Selecting disto and version

Link to this post 05 Aug 09

In my past life I used to admin many unix servers - prior 2002 for over 10 years.

now I would like to setup one of my home computers - P4, 3.2Ghz, 500 MB RAM, 40 Gb HD, Trendnet wifi card w/Linksys router(already running on other computers in house)

I would like to run compatible word/excel/acrobat reader/mozilla firefox - and yes I need to run IE if possible for certain sites

what distro and why?

if there is a minimal charge and great doc's, etc. I will consider

I've forgot lots of commands which will come back quickly I'm sure

thanks for the help

Link to this post 05 Aug 09

Well, nowadays most linux distros are very easy to install and use. While the command line is still there and powerfull as ever, you can get along just with the graphical environment.

If you have the time and the will I would recommend to try several and see which one you like. Personally I am a big Mandriva Linux fan, it has a very good hardware detection and you get a large software repository using easyurpmi.

I also tried and like Debian and all of its incarnations, Ubuntu, Knoppix, Damn Small Linux, etc. They also have (even bigger I think) software repositories with apt-get.

Good luck

Link to this post 05 Aug 09

Hi! Welcome to Linux country!

Since you are used to running Unix your transition into the Linux fold will be almost seamless. You'll have a different shell by default. Most distros use bash...with Unix I imagine you are used to korn. Minor differences in syntax and such. You can add or use whatever shell you are used to though once you have installed.

There has been a port of IE to Linux called aptly enough "ie4linux" ( For the Word/Excel etc the distros include something called OpenOffice. It is just as powerful (if not more so) than MS Office and includes a word processor, spreadhseet, presentation software, database etc. Layout is very similar to Office.

Which Linux distro should you run? Opinions vary as often and as widely as what car someone should drive. The primary ones are Ubuntu, Fedora, and openSUSE. However there are tons out there to play with. A good site to visit is Distrowatch ( It has write ups and reviews of all the distros currently available. The main thing about Linux is there is NO charge to download and use. They are all free.

Personally I've installed and used quite a few. I favor Ubuntu because they have a very clean and solid installation. They also have a great repository of documentation as well as a huge user community at It is an excellent version to get your feet wet with.

Reference your computer's hardware all of the Linux distributions will work fine.

If you have other questions let me know, will be happy to help.

Good luck!

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