Considering switching to Linux entirely...

After a long period of time of running Windoze only, I asked myself why I was still using it. My excuse used to be that I gamed on PC quite a bit. However, recently I haven't touched my PC for gaming, and have exclusively been using PS3. Also, after looking at the AppDB on WineHQ, I've noticed that most of the games I would play on PC run on Linux just fine. I'm in dire need of a Windoze re-install, so I figured I might make the leap, and switch entirely over to Linux.

However, I'm having some issues picking a distribution (I can never seem to decide). I just want something sleep and simple, with some fun desktop effects, and useful programs. Ideally I'd LOVE to do a Gentoo install, but I do not feel my skills are adequate for such an endeavor.

I was looking at Mint and Mandriva, but I really just don't know what to go for anymore. I know this question gets asked a lot (and I'm sorry :p), but does anybody have any suggestions for a distro? I mostly just browse forums, chat on IM, listen to music, but I also spend a fair amount of time in CAD and Photoshop.

Also, does 64-bit work well with Linux, or should I stick with 32-bit?

Thanks guys,


- Jesse
51 answers Last reply
More about considering switching linux entirely
  1. From what you say I would go for 64-bit Mandriva. I have Gentoo, Fedora, and Mandriva installations and the Mandriva one seems (to me) to be the one that "just works" best. I've never had any problems with 64-bit (as opposed to 32-bit) Linuxes
  2. Alright, thanks for the input. :)

    Also, what's the format that people are using these days for their hard drives? And which formats are readable by Linux? I forget :( :p
  3. Also, after checking the AppDB again, neither of the CAD programs I use run on Wine. Would I be able to just run a Virtual XP installation with these installed?
  4. Yes, as long as it's not after 3D acceleration it should be quite usable.
  5. Excellent :) Thank you very much.

    I'll download the image when I get home (definitely not at school right now ;) ), and hopefully get the time to do everything this weekend :)
  6. I would go for something debian based, like ubuntu or mint.

    As for formatting the HDD, most installs default to ext3, some to ext4.

    As for CAD, there are numerous native applications. Check out 'Blender'
  7. skittle said:
    I would go for something debian based, like ubuntu or mint.


    Why do you suggest this, if you don't mind me asking. Just curious :)

    skittle said:
    As for CAD, there are numerous native applications. Check out 'Blender'


    Yeah, I've tried Blender. I remember not liking it, but I don't actually remember the program itself :na: I'll check it out again. I just hate the learning curve involved for CAD programs.
  8. debian its self has a long history (debian has been around forever) of being a really stable customizable distribution with a HUGE community backing it. Its strongest feature is its package management system, which IMO is much better than others.

    And if you decide you dont like blender or other native CAD applications, then you can of course use VirtualBox+windows!
  9. http://www.blender.org/

    http://www.k-3d.org/

    http://fossfor.us/search/tag-frontpage/purpose/3-D%20content%20creation

    All these are worth checking out for sure :)

    http://www.codeweavers.com/products/

    Crossover supports some apps better than WINE does, although you'll be so much better off with the free open source apps.

    Good luck :)
  10. skittle said:
    debian its self has a long history (debian has been around forever) of being a really stable customizable distribution with a HUGE community backing it. Its strongest feature is its package management system, which IMO is much better than others.

    And if you decide you dont like blender or other native CAD applications, then you can of course use VirtualBox+windows!


    Alright, makes sense. I like what Mandriva has to offer, but I feel that a Debian derivative would be better suited for me. I go through a lot of programs for various different things, so I need the best compatibility possible, which I know Ubuntu is renowned for. I figure if I don't like the OS, it's easy enough to download a new one :) I might just go with Mint for now for it's simplicity and due to the fact it's based off Debian.

    linux_0 said:
    http://www.blender.org/

    http://www.k-3d.org/

    http://fossfor.us/search/tag-frontpage/purpose/3-D%20content%20creation

    All these are worth checking out for sure :)

    http://www.codeweavers.com/products/

    Crossover supports some apps better than WINE does, although you'll be so much better off with the free open source apps.

    Good luck :)


    I will definitely check all those things out, thanks a bunch for the suggestions! For now I think I'm just going to go with the VirtualBox method though, just so that I do have more main-stream programs that I already know how to use while I'm learning on something else :)
  11. I suggest checking the Alpha builds of the new Blender as well. The interface is less of a nightmare than the current stable release.
  12. randomizer said:
    I suggest checking the Alpha builds of the new Blender as well. The interface is less of a nightmare than the current stable release.


    I like the sounds of that :D

    On another note, the Mint website has been down since I got home. Erg :(
  13. mint is ubuntu based ;) , it even uses ubuntu repositories.
  14. I read most of the replies and I'm not sure if this has been said yet, if not it should be. Why not spend two weeks with the live cds of the distros you're considering and determine which one you find best for your needs? Another tid bit of hopeful information.... (knock on wood) it has been rumored that steam will be coming to linux soon! Also I'm sure some other's will add their input to this but if you're dealing with limited system resources (laptop) I would probably suggest a dual-boot config if you're going to run both windows and linux...

    p.s. remember to install windows first
  15. pelt0080 said:
    I read most of the replies and I'm not sure if this has been said yet, if not it should be. Why not spend two weeks with the live cds of the distros you're considering and determine which one you find best for your needs? Another tid bit of hopeful information.... (knock on wood) it has been rumored that steam will be coming to linux soon! Also I'm sure some other's will add their input to this but if you're dealing with limited system resources (laptop) I would probably suggest a dual-boot config if you're going to run both windows and linux...

    p.s. remember to install windows first


    Yeah, I'd rather just narrow it down beforehand. I know whichever distro I choose I'll be happy with; I'm just trying to optimize my happiness :D

    As for Steam, I've been hearing more and more pointing towards a Linux-native installer. Boy would that be nice.

    I've got a fairly powerful PC, so I'm not too worried about resources. :)

    Thanks for your input,


    - Jesse
  16. Alternatively, for Ubuntu and derivatives up to 9.10 (not 10.04) you can use Wubi to install it in a single file on an NTFS partition, just run the installer on the Live CD in Windows. It will show up in Add/Remove programs so it's easy to get rid of, and it doesn't overwrite the Windows bootloader either. This means you avoid having to do partitioning (it's about as simple as things can get for an OS installation, you basically just need to enter a username and password) and you get the benefit of a much snappier test install than a Live CD can give you. Note that Wubi is sometimes a bit wacky, so it's not quite as stable as a proper installation to separate partitions, but it's never been an issue for me when I've used it.
  17. Awesome, that sounds quite interesting. I'll be sure to look into that as well.
  18. Got Mint downloaded. Hoping to install either Friday night or Saturday. :)
  19. Upon browsing the AppDB further, I've come to the conclusion that Mint does not handle foreign programs quite as well as Ubuntu does. Would I be better off just going with Ubuntu and having the compatibility, or would I be able to get most things operation with some work on Mint/Mandriva/Other?
  20. I'm not sure what you mean. Mint is Ubuntu with a different interface and some tweaks, software should work essentially the same on both.
  21. Here's a crazy idea, quadruple boot ubuntu 10.04 if it's good, mint, fedora and deb 5.04 ;)

    Semper Fi :)
  22. randomizer said:
    I'm not sure what you mean. Mint is Ubuntu with a different interface and some tweaks, software should work essentially the same on both.


    Hmm, that's strange. That person on the AppDB must just be an idiot then :p


    linux_0 said:
    Here's a crazy idea, quadruple boot ubuntu 10.04 if it's good, mint, fedora and deb 5.04 ;)

    Semper Fi :)


    That is a crazy idea alright :lol: I will most likely set up some form of multi-boot once I get settled. For now I'm just starting with one. :)
  23. Alright, I have a bit of a mess as far as storage goes here. I have 3 hard drives that I need to somehow incorporate into 2 systems :D

    Disk0: 320gb - Essentially Full - Vista Install, some of my documents. - NTFS.
    Disk1: 500gb - About Half Full - Various documents and files, can't lose these - NTFS.
    Disk2: 640gb - Empty- Unformatted.

    So basically I'd like to make my Linux install probably on the 640gb drive, and then transfer all the necessary files over from the 500gb. The 320gb I'll just throw in my other computer whenever it gets fixed.

    The problem is, as far as I know Linux doesn't recognize NTFS? So how would I go about transferring said files? Is there any way to recognize this format, or would I need to format the other half of the drive as FAT32 or something, transfer the files over via Windoze, and then have Linux recognize that, etc.

    Anyways I'm just rambling about nothing, so what'd be the easiest solution?

    Thanks,


    - Jesse
  24. Any modern Linux distro will have no problem reading an NTFS. They can also write to such a file system, although the very paranoid might warn you against doing so.
  25. Ijack said:
    Any modern Linux distro will have no problem reading an NTFS. They can also write to such a file system, although the very paranoid might warn you against doing so.



    As long as it can read it I'm more than happy; that saves me a bit of work. Thanks :)
  26. Just in case the distro you use doesn't autometically mount any NTFS partitions (some do, some don't), here's a quick rundown on how it's done.
  27. Ijack said:
    Just in case the distro you use doesn't autometically mount any NTFS partitions (some do, some don't), here's a quick rundown on how it's done.


    Awesome, thank you very much.
  28. You can go to distrowatch website as well and just download and burn the distro iso files so you can boot up some of these live cds and dvds. You'll get an idea of what to expect. You could also try 'VirtualBox' (google it) and install virtual versions of these distros. It's another option.
  29. My vote is for ubuntu or if you wanted to go all kde style kubuntu. But I also like mint for the kde style to.
  30. There's been a bit of a delay. Between school and family, I've been too busy to get much of anything done. Hopefully get something installed pretty quick here.
  31. A little update for anyone who cares. I've decided to just download VirtualBox for now, and I'm downloading a bunch of images.

    So far I've got Mint, Ubuntu, and Mandriva. I also got Kubuntu just as I've never tried out KDE before. I'm gonna fool around with those for a week or two and see what I like the best I figure.
  32. Don't forget fedora 13 it's coming out in 11 days ;)

    Ubuntu 10.04 looks good but remember VirtualBox's going to run slow compared to a real native install. Also some versions or VirtualBox don't get along with ubuntu 10.04 so your graphics'll break if you install the VirtualBox drivers.

    Good luck :)
  33. linux_0 said:
    Don't forget fedora 13 it's coming out in 11 days ;)


    Ooh, will definitely check that out as well!

    linux_0 said:
    Ubuntu 10.04 looks good but remember VirtualBox's going to run slow compared to a real native install. Also some versions or VirtualBox don't get along with ubuntu 10.04 so your graphics'll break if you install the VirtualBox drivers.

    Good luck :)


    So far I've only tried Mandriva out. I didn't have much time to putz around, but it's working. I attempted to install Ubuntu/Kubuntu, and it gave me some message saying the graphics are set to 16-bit, and to change them to 32-bit. I can't seem to find this option anywhere though? Any pointers?

    Thanks,


    - Jesse
  34. I've found VirtualBox to be faster at some things than a native install. Specifically in boot time. I ran bootchart and recorded under 6 seconds once. That's seemingly impossible for a HDD, and indeed a native install is more like 4-5x that. Someone who had their VDI on an SSD recorded 0.5s :o
  35. randomizer said:
    I've found VirtualBox to be faster at some things than a native install. Specifically in boot time. I ran bootchart and recorded under 6 seconds once. That's seemingly impossible for a HDD, and indeed a native install is more like 4-5x that. Someone who had their VDI on an SSD recorded 0.5s :o


    That's just ridiculous. I can't even fathom that quick of a boot :lol:

    I have no complaints with speed so far. Seems to be running fine for me. I have 1gb of RAM dedicated to my VirtualOS, so it's not too bad :)
  36. randomizer said:
    I always give it 2GB, but I have 6GB total :) Running more than 1 VM at a time when I had 4GB RAM was a bit painful.


    I've only got 3gb right now, so I just gave it as much as I could while leaving a safe margin for my main OS. Vista is a resource whore unfortunately.
  37. I always give it 2GB, but I have 6GB total :) Running more than 1 VM at a time when I had 4GB RAM was a bit painful.
  38. So far I've tried out Mandriva, Ubuntu and Kubuntu. I'm really not a fan of KDE, so Ubuntu is the "Distro of Choice" at this point in time. I still have to test out Mint, and then Fedora in a week and a half when it comes out though.

    Any other suggestions? :)
  39. Just how difficult is installing Gentoo? I figure since I've got some time to burn until Fedora 13 comes out, it might be worth a shot in VirtualBox. Would a noob be able to figure it out, or should I just not even consider it? :)

    Thanks,


    - Jesse
  40. You'll want to talk to Zorak about that :)

    He's been running gentoo for a long time.

    Semper Fi :)
  41. I tried Gentoo once on a Powerbook G4 that lacked a working hard disk. At that time I didn't know Gentoo wasn't even a complete base distro, so I'm not exactly sure what it was that I was doing with it. I think I might have formatted the HDD or something. Can't have been much, I certainly didn't know I had to compile anything.
  42. Ehh, maybe I should hold off until I'm a bit more familiar with Linux first. I'll talk to Zorak about it anyways though ;)
  43. Pyroflea said:
    Just how difficult is installing Gentoo? I figure since I've got some time to burn until Fedora 13 comes out, it might be worth a shot in VirtualBox. Would a noob be able to figure it out, or should I just not even consider it? :)

    Thanks,


    - Jesse

    Gentoo is not at all difficult to install nowadays. There is a very clear hand-holding walkthrough of installation in the documentation on their web site. And it works well on more exotic architectures.

    If you're trying things out in VMs it's well worth a try. You've got nothing to lose and you'll learn a lot more than by doing an automatic installation of Ubuntu. It does help to have reasonably powerful hardware (i.e. anything recent), but I run it on an old PPC Mac Mini, as well as on Intel processors, without any problems.
  44. If you want to install a distro that will give you all sorts of advanced linux knowledge, i would highly recommend arch. You will still learn a lot, but you will also have a great package manager (not have to compile everything from source) and a wonderful community with documentation on pretty much everything. :)

    I am personally using arch on my laptop and fedora on my desktop, and love both of them.
  45. Ijack said:
    Gentoo is not at all difficult to install nowadays. There is a very clear hand-holding walkthrough of installation in the documentation on their web site. And it works well on more exotic architectures.

    If you're trying things out in VMs it's well worth a try. You've got nothing to lose and you'll learn a lot more than by doing an automatic installation of Ubuntu. It does help to have reasonably powerful hardware (i.e. anything recent), but I run it on an old PPC Mac Mini, as well as on Intel processors, without any problems.


    Well that's encouraging. :) I'll be sure to go hunt down all the information necessary and give it a try!

    Anonymous said:
    If you want to install a distro that will give you all sorts of advanced linux knowledge, i would highly recommend arch. You will still learn a lot, but you will also have a great package manager (not have to compile everything from source) and a wonderful community with documentation on pretty much everything. :)

    I am personally using arch on my laptop and fedora on my desktop, and love both of them.


    I'll look into Arch as well. Just all depends on how school goes for the next couple weeks. Been kinda hectic. :pt1cable:
  46. I finally made the transition tonight :D School finished up today, and I found myself with, *gasp*, some free time! I'm currently posting in Ubuntu 10.04 64-Bit :)
  47. Is there any way to shrink an NTFS volume from within Ubuntu? I set things up in a... less than ideal manner. Essentially I have a huge NTFS partition with all my backed up files I wanted to transfer to Ubuntu, and then the Ubuntu installation beside that. I'm running out of space on Ubuntu already, so I need to shrink the NTFS, and expand the Ext3. Gparted doesn't want me shrinking the NTFS value for some reason. Any input?
  48. A lot of people seem to have problems resizing NTFS partitions under gparted. It could well be down to hidden files that have been placed at fixed locations. In your position I would backup the files to an external disk and delete the partition, then use gparted to get the partitions how you want them and restore the files.

    You don't have an external drive, you say? You weren't really going to resize a partition without having a backup of it, were you?

    Seriously, if the files are important you need a separate backup of them. Disks can fail (and often do). If you don't have an external drive then get one - they're a cheap form of insurance nowadays.
  49. They're not that important really, I just have a lot of music and movies, and would rather not... "re-acquire" them. I have another drive that I'll just throw them on and then do what you said. I just wasn't sure if I was missing something obvious or not; I figured I'd just ask before formatting it.

    Thanks.
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