best distro besides Suse?

I was wondering what others think is the best distro other than Suse. In particular for someone totally new to linux, and with respect to basic(wireless,audio, etc) things working with the least amount of configuring. And a bonus question what approach did you take to learn a distro. I plan on just trying to do everything i can do in windows thats possible then just tryng new projects that interest me and are unique to linux. thx

oops i wanted to post this in general chit chat, how do i move it?

You have to keep in mind that openSUSE has a philosophy that pushes the opensource free software concept more than other distributions. Which typically means, given that many wireless manufacturers only have proprietary drivers, that wireless will not work out of the box with openSUSE. But wireless will with other distributions which do not mind packaging proprietary software/drivers.

Hence on the basis of drivers (wireless, graphics) then openSUSE is not as easy to setup (although there is a big effort to create wiki’s and repositories to simplify this on the part of the openSUSE commnunity). wrt to audio, openSUSE is no better and no worse than other distributions. Basic audio functionality is a pet peeve of mine (I push hard to ensure users have basic sound), … and on freenode irc#alsa I see an incredible number of ubuntu users with non-functional sound. But IMHO thats merely a reflection of there being more Ubuntu Linux users than other distributions, and also a reflection that the advanced users on IRC #suse are better at solving sound problems than the advanced users on IRC #ubuntu.

I prefer openSUSE because:
(a) yast config tool (you either like it or hate it - and I like it)
(b) packman packagers (time release of multimedia)
(c) best KDE implemenation
(d) good community

But if I were to choose a distribution other than openSUSE it would be based on people I know, where I am likely to get support at the office and with friends. And in that case it would be Fedora, as most of the Linux engineers at the office where I work run Fedora at home. And when it comes to Linux knowledge those guys at the office “really rock”.

I read, and read, and read some more. I read for two weeks (at least an hour a day) before my first install attempt (with Red Hat, back in 1998), and I read a lot after that. Lately I’ve become very lazy. … Comes with old age me thinks.

consider it moved :slight_smile:


Good answer, I also like to read unfortunately i have to try to understand any subject that interest me in depth(as i bet you do as well). So right now im reading books on linux which are fairly theoretical yet still basic, but not very applicable. I was hoping to pick up general purpose stuff by tinkering around but my lack of internet access in linux is making that difficult. But everyone here is offering good help, so it will happen eventually, probably when my knowledge level is equal to the advice.:slight_smile: I have no idea what im doing its kinda fun.

Ubuntu :eek: I can see the grimaces already from my fellows here, but I like it – it’s easy (sort of), nearly as easy as Suse. But unfortunately the help in the Ubu forums is kinda amateur and often wrong, despite being very well meaning.

And a bonus question what approach did you take to learn a distro. I plan on just trying to do everything i can do in windows thats possible then just tryng new projects that interest me and are unique to linux. thx

I fiddled and fiddled ad read and read and fiddled and fiddled … and lo and behold, years later I’m still fiddling and reading (and now a bit of writing too).

Out of the distros I’ve tried, I’d rate them as follows:

  1. OpenSuse ofc
  2. Mandriva
  3. Kubuntu/Ubuntu
  4. Red Hat 9

Red Hat 9 - Was the first distro I ever used. It had its problems, but that’s probably because of its age. I haven’t tried Fedora yet, but it looks decent so I might rate it Second best to Suse. Mandriva works out of the box and the version I used awhile back had audio and video codecs on the disc so I didn’t have to download anything which was sweet because I had no internet access back then…

quietthought wrote:
> I was wondering what others think is the best distro other than Suse.

i’ve used red hat, fedora and suse mostly…but, also spent a few
months with Mandrivia (back when it was called Mandrake)…and,
‘played’ with several flavors for a day, or a week…(too many to
list) and offer these words:

they are all the same…and, because of that it is as easy to
transition from Windows[tm] to any of them, as any other of them…
[some come ready to run with wireless, but not audio, or with audio
but not wireless, or or or]

AND, for sure: they are all different…and, because of that it is as
difficult to transition from Windows[tm], Mac[tm] OR any Linux/*nix
distro to any other…

ALL moves to a new OS will raise some challenges you can immediately
deal with (based on your experience in Win/Mac/RedHat/*buntu or
whatever) or you may find yourself COMPLETELY LOST (because of your
experience in Win/Mac/whatever)

oh, the answer to your question “Which is best?” The best distro is
the one you are most familiar with.

> I plan on just trying to do everything i can do in windows thats
> possible then just tryng new projects that interest me and are unique to
> linux.

i hereby predict: when you have learned enough to become comfortable
in Linux you will reverse the above and: do everything you can in
Linux and (soon) do only those things in Windows[tm] that you cannot
do in Linux (and join the rest of us in bitching about that), and
then when you “see the light” you will just dump Redmond and do
without those things that USED to seem so important…

which is the reason Steve promised to bury us…

DenverD (Linux Counter 282315) via NNTP, Thunderbird, KDE
3.5.7, SUSE Linux 10.3, #1 SMP i686 athlon

To add to what oldcpu said, once you have the hang of it, you should really try some other distros just to see the various techniques & the LiveCDs make it easy.

Sidux – it’s bleeding edge, always running on the near latest kernel version& there’s a lite version. I like to try it prior to a major kernel upgrade.

Slax6 – makes use of modules (which is an interesting concept).

Knoppix – Grown into a LiveDVD; I miss the LiveCD.

Nimblex – The author has a lot of innovative ideas; worth checking out his different approaches.


PCLinuxOS and Mandriva are both easy for newbies. MCC is very easy to use. Ubuntu is good and has great documentation. It takes a bit more command line with Ubuntu and that might throw some newcomers.

For me Arch and Slackware, I feel the need to keep getting my hands dirty in config files :smiley:

For me Arch and Slackware,

That sounds a lot like self abuse:) . Actually the very first linux distribution I installed successfully was Slack (I think it was around kernel 1.02 or so…Slack 3??) Ah the good 'ol days when you compiled and installed your own kernel along with writing your own ppp scripts (blech!).
If I felt the need for something else I might give CentOS or Debian a go.

What’s the best distro besides Suse?
The one that matches up with your systems hardware.:wink:
What works good on your computer might not work at all on someone else’s.
My choices

  1. PClinuxOS 2007 it’s simple and just seems to work.
    But is getting a little dated.
    2.Mandriva Just about the same as PCLOS.

As mentioned try LiveCD’s they give you a chance to check out a Distro. So you can see what you like and dislike.

Snake Driver I haven’t even heard of some of them.:slight_smile:
But know I will have to check them out.

Ubuntu :stuck_out_tongue:
It’s a good Distro. I just don’t care for Gnome and the ugly brown desktop.
But I do like reading their forum. Once and awhile.
To see what they come up with solving problems.
" video drivers/ 3Deffects, etc"
And read about what they think of Suse.

I don’t like the colors of Ubuntu at all. It’s the very first thing I change when I install it. Of course, I’m not fond of green, either. :stuck_out_tongue:

I’ve used Debian based Oses since I moved to Linux three years ago. I wouldn’t recommend any of them anymore. They all seem too old fashioned and slow and I’ve had lots of problems with them.

They work good for a lot of people but apparently not for me. :frowning:

quietthought wrote:
> I was wondering what others think is the best distro other than Suse. In
> particular for someone totally new to linux, and with respect to
> basic(wireless,audio, etc) things working with the least amount of
> configuring. And a bonus question what approach did you take to learn a
> distro. I plan on just trying to do everything i can do in windows thats
> possible then just tryng new projects that interest me and are unique to
> linux. thx

  1. openSUSE
  2. PCLinuxOS or Mandriva
  3. Ubuntu

Ubuntu is a mixed bag. Definitely a VERY community centered distro.
Lots of very friendly people, but as others have mentioned, a LOT of
the times they get it WRONG.

Ubuntu frustrates me a lot. But is also one of the most welcoming
places. SUSE and openSUSE get a lot of things right and shows a
lot of old time Unix knowledge (which I welcome), but can be abusive
to newbies… but still, it’s my favorite. They just seem to
think about things more than the others do.

PCLinuxOS is great looking. But like Mandriva, it either works
or falls miserably on its face. So the biggest problem with
those distros is whether or not they’ll work on every platform
or for every user’s situation. You may test on one platform and
say “This is GREAT!” then get burned when you fan it out because
it just tanks on other people’s systems.

Learning a Linux distro. Well, it’s my opinion that taking a
class on Unix is wise… especially one that uses Linux to teach
Unix (as weird as that sounds). Why? You learn a lot more about
what is happening behind the scenes so that when the fancy tool
isn’t getting the job done, you can go in and fix the underlying
issue, or at least troubleshoot things so you know the “right”
question to ask on a forum, etc.

Apart from that, just play/experiment/etc with Linux. Read
the old docs from the Linux Documentation Project… learn how
to use bash… helps to know how to build a C program (at least).
There’s just so many things you can learn. Remember Windows
can do about 1/1000th of things that a Linux distro can do
out of the box and the NT/Server manual sets for Windows
is fairly sizable library. You could fill a wall with books about
all of the programs and services that Linux distros come with.

trying to do everything i can do in windows

My philosophy would be
“Can’t do that in Windows”

Another good reason to use Linux

It’s like a marriage. If your going to live with a distro day in, day out. Be prepared for the good, bad and the ugly.

SuSE rocks my boat.
Next Fedora (but I would have to use kde)
after that it’s an orgy.

For me it’s;

  1. SLED 10
  2. openSUSE
  3. Solaris (sparc)
  4. Ubuntu (x86 & sparc)

I need a nice stable desktop, hence the enterprise version and it’s
long term support which means minimal hardware upgrading for me.

openSUSE has had a few quirks to get doing on this laptop (wireless and
bluetooth) but after some patching and tweaking it’s there for me.

I have sun hardware at home, hence the sparc architecture :slight_smile:

I first started out with a sparc station ipx running Redhat 6.2, that
was a blast to play with, then also had coyote linux (RedHat
Kernel) running on a biscuit pc (5.25" size) 100Mhz processor for my
firewall/dial in and later ethernet router (with dial-up fall back) for
DSL, that was a real learning experience working with a distro on a
floppy. But I managed to recompile the kernel with DoC support and
dumped the floppy.

My first intro to SuSE was with oscar clusters (running a modified 7.2)
which I had 4 machines running and processing Seti@home for a number of
years. Since then I have been using 9.3, 10 and moved to SLED.

Where I use to work was only using Solaris day in day out, so am happy
to crash around with that for server type tasks… I did try openSolaris
but the wireless support isn’t there (maybe now)

Cheers Malcolm °¿° (Linux Counter #276890)
openSUSE 11.0 x86 Kernel
up 1:00, 1 user, load average: 0.00, 0.08, 0.13
GPU GeForce 6600 TE/6200 TE - Driver Version: 173.14.12

“Best” is subjective, as I’m sure you’ve picked up from other peoples’ responses. A lot depends on your experience level, willingness to learn and risk comfort.

  • Ubuntu = Basic Windows users; easy to setup and maintain and use out of the box. Includes nice utilities for restricted drivers and good hardware detection.
    For example; setting up my home network with file server, I had to open some specific ports to allow for samba sharing with openSUSE while Ubuntu just worked.
  • openSUSE = Windows power user; understands how the computer works overall and is not afraid to “tweak” the base systems some for a desired result (stability, performance, etc.) while still appreciating a good solid working foundation.
  • Fedora = experienced Linux user; for those who are not afraid of confiuration files or compiling apps and wants greater control over their system.
  • Gentoo = for Linux power users; for those who are not afraid of the command line and wants major control over their system for optimizing and tweaking as much as possible.

For learning Linux I find the best resource is the available resource.

The friend who got me into Linux ran Red Hat, so I did too since I used him as my primary resource for help.

Best bet, though, is to pick a distribution for the level you feel comfortable with and make that your primary computer. Try to do everything you want to do with that system but be prepared to install a different distro, or re-install the distro and “try again”.

If you can, make it a seperate computer from your main productivity computer. My problem was always being nervous of messing up our only computer (a mad wife is not a pretty sight! :wink: ).

Oh, and read… ask questions… read some more … ask more questions … [repeat as necessary].

In the beginning you ask a lot of questions you think are dumb… but they aren’t. After a while you find you don’t have to ask so many questions. If you stick with it, then eventually you’ll look through the forums and start answering other peoples questions

I like GoblinX…because it’s just very different.
Now if we are talking about ‘big’ distros, then
you have to look to RedHat/Fedora, Ubuntu, Mandriva etc…

Linux Mint. Burn the LiveCD (not light). Boot it. Install to HD. Use. To answer your question. It is also tasteful. Nice home base website. Also, they have attracted some graphic art folk. No orange road runners (oops, I mean Herons) there. New user friendly. Perhaps the best in that respect.

To learn Linux - Debian or slack.

I never learned a distro -