Choosing a distribution for a semi-tech savvy person

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Erik Fasterius, Apr 16, 2014.

  1. Erik Fasterius

    Erik Fasterius New Member

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    First of all, thanks for reading and sorry for the lengthy post! I figured it'd be better if I was as exhaustive as possible and giving all the info I can think of.

    So, a colleague at work has fired an all-out Linux charm offensive at me, and I feel that I'm slowly falling for the idea. I've been doing a lot of googling, reading and thinking, and my current plan is to install <some distribution> on my home laptop as a dual boot, and actually see if it's something for me. I'm having trouble deciding that what distribution I should get, though.

    Something about me: I've always been a Windows user, and both my home computers currently run on W7. I've been using Mac for a little over a year for work, and while I was very Mac-negative previously I find that I actually kind of enjoy it. Except when I stumble into a problem; while the problems on Mac seems to be few and far between, when they DO rear their ugly head they seem to be much bigger and uglier than on Windows.

    I would consider myself an above-average computer user, though not by much. I do some programming in Python 3 for work (i.e. the occasional bioinformatics when I need it, working in cancer research at the moment) and have had to learn a "proper" programmer's Java-based program for handling proteomics data (which took a while...) I've had to do some minimal command-line work on the Mac, and I'm not averse to it, as long as it's during the development of some software/whatnot and not the main way of doing things. I think I know what PATH is, but I'm not a 100 % on that...

    My colleague is running Ubuntu GNOME himself, and is looking forward to version 14 that's supposed to come this week. He's also tried Arch and likes it, but tells me it's a more "hardcore" distribution. From what I've gathered so far, the distributions that I might go for seems to be (in no particular order):
    • Ubuntu (internet searches tell me Unity over GNOME)
    • Mint
    • Netrunner
    If I find that I like Linux, I would most likely go (quickly) on to get another dual boot to my desktop at home, but then some other considerations come into view as well: games. I've read about gaming on Linux and it seems that it's something that's quite doable now, not only with Steam for Linux but also with things like WINE. It would be the make-or-break point for me to keep using Linux, though, as the desktop is mostly used for gaming.

    The other big thing that I use it for is watching things on my TV, i.e. I've plugged one of my GPU's 2 slots into on my TV through a VGA cable, and watch downloaded things on it from my computer. It's a slightly older TV, and the resolution is not very good, but it does the work. I currently have to have a third-party software that switches between the two screens and resolutions, though, and that's something that it would be nice if the distribution could do, preferably better than the abysmal alternatives in Windows...

    What I play is mostly Diablo 3 (and I gather that works somewhat iffy on WINE), CS GO (which I saw was Linux-supported in Steam) and various other small indie-games in Steam. I also do occasional recording of music in Cubase, but I'm not married to it as long as Linux has some equivalent program (which I gather is the case).

    Thanks in advance!
    Erik

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  2. chimichurri

    chimichurri Member

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    Try this:

    manjaro (can't link)

    ************************************************************

    Buntus and Mint need to be rollin! [search 4 rolling release distros on gugol]

    wtf is NETRUNNER???
  3. arochester

    arochester Well-Known Member

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    The choice of a distro is really yours. What distro do you like? What distro suits your computer.

    Try Ubuntu, Mint and Netrunner.

    For @chimichurri 's information Netrunner comes in a Standard Version based on Kubuntu/Debian and a Rolling Release based on Manjaro/Arch.

    So the distros you have chosen are all *buntu or *buntu based.

    For Diablo 3 you would be better to install PlayOnLinux http://news.softpedia.com/news/How-to-Install-Diablo-3-on-Linux-273950.shtml

    Alternative to Cubase include LMMS, Ardour, Reaper and Rosegarden http://alternativeto.net/software/cubase/?platform=linux

    Generally have a look at things like http://www.makeuseof.com/pages/best-linux-distributions and http://m.techradar.com/news/software/operating-systems/best-linux-distro-five-we-recommend-1090058
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  4. MikeyD

    MikeyD Active Member

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    If you're tech-savvy you may eventually find the command-line to be much better and more efficient that any GUI you will use :cool:.

    You don't have to use command-line exclusively, but you will most likely use it a LOT more than either Mac or Windows as most help offered on forums like this one will be in the form of commands you will need to run in a terminal, so I would acclimate myself to the command-line and command-line shortcut as much as possible (you may find, like many of us here, it ends up being much faster and dynamic than slow, restrictive GUIs):
    http://linuxcommand.org/lc3_learning_the_shell.php

    That is a great intro to the command line, and provides one of my favorite quotes:
    "I once heard an author say that when you are a child you use a computer by looking at the pictures. When you grow up, you learn to read and write. Welcome to Computer Literacy 101."

    Being tech-savvy is a good start, but Linux will most likely still be frustrating at first because you are running an entirely new OS. Some of your Windows/Mac knowledge will help and some will hold you back. I'd recommend if you really want to learn, to either set your Linux OS to be your "main" OS or set up some way of forcing yourself to use your Linux OS, because if you have Windows on your machine it can unfortunately become a crutch. Initially, you will no doubt be able to move around and get things done much faster in Windows than you will in Linux, and if you find yourself defaulting to Windows when you need to do "real" work, your Linux partition can quickly become wasted space :(.

    I'd also recommend Ubuntu or Mint mainly because both offer the most online help. Linux is extremely lightweight, secure, and customizable, but is often not as stable as Mac or Windows because Apple and M$ are billion-dollar companies with ties in the hardware and software industry. You will most likely run in to more issues in Linux than you would in a proprietary OS because Mac/Windows have software and hardware specifically designed for those OSes.

    Linux is like the Rebel Alliance fighting against the Empire. Our ships may be made of duct-tape and cardboard, but with proper tinkering they are faster and quicker than the slow, dinosaur-like battleships of the Empire :rolleyes:
  5. Erik Fasterius

    Erik Fasterius New Member

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    Thanks for the replies! I've installed Linux Mint on my laptop, and while I haven't gotten very far in terms of actually using it for more than watching movies next to whatever other work I'm doing on my desktop, everything is fine at the moment. Installation was smooth and it feels a lot faster going from sleep-mode to workable. I had some problem with the sound, but that sorted itself after a restart, and I managed to install Spotify, so I'm generally quite happy at the moment. Thanks, again!
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