Looking for a new linux distro
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Thread: Looking for a new linux distro

  1. #1
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    Looking for a new linux distro

    I hope this isn't too much of a noob question, but I am looking for a new linux distro, and I have some pretty specific things I want in it, which I'm not good at finding which distros have capabilities for and which do not. So I figured I'd list some of the things I am looking for and maybe some people can give me opinions on where to go. I have messed with Ubuntu 64 bit server (im looking for something in the realm of personal servers/workstations) and I like it, except that its Ubuntu. I want to branch out and try something new.

    I'm looking for:
    -home file server distro
    -I like synaptic package manager, but don't mind using something else if it isn't much more difficult to use.
    -I want it to be able to update the distro without a reformat(from what I remember some distros require a new install instead of a download/install/restart update for new versions of the distro itself)
    -I would prefer things like ssh, ftp, sftp, apache, etc, preinstalled with the distro
    -I don't need it to come with a Window manager upon initial installation, but it would be preferred
    -stability over brand new releases when dealing with software
    -I like having home directories containing /pictures /documents etc upon installation and user creation
    -I don't mind it being much different than Ubuntu or Debian, but I don't want it to be insanely difficult to learn, as I would like it to be a usable personal server within a reasonable amount of practice with the OS

    any suggestions are appreciated, thanks

  2. #2
    Senior Member wiskic10_4's Avatar
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    http://www.slackware.com/

    I've tried several other distros, but I always come back to Slack. It's what I know. It's basic, stripped down Linux with everything you need to run a secure web-server and file-server right out of the box.

    I'm looking for:
    -home file server distro
    Check (sftp - ssh)

    -I like synaptic package manager, but don't mind using something else if it isn't much more difficult to use.
    Check (slapt-get, slackpkg)

    -I want it to be able to update the distro without a reformat(from what I remember some distros require a new install instead of a download/install/restart update for new versions of the distro itself)
    I haven't done it myself - it's always been easier for me just to back all of my crap up on another partition or drive and install the new Slack. But I know it can be done.

    -I would prefer things like ssh, ftp, sftp, apache, etc, preinstalled with the distro
    Check.

    -I don't need it to come with a Window manager upon initial installation, but it would be preferred
    Your choice - xfce, blackbox/fluxbox, KDE (or all of the above)

    -stability over brand new releases when dealing with software
    I'm still using 13.0, but Slackware is known for stability.

    -I like having home directories containing /pictures /documents etc upon installation and user creation
    Nope. You'll have to open a terminal and type "mkdir Documents;mkdir Pictures;mkdir Music" - I know - it's a *giant* chore, but meh

    -I don't mind it being much different than Ubuntu or Debian, but I don't want it to be insanely difficult to learn, as I would like it to be a usable personal server within a reasonable amount of practice with the OS
    People tell me all the time "I heard Slackware is for advanced users" - I don't know about that. Seems pretty simple to me. Maybe it's because it's the first distro I ever tried. IDK. I like it and it's easy enough to use for me. Sometimes you have to edit a config file here or there to get a service to act a certain way, but that's just Linux afaik.
    Last edited by wiskic10_4; December 28th, 2010 at 02:06 PM.
    My Corner of the Intarwebz: Jeremy Dean Online

  3. #3
    Senior Member IKnowNot's Avatar
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    Nope. You'll have to open a terminal and type "mkdir Documents;mkdir Pictures;mkdir Music" - ...
    Haven't used Slack in a while, but don't they still have the /etc/skel directory?
    Put what you want in there: if Slack still doesn't come with a /etc/default/useradd file, just create it.

    Then use useradd -m to add a new user.
    " And maddest of all, to see life as it is and not as it should be" --Miguel Cervantes

  4. #4
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    I haven't messed around much with slackware, with the exception that I believe Backtrack used to be based on slackware. How's the installation as far as difficulty is concerned?

  5. #5
    Antionline's Security Dude instronics's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by metguru View Post
    I haven't messed around much with slackware, with the exception that I believe Backtrack used to be based on slackware. How's the installation as far as difficulty is concerned?
    The installation is easy as pie.

    1 - Boot from the CD
    2 - Hit enter when it asks your for default keyb layout (its usa)
    3 - type 'root', and hit enter
    4 - 'Fdisk' and partition your disk, 1 swap area (double size of your ram), and the rest for /, then make the / partition bootable (toggle a), make the first partition swap (type 82), and make the second partition type 83.
    5 - Save changes
    6 - type in 'sync' and press enter
    7 - type 'setup' and press enter
    8 - follow the instructions on the screen
    9 - After a few minutes, it will tell you to take out cd, reboot and voila.... your system is ready to boot in GUI

    So basicly the only 'semi dirty' part is the fdisk at the start in the shell, but once you do it a couple of times, you will see that its really nothing.

    If you want some security, make sure that when you create your normal user, you add him to the group wheel, and set the system to allow 'su' only from users in group wheel. One difference from slack and other distros is, in slack they use /etc/rc.d instead of /etc/init.d.

    Familiarize yourself with slapt-get and if you really want some fun, read up on how to compile your kernel.

    I would like to point out that slackware still uses LILO as its default boot manager which is absolutely FINE!!!

    If you want some extra help, i can give you a small customized script for slapt-get that i made to make updating stuff easier, as well as some other repositories for it.

    Depending on what GUI choice you made during setup, the default is KDE4, but you can also just say at setup to use light window managers, like fluxbox etc....

    After you are a bit comfortable, you will realize that slapt-get does NOT have ALL packages that exist. So a good friend to you would be:

    http://slackbuilds.org/

    I would say that for some people a downside of slackware is that all of its configuration files do not have a point and click GUI version. Its always with an editor editing config files. But I do not see this as a downside, since config files tend to give you more options than a GUI panel for configurations.

    Oh, and one more thing. In slackware you will realize that some packages are NOT the latest builds or versions. The reason is that slackware will ONLY release a package if its thoroughly tested and considered to be 100% stable. So if you stick with what slack asks from you only, your system should be VERY stable. No bad surprises with current packs etc.....

    The golden rule in slackware is.... if its not broken, dont fix it.

    Have fun and a happy new year to everyone.

    Cheers.
    Last edited by instronics; December 30th, 2010 at 12:41 PM.
    Ubuntu-: Means in African : "Im too dumb to use Slackware"

  6. #6
    HYBR|D
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    Hmmm i went and tried the install but it's not picking up my display it would appear.

    GT 9500 nvidia connected to my LG 60" lcd television via HDMI

    any takers??

    edit:::>> it actually runs the installation fine, when it comes for the reboot after that process i'm delivered a no signal on the tv screen. I don't have access to any normal computer monitors or DVI / vga etc also.

  7. #7
    Antionline's Security Dude instronics's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HYBR|D View Post
    Hmmm i went and tried the install but it's not picking up my display it would appear.

    GT 9500 nvidia connected to my LG 60" lcd television via HDMI

    any takers??

    edit:::>> it actually runs the installation fine, when it comes for the reboot after that process i'm delivered a no signal on the tv screen. I don't have access to any normal computer monitors or DVI / vga etc also.
    Maybe you can ssh to the box, and install nvidia drivers? (manually, you need to get the drivers of the nvidia website). That is if you have another box in the network?
    Ubuntu-: Means in African : "Im too dumb to use Slackware"

  8. #8
    HYBR|D
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    Yep got a few laptops & netbooks on the network. (XP - win7 - ubuntu - suse11.3 - deb - Apple macbook pro - & headless server running openbsd)

    were do i begin? "thinly veiled let's get this thread interesting"

  9. #9
    Senior Member gore's Avatar
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    You can install OpenBSD but not Opera? WTF dude?

    I can't stand theo, which is why my Laptop is running FreeBSD instead. And as of yesterday, or the day before, E-17 Which looks beautiful I might add. For anyone who has FreeBSD or Slackware, or a huge amount of time and way more patience than I have, both FreeBSD and Slackware have installable packages for Enlightenment E-17, the rest are basically source builds that take more time than I have usually.

    It looks amazing, the new file manager is great, and the fact that they figured out before everyone else that a Desktop Background / Wall Paper can actually be more like a Gif / Video picture (Yea making up words now) you can have a Wall Paper playing a game while you look at it. I was pretty amazed the first time I saw the themes already made for E-17, and how a Wall Paper can move. I don't mean "Every few minutes my Wall Paper changes images" I mean it plays a game with one theme, and more with the others which is so cool.

    It's just eye candy of course, but it almost makes the 3D Compiz stuff look like ****.

    Anyway, I use FreeBSD, Slackware, Debian, and SUSE. Not much else I care about other than the odd Mandriva install where I look and see if they've made it decent again yet.

  10. #10
    Senior Member wiskic10_4's Avatar
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    Meh. Less is more IMHO. Especially on a desktop. I won't even use desktop icons anymore, opting for a dock instead. I certainly don't need an animated wallpaper!

    My Slackware 13.0 desktop server (XFCE w gkrellm): http://www.jeremydeanonline.com/imag...Screenshot.png

    My Win 7 box (Aero w/ ObjectDock, Gadgets - Dual Monitors): http://www.jeremydeanonline.com/pick...ObjectDock.jpg

    BTW - when are we going to allow the [img] tag again? I have over 100 posts and a good amount of greenies - it's not like I'm going to spam the site with pr0n or goatses
    My Corner of the Intarwebz: Jeremy Dean Online

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