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Which distribution of linux should I put into my laptop?

Last response: in Linux/Free BSD
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September 21, 2010 8:31:46 PM

Hi there, I'm wanting to try out Linux on my dell inspiron 1525 laptop. It currently runs windows vista (32-bit), I've been wanting to try out Linux for a while now (dual boot) but I’m not sure which version I should get. I mainly use this laptop for web-browsing with Firefox and general word processing and power point creation etc. A friend recommended that I should get redhat but after doing a bit of searching it seems that it isn't free and I don't really want to pay for a version when there's free ones available. I'd like to be able to see how the operating system differs from XP, Vista, 7 and OSX so if you can advise me on a distribution I’d appreciate it :) 
September 21, 2010 10:56:20 PM

I'd say Linux Mint is the simplest and most "dummed" down version of Linux i've used. Its based on Ubuntu I think, but I also think its simpler and a little easier with more resemblance to windows.
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September 22, 2010 12:22:28 AM

Ubuntu, Fedora, Mandriva, Mint, PCLinuxOS. Pick one, any of them are very easy to use, rich with features, and will support most modern hardware :) 
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September 23, 2010 1:29:16 AM

^+1 PCLinuxOS was great, I personally thought it was a blast because it came with tons of packages p reinstalled and was incredibly easy.
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September 23, 2010 4:59:23 AM

I would say if you are new to linux get ubuntu, if you want to learn more about linux use fedora.
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September 23, 2010 1:44:43 PM

fatedcloud said:
I would say if you are new to linux get ubuntu, if you want to learn more about linux use fedora.


I'd say if you really wanna learn to use Linux use something like Arch or Gentoo :)  Fedora is still fairly basic, and fairly on par with Ubuntu, IMO.
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September 23, 2010 9:19:07 PM

Hmm quite a lot of suggestions here was hoping for 1 clear version :/  I think I would prefer to learn as much as I can about linux so what's different about Arch and Gentoo compared to Fedora?
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September 23, 2010 9:52:07 PM

Well linux distributions differ widley from distro to distro. Different GUI, commands, packages, run files...etc.

I highly advise you to stay away from Gentoo and Arch...they are for pro's. They are harder to use and aren't as popular meaning much less forum support and applications.

If you are new stay with popular distributions like Ubuntu, Fedora, Mandriva, Suse...etc. Fedora is very easy also, I think Ubuntu/Mint is the best for the beginner from what I've tried...as it was easiest for me. I personally loved Ubuntu to learn linux and such, but have now moved to Fedora, i just like its organization better. However Mint is just like ubuntu except simplified I think. Its extremely easy and you can pretty much make your way around through just the GUI.
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September 23, 2010 10:01:36 PM

blackhawk1928 said:
Well linux distributions differ widley from distro to distro. Different GUI, commands, packages, run files...etc.

I highly advise you to stay away from Gentoo and Arch...they are for pro's. They are harder to use and aren't as popular meaning much less forum support and applications.


I wouldn't say to stay away per se. While they are highly advanced, I'd say it's quite manageable, even for a beginner. I managed to install Arch in Virutalbox with absolutely no assistance, and I'm quite new to Linux with the exception of Ubuntu (which I've used for awhile now). There's hundreds of articles related to the installation process online. Gentoo is quite a bit more difficult from what I've heard (never tried it personally). Honestly, Arch is great once you get it set up. If you're keen on learning a whole bunch about Linux, either of these suggestions will force you to do so.

blackhawk1928 said:
If you are new stay with popular distributions like Ubuntu, Fedora, Mandriva, Suse...etc. Fedora is very easy also, I think Ubuntu/Mint is the best for the beginner from what I've tried...as it was easiest for me. I personally loved Ubuntu to learn linux and such, but have now moved to Fedora, i just like its organization better. However Mint is just like ubuntu except simplified I think. Its extremely easy and you can pretty much make your way around through just the GUI.


All the "popular" distributions (such as the ones listed here as well as in my post) will get you up and running with very minimal work. Will you learn much about Linux in the process? Probably not. However, they are a great way to submerge yourself into the Linux world without any prior experience. From there, you can start to fool around and expand your knowledge. If you just want an out-of-the-box, easy to use distro, I'd say Ubuntu, Mint or PCLinuxOS would take the cake. If you want something a tad more advanced that's still very easy to use, Fedora would be a great choice.

The problem with asking "what is the best distribution given these constraints" is that there are hundreds of different distributions, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Some people like a certain desktop environment, while others do not. Some people like certain package managers, while others do not. I always like to suggest that people download and install VirtualBox, and then test out half a dozen different distributions before even thinking of doing a full install. I find that this way people can familiarize themselves with multiple distros without committing to a full install. That's just my $0.02 though.
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September 24, 2010 11:19:26 AM

Best answer selected by phoenixlight.
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September 24, 2010 11:20:30 AM

Thanks for the replies, I'll go with Fedora for now then :) 
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September 24, 2010 7:17:49 PM

^You will be pleased with Fedora, it is a great distro :)  And good post Pyro!
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