cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Best distro for a newbie?

Heloman
Grafter
Posts: 519
Registered: ‎30-07-2007

Best distro for a newbie?

OK, I'm not trying to start a distro war!  I know the best distro is the one that suits you best.
But I get  annoyed that on the rare occasion there is a magazine, newspaper article or TV prog ("Click" on BBC for example) about this, it is always Ubuntu that is recommended as a starter. I tried it as my first distro and was nearly put off Linux for life. Why?
1. It doesn't initially include all the "proprietary" software (eg Flash) that you  need for even basic use and so for a computer dummy (ie. normal home user like me) it becomes a nightmare to configure when you don't even know your way around the OS.
2. It requires an understanding of Command Lines. What are they? Why?  Whats wrong with  desktop management - sorry, GUI I should call it!
3. If you need admin rights, you're invited to open a terminal. What's a terminal? And type "sudo" whatever that is......
I'm now  Linux-only and love it, but fear that I will never be able to persuade others to try it until it becomes more user friendly and less geekish. It was PCLOS that eventually converted me (didn't have any of the three problems above) and I have since found Mepis and Mint to be pretty good for the beginner as well. Does anyone have any other recommendations?

75 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,239
Thanks: 4
Registered: ‎30-07-2007

Re: Best distro for a newbie?

see the sig
pierre_pierre
Grafter
Posts: 19,757
Registered: ‎30-07-2007

Re: Best distro for a newbie?

I have an Asus Eeepc 4g  with its own brand of linux, web, wifi spy, WebMail, Skype, Open Office Suite, Video set, Picture set, 3 USB, ethernet, SD card slot etc. all built in, very easy to use and quick
It can be modified and upgraded but havnt got into that yet, most of the system files etc are hidden, just like window, but can be found.
got it mainly to go on hols, works a treat, even the wife can use it Cheesy Cheesy.  
lingbob
Grafter
Posts: 734
Registered: ‎05-04-2007

Re: Best distro for a newbie?

I would recommend Mandriva.
Regards .....
Community Veteran
Posts: 3,291
Thanks: 2
Registered: ‎10-08-2007

Re: Best distro for a newbie?

@Heloman
I have just started with Linux a few months ago. I installed Ubuntu dual booted with XP.
I did have some problems setting up the dual boot and the install generally because I was playing around. Once I got that figured out (with help from the Linux guys on here) everything was dead easy. I didn't have any of the issues you are referring to while setting it all up.
I would recommend Ubuntu to anyone trying Linux for the first time.
Having said that I have a live cd of PCLInuxos ready to try on my other laptop. When I have installed that I will be able to comment on any differences I find.

VileReynard
All Star
Posts: 11,199
Thanks: 307
Fixes: 11
Registered: ‎01-09-2007

Re: Best distro for a newbie?

It's Ubuntu for me Smiley
It has improved greatly over the last couple of years with regard to the integration of add-on software such as flash etc.
Any operating system (even Windows Embarrassed) will need you to use the command line - occasionally.
It's best to gain some facility in it's use while your system is working - you may need a command line when a problem strikes.

Community Veteran
Posts: 1,850
Registered: ‎11-08-2007

Re: Best distro for a newbie?

try lots.  get a good half dozen to give you a range.
pclinuxos
knoppix
mint
suse
mandriva
sabayon
have a read of this:
http://www.techradar.com/news/software/operating-systems/the-14-best-linux-distros-465771?artc_pg=1
it picks out 14 distros and says what's good about them and why to try them.
whichever you settle on, good luck and have fun.
Heloman
Grafter
Posts: 519
Registered: ‎30-07-2007

Re: Best distro for a newbie?

Thanks for your comments, guys.
Quote from: axisofevil
It's best to gain some facility in it's use while your system is working - you may need a command line when a problem strikes.

This gets to the root of my complaint. I don't believe it should be necessary to learn a new language (CLI). Linux will never appeal to the masses if you need to be a geek to use it .
That is why so far I have settled for PCLOS. I used the remaster facility to burn a new live DVD, and when I did foul things up I was able to re-install with all configuration intact in about 20 mins.  No CL needed.......
Maybe I'm just getting too old  Smiley
pierre_pierre
Grafter
Posts: 19,757
Registered: ‎30-07-2007

Re: Best distro for a newbie?

this thread clearly show the reason why Lunux has only intruded into the Bill Gates empire to the extent of 2.5% - it is far to Geeky, although I am using it, it came straight out of a box, every thing pre installed and working, no need to get my hand dirty
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,239
Thanks: 4
Registered: ‎30-07-2007

Re: Best distro for a newbie?

msdos appealed to the masses when there was no such thing as a mouse or a window ... when my xp system explodes into a million shards i have to start a recovery console which dumps me out to a command line ... if you start from the position that ms windows is somehow the "natural order" of things then you'll never be satisfied with something that is not windows ... which brings me to ... http://linux.oneandoneis2.org/LNW.htm which is a bit long in the tooth but still a great read, and both linux and micro$oft  zealots can learn from it ... homily over Smiley
pierre_pierre
Grafter
Posts: 19,757
Registered: ‎30-07-2007

Re: Best distro for a newbie?

just looking for a piece of wood, got two laptop with XP3 and one take on hols palmtop with linux, non yet exploded,  Been using gates since 3.0 and before that ms dos
MickKi
Grafter
Posts: 543
Registered: ‎30-09-2007

Re: Best distro for a newbie?

Quote from: pierre_pierre
this thread clearly show the reason why Lunux has only intruded into the Bill Gates empire to the extent of 2.5% - it is far to Geeky,

Well, despite the fact that Linux can be far too geeky for most users (although as it has been said it does not need to be so) the main reason that MSWindows has much wider appeal is quite simple:  marketing.  Billions of dollars of it.  When was the last time that you found an advert about Linux desktop in a tabloid, broadsheet, billboard, bus stop, radio, TV, cinema, etc.?
Your average 'computer literate' American would not know what Ubuntu, or CentOS is if you were to hit them on the head with it - indeed typical response is:  "does this run on Windows"?  The problem is that the US has dictated over the years what the de-facto OS is (on the grounds of interoperability) for those who want to do business with them.  All European governments duly obliged by paying the MS/US tax for running all their public sector PCs.  Of course for the rest of the world the word interoperability implies open standards.  For clear economic reasons the US has chosen Billy Gates.
pierre_pierre
Grafter
Posts: 19,757
Registered: ‎30-07-2007

Re: Best distro for a newbie?

I am not sure what penetration there is in Public bodies, but there is a definite move to use open source programs, this is because a "Geek" department can set it up for the "Simpler people" so that they dont know what the base operating system is.  As I have said before, my little Linux beast just works.  Letter Writing, Presentation Pack, Spreadsheet, Instant WiFi , web mail, Video, Web Cam, and on and on. All installed and working
VileReynard
All Star
Posts: 11,199
Thanks: 307
Fixes: 11
Registered: ‎01-09-2007

Re: Best distro for a newbie?

If this command line idea is so bad, why does every OS provide a plain text editor?
Windoze calls theirs notepad, Linux has a selection of various text editors.
Have you ever filled out entries in your hosts file?
Perhaps done things in a "batch file"?
Have you noticed that when something is wrong, you can diagnose the problem by entering simple commands into a command line?
Perhaps you want to check a connection with the ping command?
etc, etc

hootiegibbon
Grafter
Posts: 30
Registered: ‎24-06-2008

Re: Best distro for a newbie?

When it comes to 'newbies' I always recomend my distro of choice PCLinuxOS, as it allows linux to be as simple or as complicated as the user wants, gives an easy way to reinstall should they need it (remasterme/mklivecd - one of the devs with PCLOS is one of the maintainers of the mklivecd project - so they work very closely together).
The fact that anyone can make there own livecd/distro remaster is a strong selling point.
The only thing I would say hinders newbies and pclinuxos at the moment is that the current iso is a bit dated (for newer hardware) although the will be a new iso released soon (yes i am aware that 'soon' started in april, but trust me soon is gonna happen .... soon)
The other distros I would recomend to a newbie, would be Puppy, a great distro , small but full featured I think for older hardware the 2.15CE version is still very usable. both Mandriva and Mint would also be good choices, Klikit Linux (kubunty based) is also getting a good name for the newbie although I have yet to try it (I am not so keen on the *bunties)..
As for another OS that could be installed and managed by a newbie, (but is not a Linux Distro) I think PC-BSD7 would be another good choice .
as for the CLI its not to be feared - i think some people like to reinforce a false belief that it is difficult or confusing, in some ways it can be a quicker, easier and more effective solution than some GUI's. It is also a must for app trouble shootin' (if clicking on an icon does not work, try to launch the app via a Konsole that way you ewill see the issue warning/error that stops it from launching)
I would say to the newbie learn some basics or some CLI apps, if X ever fails it is handy to have and know how to use  a text web browser like (w3m or links/lynx) and a text based irc/chat client (like irssi and finch- part of pidgin) could help get someone back up and running quickly.
Jase