[NBLUG/talk] recommendations for distro
dugan at passwall.com
Thu Nov 20 19:32:01 PST 2003
Kevin Dwan said:
> I have some Unix experience, but I'm new to Linux. I'm planning on putting
> a second HD on my NT workstation, installing either XP or W2000 on it
> (which I need for applications like FrameMaker), and making a Linux
> partition. I don't have any particular focus for using Linux. On Windows,
> I use Borland'sJBuilder to code Java, and Delphi.
If you have some *NIX sysadmin experience, you may be happier with a
distro like Debian. It locates config files for system configuration in
consistent locations with other *NIX systems and generally expects you to
modify your service configurations via text-editors by default. (Much like
other *NIX-like systems.)
RedHat also uses locations for many configuration files that are consisten
with *NIX distros, but also tends to add extra locations with other
configurations. Also, RedHat tends to encourage users to use GUI-tools to
configure services and parts of the OS.
However, the Debian Installed (default) tends to be more difficult to use
than the RedHat installer.
RedHat seems to make it easy for you to start using Linux for the first
time, but Debian seems to be better over the long term. The learning curve
for Debian is Steep and requires more up-front cost, while RedHat seems to
permit a more shallow curve to get started, but an on-going upgrade cost
for major revisions. With Debian, it is often possible to upgrade from
previous major releases to newer ones and have a working system in the
end, while with RedHat major version upgrades (4.x to 5.x, 5.x to 6.x,
etc)have historically been problematic. Most RedHat veterans have
historically suggested people using RedHat who wish to upgrade to a newer
major release, just backup their own user files and just restore the new
version from the beginning. (Things may have changed with RH 8 and 9)
Then again, most of our users actually use RedHat, so you may have more
people to answer questions with RedHat than you would with Debian.
> Red Hat says the download is 650MB, and while I'm on DSL, I'm thinking of
> paying a little money for a CD and being sure I've gotten all the pieces.
> Programmer's Paradise has RH 9(.0, I think) for $40. They don't carry
> Mandrake, which I've read is a little friendlier to install, but the
> O'Reilly book I looked at and many others seem to focus on RedHat, so
Having the CD lends a level of comfort during the install, but once you
start downloading updates, the value of the CD is depreciated. (This is
even more obvious with Debian where updates and installs are almost
expected to occur over the network and not ask the user for the CD again.
> I'd welcome any comments or suggestions about getting this done. If I'm
> about to step wrong, please let me know.
We may be having an installfest in January or February. At the very least
you might be able to see how other installs progress if we have them.
(Installfests like General Meetings are free of charge.)
Then there are other distros out there too, and we have members who have
used many different distros through their experience.
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