[nSLUG] which linux??

gnwiii at gmail.com gnwiii at gmail.com
Fri Sep 8 12:17:49 ADT 2006

On 9/8/06, Ben Armstrong <synrg at sanctuary.nslug.ns.ca> wrote:

> Doug Kampen wrote:

> > SO back to my question.which linux do I use? A commercial copy or a free
> > one? Where do I get it? I've been trying to dl a copy but it's taking 3 days
> > so far and only have the first 3 disk iso's.

The commercial versions have support and often include some non-free apps.

One advantage of the popular free distros (debian, fedora) is the
larger number of well maintained mirror sites so dl times are usually
reasonable. I expect all the servers are working hard at this time of
year as students gear up for the fall term, but in this timezone it is
pretty easy to dl a whack of stuff from NA mirror sites before the
majority of students are awake.

> Although there are an enormous number of options to choose from, in
> general unless you have quite specialized needs, you'll be happiest with
> one of the mainstream distros.  As a hobbyist, I consider having broad
> support of a large volunteer developer/user community important.  Also,
> I consider the support of those closest to me important; knowing other
> people personally who use the distros I use is a great help.
> So you might want to sample Ubuntu, Debian, Slackware, Fedora and Gentoo
> for starters.  These are all well-supported mainstream distros with
> considerable community support.  Keep in mind that the default
> applications and desktop environment included on livecd editions of each
> of these may differ widely, so in your evaluation, don't fixate on which
> application is or isn't included, or what the default desktop
> environment (GNOME, KDE, etc.) is.  Find out about what the goals of
> each project are, and see whether they match your needs.

In particular, if your dl bandwidth is low, there may be better
choices than Fedora, which has a history of being unstable when first
released, so needs lots of updates (a mirror of Fedora Core 5's update
directory is about 2.4Gbytes, while the original distro was
3.2Gbytes).  Fedora has somewhat weaker support for dialup tools than,
say Mandrake or SUSE, which are popular with home users in Europe
where high speed is less widespread than NA.  Mandrake used to release
CD's for "minor" versions.

At work I installed Fedora in a VMware player by dl'ing a minimal
install and then installing the apps I use from update repositories.
The total dl size for this method was probably 1/4 what it would take
to dl the CD or DVD images and then update.

Debian's network install has the advantage that you can go directly to
a current system rather than dl'ing a whack of stuff that will need
updating before it can be used.

> Finally, be aware of the difference between a "flavour" of a mainstream
> distribution, maintained within that distribution itself (e.g. Kubuntu,
> a KDE flavour of Ubuntu) vs. a derivative maintained outside of the
> mainstream distribution, (e.g. Mepis, a Debian derivative).  [...]

George N. White III <aa056 at chebucto.ns.ca>
Head of St. Margarets Bay, Nova Scotia


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