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  1. #1

    Moving from windows to Linux, which Linux distro is best ?


    I'm a long time windows user. Recently stumbled upon the Linux world. I'm really amazed by how user friendly Linux has become with GUI and stuff. I always thought that Linux was all command line..ok I was wrong

    I've tried Ubuntu for a few hours ...used libre office etc. for basic tasks , asked sme questions on the libre office forum etc...but still too new and not sure if the Ubuntu path is good ?

    So ....., for a windows users, a person who knows no command line, and mainly an XL, word, PDF read, web browse, web mail user with limited you tube , NO gaming ,.......** which Linux distro is best** ?

    I plan to buy an intel i3 or i5 machine with reasonable HDD . I have NO programming experience and Very little knowledge of command line ...ok I can copy, start programs from windows command line.....i can write down and use say 10 items of commands ....but that is it

    Ayn direct suggestions, help, pointers to well written blogs, direction to other help groups etc etc is most welcome

    Edit ; let me hasten to add that I tried the quiz at zegeniestudios but that talks about can you partition our hard disk etc and NOT abou what apps I need xl..PDF I was a little confused and so landed here .The quiz at polish Linux returns an error ( want to the quiz from new bie sticky page ) .

    The link to distro watch was useful. But tells me some sort of an official view... I'm expecting more user replies here..

    A more Detailed user profile below

    Windows user last 20 years

    Lot of xl , word ( ms office products )

    Lots of browse / browsing

    Lots of e mail ...mostly web mail

    Reasonable PDF reading...especially mail attachments that I open are only pdf ...others I am quite scared if not com known sources

    Very little pdf editing

    Some mp3 ... Audio ....all legal .. Free pirated ( at least IMHO !!)

    Very little video

    NO gaming

    Need virus checkers

    Planning to buy an intel i3 or i5 machine with reasonable ...say 500 ...750 GB HDD

    Thanks in advance
    Best regards
    Last edited by Dsl_enthu; 04-26-2013 at 06:34 AM.

  2. #2
    Just Joined!
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Madrid, Spain
    Hi, dsl_enthu,

    Yours is a question every noob must confront and, I am sorry to say, solve on his/her own.
    I can just share my own experience with you.
    For a person like you, which wants to use the computer for doing some actual work with no that high interest in what operating system is running underneath your editor, graphics application or web browser, almost anyone of the mainstream linux-based desktop gui oriented distros will do: Debian, (x)Ubuntu (which happen to be based on Debian in its roots), Mint (which happen to be based on Ubuntu), Mandriva / RedHat, (Open)Suse, and a handful of other also popular distros.

    You can start using any of them to get familiar with the concepts, uses, common ways to address day-to-day questions, regain familiarity with the command line interface and way of doing things.
    With those distros you will experience the freedom of choice that lies in the basement of GNU-Linux based development. There are many options to chose from for almost any common task you need to afford.
    In case you feel ready to get deeper, you will be able to progress at your own pace.

    Also from my own experience, I would tell you to start with XUbuntu 12.04 LTS. This is the XFCE based version of Ubuntu. The desktop interface is quite good and its s not resources-hungry. Or you can try Mint; this is a French born distro with a neat and elegant user interface, also designed with the Windows user in mind.

    Just give them a try and be ready to experiment. You'll find lots of people ready to give authorized help.
    Some of the distros have an enthusiastic yet helping community that will do its best to help you having success with the distro and getting over all the problems you may find.


  3. #3
    Linux Engineer hazel's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Harrow, UK
    One thing you need to consider is your attitude to software: do you want the latest bleeding-edge stuff or is it more important to you that things should work reliably and not break after an update? If the latter, then I would not recommend Fedora or Ubuntu. Go for the stable branch of Debian, Mandriva or LMDE.

    Also what kind of graphical desktop do you want? Have you got the computer resources for lots of eye-candy without slowing everything to a crawl, or do you want your programs to run fast, even on old hardware? For speed, don't use Ubuntu; Xubuntu or AntiX is better. In Linux you can always install a smaller, faster desktop in any distro, but you probably won't want to do that until you feel more confident, so choose a distro with a lean, mean desktop if that's what you want.
    "I'm just a little old lady; don't try to dazzle me with jargon!"

  4. $spacer_open
  5. #4
    Penguin of trust elija's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Either at home or at work or down the pub
    Here is our current years poll for beginner friendly distros.

    Libre Office 4 has had much work done on it's compatibility with MS office when compared to the 3.x version so it's worth considering as a free alternative. It is starting to appear in a lot of the repositories now.

    As for a virus scanner, if you are not sharing files with Windows users and you stick to the repositories for your software then you don't really need one. However, Linux can carry Windows viruses so it's only polite to scan files first. I use Clam AV for that, and again it's in the repositories.
    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

  6. #5
    Linux Engineer MASONTX's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Mason Texas
    I too came from Windows, and I almost never use the command line. For me, ubuntu or debian based distro's work best, with my favorite being Lubuntu. I also use, from time to time, Mint, AntiX, Crunchbang, and Xubuntu. I have also been looking at Mageia and SliTaz recently. You can go to, and see the top 100 distro's on the right hand side of the page. You can also call up and read about just about any distro you hear about. They have a search feature which lets you narrow down your choices. To begin with, I would start at the top of the top 100 list and work your way down until you find one you are comfortable with. In time, as you gain experience and learn what features you like, you can widen your field and try more. It is a fun experience trying the different distro's and seeing what each one has to offer.
    Registered Linux user #526930

  7. #6


    Quote Originally Posted by Dsl_enthu View Post
    Need virus checkers
    On Linux you will never need virus checkers unless you want to scan windows files from Linux. Linux has no viruses. It is secure by design.

  8. #7
    Zorin OS is best for you. Consider Linuxmint.What will limit you is the hardware not the software.Debian is very strict about non-free drivers like usb modem drivers and wireless drivers..etc. Linux mint is on the contrary ..comes with codecs,java,flash and some proprietary drivers.Linux mint is the best for beginners and windows-accustomed users.Mint is based on Ubuntu but you will have to do more work to get the codecs,flash and java .debian is not so uptodate because it aims to be very stable ..rock solid stable .so they don't release a package for a new version of a piece of software until is is tested and very stable.this situation in debian ends up in having an outdated distribution but very stable.
    Ubuntu now comes with Unity shell a desktop environment which will not appeal for beginners .Linux mint comes with Mate desktop which is simple and stable .it will appeal to you .
    Gain some experience in downloading ,burning and running LiveCDs will will help you try many many distributions and check if they run on your hardware..good luck
    Last edited by kareempharmacist; 04-28-2013 at 07:41 AM.

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