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Choosing a distro: Pros and Cons from real users

Link to this post 11 Aug 10

Ubuntu Desktop version 8.10 - 10.04

I installed unbuntu to learn the realm of linux. Because I am a Windows descendant, a system managed by GUIs was what I was hoping to get. I did actually.

Is very easy to use and learn. It takes a little after windows by offering the ability to manage your system with little interaction to the CLI, which was not one of strong points. A good Distro to start with if you are new to linux.

pros:

Huge selection of packages which are downloaded and easy install procedures
Boots fast and allows dual boots with an existing windows OS
Completely GUI bases
offers proprietary drivers for most hardware devices
easy system customizations
Desktop manager allows easy navigation throughout the system
simple remote setups to other windows systems
File system builds a good archive organizing files and folder and allows quick file access
can access NTFS drives

cons:

Config files are hard to understand
wireless devices are tricky to setup
Setting up network workgroups can be a daunting task
enhancements are made too quickly which could crash the system if not debugged

Recommended users: noobs

Link to this post 30 Aug 10

Linux Mint is great for new people, because it has nearly everything a beginner would need: Codecs, a friendly community, stability, flashplayer, java, etc.

I would have to recommend to look on ubuntu forums for troubleshooting, and the archlinux documentation pages for when the user wants to delve deeper into linux and wants to know how things work.

Link to this post 28 Sep 10

I started with mepis it was easy and fast to install then I found my way to knoppix for root access and easy ramdisk access for programing and hope to use fedora for a project for public consumption because I can by a license for a couple hundred that makes me feel like I don't have to be a gurue to know if my program has bugs or is in some way spoiled.

Link to this post 02 Oct 10

Well, there are many distros, and frankly speaking, for a beginner user, there's not much differences between them, the difference mainly is under the hood. My advice is, try few distros by yourself, see which you like the best and stay with it. Most people, who work with Linux on everyday basis, done this before. Take a look on Linux Jazz sets as an example, it may be exactly what you need.
Hope it helps...

Link to this post 05 Jan 11

During my Win ages I used to have Linux installed in a dual-boot configuration, using Mandrake, Debian (I think it was woody) and Gentoo was my last dual-boot Linux. During that time I removed Win completely from my machine (I kept some VM ;) ) and kept Gentoo as my solely OS. I've made two distro switches since then. I'll describe my experiences for each distro:
Gentoo: 2005-2008
Pros:[ul][li]You might learn a lot[/li][li]Updated software[/li][li]Rolling Release[/li][/ul]
Cons:[ul][li]Very Time consuming[/li][/ul]
My experience:
I have very good feelings towards that distro. It made me learn so much about the whole Linux software stack that I would recommend it to anyone who wants to learn Linux internals. Building form source forces you to check dependencies, choose supported compile options, etc., which makes you acquire the picture of how different programs and libraries are related in a Linux system. It's very well supported through the wiki with all howto's you may need to build your complete system. The problem is that the compile every package approach is very time consuming and you might have to do some real work on your machine other than compiling packages ;) .
Ubuntu: 2008-2010
Pros:[ul][li]User experience[/li][li]Closed software vendors support[/li][li]Integrated Web services[/li][/ul]
Cons:[ul][li]Six months distribution updates[/li][li]I don't feel very comfortable about some Canonical moves towards Open Source[/li][/ul]
My experience:
If you don't care so much about the OS but about doing your stuff this is the way to go. I had no big troubles with it and worked fine for me. Nevertheless, as Ubuntu grows I feel like your are trading some of the Open source values and freedom (specially with the new cloud services embedded by default) for comfort and a worries less experience. I also got tired of updating my system every six months, so I decided to go for a rolling release.
Arch: 2010-today
Pros:
[ul][li]Updated software[/li][li]Rolling release[/li][li]Performance[/li][/ul]
Cons:[ul][li]Some Linux experience is recommended[/li][/ul]
My experience:
I'm very happy with this distro. Once you have some experience on Linux you will feel quite comfort with it. As I've said I switched to it from Ubuntu, mainly because I was looking for a binary based rolling release with updated packages. It has all the goods of Gentoo (simplicity, latest software, etc.) but without requiring you to waste time on compiling things. As you only run what you need my system boots lightning fast. Faster than Ubuntu 10.04 with all it's boot tweaking and upstart. I appreciate not having to spend an evening every six months updating my system. Another plus for Arch is that it's so close to upstream that you don't have to wait months to get the last versions of your beloved programs, some hours are enough most of the time and I haven't had any big issue with updates since I'm using it.

I've done some administration work, and from a company perspective I'll choose Debian stable. I've had good experiences with it. It's solid and supports many hardware platforms, but sometimes it's packages are too old, so you might want to use Debian testing for some non critical machines.

Link to this post 16 Feb 11

Pros:
I think Pardus 2011 is a good choice if install it in the hardrive and use it as a single operating system.
Works out of the box with pre-installed mediacodes for DVD, mp3 etc..
Installation process very easy to.

Download from here:
http://www.pardus.org.tr/eng/

Questions and help here:
http://worldforum.pardus-linux.nl/

Cons:
Not so large repo as Ubuntu yet.
Difficult to install as dualboot with Windows 7.

My personal experience.:
If you like the KDE desktop I think Pardus have implemented KDE very good in their system.
Maybe the best of all? Their software handler PISI works excellent. And KAPTAN for personal settings after the installation
See some reviews in Distrowatch:
http://distrowatch.com/table.php?distribution=pardus

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