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*nix Thread, Linux - Best distro for a relative noob? in Technical; Hi all, hoping for your input on this one, there are countless sites out there offering up advice but I ...
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    LosOjos's Avatar
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    Linux - Best distro for a relative noob?

    Hi all,

    hoping for your input on this one, there are countless sites out there offering up advice but I value the opinion of EduGeek's members [/brown nose].

    I'm relatively new to the Linux scene. I have used it on and off for a few years, and know the basics of using terminal, installing packages, mounting drives etc. (I did say basics!)

    So I'm wandering, which distro would you recommend to a noob who wants to learn the technical side of Linux whilst maintaining a usable desktop to get my work done?

    [the rest of this post is a bit of a rant, but I'll include it anyway in case anybody has any idea's!]

    At the moment, I'm using Ubuntu Maverick, and I'm liking it on the most part. However, one thing that is really irritating me, and is very near to pushing back to Windoze, is the dual screen support; it's not great.

    At home, I have one 22" monitor which I do all my computer work on, and also have the TV connected via HDMI (on an ATI Radeon HD 2400)which I like to have XBMC or Boxee running on in full screen. In Ubuntu with Xinerama enabled, I get all the usual perks you would get of having a dual monitor set up i.e. a large desktop, windows draggable between screens, but the minute I try to full screen XBMC or Boxee, it sits in between the two screens, with half on each.

    I kind of fixed it by disabling Xinerama, but then I had the head ache of Ubuntu randomly deciding which my main monitor was (moving my panels to the 'wrong' screen) and lost the ability to drag windows/shortcuts/launchers between desktops.

    I've tried using DevilsPie to automatically move the apps window and make it 'full screen', but it only works if I manually start DevilsPie, and even then only the first time I start the app.

    Another annoyance is that XBMC (I haven't tried Boxee yet as it's not currently available for Maverick, might chance a source compile later) steals mouse focus, despite having disabled mouse input in XBMC itself. That makes it impossible to use my desktop at the same time as using XBMC.

    [/rant]

    So, any recommendations?

  2. #2
    jamesreedersmith's Avatar
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    Ubuntu

  3. Thanks to jamesreedersmith from:

    LosOjos (7th October 2010)

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    Midget's Avatar
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    Wait until monday as Ubuntu 10.10 is out on Sunday.

    However you might prefer Linux Mint (based on ubuntu) as it comes with all extra stuff like codecs so you dont have to install them after. The Linux Mint 10.10 based distro will be a few weeks behind the ubuntu 10.10 release

  5. Thanks to Midget from:

    LosOjos (7th October 2010)

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    LosOjos's Avatar
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    Thanks both, I'm using Ubuntu 10.10 at the minute on RC. If it really is the best, can either of you recommend a decent tool for configuring X with an ATI card? The dual screen issue is really frustrating!

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    Just saw your post, dont listen to anyone who says ubuntu - Linux Mint is the one!
    e.g. Ubuntu has deadlines to meet so sometime they release it with loads of bugs, while the Linux Mint developers will only release there distro once most of the bugs are ironed out!

    Its the best - try the gnome flavour first or if you want something more modern looking try the kde version of mint

  8. Thanks to owen1978 from:

    LosOjos (7th October 2010)

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    LosOjos's Avatar
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    Thanks owen, I had been looking at Mint, I'll give the live version a whirl on USB later, any idea how that handles dual screen? I imagine I'm going to have similar issues with whatever distro as it seems it's an X issue rather than a distro specific one, but I'm hoping someone out there has a decent config tool to help?

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    Midget's Avatar
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    I've only ever used nvidia with linux because ATi just never works correctly, so I'm no help sorry

  11. Thanks to Midget from:

    LosOjos (7th October 2010)

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    LosOjos's Avatar
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    Thanks Midget, although you couldn't offer help with ATI, you did prompt the thought for the first time in my head that it was just ATI support that was bad, I hadn't actually considered that Nvidia might work a lot better (a quick google search confirmed that).

    Funny how sometime it's so easy to overlook the little things!

    Looks like my next eBay purchase is going to be a relatively cheap Nvidia card then... are there any in particular I should avoid using with Linux?

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    Midget's Avatar
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    ones that cost £200. Just get a basic one with dual DVI which can kick out the res you want as it's hardly going to be tasked and older recent chipsets are more supported

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    Use 10.04, not 10.10 or the release candidate. I have 2 24" displays on a Ati 5850 using 3rd-party drivers and fullscreen works fine - it fullscreens on whichever monitor the application is on. The Ubuntu native driverswork fine on an ATI X1400 in my laptop - fullscreen on either the laptop screen or the external 17".

    Neither required any real faffing to work.

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    danbuntu's Avatar
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    I'm running maverick with dual screen and I have had a few problems with the official Nvidia drivers with windows locking up until you click on a menu item and then they come back to life. The offical nvidia drivers can also be a pain when running the ubuntu dev builds as each new kernel often requires the Nvidia drivers to be reinstalled.
    I've switch to the drivers bundled with ubuntu now and everything seems to be fine - fingers crossed

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    AyatollahPies's Avatar
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    Another big thumbs up for Mint Linux from me. It's ideal for those new to Linux. Infact I now run 64-bit Mint (9) on my laptop, with VirtualBox running XP for when I require Windows. Works like a dream.

    I do like the latest version of Ubuntu though, (well the Beta at least) apart from the daft idea they had for version 10.04 where they moved the window size buttons from the right, to the left, in a clear MAC OS rip off. Rather annoying, but can be changed or got used to.

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    LosOjos's Avatar
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    Had a play with Mint 9 last night (x64) and I really like it. Had a couple of teething problems but nothing too difficult to set up, and I like that the xorg.conf file is where every Xorg tutorial says it will be! I couldn't find it at all in Ubuntu.

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    AyatollahPies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jinnantonnix View Post
    Huge news (for me, anyway, as I haven't kept up to date with Mint). Mint is now based on Debian, rather than Ubuntu. I'm going to give it a spin now....

    The Linux Mint Blog » Blog Archive » Linux Mint Debian (201009) released!
    My understanding is that there is a version based on Debian as well as a version based on Ubuntu. I stand to be corrected.

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    Midget's Avatar
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    Reading that they are going to be keeping both. Main Mint which is upstream based on ubuntu. and LMDE which is based on Debian Testing.

    And I, for one, welcome our new geeky overlords

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