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

24% (703 votes)
9% (263 votes)
17% (504 votes)
27% (791 votes)
Other (please describe in a comment)
24% (716 votes)
Total votes: 2977
Carlie Fairchild - Tue, 2020-05-10 08:11.

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I think people that respond t

I think people that respond the way you have do more to make people lose interest. Suse has no more benefits then using mandrakes gui control panel or fedora-cores for that matter. Mandrakes urpmi I find to be one of the best setup's next to apt-get in debian - and yes I will say yast does a good job- but to say it is that much better I would not. Also - if one compares the 32 bit version to 4 bit version there tend to be differences also - making the decision even harder to choose a distro.

an - (not verified) - Tue, 2020-06-07 12:16.

You are either sick, a troll

You are either sick, a troll or a mandrake employee.
SuSE does wifi better, printer config easier, sound easier etc. etc.

When you've studied Linux a bit more than a week you'll see the difference.

An - ymous (not verified) - Tue, 2020-06-07 17:07.


I have used Fedora Core 3, Suse, Ubuntu & Gentoo (actually I'm still trying to use Gentoo). I'd say I'm a noob but with a lot of experience with windows that I have been able to translate across to linux. I prefer Fedora out of all of them. Suse was my first but I found it difficult to set up samba and integrate it into a windows network with kerberos. I left Linux for a while and when I had time I tried Fedora. I loved it so much I created a server at home and am now well ahead with a mythtv network. I have also run game servers with it. I also recently gave Ubuntu a try and its ok. Very easy to set up but I don't like the default configuration or the visual theme. I currently have Ubuntu as a media server.

Darren (not verified) - M - , 2020-06-06 06:44.

Re: Distro for Newbie

I would reccommend Progeny Debian for a newbie. Real stable when compared to other flavors and more likely to survive newbie mistakes. LOL

QuickSHADOWMAN (not verified) - Sun, 2020-06-05 10:12.

Distro for newbies

I would recommend Lycoris, Xandros and Linspire, in that order. Yes, they all cost money... you get what you pay for... and it does including installation support.

The time investment in learning to use something like Fedora Core or Mandrake is just too big... but I imagine a newbie would just use web browser, email, IM and some productivity applications, maybe watch movies and play the occasional game, for that those three distros would be quite suitable.

I use Fedora Core 3, but only as a web server. I play a lot of games, so I use Windows XP, which I'm very happy with. I keep a 98 installation around for those games that don't work under 98.
I had a full-blown Mandrake 9.1 workstation at some point, even running DirectX games... and then it promptly destroyed its own partition.

Marco Nadal (not verified) - Sun, 2020-06-05 09:00.

I like...


I like SuSe, Slax and Ubuntu!
You can discuss all distros in a single discussion list made specially for workstation configurations at: http://groups-beta.google.com/group/linux-workstation
(or subscribe via email: linux-workstation-subscribe@googlegroups.com)


Beco (not verified) - Sun, 2020-06-05 07:29.

Gentoo, With Support

I have my father using Gentoo. But that's only because I'm giving support and Gentoo gives me power. If you're in the standard scenario, and the newb is on his/her own, I don't recommend said newb go Gentoo.

An - ymous (not verified) - Sat, 2020-06-04 11:34.

The opposite of Noob

Actually, I would call Gentoo the linux for hardcore experts. It has a lot of upsides to it, but it is the opposite of noobie friendly.

Lunarcloud (not verified) - Sun, 2020-06-05 11:42.

Which dist would I recommend?

I highly recommend Linspire 5.0. I have it installed on a dual boot win xp pro.
it took me a while to figure out the wireless card but now that I have it working I am about ready to dump win xp for good. Linspire is very much like the windows enviroment, easy to use, many programs are available through their CNR. Great distro. Everything was recognized right off the bat except for the WiFi Card.

Bruce (not verified) - Sat, 2020-06-04 10:33.

Fedora Core

It have great support, and it's easy out-of-the-box

An - ymous (not verified) - Sat, 2020-06-04 08:10.

greetings from italy!!! i'm

greetings from italy!!!
i'm a Suse (9.2 pro) user and i'm very happy...it's easy to install and to use, no problem with the upgrade and with the installation of software (thks RPM), no problem to share file with windows...

igor (not verified) - Sat, 2020-06-04 02:44.

Which of the following distributions would you recommend to a ne

I went the SuSE way. Great distro and great support Forum @ http://forums.suselinuxsupport.de/index.php?.

An - ymous (not verified) - Fri, 2020-06-03 23:26.


I am a newbie. I chose Suse. I can't comment on the others (except Fedora 3 - don't!) because I didn't (or haven't yet) tried them. I found SuSe to be very easy to install. It found all of my Gateway Solo9550 hardware. The only thing I still don't have working yet is my wireless Linksys pcmcia card. I like it so far.

T - y (not verified) - Fri, 2020-06-03 22:58.

Recommend Damn Small Linux

Damn Small Linux (or DSL) is compact (at or under 50MB), reasonably complete, and totally rocks on older hardware. It will boot from CD, USB Key Drive, Hard Disk, or Compact Flash. You can find it at http://www.damnsmalllinux.org

An - ymous (not verified) - Fri, 2020-06-03 21:53.

Gentoo!!! Ok, just kidding


Ok, just kidding... but I'd recommend SUSE or Xandros

An - ymous (not verified) - Fri, 2020-06-03 21:24.

reflecting on the many tried ...

Big, bloated, Overwhelming. Knoppix features great detection scripts, but makes available too many choices to the novice.
Damn Small Linux
Slick. Great interface. With its lean approach, DSL allows persons to get right into the game.
For the Windows 95/98 users. Requires configuring Internet access, a challenge for most -- even with the GUI auto detect applet.
For the Windows 95/98 users. This Live CD gracefully ejects itself after loading its contents into RAM. Like Puppy, requires configuring Internet access, a challenge for most -- even with the GUI auto detect applet.
Great for music enthusiats. If you have a PC to dedicate as an mp3 server for a home network, dyne:bolic makes an excellent choice.
Spectacular for movie enthusiasts. If you'er a MS Windows uers and want to burn your own self-contained players with movies, then this is the choice to decide.
The LiveCD List
Live CD List provides a great web app selection tool to help you decide.
Another great great web app selection tool to help you decide comes from LinuxLinks.com
Pierre Johns - (not verified) - Fri, 2020-06-03 21:22.

Hellix is the easiest distro

Hellix is the easiest distro for newbies.

Scottsd - e (not verified) - Fri, 2020-06-03 17:08.

Best Distro for a newbie

Beatrix (www.watsky.net) by a long shot! Small, very fast and very user friendly.

Bjorn (not verified) - Fri, 2020-06-03 13:27.

distributions for newbies

as a complete linux newbie, i managed to install mandrake 10, set up a sound card, and eventually, after much grief, get my modem up and running. still got a long way to go, but the trip has been great so far.

An - ymous (not verified) - Fri, 2020-06-03 11:22.



An - ymous (not verified) - Fri, 2020-06-03 10:55.

I have not tried Ubunto or Kn

I have not tried Ubunto or Knoppix. Xandros is simple, clean and user-friendly.

An - ymous (not verified) - Fri, 2020-06-03 08:09.

Newbie distro recommendation

As a non-techie I was only 75% happy with Mandrake, but have finally found almost total bliss with Xandros (full retail distro). It found all my hardware, my ADSL connection and network was all configured for me, no problem with my three printers and two digital cameras. Even allows me to browse my Windows only PCs on the local network. It really just worked out of the box and apart from a slight problem with me not understanding how to install non-Xandros supported packages (I know now!) I have had no problems with it so far.

My personal PC system is not top notch, and is a bit of a home brew with all sorts of hardware addons, but it all works fine with Linux. I loved Xandros over Windows because it never asked me for driver disks etc etc, and it only took about 15 minutes from start to end of install.

I can see it becoming my fave, but I was also impressed with Mepis which also found all my hardware and certainly shows promise. I might just do an HD install of Mepis onto my son's PC to see how it goes in the near future.

But for now Xandros is simply the best so far for this newbie! :-)

Mike K

Mike K (not verified) - Fri, 2020-06-03 07:33.

Vectorlinux SOHO

For someone who starts using linux, and does not have the financial capabilities to buy all the newest stuff. Then i would recommend Vectorlinux SOHO edition.

On older hardware it works out of the box, couldnt test it on newer hardware, because i don't have it. standard installed with all the packages you need for an small office and somewhat multimedia box.

comes standard with kde 3.3.2 installed so the step for windows users is very small
based on slackware, so it's pretty secure. The only thing you have to do is wanting to learn the system, otherwise you will be stuck with the stock packages of vectorlinx

And as personal note, not one other system runs as fast on my old machine even with kde witch is probably the heaviest wdm for linux

Ike (not verified) - Fri, 2020-06-03 04:00.

I would recommend Suze for an

I would recommend Suze for any Linux newbie.

An - ymous (not verified) - Thu, 2020-06-02 17:24.



cakey (not verified) - Fri, 2020-06-03 01:36.


Ubuntu is good for slower computers. Kubuntu is good for faster computers. They are both pretty easy to use, and if you are using Ubuntu and are dissatisfied with GNOME, you can easily use apt-get to install KDE, and thus Kubuntu.

Michael Hunt (not verified) - Thu, 2020-06-02 16:48.


I've tried several distros and I recommend PCLinuxOS. Boot the CD and take it for a test drive, all the applications are there to try, then install to your hard drive.

It just works and you don't have to add apps because almost everything is already there ready to go: office wordprocs, spreadsheets, presentations, browsers, the Gimp, Xine, bittorrents, limewire...and updates are a snap using Synaptic.

metapath (not verified) - Thu, 2020-06-02 15:00.

Mepis and I'm a Mandrake user.

I have been using Mandrake/Mandriva since release 8.something and have tried a spindle full of other distros and not one of them installed as easily as Mandrake. The installation is fast (depending on the software category selections) and totally graphical. Mandrake's partitioning tool is unquestionably the best of the lot. The reason I would recommend Mepis over Mandrake is unless you buy the boxed version or pay for the same as a download, you will have to install Java, Macromedia flash, Realplayer, as well as proprietary ATI and nVidia drivers yourself. While thiss is easily done using urpmi, or Mandrake's package tool, the setup may be daunting for the command line challenged. You will then have to configure Firefox or Konqueror for these programs. Mepis enables all of these in the free download version. Mepis is also less bloated installing from one cd compared to four for Mandrake, assuming you install all packages. If something you need is missing, Synaptic a graphical package manager, can install from any Debian software source.

Rich D.

sinczar (not verified) - Thu, 2020-06-02 11:31.


I tried several distros before I settled on Mandriva, including SuSE, Red Hat, Fedora and Ubuntu. I'm an IT Professional in the Windows/Novell world and decided to switch to Linux at home about 6 months ago. All the distros above were good. They all have their little quirks but overall I found Mandriva to be the most stable, easiest to navigate and find/install apps, etc. I spend all day working on computers and the last thing I want to do after work is spend all night at home working on computers. I felt that Mandriva made the switch less painful and it seems I have less maintenance involved. I use Mandriva on my work laptop as well now.

Patrick (not verified) - Thu, 2020-06-02 09:46.

Got lost in the mish-mash

As a "newbie" to linux, I had a hard time trying to read your current issue (June 2005). Scrolling to the next page took me to Page 3, and I could not find or get pages 1 and 2. The cover page had the "hand" run all over it, but nothing clickable. Etc. ad nauseum.

I find little value in one BIG file for this zine when it could have a table of contents and separate web files (or pointers to sections) without having to eat the whole pie at one sitting. We're on the Web, not in a printing press, remember? How about giving your zine some of the flexibility that the Web makes available!

And then we have "The URL of your homepage is not valid. Remember that it must be fully qualified, i.e. of the form http://example.com/directory." Can't handle a Web URL without the http://? Goodness gracious!

Oh yes, and what's all that stuff below this box that's labelled "Formatting guidelines"? And then it says "More information about formatting options" below that! You appear to have limited capability in handling a Web Site. Sorry!

I run Windows XP Pro on a 3.3GHz machine with 2 GB ram, and have Adobe Reader and Adobe Acrobat both installed and running fine on all other uses. Been in the business using Windows and its predecessors for over 20 years.

Bob Gabardy (not verified) - Thu, 2020-06-02 09:44.

drifting a bit?

err this thread seems to be drifting from "what distribution you would recommend to a newbie" to "what distribution do you prefer". So far, I've been trying different live-cd distributions and so far I haven't noticed many major differences between them. All of them detected my hardware fine (except for PCLinuxOS, which didn't mount my ntfs drives, maybe I have a corrupt disk) and I had instant internet right out of the box with all of the distros (i use a router, which makes connecting under different OSes so much easier).

My impression of different distros so far is that they keep reinventing the wheel. Newbies really don't need to have 300 distro options if all of them are running KDE and OpenOffice. What newbies really need is to know that they can install linux and that it will work right out of the box and that it will look similar enough to Windows or MacOS.

In my opinion, what tends to scare newbies away are all of the not-so-descriptive software acronyms (such as WINE, XMMS, GIMP etc).
Sure most linux users know what these are, but a newbie will find it a lot easier to understand names like Windows Media Player and Photoshop (or even stuff like WallpaperChanger.exe).

As for what distribution to recommend, I'd say knoppix was the easiest to find, download and get running (mind you I had absolutely no linux experience whatsoever at the time and I still am quite a newbie myself). SimplyMepis has a nice install-from-live-cd icon right on the desktop, but it took me some 15 minutes to find the iso on the website. So for the whole demystification purposes, knoppix is my choice for a newbie.

Leo (not verified) - Thu, 2020-06-02 08:45.

Xandros ; I feel is the best

Xandros ; I feel is the best for newers

raja nadar (not verified) - Thu, 2020-06-02 08:37.


I've used Mandrake for years, and have found it very easy to use. I would have no trouble suggesting it to a newbie. I have in the past tried RedHat, Suse, Debian, Linspire and Mepis, in an effort to see if there was anything better than Mandrake. In each case, I was disappointed. RedHat and Debian were very difficult to install/manage -- Mandrake did a much better job of auto-installing all the right stuff for my hardware. I had trouble with Suse -- but it could be just that I was so familiar with Mandrake, and Suse was too different. The problem with Mepis was that it didn't have many packages available -- with Mandrake (and the Penguin Liberation Front), I get easy access to thousands of apps -- all the good stuff. And it all works pretty much without issue, out of the box. I've used Knoppix quite alot, as an emergency repair sort of thing. I've never considered it a viable alternative as a desktop OS -- not enuf apps! Linspire seemed nice, but again, app availability wasn't as good as Mandrake, and you have to pay rent to boot. I don't know about Ubuntu and Kubuntu. I think I would much prefer Kubuntu, as I'm definitely a KDE kinda guy.

Bottom line: for a person who wants a half-home-oriented, half-business-oriented uber OS which they can use for everything, which is easy to install (finds/installs all your hardware correctly), and easy to maintain (has thosands of apps available -- all the good stuff), and easy on the eyes (KDE, nicely put together), then Mandrake/Mandriva is an excellent choice.

Chuck Messenger (not verified) - Thu, 2020-06-02 06:44.

Not enough packages for Mepis???

Come on Chuck. From the debian home page there are 8710 packages in their repositories. There is also a program to convert rpm formatted packages to debian packages. You are aware that Mepis is a debian based distro?

Rich D.

sinczar (not verified) - Thu, 2020-06-02 10:34.


Linspire is the very best distro by far!! Everything else is a joke compared to Linspire.

kraig (not verified) - Wed, 2020-06-01 19:09.

not realy the best in my view.

I have read a linux review that said this linspire is not very secure the reason beeing that the root password was optional.

For me to try the linux os should be a live CD because it was designed to be a preview into the linux desktop

That is how I have started, now I am on my 6th distro this time Mandriva 2005 Limited edition.

And it seems to commercial to be a comunity distro, where the best distros are

An - ymous (not verified) - Thu, 2020-06-02 06:57.

Not even mentioning SuSE as a

Not even mentioning SuSE as a distribution for the newbie really sucks. It's got the best manuals of any and is widely regarded as very user-friendly. In contrast, Knoppix isn't really a distro, just a good test kit, which also happens to be able to be transferred to hard disk.

Usually I don't even bother to comment on crappy biased polls like these...

An - ymous (not verified) - Wed, 2020-06-01 16:44.

First Linux

I would and have, recommend Linspire Five-O. The ease of installation and the minimal cost to use the Click-n-run has saved my friends countless hours getting their systems running.

LinuxCDRs (not verified) - Wed, 2020-06-01 14:39.



An - ymous (not verified) - Wed, 2020-06-01 13:00.


As an advanced Windows user and novice UNIX user (I'm a DBA by trade), I decided to install Linux on an old Dell P3 that we'd been using for a doorstop to use as my PHP/MySQL development sandbox. Looking for “free

Norm (not verified) - Wed, 2020-06-01 10:02.

SUSE is pretty good & reasona

SUSE is pretty good & reasonably easy to use

An - ymous (not verified) - Wed, 2020-06-01 09:31.

definitely yoper

definitely yoper

An - ymous (not verified) - Wed, 2020-06-01 03:12.


Mandrake/mandrive is by far the easier and friendlier distro I have tryed from installation to configuration and usage

An - ymous (not verified) - Wed, 2020-06-01 02:48.

Mandriva & Move!

Hi all,

Well I would "HEARTILY" Recommend ANY LINUX DIST. Over Windows Simply because it's LINUX.. but I truly feel that for a noob... Mandriva has got to be the simplest choice.. it's installer set the bar that others try to achieve, and it's usability is beyond compair.. On the downside to Mandriva. it's not exactly Small machine friendly.. I have a small 700 Mhz. Pc in my network here at home and I don't think I would run Mandriva on anything much smaller.. tho I am sure it will. It will probably wind up disappointing, for smaller computers I would say that "Damn Small Linux" ( DSL ) would be best..

An added plus is that Mandriva Move is their live CD version that runs from CD and also their ( Commercial ) Live CD has the ability to save your settings on a USB Thumb drive :)

Just my two cents.

Tho above and beyond.. Linux over WinBlows any day of the week regardless of what distro. It's worth the investigation and your time.
Powered By:
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128 Mb. Nvidia GeForce FX 5200
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Works for Linux, Windows, MacOS, OS2, HP-UX 11, AmigaOS

OldToker (not verified) - Wed, 2020-06-01 02:11.

Linux Distributions

Can we drop all the code-head speak and post in plain english? I'm getting real tired of windows and I want to learn linux. I'm looking for a graphical interface that I can learn quickly and install without needing to know all kinds of code and command line junk. I want to install it on a PII 400 or an older Mac G3. Can anyone help me out?

queznut (not verified) - Wed, 2020-06-01 00:37.

Give KNOPPIX a try

I under stand your frustration about the linux lingo. Let me tell you a bit about knoppix (www.knoppix.net). I don't know if their is a Mac version of knoppix but it will run on an intel/amd system.

Knoppix is a linux distribution (version), that can be started from a CD-ROM. This is known as a LIVE-CD in the linux community. The nice part about this is you can try knoppix/linus with out distroying the OS you currently have loaded on your system. After you are finished, just log off, remove the disk, and reboot. Your original OS is left intact. There are a number of different distributions available that use the LIVE-CD format, but KNOPPIX was the first to release a stable distribution.

On the CD-ROM is 2GB of compressed software. It includes a fully functional OS, office suite, games, developers packages, entertainment, and more.

You will need to download the "iso" that is the image you can burn to a CD that is capable of booting your computer. Knoppix 3.8 is the latest release, but I currently prefer version 3.7 as somethings I use have been removed. Burn the image to a CD, I use Nero on my Windows PC. Once you have successfully burned your Knoppix CD, turn off the computer and boot from the CD Rom. If your PC does not boot from a CD, you may create a floppy disk to start the knoppix OS to load from your CD drive. Not sure of the procedure, but go to the knoppix web page and search the documents to find the floppy boot routine.

Once the CD boots, you will come first to a boot screen it is at this point you can create custom boot, but for now just hit enter. Once Knoppix is loaded, a browser will open. Take a look at the browser and read about how you can save your files to a thumb drive. This will allow you to customize your knoppix os and it will return the next time you boot up knoppix.

If you cannot create your own Koppix CD, go to a book store a purchase "KNOPPIX Hacks" ($30 us) at Boarders. It includes a knoppix cd and the book is an excellent tutorial to help you get started. It will explain how to use the "start up cheat codes" and some of the not so obvious capabilities of this outstanding GUI linux distribution.

I also have a Fedora system which allows me to keep up with the Professor. Knoppix includes a SAMBA file server (allows windows machines to access the files), Appachee (internet web server), and others.

The code speak is a killer, I have similar issues, but the only way to learn it is to give it a try. If your not comfortable making the big switch all at once then Knoppix will allow you to keep the orignial OS while you become comfortable with the linux OS.

I am not part of the I hate Microsoft crowd. I believe there is room for linux and Windows. Both OSs are good, both have their pros and cons.

Good luck and I will try to check back if you have a specific question.

Bobby C (not verified) - Wed, 2020-06-01 13:33.


I have a Compaq Proliant 1600 Server on which I have tried to install
the live Knoppix OS. I didn't read anything or get properly educated
on its installation. I formatted the HD with a Windows 2000 CD, and then
put the Knoppix on alone. There is no control of the mouse or the keyboard ( at first try there was-but only able to use the page up and
down keys) I am assuming the proper drivers are not installed. I tried
shutting it off and restarting so many times that for a long time all I got
was a continous beep. At this moment I have the browser up and it says
Knoppix Info-but no control at all.
I have tried reloading Windows 2000, but all I get is that annoying beep!
Any way out of this?

TC (not verified) - Wed, 2020-08-10 18:43.

Or Kubuntu for mac

The kubuntu distribution has a live-cd for mac platforms.

Leo (not verified) - Thu, 2020-06-02 08:02.

Linux Distributions

For your P2 400 check into DSL.. tho I am not sure of it's interface.. as I have never used it. I have friends who do, and they are pleased with it on the smaller machines. and for your Mac. I would say either the Mandriva version for PPC or Yellow Dog Linux.

Hope this helps.. if you need more help, I am a noob like you I would be willing to help you out in anyway possible. and I don't know too much "Code-head Speak"

you can drop me a line:
oldtoker1 ( at ) gmail ( dot ) com

OldToker (not verified) - Wed, 2020-06-01 02:15.

PPC Linux

Apparently, (at least according to the documentation on their website) Yellow dog won't work on the older beige G3's like the one I'm trying to resurrect. It also looks excessively difficult to install and with a number of unresolvable bugs. I can't find a site where I can download the PPC version of Mandriva or even purchase it for USD in stead of Euros. And this is from their site. I like the look of the KDE interface. I was looking at the Kubuntu distro, it comes with KDE included and bills itself as a graphical install, but I can't find any step by step instructions for partitioning or installing that doesn't degenerate into a whole lot of unexplained command line junk.

queznut (not verified) - Wed, 2020-06-01 10:47.