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I'm planning on getting a new distro,...

by Paul C / November 16, 2004 10:13 AM PST

...and I have some questions to place before the assembled masses:

I've always liked Mandrake for its relative ease of use, but this time, I'm really serious about getting past the "I know just enough to be dangerous" stage. I've noticed a large number of books purporting to teach the ins and outs of Linux, all of which come packaged with distribution CD's. For whatever reason, the flavor of the day in all these books seems to be Red Hat/Fedora. So, my questions:

1. Is Red Hat/Fedora that much harder to pick up than Mandrake might be?

2. What's the latest stable release of Red Hat/Fedora? I saw RH9 and Fedora 2.

3. Are these books even worth it?

4. I found books with 2, 3, and 4 CD distros. Other than additional software packages, what differences are there between these distros and the boxed sets (SuSE, Mandrake, etc.)?

5. Are these distros installed like the boxed set ones, or are there special steps (kernel compilation, etc.) required?

Any other thoughts and/or observations you might impart to me would be greatly appreciated.

TIA, Paul

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Re: I'm planning on getting a new distro,...
by Anthony J Moulen / November 17, 2004 9:19 AM PST

If you are looking for a challenge then Gentoo is a good challenge to get you to the point that you know Linux. It really is an immersion into the Linux world as to get a well working system you have to work at it. RedHat/Fedora/Mandrake are really the same beast with slightly different tools and services, in fact you can lump SUSE/Novell into that pile. Xandros/Debian and the like are different only in their packaging tools but really are still similar with very different goals and tools. Xandros is a lot easier and Debian should be left to those who want torture at the benefit of getting a stable system. Debian is also slow to keep pace with the toys of the day, so if you want a current system it isn't a good choice.

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Yes, Anthony, but what about the book idea?
by Paul C / November 17, 2004 10:40 AM PST

Do you have a book you'd recommend? (I like to try to work out issues myself, you see...)

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Re: Yes, Anthony, but what about the book idea?
by Anthony J Moulen / November 18, 2004 7:00 AM PST

I suggest if you are using Gentoo. I don't suggest books because by the time they can get to publication they are out of date in the opensource world. Things change rapidly, and books can't keep pace with that. Of course a book is a good foundation to the standard concepts. UNIX Systems Administration Handbook is a good book, and if you want to stick to Linux then the Linux Administration Handbook is also good.

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Re: I'm planning on getting a new distro,...
by septus / November 17, 2004 3:35 PM PST

Hi Paul C,
I think I am getting beyond the "knowing enough to be dangerous" stage but do not claim any expertise. Here my answers, whatever they may be worth:
1. No, Fedora is on par With Mandrake
2. Fedora core 3 (am using the AMD 64 bit version)
3. Don't know, but Xandros DeLuxe comes with a book, and "The Linux Cookbook" can be downloaded free of charge as well.
4. Don't know, but e.g. Fedora can be installed in a minimal (from memory c:a 1.7 gig) config. to well over 6 gig = including "everything" (I do not really need Russian, Hebrew, Korean etc. libraries in the latter).
5. Not in Fedora core 3, where you have a choice between 4CD:s and one DVD. No special configuration needed.
"Other thoughts":
Xandros is the only distro so far which found all my hardware, incl. digital camera, and "mass storage" USB device. However, I am also using Fedora core 3 because of its more extensive software, and its 64 bit AMD support. I was equally happy with Mandrake, but an HP on line course used Fedora, I switched over for that reason only.
"septus"(aka Eric)

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Re: I'm planning on getting a new distro,...
by guitronics / November 26, 2004 9:02 PM PST
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by chuckieu / November 28, 2004 3:59 AM PST

An explanation of your point would help. Some may get it. I don't. chuck

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Re: I'm planning on getting a new distro,...
by jerryrigger / December 13, 2004 11:59 PM PST

I've used Suse, Gentoo and Xandros but recently changer to SimplyMEPIS and found it to be the best Linux distro I've used. You can download an iso image file burn it to a CD and run it as a Live CD or install it to your hard drive. If you want to find out more check out the article that got me to switch: (
MEPIS is also the feature distribution in the new book Point and Click Linux (a CD comes with the book).
Check out SimplyMEPIS at: . Also checkout the MEPISLovers forum link from the MEPIS home page.
These are people who just volunteer their time and expertise supporting the Linux distribution they think is the best.

PS: I downloaded and tried to burn iso images of the distro using Windows 98SE and a couple of CD burning programs and had no luck. As a last resort I downloaded
it using Xandros and the burning program that came with it and it worked perfectly. Make sure you use a 700 MB CD.

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You'll be Ok
by lilsim89 / December 14, 2004 2:29 PM PST

These guys really got you on par with the linux distros to date. My personal favorites are SuSE for
it's ease-of use and Yoper for its tremendous speed.
Mandrake and Fedora are well done and I haven't tried much others that caught my attention. If you're into security, then OpenBSD is the way to go. Thats if you want to extend your knoledge beyond linux.


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