Avatar
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    Plain old Ubuntu makes it easy enough install an alternate desktop environment with various meta-packages, so you can search in your package manager for kubuntu-desktop, lubuntu-desktop, xubuntu-desktop. Or from the command line,
    Code:
    sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop
    and so on.

    Mint has some specific tools and changes. I know they have mint-meta-gnome, for the default GNOME desktop. Not sure about the rest, but I would guess they have others. You can install the necessary software without using a meta-package as well of course, but it's slightly less convenient and/or more difficult to get a unified feeling environment.

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    Wow, thanks a bunch guys! That was very informative.

    So, it seems that having alternate desktops would be easier under Ubuntu.
    I think I’ll try both (Ubuntu & Mint) live DVDs and hopefully quickly figure out what’s best for me.
    Do you know if they have the option to install Grub in the partition, rather then in MBR?

    Re coming from Windows:
    I heard about software repositories and – in theory – they make much more sense then searching the web for your application.

    I’m more scared about the folder and partition architecture!

    Would you also be so kind to point me to a basic linux command line guide? I mean, I wouldn’t even know how to do “dir” or “ipconfig” …..

    One more thing: I’ll need to rearrange my partitions, how many GB – roughly - do you think I need?

    Thanks thanks thanks!!!

  8. #8
    Penguin of trust elija's Avatar
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    Here is a manual for Ubuntu, I haven't used this so I don't know how command line oriented it is.

    Here is a basic and quite light hearted linux file system tour

    Here is Linux Command dot org, which is very, very good.
    What do we want?
    Time machines!

    When do we want 'em?
    Doesn't really matter does it!?


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  9. #9
    Linux Newbie previso's Avatar
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    I run Suse KDE on the desktop and Suse LXDE on the laptop. Remember, it's only between the Debians and the RPMers. Whatever you hear, it boils down to that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by previso View Post
    I run Suse KDE on the desktop and Suse LXDE on the laptop. Remember, it's only between the Debians and the RPMers. Whatever you hear, it boils down to that.
    elija, thanks for the excellent reference.

    just googled deb vs rpm, and, boy, now I'm confused. i hope that, for the usage I need, package format won't make much of a difference to me.
    Anyways, I'm on my way to the store to buy CDs (who has CDs anymore?!) to burn Mint LXDE, I'll keep you posted!!

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