Which Linux Distribution Should I use?


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Thread: Which Linux Distribution Should I use?

  1. #1
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    Which Linux Distribution Should I use?

    Which Linux Distribution Should I use?

    I have a 2001 Sony Vaio Desktop which came with Windows XP installed. The main hard drive crashed and I replaced it with a new hard drive. This happened during a move to a new place. Something else that happened during the move is this. I lost one of the system restore CD's. I called Sony and they told me that every option I had would cost a lot of money. They no longer distribute the CD's for such an old system and taking it to the local Sony store would cost a minimum 100 dollars for them to even look at it. Another option is to go buy a retail version of XP Home edition but the local store told me that that would cost 120 dollars.

    I would rather NOT go the illegal route and get and use a torrent version of XP. In the long run, that would be even more expensive.

    So I have decided to look into a linux distribution. What Linux distribution would work for a Sony Vaio Desktop PCV-RX540? I especially want it such that I can have a print driver for my Lexmark X125 (which, by the way, is why I have not upgrated this system to Vista or Windows 7 because this printer does not have drivers for later versions of Windows).

  2. #2
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    I would have a look at some different live cd's, and decide later which one you will realy install.
    Don't forget about puppy and its puplets www.puppylinux.org.
    ubuntu is kind of popular lately

  3. #3
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    Many good Live-evaluation CD's

    I agree that trying many live-evaluation CD's would be a good idea. Many of the most popular ones at distrowatch.com (popularity rating in terms of hits/day along the right hand side) have live-evaluation versions. If you don't need the hugest selection of applications, any would be fine. In terms of user-friendliness coupled with a huge repository of available applications, ubuntu or linux mint (ubuntu based with proprietary multimedia drivers and applications installed by default) are both great. Installing necessary multimedia stuff in ubuntu is still very simple (prompted to point and click to install if file extensions needing something proprietary are encountered), if not there by default.

    Ubuntu, Linux mint, Opensuse, pclinuxOS, mepis, and the most recent mandriva release are all great for beginners. Fedora might require a little more work getting proprietary stuff working, and is more bleeding edge and perhaps a bit less stable. Puppy seems to have less stuff available out of the box in terms of applications (the file management system, using "pet" files doesn't seem to have many applications), and I don't know how well it works with the debian repositories. Ubuntu is debian-based, but has its own universe of repositories (28,000+ packages tweaked to behave with ubuntu), and Linux Mint tweaks ubuntu's packages even less to be compatible with their OS. Mepis used to be ubuntu-based, but is now debian-based.

  4. #4
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    While I hink it's an excellent idea of installing Linux instead of Windows, I just want to say that it is NOT illegal to download a WinXP cd!
    This is because you have a legal license already (if I understood you right), so you have the right to use Windows XP on that computer.
    Copying the installation disc itself is not a problem as long as you use a legal license.
    In pingvino veritas!

  5. #5
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    Actually, I think it is illegal in most countries. Not that you'd get in trouble for it, I don't think there have been any cases of MS going after home users for it, after all, they'd rather you pirated Windows than use Linux (you should be able to find a quote of Bill Gates saying something to that effect if you look). Legally you'd be okay borrowing an XP install CD from someone because you have a licence, Windows license keys are often printed on a sticker attached to the computer case.

    Your printer may be an issue with Linux, it is listed as partially working, so you may still have some luck with it. Which distribution is best depends on how much RAM you have, the specs for your computer list it as 256MB expandable to 512MB. With 512MB Ubuntu should run fine, it won't run very well with 256MB in which case you'd want something lighter like Puppy Linux.

  6. #6
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    I agree with X, as long as you have the legal license with the numbers from the tag on the pc. Make sure you download the proper version of xp as your pc may have came with xp-sp1 or maybe sp2 or maybe no service pack at all. Each license is specific to the xp version. Looking in my printer setup it doesn't show your printer supported in linux, that doesn't mean Lexmark will not have linux drivers though.

    I'm not trying to talk you out of using linux just letting you know you CAN download a copy of windows without breaking any law. As for a version of linux to use, I agree also with the others, try some live-cd's it will also depend on your system and the amount of ram your system has. There are over 300 flavors of linux, so I'm sure you will find one that will work on your system.

  7. #7
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    Best bet might be the 'light' version of a big distribution, like Xubuntu which has all the same software as Ubuntu but is optimised for an older system with less RAM. Any distro can be tweaked in this way once it's installed - my main system runs Mandriva 2010.0 nicely with XFCE in 256MB.

    Lexmark provides good Linux drivers for some of its printers, but I think that's only the more recent models. However the open-source driver might do everything you need, the best thing to do is try it out. In my experience 'partially working' can mean anything from 'it prints in low resolution black & white' to 'everything seems to work but I haven't tested the special function buttons'.
    We are free to think. We are free to plan. And we are free to do. But once an action has been taken, we are never free from its consequences.
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  8. #8
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    Debian is king!!!

    *cough* *cough* With that out of my system, I've personally found when trying to introduce people to Linux, Ubuntu has been the best selection.

    At least Ubuntu is based off Debian, so while you won't be King you'll still have some royal blood in ya.

    All of the different flavors are at it's core the same thing, so you can run any program on any version of Linux (with the exception of some stripped down versions intended for embedded usage). The main difference between them is the package manager (think Window's Installer - add/remove programs), and what is installed by default. Some have other differences, but those are the most common.

    Whichever you choose, get your feet wet and post back when you have questions. Lots of helpful people lurk these boards.
    "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect."

    -Mark Twain

  9. #9
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    Hey... are you a girl? Awesome! We don't get a lot of those in here,

    Hmmm. Your question seems like a newbie question, but I see that you have been a member since 2007. Well, I'm going to give you the newbie talk.

    Ubuntu probably really IS the best place to start for the most people, but there are different kinds of Ubuntu. If you're really new to Linux, my current suggestion would a realtively new distro called Peppermint OS, which is an Ubuntu derivative (via Mint) with a nice simple light LXDE Desktop, with all the codecs I've ever needed already installed. Plus flashplayer and Mplayer. are ready to go. These are exactly the things that give brand New Linux users a major pain, and they're all set up here.

    Peppermint is designed with netbooks, and the clod in mind, so it comes with an emphasis on webapps, so there's a good chance you'll find some of the default apps, apps (e.g. google gadgets) already familiar. And it's meant to run on none-too powerful machines.

    But it is Ubuntu, so it can ultimately do anything Ubuntu can do... and that's just about anything! You can use apt-get or synaptic to easily install any of thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of packages, including more sophisticated Desktops like KDE and Gnome, editors like emacs, and stuff that, frankly, I still don't understand, like apache and mysql. And so on!

    Other than that, the previously advice of trying a lot of live CDs is also pretty sound. make sure you know what a live CD is and how they work, and yeah, I know, this is probably not new for you. Just trying to cover all the bases.

  10. #10
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    Ubuntu

    I am using Ubuntu right now. I tried Puppy but Lucid Puppy is designed to be run entirely from RAM (I have been told) and "installing" it defeats its purpose. Also, Ubuntu automatically somehow figures out the best screen resolution and Puppy has to be told.

    My system, as reported by Ubuntu is:
    Processor: Intel(R) Celeron(TM) CPU 1200 MHz
    Memory: 243.8 MiB
    (Swap is 711 MiB)
    Available disk space is 101.6 GiB

    What do you think? Is Ubuntu my best choice. So far, I like it, and, as they say, "... it ain't broke, don't fix it"

  11. #11
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    Stick with ubuntu

    Yes, if it is working, keep it. It has more available packages than any "user-friendly" distribution, and you only need to install it once, as it can do distribution upgrades using your broadband connection. I once installed it using an ubuntu 5.10 (I think) CD and sequentially upgraded via the internet all the way to 9.04 in a day or so without any problems.

    The ubuntu community (forums) is known for its helpful nature.

    At only about 250MB, I thought there might have been a problem of running sluggishly using its default desktop environment (GNOME), but if it's not a problem, great. If it does become a problem, you can just install and boot a "lighter" one, like LXDE, XFCE, or Enlightenment, until you find one that has the correct ratio of bells and whistles to RAM consumption.
    Last edited by ehawk; 08-04-2010 at 05:57 AM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by SuperDawn View Post
    What do you think? Is Ubuntu my best choice. So far, I like it, and, as they say, "... it ain't broke, don't fix it"
    Unless the machine is going to have a dedicated, high usage purpose (server, work computers with 8+ hours a day work, rendering box, etc.) then the decision is purely yours as it comes to a matter of preference.

    Going through the trouble of a Gentoo install to compile files specifically to your computer vs using binaries is not worth it for a box you check email with and browse the Internet. Is a week worth of configuring worth shortening your load time of your browser from 2.0s to 1.5s? On the other hand, if your box runs 24/7 serving a high usage web page / database / etc., or is a production box that is rendering CAD or graphics, then that 15-25% gain in speed is going to be critical and worth the time investment.

    I only have two suggestions apart from that. One has already been mentioned, with the low RAM you may be better in something like fluxbox or enlightenment instead of gnome/kde. The other, is if you want to be a purist, go Debian instead of a Debian-based distro (Ubuntu). Heh, always going to plug for my DOC.
    "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect."

    -Mark Twain

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by SuperDawn View Post
    My system, as reported by Ubuntu is:
    Processor: Intel(R) Celeron(TM) CPU 1200 MHz
    Memory: 243.8 MiB
    (Swap is 711 MiB)
    Available disk space is 101.6 GiB
    You really should buy some RAM for that box! RAM is very cheap these days. That box probably uses DDR-1 but check and see what it will hold. Go to NewEgg or some similar place and buy however much it will hold (up to 4 GB) and you'll be amazed!

    I just put 1 GB of laptop RAM in a Dell Inspiron 2200 for less than $45 U.S. including shipping. Desktop RAM will be cheaper. Give it some thought, at least. :-)

  14. #14
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    The best distro for you? I have no idea, but Ubuntu is probably the logical place to start. I'm still assuming that you're new. You may want to try something else someday, it's a big wide world, and I think it's fun to experiment, but you should get comfortable first.

  15. #15
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    well I suggest you look around distrowatch.com persoanlly I used ubuntu for about 4 months and was over it. Its very user friendly but I like to learn more about what Im using. Ive been using sabayon linux for some time now, and as it seems it only get better with every version.

    so I will suggest sabayon.

    http://www.sabayon.org/mirrors
    registered Linux user number 371609

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