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Okay, I know posting questions with answers just a Google search away is taboo, so I hope that this (extremely) common question isn't too much of a waste of forum ...
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  1. #1
    Just Joined! DonQuixoteMC's Avatar
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    Starting out


    Okay, I know posting questions with answers just a Google search away is taboo, so I hope that this (extremely) common question isn't too much of a waste of forum space.

    I was wondering:

    1. How I could tell if Linux/a distro would be compatible with my hardware? This question might be completely irrelevant, I'm not certain about the nature of Linux, but I think driver compatibility might be important so I'm asking anyway.

    2. What distro of Linux should I get? Also probably a dead-horse question that gets beat far too often, but I have done a fair bit of Googling about the subject without any real progress. My main interests are in speed, doing general work (OpenOffice type deal), doing light-weight image editing (like Paint.net), doing lightweight sound/music mixing (basically Audacity type things), internet browsing (Ideally with netflix, but I know there are some issues with Silverlight and such) and POSSIBLY gaming (i.e. Steam Linux Beta).

    I just realized I didn't give ANY information about my computer...

    The target computer is a laptop, it currently runs Windows 8, but I aim to wipe everything and just run Linux. (It's a Lenovo u410)
    Here are the specs:
    3rd generation IntelŽ Core™ i7-3537U ( 3.10GHz 1660MHz 4MB
    8GB (DDR3) RAM
    NVIDIAŽ GeForceŽ 610M (1GB)/IntelŽ HD 4000 chipset
    1TB HDD (I don't know the make) 128 GB mSata SSD (ADATA XPG SX300 [SATA III controller])

    I think that's all the pertinent stuff. I'm looking at Linux Mint, OpenSUSE or Fuduntu (In their latest release version) as of right now, from an uneducated perspective.
    I'm just a run of the mill consumer (With reasonable level of computer savvy) looking for a change of pace in the world of operating systems. Any help at all would be GREATLY appreciated! I'm willing to try anything, so I'm open to all suggestions!

    Best,
    DonQuixoteMC
    Last edited by DonQuixoteMC; 05-07-2013 at 12:12 AM.

  2. #2
    Administrator MikeTbob's Avatar
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    Try the distro quiz, it might help you make up your mind. The distros you listed are fine, nothing wrong with them that I know of.
    zegenie Studios Linux Distribution Chooser
    Your machine specs look satisfactory, I don't think you need to worry about that. Wireless cards and Video are usually the biggest problem for new people. I see you have NVidia, you shouldn't have a problem with that. The best way to test them is to download a LiveCD. Most distros have one. You just run that from the CD/DVD without installing it to the hard drive. Once you see that it runs well then you can actually install it with the same CD/DVD. Netflix is not supported on Linux yet. There may be work arounds but it's not supported. Blame Silverlight/Microsoft/Netflix and not Linux.
    Last edited by MikeTbob; 05-07-2013 at 12:39 AM. Reason: typos
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  3. #3
    Just Joined! DonQuixoteMC's Avatar
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    Awesome, thanks! That's good to know. I'm still trying to figure out what Linux is. Before I started my search I imagined something like Windows pre-mouse (for some reason). From what I've seen though, it looks very kind to beginners.

    I think I'll try your advice with a live CD (Which sounds perfect)
    and
    Are there any guides I should look up regarding mechanics of the terminal or similar Linux "things"?

    Oh! and what is the pun about Fuduntu's name? I'm curious haha

    Thanks for the quick response and for the help!

    Best,
    DonQuixoteMC

  4. #4
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    Advice: stay away from Fuduntu. it has ceased to be. it is an ex-distro.

    for paint.net, you could check out pinta, although I find gimp to do all i require.

    you can play some games with the use of WINE, which is packaged for most, if not all the major distros.
    Last edited by atreyu; 05-08-2013 at 01:01 AM. Reason: typos

  5. #5
    Just Joined! DonQuixoteMC's Avatar
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    Ahh. Okay, so what is the life cycle of a Distro? By "ex" you mean that the new software released doesn't support it? Either way, thanks for the heads up, I think that's what I would have gone with if you hadn't mentioned it.

    Do you have any personal suggestion as to what distro I should use? I'm going to mess around with LiveCD's for a while before I commit, but any direction would be greatly appreciated! And I think you're right, GIMP should have everything and more than what I used in Paint.net. I'll still miss it though haha
    I'll also look into WINE, I'm intrigued.

    Thanks for the help!

    Best,
    DonQuixoteMC

  6. #6
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    The life cycle usually refers to the time period during which support and updates are available through the distributions standard repositories. You can simply run the distributions update command or use its Software Manager to get updates. Software may be available after the support period but can't be accessed by the standard method but through archives which may or may not be available depending upon the distribution.

    Using a linux chooser site or going to the distrowatch site which has a listing of the more popular distributions with links to the sites might help.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonQuixoteMC View Post
    By "ex" you mean that the new software released doesn't support it?
    yancek has covered it very nicely. and in this case, what this would mean for you is that there will be no more new Fuduntu packages. so when a new kernel is put out over at kernel.org, there will be no command to install a pre-packaged kernel from the trusted Fuduntu developers onto your Fuduntu system. And no new GNOME binary packages, or Firefox, or XOrg...you get the picture. you'll have the last version of Fuduntu, circa April 2013, forever. you could still install all those packages yourself from source, but, what is this, Gentoo?! (nerd joke).

    Do you have any personal suggestion as to what distro I should use?
    my advice to new users is always this: to go with a trusted name in Linux, one that has been around for a while, has a reputation for stability, and a large-ish support community, where it will be easy to get help. to that end, i would rattle off:

    Fedora
    Mint
    Debian
    Ubuntu

    I led w/my personal favorite (Fedora) b/c I prefer the RPM/yum package manager to the apt/dpkg package manager used by the other three. but that is personal taste, and entirely the point: choose a distro that is right for you. The Live CD route is well worth the time spent downloading and burning. Using a disro chooser quiz is also a good idea.

    Once you are comfortable with the distro, then seek out the fringier distros, which are almost always more fun, but can be daunting to the first-timer.

    and speaking of customized distros, you might be interested in Ubuntu Studio, it is geared towards the creative user.

  8. #8
    Administrator jayd512's Avatar
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    With all of the great advice that has already been given, there's really not a whole lot that I can add.
    Quote Originally Posted by DonQuixoteMC View Post
    I'm still trying to figure out what Linux is. Before I started my search I imagined something like Windows pre-mouse (for some reason).
    You may or may not have run across this during your research: Linux is NOT Windows
    It's really just a way of looking at Linux in a more objective view.
    Jay

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  9. #9
    Linux Engineer hazel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonQuixoteMC View Post
    I'm still trying to figure out what Linux is. Before I started my search I imagined something like Windows pre-mouse (for some reason). From what I've seen though, it looks very kind to beginners.
    You're thinking of very early Linux when it was mostly command line with the GUI started only when something graphical needed to be done. Nowadays, many users don't use the command line at all. One continuing difference is that in Linux the desktop is only loosely attached to the underlying system, so you can swap it for a different desktop if you don't like the one your distro came with.

    Are there any guides I should look up regarding mechanics of the terminal or similar Linux "things"?
    Start with the GUI until you feel a bit more at home. Then try out the terminal if you want to. There are loads of HOWTOs. Checkout the Linux Documentation Project.

    Oh! and what is the pun about Fuduntu's name? I'm curious haha
    It's a hybrid of FEDora and UbUNTU.
    "I'm just a little old lady; don't try to dazzle me with jargon!"

  10. #10
    Just Joined! DonQuixoteMC's Avatar
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    Wow. That pretty much answers all my questions. Thanks, guys! I think I'm getting an idea of what Linux is now. I've been reading a lot of the FAQs and "How to's" on this forum, as well as watching various guides. Plus going through the stuff you guys linked and suggested, I think I'm ready to try out Linux.

    I'd quote sections of each of your posts, but I'm not entirely sure how, so I just want to say:

    Yancek: That makes sense. I think I'll shy away from discontinued distros, I know I'm not savvy enough to figure tings out on my own. Thanks!

    Jay: Thanks for that article, "Linux is NOT Windows," It summed up my questions about the "flavor" of Linux in some great analogies, if anything I'm more hopeful about Linux after reading that.

    Atreyu: Your list was exactly what I needed. I was floundering in indecision for a while now, and I think I'll definitely just start with some of the ones you suggested. (In fact, Fedora was at the top of my list, so that's reassuring! )

    Hazel: Yeah, the LUI version of Linux sounds like something that isn't really offered to newcomers in the popular distros, that's also reassuring haha. I think that I will definitely stick to GUI until I learn more of the commands. And thanks for the explanation! Haha I feel much more cultured now that I understand that pun.

    Thanks again, guys!

    Best,
    DonQuixoteMC

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