Engineering

What is the best NIX distro?

25 posts in this topic

What would you use? And why?

Or if several depending the scenario, which ones then?

Come on don't be lazy, shed some insight to a fellow User. ^^

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This question has been asking plenty of times in the past but I'll answer it once again. My opinion is that Ubuntu and Debian are the best Linux OS's. Reason being is that I'm in love with there GUI, there functionality is great, and their good with security. Until you fiddle with each one you cant really say which one you like more.

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FreeBSD, because it makes one appear more 1337 when talking about Unix.

Seriously, I like FreeBSD, but now use Ubuntu more than any other Unix or Unix-like o/s because all hardware works after install 90% of the time. Also, the Ubuntu binary repositories are filled, letting me do a simple apt-get install *, instead of compiling apps and their dependencies for a few minutes to a few hours (depending on needed patches etc..).

EDIT: OS X is nice too, probably my favorite now that I thought of it. It does have trouble compiling a lot of little utilities, but both Darwin Ports and Mac Ports are growing in size each day (each offers OS X optimized versions of popular utilities like ettercap nmap, etc..).

Edited by tekio
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I'm certain this question has been asked many, many times before here. Why don't you use the search function to see what's been said before?

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I use FreeBSD for all of my personal servers and Slackware for my Linux VM. I actually use Windows for mostly everything but boot up a VM or SSH into my office server for when I need *nix functionality.

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I use FreeBSD for all of my personal servers and Slackware for my Linux VM. I actually use Windows for mostly everything but boot up a VM or SSH into my office server for when I need *nix functionality.

The same for me. The nonstop headache of trying to run Linux as your primary desktop OS is not worth it.

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I use FreeBSD for all of my personal servers and Slackware for my Linux VM. I actually use Windows for mostly everything but boot up a VM or SSH into my office server for when I need *nix functionality.

The same for me. The nonstop headache of trying to run Linux as your primary desktop OS is not worth it.

Wow. Really?

I use FreeBSD (previously Slackware Linux) every day and it's a joy.

Edited by G-Brain
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I have no idea what distro is best, since I have not used them all. having said that I am using Ubuntu on my laptop and yeah I am getting more out of it and understanding more about Linux as a result than I have with a few other distro's I have tried. I'm very much a Linux newbie though and don't think I would put it on my main machine maybe I am too used to windows which does what I want it to for my everyday needs, and with the addition of a VM environment on it I can install a different OS if the need arises.

As has been said by others this question gets asked a lot and I don't think there will ever be a conclusive "this is the best there is" answer out there because a lot of the distro's have their good points as well as bad. and it also depends very much on what you want to use it for.

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Wow. Really?

Yes, really. What part of spending hours trying to get the sound driver for your integrated sound working, or trying to figure out why your video driver makes everything lock up, or trying to get MadWifi to work sounds fun? If it's not one thing, it's another. Rarely, everything on the machine will actually be working as intended, but then you're terrified to upgrade because it might break something. And this isn't even considering things like trying to play a game or watch a flash movie, which will only disappoint you. There are many times where I've said to myself "Gee, if I were running Windows this would just work."

No, I ditched Linux as my native OS a long time ago. It just ended up being a frustrating, disappointing time sink. I have it in a VM where I have the same access to all the tools with none of the headache. It runs a little slower, but the trade-off is totally worth it in saved time and hair-pulling. I only run it natively on the Eee PC, where running it in a VM is unrealistic.

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Wow. Really?

Yes, really. What part of spending hours trying to get the sound driver for your integrated sound working, or trying to figure out why your video driver makes everything lock up, or trying to get MadWifi to work sounds fun? If it's not one thing, it's another. Rarely, everything on the machine will actually be working as intended, but then you're terrified to upgrade because it might break something. And this isn't even considering things like trying to play a game or watch a flash movie, which will only disappoint you. There are many times where I've said to myself "Gee, if I were running Windows this would just work."

No, I ditched Linux as my native OS a long time ago. It just ended up being a frustrating, disappointing time sink. I have it in a VM where I have the same access to all the tools with none of the headache. It runs a little slower, but the trade-off is totally worth it in saved time and hair-pulling. I only run it natively on the Eee PC, where running it in a VM is unrealistic.

Can not agree more...this is not to say that I don't have a linux box(DSL and Knoppix) but as the primary OS it has two drawbacks...one if you are like Ohm and myself we have attached to our primary computer every conceivable piece of electronic equipment yet invented by man; the only way to get it to work or have available is to use Windows since companies go for the largest market first...and two hacking is almost synomous with hacking Windows; you must become a Windows pro to be a competent hacker. The best way to become competent is to use it on frequent basis.

Modern day linux is almost Windows anyway but without the device support. It makes me sick what Linux has become. If you run Linux primarily from the GUI, I will dare say that you are an undercover Windows lover. Real Linux is command line. The only exception I have for a GUI is the FluxBox that comes with Damn Small Linux and that should be used in limited dosages.

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Yes, really. What part of spending hours trying to get the sound driver for your integrated sound working, or trying to figure out why your video driver makes everything lock up, or trying to get MadWifi to work sounds fun?

Hardware problems, have we? While it's true that there is quite a bit of hardware that's not compatible, to me it only makes sense to check your hardware for compatibility before trying an operating system. It's also true that on Unix systems it might take a little more configuration to get a piece of hardware working, but for me it's always been a one-time deal resulting in working hardware, and almost every time I learned something about the system.

If it's not one thing, it's another. Rarely, everything on the machine will actually be working as intended, but then you're terrified to upgrade because it might break something.

Things have been working for me and many others in a pretty straight line. You can't generalize your case just as I can't generalize mine.

And this isn't even considering things like trying to play a game or watch a flash movie, which will only disappoint you. There are many times where I've said to myself "Gee, if I were running Windows this would just work."

Windows games don't work on Unix? Scandalous! Flash is a steaming pile of crap.

hacking is almost synomous with hacking Windows; you must become a Windows pro to be a competent hacker. The best way to become competent is to use it on frequent basis.

This is ridiculous. To become a Windows hacker you'll have to use it, yes. For hacking everything else, you most definitely don't.

Modern day linux is almost Windows anyway but without the device support. It makes me sick what Linux has become. If you run Linux primarily from the GUI, I will dare say that you are an undercover Windows lover. Real Linux is command line. The only exception I have for a GUI is the FluxBox that comes with Damn Small Linux and that should be used in limited dosages.

How elitist, hypocritical and ignorant can you possibly get? I am flabbergasted. I really hope you're a troll. I won't bother wasting any more words.

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Yes, really. What part of spending hours trying to get the sound driver for your integrated sound working, or trying to figure out why your video driver makes everything lock up, or trying to get MadWifi to work sounds fun?

Hardware problems, have we? While it's true that there is quite a bit of hardware that's not compatible, to me it only makes sense to check your hardware for compatibility before trying an operating system. It's also true that on Unix systems it might take a little more configuration to get a piece of hardware working, but for me it's always been a one-time deal resulting in working hardware, and almost every time I learned something about the system.

Yes, hardware problems. Always hardware problems. Or more accurately, software problems on Linux. Linux boasts the most drivers in the world, yet most are of obsolete hardware and the drivers for modern hardware are always a step behind. If your stuff works out of the box, it's by chance you have a configuration that works. Next kernel release with new drivers and that might all change. Linux is a never-ending battle of fighting with drivers that rarely work. It's a headache I prefer not to put up with.

What if I just want to listen to some music? Well, first I have to check if pulse audio didn't explode again. Next I have to check my levels. If anything turned up the master level past 50, it distorts horribly. Then I have to start playing it and hope nothing turned the line-in audio up unexpectedly (as tvtime seems to like doing). Because if that happened, all you get is static. This seems to be the story with most realtek audio chipsets, which seem to be the de facto standard for integrated audio these days. Another headache I prefer not to put up with.

So if you want to put up with things like that, have fun. I have better things I could be doing than fighting with my own hardware. I have no such problems on Windows. You just install it and it works.

If it's not one thing, it's another. Rarely, everything on the machine will actually be working as intended, but then you're terrified to upgrade because it might break something.

Things have been working for me and many others in a pretty straight line. You can't generalize your case just as I can't generalize mine.

Drivers always break on Linux. It's a given you'll have to waste your time fscking with them at some point in time. There's also a chance that your hardware will just be broken on Linux, as I've come across several times. An update to a driver just breaks it, and you either have to downgrade it or live without the hardware.

And yes, I can generalize my case. Go to any Linux forum and it's full of people needing help getting their hardware working. And for every person that posts, there's more behind them that are simply reading the posts with the same problem, have given up on the problem, or have solved it themselves. I'd say it's a pretty accurate generalization.

And this isn't even considering things like trying to play a game or watch a flash movie, which will only disappoint you. There are many times where I've said to myself "Gee, if I were running Windows this would just work."

Windows games don't work on Unix? Scandalous! Flash is a steaming pile of crap.

If you want to waste your game playing time messing with Wine and hoping it works, again, good luck. If I want to play a game, winecfg is not a very good one. I'd rather play Civ 4 or something.

I'd like to amend your statement about flash. Flash is a steaming pile of crap on Linux. Flash works fine on Windows. I'm sorry Flash doesn't work on your OS, but it doesn't mean you have to take it out on the rest of us. I enjoy flash video and flash games on Windows. True, flash is not ideal (certainly not for video), but it works fine. On Windows.

So yeah, I really didn't expect for you to dissect all that. All I'm saying is that Linux is a pain in the ass. I'm much happier and spend less time fscking with Linux drivers by running it in a VM. I still get access to all the tools on Linux without any of the headache.

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What would you use? And why?

Or if several depending the scenario, which ones then?

Come on don't be lazy, shed some insight to a fellow User. ^^

I vote Ubuntu. I love it. You can sit on these forums all day and read about others opinions and I don't think it will get you much of anywhere. They best thing to do is download a bunch of distros and start trying them out for yourself.

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What would you use? And why?

I use Fedora 11 simply because I'm lazy. I've been using Fedora through several different builds and just stuck with it because I like the interface and I'm a n00b. I have on occasions used the live version of backtrack for experimentation. Mostly I boot windows due to the applications I need to use for work. :unsure:

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hmm. id say debian as ubuntu is the same thing just slower/heavier, gentoo light weight but takes time to install/compile everything. opensolaris has worked better/on more machines than any other dist/nix ive used. dsl as its light weight can use apt. again problems with most hardware accept my suns which work pretty good with nix. id have to say it doesn't matter to much as linux is linux. i mean if i run openssh on debian i can configure it just as good as on slackware. just try and run what you want.

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hmm. id say debian as ubuntu slower/heavier

I used to love Debian, but just got tired of the post install configuration and tweaking. Ubuntu usually works after install which is nice when on salary and not getting paid by the hour. Maybe Debian has come a long way since 4.X. Perhaps I'll give it a retry on my next install. Ubuntu, performance wise is just great as far as I'm concerned.

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hacking is almost synomous with hacking Windows; you must become a Windows pro to be a competent hacker. The best way to become competent is to use it on frequent basis.

This is ridiculous. To become a Windows hacker you'll have to use it, yes. For hacking everything else, you most definitely don't.

Modern day linux is almost Windows anyway but without the device support. It makes me sick what Linux has become. If you run Linux primarily from the GUI, I will dare say that you are an undercover Windows lover. Real Linux is command line. The only exception I have for a GUI is the FluxBox that comes with Damn Small Linux and that should be used in limited dosages.

How elitist, hypocritical and ignorant can you possibly get? I am flabbergasted. I really hope you're a troll. I won't bother wasting any more words.

I stand firmly behind my words. If I had known you were just coming off the beach and hadn't washed the sand from your vagin I wouldn't have spoken honestly with you.

See this is the double standard that Linux fanantics have...they think somehow that because they run linux they represent the true spirit of hacking or computing. The only people worse are IT people who use Apple laptops.

I admit that Linux has its uses such as on old crappy computers. Or if you are a start up and for some reason you need free computing technology to save costs then yeah sure use it. But as your PRIMARY means to interact with the world of hacking and computing it is less efficient then using Windows. I know it is 'cool' to say "yeah man I love linux down with m$" etc., etc. but the truth is I've rarely found linux to be more benifical, in fact it has been more of a hinderance. The only time I had a real 'need' for it was in college for my systems programming class where we did systems programming on a linux box. The only reason why we did it on a Linux box was because the science fields developed around unix so linux is a natural platform. Oh, how I wished we did windows system programming it would have been far more useful from both an industry and hacking perspective as I've since discovered.

To everyone else, I'm not dissing Linux users...I use Linux, not as my primary box of course...its just that I can't stand the 'groupie' mentality around Linux especially when everyone is using a GUI that's almost a copy of Windows while the system requirements of flavors are increasing to the point of Windows as well. But hey this is a free country run whatever OS you want...

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Ubuntu, performance wise is just great as far as I'm concerned.

hmm really? whenever ive used it it seems really slow was using like 450-550mb of ram on eee just to run. (which is more than win 7 at max) debian was more than windows like 350-450mb. but some reason on any hardware i have linux is always significantly slower. i mean my tower runs xp with the new xp themes at 81mb of ram. when i actually got linux to work it was using 400mb. o well but as always with experimental software they just tell you what will happen at optimum performance not what usually happens but thats the usual business tactic of pretty much all products. +1 for not getting the groupie thing. in any experience i've ever had with linux the only ones that were actually faster and whatever was dsl/puppy, and on sun computers as i cant compare it with m$. idk i guess the ability to be lazy with a package manager is worth it for some people?. (not poking fun/flaming thats actually how linux has performed on the hardware i have tried it on.)

since were way off topic ill add another tip lols. i think linux to most people is about the ideals of the community that uses said distro. so just look around at dist. webpages and look at their philosophy and what they try to achieve may help decide which one you want to use/participate in.

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How are you measuring RAM usage?

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just top, and taskman i know most of the ram is just storing extra important programs that if needed will be able to "act" fast. and obviously linux uses more ram because it stores everything in ram intuil its maxed out and then it will use swap where windows stores about half of the stuff in pf. but linux has tended to be slower than m$ in just opening programs going on the internet bs. was just saying as its the only bench marks i have. im pretty sure its just the hardware not being optimized as whenever ive used virtual box it seems to run fine/faster than when its actually installed on the computer.

(it was a static test like no other programs open but top/taskman)

Edited by dinscurge
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Ubuntu runs 100% great on my eee 900 with a Celeron under-clocked to around 900mhz and 1GB of RAM. Running WinXP on the thing was totally unusable. Mostly, because of SSD write times being at 6MB per second. But +1 for Ubuntu speed.

To me, it is worth it to spend a few dollars on more RAM and have minimal configurations. I was 100% Debian until the HD on my old Thinkpad died and lost over a year of configurations and tweaks for all my hardware. At that time, mulling over all the reconfiguration issues, a guy at work suggested Ubuntu. And it worked out of the box. The only custom drivers needed were for packet injection and other WiFi cards/adapters. Broader hardware support is always going to lead to bloat. but the convenience, especially to people who do not have all the time in the world, is a good trade off sometimes.

Edited by tekio
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I have the exact same outlook as Tekio. Debian used to be my favorite, but the constant configurations and tweeks that had to be made were just driving me crazy. Then I heard a lot of talk about Ubuntu 8.10 and its sleek GUI and I installed and I've been loving it ever since!

EDIT: Ubuntu is also very WiFi friendly, so I don't have to go through all of the driver trouble!

Edited by phasma
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Yes, hardware problems. Always hardware problems. Or more accurately, software problems on Linux. Linux boasts the most drivers in the world, yet most are of obsolete hardware and the drivers for modern hardware are always a step behind. If your stuff works out of the box, it's by chance you have a configuration that works. Next kernel release with new drivers and that might all change. Linux is a never-ending battle of fighting with drivers that rarely work. It's a headache I prefer not to put up with.

How do you explain the fact that my drivers have been working perfectly for as long as I can remember? It's sheer ignorance. Just because you couldn't get your stuff to work doesn't mean it never works for anybody.

What if I just want to listen to some music? Well, first I have to check if pulse audio didn't explode again. Next I have to check my levels. If anything turned up the master level past 50, it distorts horribly. Then I have to start playing it and hope nothing turned the line-in audio up unexpectedly (as tvtime seems to like doing). Because if that happened, all you get is static. This seems to be the story with most realtek audio chipsets, which seem to be the de facto standard for integrated audio these days. Another headache I prefer not to put up with.

When I wanted to listen to music, it worked out of the box. Your personal anecdotes don't prove anything. Do you want to hear a Windows horror story?

So if you want to put up with things like that, have fun. I have better things I could be doing than fighting with my own hardware. I have no such problems on Windows. You just install it and it works.

I install my Unix systems and they work in a way that I very much prefer to that of Windows operating systems.

Drivers always break on Linux. It's a given you'll have to waste your time fscking with them at some point in time. There's also a chance that your hardware will just be broken on Linux, as I've come across several times. An update to a driver just breaks it, and you either have to downgrade it or live without the hardware.

Using language such as "always" and "it's a given" just proves how ignorant you are. My drivers have worked for as long as I can remember and I know a lot of people who haven't had any problems either.

And yes, I can generalize my case. Go to any Linux forum and it's full of people needing help getting their hardware working. And for every person that posts, there's more behind them that are simply reading the posts with the same problem, have given up on the problem, or have solved it themselves. I'd say it's a pretty accurate generalization.

Oh, the irony. Have you ever seen a Windows help forum? :)

And I meant generalization in the sense that you're talking about your problems as if they're the case for everybody. "Everything always breaks", etc.

Windows games don't work on Unix? Scandalous!

If you want to waste your game playing time messing with Wine and hoping it works, again, good luck. If I want to play a game, winecfg is not a very good one. I'd rather play Civ 4 or something.

You missed my point completely. It's ridiculous to expect games for a certain platform to work on another.

I'd like to amend your statement about flash. Flash is a steaming pile of crap on Linux. Flash works fine on Windows. I'm sorry Flash doesn't work on your OS, but it doesn't mean you have to take it out on the rest of us. I enjoy flash video and flash games on Windows. True, flash is not ideal (certainly not for video), but it works fine. On Windows.

I hate Flash on Windows as well. It's technical reasons better left for an other thread.

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This is so backwards it's not even funny.

hacking is almost synomous with hacking Windows; you must become a Windows pro to be a competent hacker. The best way to become competent is to use it on frequent basis.

If you want to become someone who is an expert at Windows systems and programming them and breaking into them, then sure. I would call such a person a Windows hacker. There is more out there than just Windows, and those systems can be hacked just as well. People hacking those systems are hackers as well and they don't have to know anything about Windows. Because Windows is the most widely used operating system I understand that most people will think about it when hacking is mentioned. It's just not the only thing out there. A lot of people enjoy hacking on other systems.

Modern day linux is almost Windows anyway but without the device support.

You mean a lot of popular desktop environments and window managers mimic the appearance of Windows? This is true, but it doesn't say anything about Linux itself. There are plenty of nonstandard and innovative window managers. But even if they looked exactly alike, looks aren't everything.

It makes me sick what Linux has become. If you run Linux primarily from the GUI, I will dare say that you are an undercover Windows lover. Real Linux is command line. The only exception I have for a GUI is the FluxBox that comes with Damn Small Linux and that should be used in limited dosages.

While I agree that using Linux for the sake of not using Windows is not a good idea, people using window managers that mimic Windows functionality probably use it because it's a standard. It works okay. It's good enough for them. It doesn't say anything about their feelings toward Windows.

Personally I'm a big fan of the command line, but it's ridiculous to say that the GUI doesn't have its place.

See this is the double standard that Linux fanantics have...they think somehow that because they run linux they represent the true spirit of hacking or computing. The only people worse are IT people who use Apple laptops.

You are the one who said hacking was almost synonymous with Windows hacking. "true spirit" much? I merely stated that Windows wasn't the only thing around.

as your PRIMARY means to interact with the world of hacking and computing it is less efficient then using Windows.

What makes it less efficient? I'm more efficient on Unix than I am on Windows. I like being able to fit everything to my needs.

the truth is I've rarely found linux to be more benifical, in fact it has been more of a hinderance.

How is that? Is it because every option is hidden behind layers and layers of dialogs? Because you couldn't customize anything? Because it's hard to automate things? Because of the lack of standard command line tools? Because you couldn't look at the source of something?

its just that I can't stand the 'groupie' mentality around Linux especially when everyone is using a GUI that's almost a copy of Windows while the system requirements of flavors are increasing to the point of Windows as well.

Fancy software requires fancy hardware. Meanwhile, many flavors remain light.

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he was saying that linux is not lightweight anymore if you pick any main distro, redhat, debian, ubuntu, gentoo, slackware, knoppix, mandrake, in most peoples experience it uses about the same amount of ram/cycles as windows e.g. just as slow just as bloated as windows(of course just to be able to run kde-gnome to get the standard apps). it just doesn't run as many different types of hardware. i've never met some one that couldnt get a windows computer running, just as i've never seen any distro/nix work just as good as windows on any computer ive ever used. its less efficient in i dont have to research every single piece of hardware going in my computer to see if it works, if it doesnt work then i have to see if i have to compile a custom krnl32.exe/krnl64.exe to get it to work properly. i dont have to research and try every single up date to make sure it doesn't break a driver/linux on my computer. most people have problems with drivers probably 70-80%+ have had a problem with some hardware using linux.

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