Which of the following distributions would you recommend to a newbie?

Knoppix
24% (703 votes)
Kubuntu
9% (263 votes)
MEPIS
17% (504 votes)
Ubuntu
27% (791 votes)
Other (please describe in a comment)
24% (716 votes)
Total votes: 2977
Carlie Fairchild - Tue, 2005-05-10 08:11.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

linux on G3s

Actually, it does install on G3s. I did the version using OS 9 with bootx. It's not hard. Ubuntu will install on G3s using the same. Take a look through Google for "linux install g3". There's a lot of info out there on exactly how to do this.

Terip (not verified) - Fri, 2005-09-16 22:40.

SuSe or Fedora Core. Ubunt

SuSe or Fedora Core.

Ubuntu is alright.. but its partitioning isn't strong enough for a new user. I would never dare giving the user anything short of a graphical tool for paritioning.

Mand* is a little unstable, and slow, by no means something you'd give a new user. Maybe it was a good choice back in 2001-2003, but they've fallen behind the times.

As for the poll, 2 live cd's and the only real distro they show is (K)Ubuntu.
Out of any of those, only Knoppix and Ubuntu are mainstream. And Ubuntu is the only mainstream+installer based distro. Completely ignoring Mand*, SuSe, FedoraCore/Redhat, was a total mistake.

Distrowatch Rankings for the distros chosen in the poll: 2,5,7,34.(Last 1 year)

An - ymous (not verified) - Tue, 2005-05-31 19:34.

A distro for noobs?

Well, of course this can be debated, I'm a Linux user for 1 and a half years. Throughout my experiences with the easiest and the hardest, SuSE is my # 1 choice. Ubuntu never gave what I wanted. I wanted to use the RPM binaries as supposed to DEB. Plus, I couldn't add new X server windows using xinit.

gnutux

gnutux (not verified) - Tue, 2005-05-31 16:30.

MEPIS is the closest thing fo

MEPIS is the closest thing for new users to use.

Knoppix has a boot prompt, right away and wants options. MEPIS is all graphical.

However, I think the real distro that new users would prefer is PCLinuxOS. It's just as easy to use as MEPIS and looks about 1000% better.

An - ymous (not verified) - Tue, 2005-05-31 15:41.

debian

There really is only one distro worth learning on, Debian. I spent alot of time with mandrakes and SuSes and Red Hats. I learned almost nothing and none of the systems were as fast as i had expected or as stable as i heard that linux was. Then i found debian. Freindly user community, great mailing lists. Secure and stable enviroment. Debian rocks for linux. I have grown and moved to OpenBSD for personal use, still debian behind the FW and on Prod servers.

An - ymous (not verified) - Tue, 2005-05-31 13:43.

Fedora

Fedora

An - ymous (not verified) - M - , 2005-05-30 23:06.

Fedora Core for sure!

Fedora Core for sure!

An - ymous (not verified) - Tue, 2005-05-31 11:25.

Yea, totally Fedora!!

It rules!

An - ymous (not verified) - Tue, 2005-05-31 14:21.

distribution recommendation for a newbee

suse!

An - ymous (not verified) - M - , 2005-05-30 20:11.

YOPER!!! FASTER AND ROCK STA

YOPER!!!
FASTER AND ROCK STABLE

PlasticPie (not verified) - M - , 2005-05-30 05:29.

Fedora Core 3!

It's very easy, AND it has the tools for more advanced setup.
You can use it to setup a simple userfriendly Desktop, BUT you can just as easy setup a secure file/web/ftp-server to connect to.

Good community-support too.

Ozzy (not verified) - M - , 2005-05-30 04:55.

Xandros

Xandros 2.5 is the most stable and easiest I have ever used. The free OCE 2.0.1 was good, and 3.0.1 is nice as well. These have to be loaded onto the hard drive, but that is a 4 click operation. The new 3.0 has had some problems, and they have came out with a SP2 pack that, unfortunately, works about as good as a Win update. But I still say Xandros 2.5.

Next in line is a live CD, SLAX. small, fast, and great hardware detection. A little more to configure, but worth it.

And my final for all-around functions and ease of use...Mepis. Can run as a live CD, or with one click put it on your hard drive.

I wish these choices were around when I got on the Linux wagon (RedHat 5.1)

Smurf (not verified) - M - , 2005-05-30 00:33.

Gentoo is the best

I'm a newbie and I've tried several distros (Redhat, SUSE, and knoppix). While each are easy to install, I've always had difficulty using them after the install. While Gentoo is a much more involved install (and the vast array of options makes the documentation needlessly complex) nothing gets you learning linux as fast as Gentoo does.

Here are the real reasons that Gentoo is the best distro:

  • No RPMs: rpms suck, they don't account for dependencies and Gentoo doesn't use them. Gentoo's portage system calculates all of your dependencies and when you install the software it just plain works
  • Upkeep: Gentoo's portage system always has the list of latest software so my system is up-to-date with the latest software versions. It is so easy, that I can script the updates and schedule them to run automatically. I can even update my kernel easily (and I'm an idiot).
  • Software downloads: I don't have to carry around a stack of CDs in case I might want to install something (That is so microsoft). Gentoo downloads the latest install.
  • Speed: The software is compiled for your system and hardware and it is noticeably faster. Seriously.
  • Free as in beer: A truly free distro. Doesn't cost a dime like SUSE or RedHat or lycoris or whatever.
  • Nano: the easiest text editor anywhere.

In my opinion there are two things that are keeping Gentoo from being the distro on everyone's computer: 1) the false belief that Gentoo is not for beginners and 2) the lack of a GUI installer which helps instill that false belief. I wish I were smart enough to write an installer, because once you are past that, Gentoo truly is the best distro.

An - ymous (not verified) - Sun, 2005-05-29 23:28.

I'm a Gentoo-only user, and I

I'm a Gentoo-only user, and I can't agree with you. It's hard to install some things on Gentoo, like wireless. Or any networking, for that matter, unless you have a wired network card and you're using DHCP. And installing software is only easy if you're not afraid of the command line. The Portage GUIs are all still a little green. This question really depends on what kind of newbie you are. What your goals are. 1) If you're only a newbie by accident, and you've got a little hacker deep inside of you, please go Gentoo (we could use more hackers). 2) If you're a Grandma who only ever wants to download Snoop Dogg mp3s, and will never touch anything remotely like "administration", then Gentoo is *not* the way to go. 3) If you're a newbie who wants to use Linux for something business-like, then don't go Gentoo. If you do that you should already know Gentoo; if you don't know Linux at all and you want it for something productive you'd do better to use something else.

An - ymous (not verified) - Sat, 2005-06-04 11:44.

Mandriva (Mandrake)

I feel that Mand* has the easiest installer and sets up in a dual boot setup easier than any distro I have seen

An - ymous (not verified) - Sun, 2005-05-29 21:24.

Recommend SUSE Linux

Recommend SUSE Linux

Dr.Beco (not verified) - Sun, 2005-05-29 19:43.

It probably depends.

I believe there are at least three important questions to ask when selecting the software to run your box. There are a lot of factors that come in to play when making this selection, but basically it starts here.
Who is the 'puter for? People have different wants, needs, and abilities. Grandma isn't going to need the same thing as Jr. While she may need bigger fonts and accessibility options you know the young whippersnapper is going to want games. The end user has to be comfortable with it and be able to use it like they want to. If they have never used a pc then they may take to most anything. On the other hand, a long time Windows user may be more comfortable with a graphical system similar to the one they have already gotten acquainted with.
What will the computer be used for? This question could possibly be considered an extension of the first but there is a little more to it, more in depth. For instance, not all users need web server software and development tools but some may want them, even if just for the learning experience. Hobbyists, professionals, academics, and casual users all have specific needs and subsets of needs.
Finally, what type of hardware will the OS be installed? Do you need broadband, or better dial up support for those pesky winmodems? Nvidia or ATI graphics card? How much RAM do you have? Your hardware is the biggest question to consider when selecting a distro. Older hardware has different needs, and newer stuff needs to be supported by a more recently released project.
Personally, I like Kanotix. Loads of apps the advanced PC user needs or is used to, live-cd preview with an easy hard disk install option, tons of custom scripting, and it's Debian so you have plenty of help available. It has a very current kernel and the hardware auto-configuration works like a dream. The fella who created it even directly supports it via the site's forum.

Nick Myra (not verified) - Sun, 2005-05-29 18:04.

Fedora Core

I think it's easy as heck to setup, fast paced, and popular enough to find answers to all of your questions :)

CyberNGA (not verified) - Sun, 2005-05-29 17:12.

Other

Debian, the marks will fade and you'll be a better user for it.

An - ymous (not verified) - Sun, 2005-05-29 15:53.

newbie distribution

http://slax.linux-live.org/
live-cd
small download
fast
good hardware detection
runs on old computers

matto (not verified) - Sun, 2005-05-29 09:04.

Newbie Distro

I have to jump in with the Mandrake/Mandriva crowd: it installs cleanly and easily, it presents packages with explanations as to what the package does, there are no unresolved dependency conflicts, it contains a wealth of docs for learning the ins and outs of linux, it handles all required configuration scripts ...

However, for a faster distro I'd have to recommend Vector (although Puppy is beginning to look real good).

dmo (not verified) - Sat, 2005-05-28 20:57.

xandros

xandros

An - ymous (not verified) - Sat, 2005-05-28 20:21.

suse 9.3

suse 9.3

An - ymous (not verified) - Sat, 2005-05-28 20:05.

kanotix is pretty damn good

kanotix is pretty damn good

An - ymous (not verified) - Fri, 2005-05-27 19:38.

xandros

xandros is highly recommended

An - ymous (not verified) - Fri, 2005-05-27 18:37.

Easier Distro

Kurumin!!!
Based on Knoppix.
In Portuguese ;-)
[]'s
Tux

Tux (not verified) - Fri, 2005-05-27 15:38.

Newbie Linux

My recomendation would have to go to Xandros 2.5.
This looks and feels more like windows 2K than any other OS I have seen to date. I have tried:
Red Hat 5.3, 7, 9, Fedora Core 1, 2, & 3, Suse 8, 9.0, 9.1, 9.2, 9.3, Mandrake 8, 10.0, 10.1, Slackware 10, Debian 2.2, Xandros 2.0, 2.5, 3.0, & 3.0 open circulation, Lycoris, Ubuntu, CentOS, Yoper, Puppy Linux, Damn Small Linux, Linspire 4.5, Sun 10.0, Sun Java, QNX, Evil Linux, Turbo Linux and a dozen little live versions.
The Sun Java OS was easy to install and easy to use as well, I just didn't like the idea of having to pay for it in subscription form. Having to pay for my OS on a yearly bassis to keep it running is not what I want.
That is exactly where Windows is going. Soon you will find the free install CD's everywhere like the ever-annoying AOL CD's. You will pay for your OS on a monthly or yearly bassis like your online service and not paying will result in the system simply not booting.
The OS, like the system hardware, should remain the ownership of the purchaser/builder. Therefore Linux! I am learning to write my own version of Linux, my own little distro, and once I finish, as long as I live there will be a free version of Linux for all to use, I will not sell out!
However, if microsoft ever goes open source and stops with the spy-ware embedded software in the OS then I will consider going back to windows, but not a moment before.
Long live Open Source, long live Linux!!!

Dr. Love (not verified) - Fri, 2005-05-27 09:13.

Redhat

I'd recommend something like Suse or Redhat. These are defacto standards so packages are easy to find. They have a large distribution, so help os easier to find. And they support a lot of hardware standards, so it'll install on the "Super wicked Budget PC including noname mobo and integrated crapset (I'm looking at you SiS)."

tezbobobo (not verified) - Fri, 2005-05-27 07:48.

Mandiva suits me best

I had problems installing Linux. Knoppix was handy on CD, bud for met to difficult to install. The installation of Mandriva was a piece of cake and everything worked. Especially hotplugging USB was very nice with Mandiva.

Petertje (not verified) - Fri, 2005-05-27 06:29.

Lorma Linux

Not the best distro for advanced users, but it is YEARS ahead of Mandrake, Suse, and Knoppix in terms of a Desktop OS. linux.lorma.edu

An - ymous (not verified) - Fri, 2005-05-27 01:02.

libranet

Although a new user might need some help with partitioning, I find Libranet is the best way of presenting a 'Linux' desktop, not a Linux desktop in the guise of Windows or something totally weird and obscure. Libranet simply takes the desktop and adds a few icons. Many shortcuts are already made (shortcuts to things that should already be made anyway), which makes getting up and running with a new system a whole lot easier.

Things like being able to burn a CD or even a DVD straight away without having to change around anything is a great feature, and should be mandatory amongst other distroes. Oh, don't forget to tell them to choose KDE though, not the default Libranet Window Manager. ;)

John (not verified) - Thu, 2005-05-26 22:45.

i reccomend mandriva (mandrak

i reccomend mandriva (mandrake) for newbie. bcoz, it is user friendly linux and made ease for windows user. i have try and now i dont have rememeber any command. just clicks...

abgwan (not verified) - Thu, 2005-05-26 21:44.

Symphony OS

I highly recommend the ease of a distro like SymphonyOS,because it uses Mezzo.
Mezzo,is the easiest desktop GUI ever.
It allows for an easy to use clean interface and little ram usage.
To install packages you use CMG files.
You can boot from CD or install and even though it's Debian,it's way different!
Even my mother loves it.
http://www.symphonyos.com

Linguin The Penguin (not verified) - Thu, 2005-05-26 18:19.

Centos

Try CentOS 4. Nice distro.

Tom (not verified) - Thu, 2005-05-26 17:58.

You can also check the sites

You can also check the sites in the field of- Tons of interesdting stuff!!!

An - ymous - Wed, 2005-06-15 06:35.

ummmm.... lets see

Debian, Debian, Debian, or perhaps Debian? Since not one these has yet forked far enough from home so to speak, it's really not much of a choice now is it.

My recommendation is ... and always will be. Ask your Linux using friends what they use, then grab the same thing. That way you have a built in "pool" of willing and knowledgeable users in the distro you have installed. If you install mepis and everyone you know is a Fedora users... you could be up a creek.

My personal pref? Mandriva. Hands down the most likely to work. It's also the most Laptop friendly of all of them right now.

nightwriter (not verified) - Thu, 2005-05-26 00:22.

Slackware

Mandrake was the first Linux distribution I used after coming from FreeBSD. Since then I've stuck to Slackware as it's unfussed, standardised and exceptionally stable.

Corné van T - der (not verified) - Wed, 2005-05-25 06:22.

PC-bsd

PC-BSD almost too easy to install. You need to know very little if anything.
Goods
*fits on a CD Rom
* Packages require very little effort to install ( currently very few packages. Should grow nicely )
* KDE 3.4 is the default desktop gui
* it's BSD :-)

Overall it seems like a great setup. I am running it on a pokey p3 733 with 256 meg ram, 40 gig hd, and a very old matrox mystique :-)

Gooooo BSD

http://www.pcbsd.org/

woundwort (not verified) - Tue, 2005-05-24 17:49.

I agree that PC-BSD is great

I agree that PC-BSD is great for beginers and makes a great desktop for anyone wanting the stability and security of BSD. It installs very easily and the installation of other programs is a piece of cake too.

I am running on a 2500+ Athlon and it is stable and very fast. The install picked up all my hardware without me touching anything, in fact it was all very "instant" desktop for me.

I went from MEPIS to PC-BSD and won't go back now, but I would recommend them both as good introductions to an alternative operating system.

http://www.pcbsd.org/

taloch (not verified) - Wed, 2005-06-01 13:59.

This looks like a highly prom

This looks like a highly promising project, I must say. The software install system is definitely the way to go.

An - ymous (not verified) - Tue, 2005-05-24 19:53.

Mandriva

I installed Mandriva 2 days ago. I can't believe how easy it was.

I was right on the Internet through my Lan, no settings whatsoever except for setting up the network card in the install.

The only problem that I am having, and this is a more advanced task, is connecting to my windows machine from my linux machien across the network now.

I really really like the features and the option to be able to switch between Gnome and KDE interfaces on bootup if you tweak it to where it has you choose who to logon instead of autologon. For only using it two days, I'm very happy. It is a little difficult to install some of the plugins for MOzilla if you aren't expecting the steps involved but with a little research on the net you can find out what you need to do.

Believe it or not I'm dual booting and I am going into Linux unless I need to access th network. Now I just have to figure out two things and I'm set, so this is why I recommend it for the newbie.

1. sharing the windows and linux files from the same machine
2. connecting to my only windows pc across the network.

I think a basic user would be set from the beginning.

Newbie Michelle (not verified) - Tue, 2005-05-24 12:46.

kde it

kde will connect to it. i use knoppix and use konnect using the connection with 'SMB' followed by the ip address and it connects just fine. it is cheap and dirty, but then so am i.
Nit Wit

Nit Wit Hacker (not verified) - Tue, 2005-05-31 14:08.

I might be able to help you with the 2 issues!:D

Hi!

I think these are the solutions to your 2 problems.....
I dont use Mandriva, so I hope these help!

1) since its a dual boot PC, you should be able to view the windows partition in the "My Computer" equivalent area. If you can see it, its as easy as drag-and-drop to the location that you require.

2) To connect to the windows machine - download winscp on Windows (you can google to find that); enter the ip address of the Linux machine, together with the login name and password.
Alternatively you should be able to ftp and sftp from either machine to the other; somewhere on the lines of sftp://username@123.123.123.123 etc.

I know its somewhat vague, but I hope that helps! ;)

Tauqeer Jamadar

Tauqeer Jamadar (not verified) - Fri, 2005-05-27 08:58.

Mandriva

:-)

An - ymous (not verified) - Tue, 2005-05-24 12:03.

Definately Ubuntu

I have only been exclusively using Linux for 1 year as my Desktop. In that time I have only been able to get two distributions to work properly (i.e. normally I can't get the internet working - game over). Those are SuSE and Ubuntu, both of which I still have installed on my computer.

Whilest I like SuSE very much, mainly because so much software is available and installed from the beginning (Adobe Reader, Flash, Java, MP3 support etc...), I have to say that Ubuntu is a different league in terms of ease of use. The main reason for that is that Ubuntu installs the Open Source software that you really need, i.e. Open Office, and not an additional 3+ office suits and assorted apps (how many spreadsheet programs do you really need?). Also Apt/Synaptic make installing additional software as required very easy, with simple instructions on how to add to the default functionality (like watching DVDs or installing Java) readily available from the Ubuntu website (see WIKI - restricted formats).

In short it is fast, it is easy to install software via Synaptic and there is soooooo much available. Ubuntu software repositories have thousands of programs available, and most Debian packages seem to work fine as well - though use caution not to accidentally create a mutant Ubuntu/Debian system that won't boot (accidental dist upgrade with debian unstable repository added and enabled).

The other main point is that Gnome (desktop environment) and Ubuntu don't bombard the newbie with choices. At the end of the day people that have come from the one size fits all world of Windows aren't used to or comfortable with having 5 ways to do the same thing. It just drives them back to Windows, where they know what's what.

Hope someone finds this useful.
(sorry about the length of the post - but it is a complicated topic)

Jimmy (not verified) - Tue, 2005-05-24 10:27.

Most Definately Ubuntu.

I've played with several distros. First Red Hat 9, which lead to "RPM Hell". It's very difficult to satisfy the dependencies for all your packages, and often requires lots of tedious net searching. Horrible for newbies who are used to grabbing a setup EXE and clicking "next".

Then I tried Debian. Apt-get was a godsend! It managed all my dependencies for me! All I had to do was say `apt-get install` and the name of the package, and if I couldn't find it I'd use apt-cache search. But, Debian asked so many configuration questions for each package it drove me insane. A lot of them I couldn't answer, and spent hours reading faqs and wasting my time plugging in choices that didn't work.

Recently, a friend of mine who'd been trying out distros recommended Ubuntu. He was totally a gui guy, and I really wanted to see how he could possibly have gotten linux working. So I tried it... and it was easy! Hoary Hedgehog (ubuntu version 5) is so easy to install, they've added features like "Detect my keyboard layout by hitting some keys", and I had it installed in under 20 minutes. It has a graphical frontend for Apt-get called Synaptic, which browses and searches packages, manages dependencies for you, and even configures your packages and answers all the questions you'd normally be asked by debian for you in the background. I could seriously grab any program around (given I had the right repositories selected) and have it installed and running in under a minute, even easier than using Windows.

I would like to stress the awesomeness of Synaptic. You can seriously just go grab a package called "kubuntu-desktop" on it and in ten minutes have the entire KDE suite installed for you. Anything with the ubuntu logo next to it works automatically, and things without it generally have a faq that'll help you change the tiny little thing that sets it up right (bookmark this: http://www.ubuntulinux.org/wiki/RestrictedFormats). You can even install kernel modules, or an entirely new kernel, just by selecting a package. I got my tablet screen (acer travelmate) working on it, hell, I even plugged a playstation controller in (radioshack sells the converters). It's amazing how well it works. It even comes set up to run multiple window managers at a time just by clicking Applications->System->New Login. And I can access my windows network through Samba, preconfigured since install.

I've seriously never had more fun with linux. I think Ubuntu is a great way to show people the possibilities of it, without getting them frustrated. And if anyone needs help with it, email me!

Oh yeah, I tried SuSE too. Yast kept forgetting my settings, and then it seriously glitched up on me and crazy shit happened and I saw a textmode screen with all these kelp-like letters that made it look like a chameleon if you stepped away a bit. Maybe this distro works for the rest of you, but it sure didn't like me.

Nick (not verified) - Fri, 2005-05-27 01:31.

Best distro for newbies

I found Fedora Core to be quite user-friendly. Not to knock the live CD distos, ((I have a few myself) but to really get the most out of an OS you need more software than what you can get on just one CD.

Larkguit (not verified) - Tue, 2005-05-24 07:44.

best distro for a newbie

I just watched two Windows escapees who had never seen Linux install SuSE 9.3 Pro.
They were both up and running in 90 minutes and had no trouble with anything other than an explanation of Root and User. Both jumped right into YaST and installed an HP PSC 1600 and a HP PSC2350 and needed no help.

The only other distro that installs with less clicks is Linspire and that isn't a fully functional Linux. unless of course you are skilled at using Apt-Get and such from the terminal - without on-board manual pages.

FewClues (not verified) - M - , 2005-05-23 15:07.

You need add cups-base packag

You need add cups-base package for it...Ghostscript and latest hpijs packages...
When you do it, next step start cups.Open Control Center->Peripherals->Printers.
Select CUPS - Common Unix Print System. Press Add->Add printer/class.Than select local or http etc..Good luck..On FreeBSD I do like that...

Unix (not verified) - Thu, 2005-06-16 15:02.

Best Small Linux

I tried a lot.to me the kanotix 2005 seemed a bit better than Knoppix itself.kaotixx

kaotixx (not verified) - M - , 2005-05-23 11:27.