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Choosing Your Linux Distribution

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#16 Jeremy


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Posted 18 May 2005 - 04:21 PM

I would just like to express my trollish sounding opinion and state that that site is biased, poorly made and just plain sucks due to the fact that it excludes the *BSD OSs. And yes I know they arent "Linux" but "Unix-like"
So either the creators are prejudice, or dont think that BSDs make for good novice OSs.

#17 phrozen77


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Posted 19 May 2005 - 05:29 AM

The thing I am woundering is if they're true starters and dunno what apt-get/yum/portage etc are.. what they will choose .. and as we've seen above the package management system you choose return results with the distro's using this most of the time..

well, there was a "i dont know / i dont care" button there, if i recall right.

So either the creators are prejudice, or dont think that BSDs make for good novice OSs.

i didnt try the *BSDīs yet, so i wont say anything about them.. what really made me wonder if they are biased in any way, was the thing about kickstart.. when clicking "i dont know" you get a link to a redhat-website... o_O

the answers to my test have been gentoo & slackware, which was sort of 100% right as i use gentoo for quite a while now and im _very_ happy with it =)

#18 Iced


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Posted 19 May 2005 - 05:36 AM

I would reccomend SuSe to anyone just getting into Linux. :)

#19 Brisco



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Posted 21 May 2005 - 09:38 PM

We found 2 perfect match(es):


never test slack but use Gentoo more about 3 years and nice test to see it whas good idea to use gentoo :P

#20 Reaper527



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Posted 25 May 2005 - 09:43 AM

2 matches found, and ironically, the one it picked as the best is the one that i picked out and installed before checking that survey out. (debian)

#21 cowsonfire


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Posted 28 May 2005 - 11:08 PM

We found 5 perfect match(es):

id try some of the other ones they mentioned if i wasnt already happy with slackware..

#22 cduke250



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Posted 31 May 2005 - 04:23 PM

First, let me say I have tried every mentioned Distro, including all BSD, debian, and nixes.

My favorite linux distros (this thread is specific to linux) are:

1. Slackware

2. Arch-linux

3. Gentoo

The best distro is arch-linux, for superusers and moderate-newbies.

The number one reason I like it is because of pacman. You can really feel in control of archlinux from the very beginning. It installs a minimal number of packages and from then on you can add packages to your system whenever you want. pacman trumps any package manager ive ever used (for this purpose)

So you can have a minimal install with network programs and XFCE and it is a lot faster than anything else. And its easier to administrate and navigate.

How to start:

[within the initial setup after arch cd is booted]
1. Download the archlinux iso from and burn to cd.
2. Boot and the install is super easy. Only install the base group to begin.
3. use ext2 for /boot, reiserfs for /. Install the kernel from source for allaround better system and easier installs later.
4. Install grub and edit the grub file -- change the time from 5 to 555 or whatever.

5. edit rc.conf- disable netfs, and add a hostname and setup your eth0= and gateway.. add any specific modules like 8139too or 8021q or 3c59x to rc.conf modules section.
to spoof the mac at startup, use this form
eth1="eth1 netmask broadcast hw ether 00:05:55:65:95:5c"
the only important part is the hw ether part.

6. edit your resolv.conf and add your nameservers.
7. reboot and log in as root ... follow these commands.
# passwd
type in new root passwd.
# adduser
add a new user
# exit
now log in as new user
# su -
log in as root
# gpasswd -a usernameyoucreated wheel
# gpasswd -a username slocate

# touch /var/lib/slocate/slocate.db
# cd /
# updatedb&

8. Get X working, as usernameyoucreated
# mount /mnt/cd
if it doesn't mount, do a 'cat /etc/fstab' and see whats up
# cd /mnt/cd/arch/pkg
# su -
# pacman -A xfce(hit tab here)
# pacman -A wget(hit tab)

install whatever packages you want but you basically just want X to work.

# pacman -Ss |less
displays all programs you can install with description.

Now as root do
# xorgcfg
# vim /etc/X11/xorg.conf
Sample section with wheel support
Section "InputDevice"
Identifier "PS/2 Mouse"
Driver "mouse"
Option "Protocol" "IMPS/2"
Option "Device" "/dev/psaux"
Option "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"

sample section
SubSection "Display"
Depth 16
Modes "1280x1024" "1024x768" "1152x864" "800x600"

whatever mode is listed first is the one that will be open. So change to 800x600 first is you want.

9. Now get your network working if its not already configured in /etc/rc.conf
as root
# ifconfig -a
if nothing shows up, do modprobe 8139too, 3c59x, tulip and try agian. if it works add to your modules section in rc.conf
# ifconfig eth0 netmask broadcast
input your net settings. You can use dhcp by setting it in /etc/rc.conf
# ifconfig eth0 up
# route -nv add default gw dev eth0
# cat /etc/resolv.conf (to make sure your nameservers are correct)
# vim /etc/hosts (to make sure your hosts are correct)
now ping yourself, then ping your gateway, then ping your nameservers to make sure everything works.

10. Here is where archlinux is BOSS linux distro.. check it out. (BTW, adding the cd as a server is optional, it is a good security precaution becuase you can set up your system before connecting to the net. This method works and is mostly for unconnected machines. or slow bandwidth machines.)
reboot and make sure your network is working.
now vim /etc/pacman.conf as root and add this Server lines. Also, if you already installed wget as instructed above, uncomment the line
XferCommand = /usr/bin/wget --passive-ftp -c -O %o %u

# Add your preferred servers here, they will be used first
Server = file:///mnt/cd/arch/pkg
Include = /etc/pacman.d/current

# Add your preferred servers here, they will be used first
Server = file:///mnt/cd/arch/pkg
Include = /etc/pacman.d/extra

Now do a pacman -Syu and if it works go ahead. If it says no db file, do this
1. vim /etc/updatedb.conf and remove the iso9660 so that slocate will search CDs
2. cd / and as root do updatedb&
3. after jobs is done, do a slocate extra.db.tar.gz or whatever.
4. copy the file where you need it.
If it cant find the db, do a tar -zcvf /whereyouwantthedb /mnt/cd/arch/lib/whatever

If you are connected to the net or don't want to install from CDs, remove the Server lines from the pacman.conf file and do this
# pacman -Syu
this will update your files database and upgrade your current packages
# pacman -S packagename
installs a package and all dependencies.
packages to install
ethereal hdparm ipfm lsof netcat openssh traceroute whois dia etherape figlet hexcurse hexedit host htmldoc iptraf lft mtr hping2 nessus-plugins nessus-libraries nmap fam chkrootkit gnupg gnupg2 gimp ghostscript gvim hal hwd j2re libcap links mozilla-firefox nessus-core netkit-telnet netselect ntfsprogs openssl parted perl portmap progsreiserfs qtparted python ruby rxvt slocate rdesktop rar ssldump tcpdump ttf-cheapskate ttf-ms-fonts vconfig zip

You can see a full list with description at

Every so often run pacman -Syu to upgrade and check all your packages.

if you cant get X to work keep making small changes then run startx and then read /var/log/Xorg.log

To see your devices, hwd is the best. Otherwise use lspci -vv

For window managers I use kde for pleasure, blackbox for server utils like nessus, and xfce for misc.

If you cant use X then browse the web with links, or lynx.

if you need to change permissions here is a good way to do it.
Say you need to change all files in your home directory /home/user becuase somehow root touched them. Username is leet: as root
# chown -c -R leet:users /home/leet
This shows you every change and is recursive. I add this to my .bashrc file
alias chmyd='cd /home ; chown -c -R leet:users /home/leet ; chown -c -R webbed:users /home/webbed'

uncomment this in /etc/inputrc to get rid of the beep
set bell-style none

Those are the main issues I have when installing and setting up arch. There is a ton of specific and updated help on the's wiki page.

#23 fulvioo


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Posted 31 May 2005 - 11:50 PM

I dont see the point of posting arch linux installation on this topic.

I have seen a bunch of people saying that this year will be arch linux year, but nah, its still an ubuntu year. Let's see if this changes next year.

#24 fox



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Posted 01 June 2005 - 02:18 AM

In my linux newbie world, i mostly fear 3d support... I never managed to install ATI drivers on Mandrake 10 back when i had the 9800.

Most of the time, how tos in the matter are two extensive and very distro dependent. So most of the noobs with ATI get stuck with no 3d support and worse of all 60hz refresh rate...

I have to try that archlinux!

#25 fulvioo


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Posted 01 June 2005 - 03:26 AM

fox, yeah that's right.
nvidia gives a much better support for linux drivers than ati now.
In the beggining of this year, ati said this will change. Let's see how much it will. I hope so, since I also have an ATI 9700

#26 cduke250



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Posted 01 June 2005 - 12:05 PM

I spent a couple years tweaking a Nvidia GeForce 4 MX card, now I have a Radeon 7500. My tweaking hasnt been about gaming. The easiest way to get X optimized is to google your video card model like this "radeon 7500" "xorg.conf"

X is so much better now than it was back when..

Heres a post of mine about installing like 15 distros on 1 hard-drive, without a CD-ROM. HERE

I dont see the point of posting arch linux installation on this topic.

I have seen a bunch of people saying that this year will be arch linux year, but nah, its still an ubuntu year. Let's see if this changes next year.

Ubuntu definately has some big advantages... another part of this is slowly but surely linux is gaining markey viability with former microsoft users. In kind, commercialization and market forces are distorting the point of free software... driving the good stuff below the advertisement cloud that permeates the net.

I would say arch is the best when it comes to maintainability, set-up, etc..
I'm happy on arch with a base set of packages, xorg, blackbox, and dillo.

Ubuntu is great and so is gentoo when it comes to certain complex areas... I use linux like most people use windows, so you can see why I love the ease and optimization of arch, and I use BSD (and am still learning) for administrative purposes.


Of course, my favorite Operating System of all time is Menuet. It is 100% Assembly and looks like windows... It installs from a 1.44 floppy.

#27 packet



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Posted 06 June 2005 - 09:16 AM

Boy that ach-linux sure sounds like a breeze to install :) Considering most others are stick the CD in and next next next next finished. Even my laptop install went like a breeze with Ubuntu. And the support on Ubuntu's website is fantastic. They have how-tos on just about all topics that are Ubuntu specific.

I still use Debian for all my server needs though, I'll check out arch-linux just for the heck of it. How is their laptop support?

And w00dy how is the laptop support in the BSDs? I wouldn't mind popping over to freebsd sometime for some kicks.

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#28 icywolf


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Posted 09 July 2005 - 06:30 AM

Well it picked Gentoo and that's exactly what I'm using for quite some time so it must be at least a little bit accurate. Also, is it just me or the button are looking like windows buttons? (Qui funny considering it's a linux test)

#29 Jeremy


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Posted 09 July 2005 - 06:56 AM

And w00dy how is the laptop support in the BSDs?  I wouldn't mind popping over to freebsd sometime for some kicks.



It works perfectly as a CLI OS :D I dont often use any sort of GUI on my BSD machines as they are mostly remote and tunneling X sessions confuse me. I dont like having multiple OS's running on a single monitor.
But a real answer.... UUUmmmm... it works? Its kind of hit or miss. As usual, the BSDs dont have out of the box support for the newest hardware. Well thats not quite accurate. They have support for the hardware, but dont use the newset technologies as efficiently as some linux distros. Of the BSD's, FreeBSD is the one with the most up-to-date use of new hardware. However, there hasn't been any drastically new hardware in quite a while, so BSD might actually have caught up to the vendors :)
With that said, the hardware that is most likely to cause complications in laptops are the vid card and the wlan card. Laptops use so many generic video cards that you are often left to use the generic VESA or VGA drivers in X Windows (not completely BSD developer's fault). As for the wireless NICs, they have the same issues; too many homemade cards using other vendors chipsets. The old wlan cards and completely supported, basically everything that is a/b/1st gen g. The newer 802.11G cards support is buggy right now. You will likely get it to work, but the speeds and reliability might not be so great. But it has been improving quickly the past couple months. has been the best at helping out with some of the odd cards that still are supported by FreeBSD. The 5.x tree of freebsd is beginning to move at the speed of most linux distros so hardware incompatiblity is dwindling fast. There are a lot more people contributing to FreeBSD this past couple years so things get done quicker.
Aside from a select few Thinkpads, Inspirons, Latitudes (the 3 least common lappys i'm sure ;)) and assorted generic laptops, any laptop older than 6 months is going to be well supported. That isnt too bad considering FreeBSD is meant more for desktops and server than for laptops.
But after all, the slow addition of hardware support is part of what makes FreeBSD so secure. Of the most popular Linux and UNIX-like distros, FreeBSD has always been the least exploited OS.
Oh yeah.... one last thing. USB drives and BSD dont get along. I havent messed with them in about 6 months so it might be different now, but back then... it was a joke. You could get it to work, but u have to fiddle with so much crap to do it. I ended up writing my own driver for a 512MB BusLogic thumb drive, but lost it on a hard drive crash :( So i lost my will to mess with USB drives and BSD
One last note: If u are new to FreeBSD, when u are installing it... just remember it is touted as the "Ugly Installer" It is known as being the biggest POS for anyone who hasnt done it countless times. There is a good chance u will be doing the partitioning a couple times to get things right. But once u get past there, the installation of app's is a breeze thanks to pkg_add and ports (which i might add beat the hell out of portage, apt-get, and all those other knockoffs :P)

#30 ninar12



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Posted 10 July 2005 - 12:16 PM

one question i miss on that link:
witch is:

u have a hardware_raid controller ?

course i get 9 hits but raid i must say is a pain in linux(but raid was planned to use on unix) (but not my promise one :( )

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