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I'm considering taking the plunge...

Link to this post 29 Oct 11

...into the Linux world. I've been a Mac user for 20 years, and it still meets most of my needs, but I may be taking on a development project that might be more suitable for Linux. I imagine that I probably could find a way to run Linux on my Mac, but I'd rather keep that system separate, so I'm contemplating the purchase of a new system.

But...I am TOTALLY new to the world of PCs. I'd like any advice on choosing a system, and then choosing a flavor of Linux to run on it. My system doesn't need to be a fire-breather, and I don't think I'll have any unusual needs of it. I would like it to be compact and quiet, though, so I've been looking at components on silentpcreview.com.

But, I thought I'd ask here what people think might be a good "starter system" and flavor of Linux. Ease of installation would be appreciated.

Thanks for any input.

Link to this post 29 Oct 11

It probably would depend on what the needs of your project would be, hardware wise. I have different Linux distros running on Dell laptops, on an EEEpc, on a HP Dual Core desktop, on an old Intel P4 system, on an old IBM Thinkpad and on many home built desktops that use Asus motherboards and AMD processors, and they all run great in the jobs they are used for.

If your looking for a low cost setup, you could get a pre-built desktop with a Intel dual core processor, or an AMD X2 CPU and it would be speedy enough for most jobs. Combine that with 2 to 4 GB of memory, a 20" to 24" flat screen monitor and your in business. If, as you said, you are looking at components, and want to build your own we could go in to a whole list of different components to use, from the motherboard right on down to the case you put it in, but, I wouldn't start with that until I knew some more specifics about what you intend to use it for. More memory and a faster CPU would make compiling code a lot faster, if that's what you mean by development project.

For ease of installation I usually suggest a distro like Linux Mint, although Ubuntu, PCLinuxOS and/or Mageia would be good second choices for a new user. Besides, most distros have the same range of applications available in their repositories, so, which ever distro you choose, you have the same capabilities available just by adding the applications you need for your work.

Link to this post 29 Oct 11

Thanks for the reply. I'm not going to go much special with this system; probably just run Qt and some very non-demanding GUIs. I may need to be able to directly address a USB port. And, I might want to get a LAMP stack up (if it isn't already). That's really about it (for now).

Link to this post 31 Oct 11

Someone mentioned these to me the other day:

http://www.fit-pc.com/web/fit-pc2/

They look interesting, but...is 1-2GB of memory really enough to run Linux? I have more than that in my Mac.

Link to this post 31 Oct 11

1GB or RAM is enough to run any Linux based distro, however if you want to have an actively used LAMP server 2+GB of RAM is a good idea.

Link to this post 13 Nov 11

I'm still looking at all of my options, both HW and OS. It occurred to me that I might want to develop a touchscreen UI for the app I have in mind. In my poking around, I've discovered something known as tslib. Do any of the distros include this (or are better suited to it somehow), or is tslib something that I'd add on later?

Thanks.

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