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.josh

good free linux OS

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i just bought a new computer so I have my old computer just sitting here collecting dust and so I thought I'd try out linux on it. Anybody recommend a good (free) Linux OS?

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i'm getting a new PC next week too. gonna stick a few distros in it :)

what sort of thing are you looking to do with linux? how conversant are you with Linux?

if you're new to it and you prefer a lot of GUI driven things, go for Ubuntu. it's a good Desktop OS for general home use.

for development, i would go with Gentoo or Slackware...Gentoo moreso because i don't like how Slackware doesn't have a proper package manager.
you would learn a lot with Gentoo. you can compile Gentoo...would take you almost a day...or you can install precompiled binaries.

Debian is ROCK SOLID. period.
their software is thoroughly tested.

SymphonyOS is in beta...but the creator is writing a new Desktop Manager (like Gnome, KDE, XFCE, etc) called Orchestra which will have PHP integration pretty soon (similar to how you can integrate Perl into Gnome, KDE(?) with a shebang) so i DEFINITELY will try that once it's stable...busted my last monitor by trying out SymphonyOS's Alpha version because i messed about with X's settings and set my refresh rates all wrong :/

SLAX or DSM are good light linux's. I have SLAX on a USB that i carry around...so if i sit at a PC with Win on it, i just stick my USB in it, boot through USB and i have linux on the PC :)



there's so many other choices...it all depends on what you want to do.


[url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Linux_distributions]List of Linux distributions[/url]




:Edit:
Nice summary of SymphonyOS: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symphony_OS

by the way, if you have unusual hardware, go for Ubuntu. Ubuntu has the best hardware support as far as i know and that's quite rare in most Linux distro's
...but don't become too dependant on Ubuntu. they've just released their last major release. they will have an update in October or so...but nothing after that for quite a few years at least.

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I'd recommend [url=http://ubuntu.com]Ubuntu[/url] which I currently use myself. It comes by default with GNOME, but their projects Xubuntu and Kubuntu comes with Xfce and KDE, respectively. Ubuntu is Debian based and really easy to use. It comes in two varieties, Desktop and Server where the Server by default do not come with a window handler. It has a comprehensive package repository which is easily used with apt-get/aptitude or a GUI application (providing you have a window handler of course). It is the most popular/highest ranked distro at [url=http://distrowatch.com]DistroWatch[/url].

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i know absolutely nothing about linux. okay i know a few basic things, but nothing to shake a stick at. i'm not really looking for a GUI solution [i]per se[/i].. idk i've been programming in php for about 2 years now and working with a unix dir structure on my host and stuff with ftp, i thought maybe a good next step would be to look into actually installing a linux OS on my old machine and fiddling around in the command line.  Does that sound like a good idea or am I way off base here?  I'm not trying for some specific goal here, except that most hosts are unix based and i guess i wanted to be able to know the command line stuff not just the easy GUI interfaces like cpanel and phpmyadmin and all that other stuff.

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well if you've worked on a variety of things via SSH you would be able to just manage on CLI in Linux...but it really depends on what you've done via SSH.

i think you better begin with a GUI distro and experiment with the terminal to begin with. once you're comfortable with terminal. you can move onto a pure CLI version...or simply use the terminal and not the GUI.

the first thing you should become familiar with is the entire system file structure. liek for example, /var is where things like logs and mail, etc is stored...aka variable files and /usr would store most of your libs, programs, etc.

examine the ~/.bashrc file if you can and understand what it does.

the linux manual ABSOLUTELY rocks!
if you're not sure how to use a command, you can generally do this:
[code]
$ myCommand -h
[/code]
or
[code]
$ myCommand --help
[/code]
but if that doesn't work, this generally would:
[code]
$ man myCommand
[/code]


linux might be slightly more complex/simpler than win (depending on how you look at it) but it's definitely easier to learn.

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Trust me, you'll learn to use the command line (not the super-advanced stuff) very quickly as in the start you may be messing around with it in curiosity and because you find it easier and quicker once you've learned a few commands. If there is a command you are unsure how to use, you can most likely get some information by typing [code]command --help[/code] or [code]man command[/code]

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GENTOO! I love it...It makes a perfect OS if you are going for X Server and all that jazz. If your installing it on a machine that you plan on accessing remotly and not using any GUI, go with CentOS

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[quote author=steelmanronald06 link=topic=100080.msg395220#msg395220 date=1152632202]
GENTOO! I love it...It makes a perfect OS if you are going for X Server and all that jazz. If your installing it on a machine that you plan on accessing remotly and not using any GUI, go with CentOS
[/quote]

Heh, I tried both of these. The installer for Gentoo did not work (just kept saying 'Setting root password' for hours) and CentOS's updater didn't work properly (it is quite some time since I tried CentOS though, like two years - but it kept me away).

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i also like fedora core. i've recently upgraded to FC5, and i've really liked what i've seen so far. ubuntu is great, and i've played with suse with good results, too.

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Don't use FC...no offence obsidian.  With FC you have all of their images and logos and crap built into the GUI. Yuck!  Ubuntu is okay, but it is very...sluggish IMO.  With Gentoo, you need to make sure you get the download that matches your processor, etc.  They have a variety of different ones...and you only need the ISO boot disk...assuming you have your computer hooked to the net.  From there it is pie.

CentOS is equally as easy to install, and is good for non GUI users.

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Gentoo is pretty sweet...apart from the fact that it's very customizable, I like it's package manager, Emerge, which is based on Ports if I'm not mistaken which  is what one of the BSD's use as well.
what's good about emerge is that it downloads the source files and compiles it on your machine instead of downloading precompiled binaries like most other package managers do.



i generally stay away from RPM based distros like RedHat, Fedora, SuSE, etc. don't like how they handle dependencies.

if you want to get your hands dirty and learn the guts of dependencies, etc., use Slackware.


[quote author=steelmanronald06 link=topic=100080.msg395276#msg395276 date=1152638190]
With Gentoo, you need to make sure you get the download that matches your processor, etc.  They have a variety of different ones...and you only need the ISO boot disk...assuming you have your computer hooked to the net.  From there it is pie.
[/quote]
i believe most linux distro's have processor specific installs. for example, ubuntu has the i386 and i686 for x86




i'm itching to try out the completed version of SymphonyOS when it finally comes out!

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Gentoo is absolutely beautiful, but you should be ready to spend a goodly amount of time setting it up.

Daniel0: the GUI installer for Gentoo just came out, and is extremely buggy - I'm not even sure why they included it in the 2006.1 release. You should have no trouble at all if you do everything by hand. Just be ready to do a lot of typing.

Koobi, you're right - every distro has different installers for different architectures.

And the name of the package manager is actually Portage, which is indeed based on the BSD Ports system.

If you're looking for something to learn on, then go with Ubuntu or Debian... but give it some time, and you'll be fed up with it and want to try something more powerful. That's when you should give Gentoo a shot. The Gentoo documentation (www.gentoo.org/doc/en/handbook/index.xml), the community (http://forums.gentoo.org), and the wiki (http://gentoo-wiki.com) are all excellent sources for help.

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[quote author=neylitalo link=topic=100080.msg395464#msg395464 date=1152659742]
And the name of the package manager is actually Portage, which is indeed based on the BSD Ports system.
[/quote]

i might be mistaken, but isn't portage a part of the main package management system which is Emerge?

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[quote author=neylitalo link=topic=100080.msg395464#msg395464 date=1152659742]
Daniel0: the GUI installer for Gentoo just came out, and is extremely buggy - I'm not even sure why they included it in the 2006.1 release. You should have no trouble at all if you do everything by hand. Just be ready to do a lot of typing.
[/quote]

At that time I did not have internet, so I had to download the LiveCD. Now I connect to the internet via a wireless connection, and I have no idea how to get that to work via command-line, actually it still don't work perfectly.

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I forgot to post this earlier but this site has some great how-to's for Ubuntu, Fedora and Mandriva.
i've used the ubuntu guide extensively for setting up my distro.
http://easylinux.info/wiki/Main_Page

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[quote author=Koobi link=topic=100080.msg395563#msg395563 date=1152677234]
[quote author=neylitalo link=topic=100080.msg395464#msg395464 date=1152659742]
And the name of the package manager is actually Portage, which is indeed based on the BSD Ports system.
[/quote]

i might be mistaken, but isn't portage a part of the main package management system which is Emerge?
[/quote]

I'm afraid you're mistaken, my friend - emerge is just one application that comes with Portage.

a description of [url=http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/handbook/handbook-x86.xml?part=2&chap=1]Portage[/url].

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[quote author=Daniel0 link=topic=100080.msg395589#msg395589 date=1152684755]
[quote author=neylitalo link=topic=100080.msg395464#msg395464 date=1152659742]
Daniel0: the GUI installer for Gentoo just came out, and is extremely buggy - I'm not even sure why they included it in the 2006.1 release. You should have no trouble at all if you do everything by hand. Just be ready to do a lot of typing.
[/quote]



At that time I did not have internet, so I had to download the LiveCD. Now I connect to the internet via a wireless connection, and I have no idea how to get that to work via command-line, actually it still don't work perfectly.
[/quote]

http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/handbook/handbook-x86.xml

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