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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What's your favorite linux distro? Or unix... let's count BSD and Solaris, too.

Personally I'm a big Mepis fan (running SimplyMepis 3.3 currently). It's debian-based. I like having things like Java, Flash, synaptic, RealPlayer, browser plugins, etc pre-installed. It keeps things simple with just KDE (I hate Gnome anyhow), and things just work. Installs from a LiveCD as easily as a Windows program would (though admitedly not as easily as a package does through synaptic).

I've also used Red Hat 6 (ages ago), Mandrake 9, Fedora Core 3, and Ubuntu Hoary Hedgehog.
 

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i just finished building a fedora core based thin client network (ltsp.org) at a local elementary school. that's the extent of my linux experience lol... so far i loathe linux, holy learning curve batman. but i'm sure building such a thing with no linux (or network) experience didn't help :p

the kids sure picked it up quick though, they all seem to think it's mac :p
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Fedora's learning curve is what drove me away from it. That's not to say it isn't good for some people, or that I don't have a learning disability. It's a really flashy distro, with a huge number of packages on the install cds, customizations everywhere, complex controls, and quite a lot of polish in things like the automatic updates mechanism... yet I kept finding myself unable to just do what I wanted. I found using Fedora is like running through an impressive, nice looking pool of molasses. I ended up killing my PHP installation and wasn't able to fix it, for example. Main thing is I'm allergic to [read: incompetent at] installing anything from source, and RPMs always end up in a maze of dependancies leaving me hitting my head against the wall. Fedora's yum and Mandrake's urpmi are supposed to solve that, but they just didn't seem to work that well or have enough available compared to apt.

Also, while Fedora had millions of packages I didn't need, it was missing basic things like the MP3 codec that it refused to include on the basis that they aren't open source. Their devotion to open source is all well and good, but when it makes things harder for me I look elsewhere.

Mepis I really think the average person could pick up and just use, thanks to the lack of configuration required and debian's superior package management. Keeps things simple... don't think I would've bought a Windowsless computer if I hadn't found it.
 

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well i dunno what is the fault of fedora, or kde, or linux itself but i had quite a nightmare just doing simple things.

creating lots of accounts: good luck
controlling menus: took me a few hours of digging
swapping eth0/eth1: omg
configuring firewall/dhcp: ????

the rest of the problems were related to ltsp though, so i won't get into them.... but there were MANY
 

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I like Gentoo. It's extremely configurable, but takes a while to install. Once you have everything installed and configured, a simple command in your crontab will automatically upgrade all your programs for you whenever you want it to (at least all of the programs you've installed through their package management system, and there are a lot!).
 

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I just got some CD's for FreeBSD and I'm going to try that out this weekend. Amazing that you can get an OS for $6 including S&H. I'm currently running slackware which has been my favorite linux distribution. The only real problem is the lack of packages. I've tried out debian and red hat, but didn't care for them that much. I enjoy linux, but getting it setup is a big task.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I've wanted to try out FreeBSD just for a glance, just to say I've looked beyond the confines of Linux, but haven't. FreeBSD setup has a reputation for being a nightmare... wish there were a version out there that had a setup for hardwarephobic people like me who don't want to answer questions during an install. I found a LiveCD version, FreeSBIE, but it was horribly slow (compared to linux LiveCDs) and I couldn't get it to start X for some reason among other difficulties. Oh well.

Gentoo I've heard good things about, but haven't tried due to the fear of a difficult install and the horror of waiting for things to compile.

Mork said:
I enjoy linux, but getting it setup is a big task.
Hasn't been with any of the distros I've used, though that's probably because I chose them with the intent of avoiding complicated setups. Fedora took a while but wasn't really difficult except when it had issues with my monitor, Mandrake was just a matter of swapping CDs in and out, Ubuntu was just a matter of sitting back and watching it download everything from the internet, and Mepis was just a matter of playing games and amusing myself on the internet in other windows while it installed.
 

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Gentoo's install isn't extremely difficult, but you do have to know your system. Still, you can cheat and 'lsmod' and 'lspci' to see what modules the livecd's using and what your hardware is.

As for compile times, there's an arguement (-k for trying to use binary if possible, and -K for ONLY binary packages.) in the 'emerge' command that tells it to select a binary package if at all possible. That should speed up the install quite a bit, especially if you're installing with a Stage 3 (mostly pre-compiled) install.

Also, you don't need to use the gentoo live-cd for an install. You can install through MEPIS or Knoppix (or another distro like them). Just go to Gentoo's website and follow the install directions. I always liked this way the best, because you can surf and play games while it's compiling. My current gentoo install was done using MEPIS.
 
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