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Best Linux to star with on a desktop computer?

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February 15, 2013 12:34:36 PM

Hi,

I have recently wanted a change from Windows on my desktop PC and have been thinking about installing Linux in a new partition. I have very little experience with Linux OS's but I know that there are plenty to choose from, and I was wondering which would suit me best. I want to use it for general day-to-day tasks (emails, the internet, word processing etc) but I also have some interest in programming (particularly Python and HTML) and, if possible a way to run Steam for some games on it.

Thanks in advance
February 15, 2013 1:47:40 PM

I'm sure there are a lot of opinions on this, the great thing about Linux is you can try as many as you like. You could run them "live" before installing any of them to get a look at them.

I personally run Mint KDE. I run MythTV, Steam (CS:S) and I also tinker with Python. I've been happy with it so far.

What I would do if I were you is download an ISO, use Universal USB Installer to make a bootable thumb drive (I used a 2gb) and run the version that you choose live. Most of them have an option to try it before installing.

Popular distros for steam seem to be Ubuntu (and their spinoffs like Kubuntu, Lubuntu and so on), Mint and Arch. Try them all.

I have found that installations can either go really smooth, or throw some hurtles, typically from graphics cards. For example, Ubuntu installation for me was a nightmare. I got it to work eventually (it all stemmed from my particular graphics card I had at the time). It tried Mint and it went flawless with the same hardware.
February 15, 2013 2:46:07 PM

Hi,

I am thinking of trying Ubuntu first, see how that goes and then try MythKDE as from what you have said it seems to be able to accomodate what I want.

But, would it still work if I burnt the ISO's to a disk instead of a drive? Because I have an abundance of disks but no spare thumb drives :p 

Thanks in advance
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February 15, 2013 2:51:24 PM

Yeah that's fine too - you can still do a live boot from a DVD, it will just be very slow. That's what I have to do though because my motherboard won't boot from USB stick. I'd definitely second the Ubuntu recommendation, specifically Kubuntu or Xubuntu. I had a bit of trouble with Mint personally, but I haven't tried the latest version.

I'd recommend Kubuntu if you have a fairly capable system (it's a bit heavier on the special effects) and Xubuntu if you don't. Xubuntu still looks awesome and is hugely configurable, but less demanding on your system. It will deliver better framerates for gaming normally, however KDE (Kubuntu) gives the option to suspend the desktop when full-screen applications (like games) launch, giving it the best gaming performance of all.

EDIT: Obviously once installed to disk, it will run just as fast as if it was installed from a stick :-) And Python is installed and good to go from Xubuntu and Kubuntu.
February 15, 2013 3:32:40 PM

Do you plan on running MythTV? If not, I'd stay away from the "Myth Distros". They are usually stripped down to just run MythTV. You can still use them and install everything else you want, but it's just wasted effort IMO.

I opted to go with a standard distro and installed MythTV into it rather than start with something like Mythbuntu.

Next time I install a new version I'm going to give Kubuntu a shot. I really like KDE.

I noticed a lot of people that are running Steam are running Arch. Never used it but I might take a look at it too. You ever ran Arch sam_p_lay?
February 15, 2013 4:16:48 PM

I have indeed - I run it on my R-Pi. Not because I like it particularly, but the R-Pi is seriously lacking in processing power so I wanted as a system as cut-down as possible. It's really not for beginners though - nothing is done for you. It doesn't even have an installer any more (lack of maintenance). So it's not far off Gentoo interms of challenge. I always find myself coming back to Ubuntu - I have yet to find a more problem-free distro. Bit heavy for my R-Pi though :-)
February 15, 2013 4:20:07 PM

And +1 to the awesomeness of KDE :-) Along with package managers it's one of the things that impressed me most about Linux. Seeing that blur/focus splash screen for the first time... really cool stuff! :-D Kubuntu is the best distribution I've ever tried (and I've tried a LOT). Though I have a soft spot I can't explain for Xubuntu, so that's why it's the one I use.
February 15, 2013 4:24:03 PM

Hi,

Thanks to you both for the answers, I now have a fairly clear image in my head of what I want to do. :) 
February 15, 2013 4:55:24 PM

Glad to help :-) Post back if you have any questions about installation or using Linux.
February 16, 2013 4:49:47 AM

Zorin OS is an Ubuntu based distro that is catered to windows users. Might be a good "beginner" distro to try out.
February 16, 2013 7:27:16 AM

I'm gonna give Zorin OS a try soon. It's one of only a few top 20 distros I've not yet tried, so will be interesting to see how it does. I was a little put off by the way they're trying to commercialise it on their site with mandatory donations for different editions, pushing for referrals etc, but Ubuntu also has commercial backing (albeit not from us average Joes) and that's worked out pretty well!
February 16, 2013 12:45:41 PM

Use WUBI to install Ubuntu on top of windows. If you don't like it just uninstall wubi and it will be like it was never there. Definitley one of the easiest ways to try out Ubuntu Linux without the slowdown of running it as a live cd OS.
February 16, 2013 2:49:27 PM

Linux Mint is defiantly the most user-friendly Linux OS. Currently I am running Lubuntu, as I am running a fairly slow PC. But since you're new to Linux, use Linux Mint, to "feel" your way around. I am positive you will LOVE Linux, such a powerful OS. Happy Linuxing!
February 16, 2013 3:51:02 PM

Nobody can really say which is the most user-friendly distro in existence unless they've tried all of them (unlikely) :-) There are tonnes of user-friendly options. asktod, you surely don't consider Lubuntu to not be user-friendly?
February 17, 2013 12:32:53 AM

Lubuntu is not as user-friendly as Linux Mint IMO. There are tons of Linux distros I have not tried, but out the the ones I have tried(Over 30), Linux Mint is the most user-friendly.
March 13, 2013 9:27:05 PM

I would suggest using Elementary OS or Pear Linux. I prefer the GNOME interface over the Unity provided by standard Ubuntu. Both mentioned are modified Ubuntu distros. Pear Linux is more refined, but more Mac OS X - like. Elementary is similar, but is not as refined. However, it is less of a resource hog, unlike Pear. If you have an Intel chip, you should also have integrated Intel graphics, so installation should be a breeze (Linux already has the Intel drivers built in), then you can get what ever graphics card driver (Nvidia or AMD) that you need after the installation. It might get complicated on machines that only have a proprietary Nvidia or AMD card and not one with an open source driver. I tried to install Pear on my old HP desktop with and Nvidia (its ancient Nvidia that is built into the mobo, mind you) graphics, and it failed miserably, with little to no graphical feed back.
March 28, 2013 2:24:37 PM

sam_p_lay said:
I'm gonna give Zorin OS a try soon. It's one of only a few top 20 distros I've not yet tried, so will be interesting to see how it does. I was a little put off by the way they're trying to commercialise it on their site with mandatory donations for different editions, pushing for referrals etc, but Ubuntu also has commercial backing (albeit not from us average Joes) and that's worked out pretty well!


no sense in buying the different "versions" as you can get everything for free. i would just make a donation if you really liked it. personally i am not a big fan it ... i like LTS or rolling releases. i hate upgrading every 6 months.

March 28, 2013 3:04:26 PM

sulumordna said:
sam_p_lay said:
I'm gonna give Zorin OS a try soon. It's one of only a few top 20 distros I've not yet tried, so will be interesting to see how it does. I was a little put off by the way they're trying to commercialise it on their site with mandatory donations for different editions, pushing for referrals etc, but Ubuntu also has commercial backing (albeit not from us average Joes) and that's worked out pretty well!


no sense in buying the different "versions" as you can get everything for free. i would just make a donation if you really liked it. personally i am not a big fan it ... i like LTS or rolling releases. i hate upgrading every 6 months.



I didn't buy anything, I downloaded the free version. And I'm not a fan either after trying it - horrible distribution. Cheap, glichty, unfinished. Agreed that there's no sense in buying it. Best to stick with Ubuntu, Kubuntu etc I think. Anyway, old thread :-)
April 4, 2013 8:19:29 PM

In my opinion in order to really learn a linux distro, you need to go at it sparta style. By that I mean go for a distro that isn't setup like windows, which makes you learn A LOT to even get something simple working.

I used redhat first along time ago. Then ubuntu. It wasn't until I used Gentoo that I actually understood what Linux was, and the software subsystems that were piled on top of the kernel.

I suggest you start with something like Gentoo or Archlinux. Really good documentation available, and you won't be able to use it like windows.
May 3, 2013 10:54:28 AM

Haha people are still gonna be resurrecting this thread when I'm 80. Anyway 'best looking' is pretty subjective - I think KDE and GNOME 3 are the best looking (and E17) but other people have different tastes. You have plenty of options anyway - Ubuntu for example has Kubuntu for KDE, Lubuntu for LXDE, Xubuntu for Xfce, and others can be installed via the package manager anyway.
May 3, 2013 2:21:34 PM

Necroposting FTW!
May 4, 2013 3:49:05 AM

dmroeder said:
Necroposting FTW!


Haha thankyou for expanding my lexicon!
May 4, 2013 7:07:43 AM

sam_p_lay said:
dmroeder said:
Necroposting FTW!


Haha thankyou for expanding my lexicon!


I try to help where I can!

!