[kwlug-disc] Natty Release & Linux / WinXP coexist

unsolicited unsolicited at swiz.ca
Mon Apr 25 13:18:53 EDT 2011

{Apologies to the list for the length.}

John Johnson wrote, On 04/25/2011 11:36 AM:
> On 2011-04-25 10:57, unsolicited wrote:
>> Ubuntu is not Debian stable, and you don't want it. 

At least, not yet.

> Opening the flood gates: OS Recommendations please.
> CPU: Athalon 2.1 GHz; RAM: 512 MB; HDD: 160 GB (~100 GB avail for Linux)
> Please recall that I am comfortable with the command line.
> But I would like to play with a minimum GUI and apps like Screen.

Substantially, the command line is the same across all distros. As a 
result, you can take it off the criteria list - all will have it.

There are 4 basic questions you have to answer.

A way to do so is to get down LiveCD's, perhaps even writing them to 
USB keys (with persistence, even). Bonus (1) is you get a back pocket 
tool you can run any time, any where. e.g. I run a Kubuntu live cd all 
the time, aptitude install gparted, and squish that windows partition 
down. (Done at least 3 times in the last year alone.) Bonus (2) - the 
K/Ubuntu distro CDs *are* live cds.

- http://live.debian.net/
- http://www.pendrivelinux.com/
   - Note 1: Some distros, like K/Ubuntu have their own usb 
'versions', making life a little simpler. [I purchased a USB SD key 
some time ago, one of my 4GB sd cards has a persistent usb bootable 
kubuntu on it.
Not that you want to run it by default, due to speed, but it's darned 
handy to have around.] If this interests you, post a new thread - 
others will have topical advice. (Someone, Lori?, runs a SSD? flash 
drive this way, by default.)  Some SD card readers run at IDE speeds, 
so the SD card in a USB reader is handy - on my dual-boot laptop I 
plug the SD card in directly. Something like 
http://canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?item_id=011602. Note, 
however, you want SDHC.
   - Note 2: http://portableapps.com/
     - on another card. I used to pop this in, then putty|ssh in to 
home, then vnc to home machine through resulting tunnel, from 
(Waterloo) Conestoga (College).

Question 1 - GUI?: 'Server' vs. 'Workstation' == 'No GUI' vs. 'GUI'
- you've answered, you want to learn the beast, so you want a GUI, and 
you want Gnome or KDE. You're prepared to live with the speed 
(bearable) and aren't running the latest and greatest hardware to 
stress the wee beast out.
- CentOS is a GUI server, well respected by all here. Which is not to 
say it is used by all here.
- K/Ubuntu 'servers' are non-GUI, essentially the workstation distro 
without the GUI. Khalid speaks to this best, here, it's his favourite. 
He's also a big fan of LTS releases. For me, and probably for most 
here - if Khalid says it, it is so.

Question 2 - distro basis?: Red Hat (RHEL, Fedora, CentOS) based vs. 
Debian (K/Ubuntu, most everything else) based.
- back end and manglement processes differ between the two.
- lots here use both, and discussions can lead to flamewars. All are 
highly respected and regarded.
- this list has seen the "What distro for the new user?" question many 
times. Current favourite is K/Ubuntu. (Over fedora. Jury's out on 
K/Ubuntu server vs. CentOS - other considerations lead to the choice 
of one or the other, but not capability, maturity, or any such 
technical concerns. Comes down to personal preference.)

Question 3 - Window Manager: KDE vs Gnome.
- I've already noted: "Here's what you can do" vs. "Here's what you've 
told me you'll want to do." (My impression, and not based on extensive 
Gnome use.)
- Get a LiveCD down of each, pop it in, play.
- http://kde.org/, http://www.kubuntu.org/feature-tour
- http://www.gnome.org/, http://www.ubuntu.com/desktop/features

REMEMBER: This is the OS. Windows is DOS (and for Linux, largely, the 
command line is consistent and the same across all distros - it's all 
the 'same' kernel) plus the Windows window manager. The apps are 
substantially the same on all distros. How you start the apps, in a 
GUI, is where the personal preference for the look and feel of a 
window manager comes in.

I've already noted, if you want to ease transition from windows 
menuing, go kde. http://kde-apps.org/. There is a large eco system 
around kde (especially pim-elements inter-operability, korganizer, 
koffice). I expect the same is true of Gnome, e.g. Evolution, but 
others can comment on that better than I.

Question 4 - Never mind - mixed into 1. Some would say server vs. 
workstation and GUI vs. No GUI are different questions.

John - this is not life and death. You could squish windows down to 30 
GB and install 4 other linux versions in their own 30 GB space to play 
with until you find your comfort zone. When you're ready, nuke the 
other 3. Most of us who have been around for more than a couple of 
years played with multiple distros before settling down. However, 
current thinking is K/Ubuntu is the way to start. And for many, they 
never leave. [This is a relatively recent phenomenon, unlike the 'old' 
days. Canonical has brought a level of 'sanity' heretofore unseen.]

I, for example, have a CentOS server in the basement I'll nuke some 
day (2.4 GHz P4, not hyperthreaded), and went from Kubuntu to Debian 
then back to Kubuntu, where I'll stay. Including on a P III 800MHz, 
512MB old Thinkpad - poky, but usable. (Unless I get cause to ALSO, 
not instead of, use CentOS.)

Next machine will likely be Z68 based, and I'll morph my XP into a vm 
and be done with it.

Above I've summarized threads on all this stuff seen on the list over 
the last 8 years or so. There have been raging (and interesting) 
debates, the subtleties of which are frequently only understood and 
appreciated after living the beast for a while - e.g. yum vs. debian 
style repositories. No offence.

Substantially, the debates have ceased with the presence of K/Ubuntu.

There are reasons for suggesting 10.04 LTS.

Your real choice is KDE (Kubuntu) vs Gnome (Ubuntu), and even that 
doesn't have to be a choice if you get down LiveCDs of both and/or 
install both.

In my experience with this list, if a post is wrong, you hear about 
it. If a post expresses common consensus, you'll hear very little, or 
nothing, in response. [Well, sometimes you hear a lot, but that's due 
to thread hijacking, not disagreement.] You can be the judge of the 
validity of this content by monitoring the responses.

... off to don flame retardant suit now ...

... wonder if they take PayPal.

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