Linux: Which distro do you run and why?

jdbower

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I use Ubuntu mostly because it's a supported desktop OS at work. I like how it's fairly trivial to install (I'm tired of trying to hunt down drivers that I need to modify and compile myself just to get basic functionality - that's great for college kids but I'd rather actually use my computer than fight with it) and the Debian-based apt-get system is very nice. Granted, the last time I ran a RedHat system it was just known as RedHat (not RedHat Enterprise Linux or Fedora) so I don't know how it compares with Yum.

I came from Slackware in the late 90s, dabbled with RedHat a bit in the early 2000's and then only played off-and-on until about two years ago. Before home routers were popular I remember making a Slackware-based router using the IP Masq rules - fun times! I'd probably rather play with CentOS (the free version of RHEL) or a BSD variant for my own servers today, but since I use Ubuntu on my desktops it's just more consistent to run the Ubuntu LTS server version for my webserver, DNS server, IPv6 router, and media server (all separate VirtualBox instances on a hypervisor).

Fundamentally I haven't found anything that Ubuntu can't do that another distro can, nor is there much other than the installer that really makes Ubuntu all that special (even when compared to non-Debian distros). I find it kind of sad how much self-hate there is in the Linux community - way too much of "oh, you use that distro so you must be an *****" and not enough people actually trying to make the Linux ecosystem a better (and nicer!) place.

I run standard Ubuntu, but with the migration of the window management buttons to the left and now moving from GNOME to Unity I'm seriously tempted to move to Xubuntu's UI. My desktops and laptops are the latest released version (sometimes a beta if there's something I really like) but my servers are the latest LTS version.
 
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Smitty_82

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I'm new to linux, so haven't tried much of what's out there. I'm running ubuntu 10.10 on my old laptop cause it wouldn't work well with windows any more, lol. I'm totally hooked now! My 6 year old celeron m laptop runs better now than it did right out of the box!

Now I just have to find a way to get ubuntu on my verizon netbook since vzw doesn't support linux, that I know of for the internal 3g :-( Once that is done, I will be happily microsoft and apple free!
 

jdbower

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VZW doesn't support Linux, but that doesn't mean that Linux doesn't support VZW :)

Chances are the WWAN interface in your netbook looks like a USB device. I've had pretty good luck getting these working under Linux, here's a good starting page. Essentially you just "dial" #777, check the Verizon entry under Provider Info in the link for some details. If you Google your netbook model and Ubuntu you may find someone who's already set it up and documented it.

I've found with my own netbook (WiFi-only - I've got a 3G hotspot when I need to connect to the Internet with it) it's much nicer to get an external optical drive, having a USB BluRay drive that I can switch between my netbook, laptops, or even bring to work for the odd server that has a CD-ROM but lacks a DVD-ROM is infinitely useful. This makes installations nice and easy and you can try playing around with GParted instead of reformatting (assuming you've got space).
 

cmags

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I've played with Ubuntu, RHEL, & Suse in VM environments but am thinking I'm ready to dive in and install one on my primary system. I'm trying to decide whether to go Ubuntu 10.10, or try out the new Linux Mint 10. My primary concerns are printer and USB headset drivers as I use my PC as a SIP client. I suppose I can run the printer through a windows vm but the headset will need to work native.

Any one with suggestions on the Ubuntu vs Mint topic?

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jdbower

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Mint users tend to love their OS. I believe it's Ubuntu-based, but certainly Debian-based. It's my understanding that it's more end-user friendly and installs some stuff from ubuntu-restricted-extras by default. It's also got some NetNanny software available which can be useful if you've got young kids, or if you've got teenagers you want to encourage to hack their way around it ;) I'd certainly try it out in a VM before you commit.

The printer support may not be an issue, my HP all-in-one printer works better under Linux using the hplip drivers than Windows (scanning was hit-or-miss under Windows but works great under Linux). However my standalone HP scanner is Windows only as of now.

I also have no issues with my cheap USB audio card I've got and if it's an actual SIP connection (instead of a SIP-based proprietary connection) I'm sure you can find some workable Linux software. If it needs Windows software in order to authenticate you may be out of luck if it won't run under Wine/Crossover.

With VirtualBox you can forward a USB connection to the VM. This disconnects the device from the host but lets you test out drivers in the guest OS. You may be able to do the same with your hypervisor software to test out your questionable devices. Of course, booting off a live CD can be much more deterministic.
 
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cmags

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Thanks for the tips. I'll have to try out a live cd and play with configuring. I know HP's usually fare pretty well w/ linux, but I've had a hell of a time finding a driver (at least the last time I tried a few months back) for my Epson Stylus NX400 all-in-one. Haven't tried my Samsung ML-1740 laser yet.
 

jdbower

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Open SuSe

Out of curiosity, was there any reason you chose it over the others?

Ubuntu 10.04 (64 bit). Wish Netflix worked.

If you're willing to set up a Windows server someplace you can get it to work over DLNA, plus stream to your Android. I understand the Windows server may be a dealbreaker for a lot of people, but such is the world we live in. :'( Let me know if you've got any questions about it:
https://www.ebower.com/docs/ubuntu-dlna-player/
 

Nitros7

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Ok ATM I just dropped a new hard drive in to my desktop to run FC14 on... I was first introduced to *nix systems on Redhat's offerings so I some how always get pulled back to them. Guess I enjoy the fact that its quick to load but still feels like Linux (I find Ubuntu to be a bit to uncomplicated). I like that I need to figure out how to make the system run the way I want it, if I want an out of the box system I can just boot up Win 7, but for Linux I would rather get my hands dirty and break a few thing. That way I have something to fix!! :D
 

epidenimus

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Re: Which distro do you run and why?

Sabayon 7. Excellent hardware support and recognition, edgy but stable, rolling release, looks tight and professional, devs have a sense of style and humor. It bridges the gap between using something factory-made and roll-your-own for me. Also, the forums are much more concise than Ubuntu's or some other distros'.

Linux Mint 9. When it comes to good looks, flexibility, and ease-of-use... Mint can't be beat. I will get around to installing the Debian-based version soon enough and then it will be a rolling release too. :cool:
 
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comadr3am

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Re: Which distro do you run and why?

I've been toying around with Linux for just over 10 years now. I'm defiantly not a pro, but have been hooked sense I got a retail box of Red Hat 6.1 back in the day. I have recently committed to full time use. Destro of choice at the moment is Ubuntu Studio x86-64.

I love that no matter what kind of hardware I throw at it Linux it just works (sometimes with a little tweeking) .

When It comes to usb tethering with my Palm Pre- it also just works, I had to much of a head ach with it in Windows. I'm hoping the same will be true when I upgrade to a android.
 

epidenimus

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Re: Which distro do you run and why?

I love that no matter what kind of hardware I throw at it Linux it just works (sometimes with a little tweeking) .

You're so right!

I still laugh when I'm at work and I plug a thumb drive into a Windows box and it starts installing drivers for it. It's a frigging USB mass storage device... why do you have to go look that up like it's some kind of Dvorak joystick or something?? :D

I might add that one of the great things about running Linux and playing with Android devices is that you don't have to hippity-hop all over the internet making sure you install each device's drivers, then sometimes uninstalling some tool that came with them to get it to work (e.g. HTC Sync).
 
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Re: Which distro do you run and why?

I use Gentoo Linux.

It is a minimalist distribution, so it only has the stuff I want installed.
It is source based, so unwanted changes can never be forced upon me and I am free to change it however I like
It is a rolling distribution, so it always has the latest software and gets hardware support much faster than other distributions.

Two years ago, I used Windows 7, but I wanted to switch to Linux. I tried Ubuntu in a virtual machine. It ran terribly and had tons of problems. Then I recalled something someone had said to me in 2003 about Gentoo being the best Linux distribution, so I tried Gentoo and it worked. Unlike Ubuntu, there was no cursor lag and there were no issues that required complicated workarounds (e.g. simulating a mouse with arrow keys because the mouse drivers were broken). I upgraded my laptop to Gentoo Linux in January 2010 and I have never looked back. I was so happy with it that I upgraded my desktop in July 2010.
 

epidenimus

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Re: Which distro do you run and why?

Been toying with the new Mint 13 Maya. Wow. The Cinnamon version is really nice and it's nice to have a modern and functional desktop again. The MATE is nice, too. With those two Live DVD's in my toolkit, there is no machine I cannot make run--fast and beautiful. I could swear it summons electricity from the sky to like Dr. Frankenstein to resuscitate these machines from the pull of the afterlife. I've been handing out discs like an evangelist again.

Love my Sabayon, but may have to make the switch. I'll also check out the distro Drew mentioned.
 

robt77

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Have been using Ubuntu for last 3 years because Vista was playing up something rotten and not looked back. Just installed Eclipse and been reading the hacking forums and see my spare time being taken up: )

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Laura Knotek

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I like openSUSE 12.1 and Fedora 17. I've always liked RPM distros better than Debian distros.

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chaz_uk

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Re: Which distro do you run and why?

Currently using Ubuntu 12.04 x64 on both of my desktops and have recently gotten a Chromebook so I can add ChromeOS into the mix. I just wanted a simple, non-Windows based laptop, hence the Chromebook.

I've used Ubuntu for years and have just stuck with it over time (although I have dabbled in other distros during that time). Everything is configured how I like it and I'm pretty much satisfied using the two OS's. I don't miss Windows or OS X at all. :D