Which version of Linux is best?

Im a windows user who is studying telecommunications. I want to switch to Linux and familiarize myself with it.
I plan to dual boot Linux and windows 8.

I do Cisco, D-Link, python programming and gonna start c++ again soon.

Any suggestions?
Last edited on
No such thing.

Get yourself a "Live CD". Many distros provide one, and you can sort of preview the OS before you install it. (You'll need a number of CD-Rs to burn though.)

A lot of the way you interact with your new OS is through the Window Manager, which provides all (most) the GUI stuff you are used to.

I prefer Fedora, personally, with XFCE as the WM. (See the "XFCE Spin".)

If you like the Windows 8 interface, the default Gnome WM will make you fairly happy. (At least, I think it is the current default -- it is on Fedora.)

Otherwise, you should definitely check out KDE, which is much more like a traditional desktop, but pumped up on steroids.

Both Gnome and KDE are pretty heavy desktops, but unless you have a good reason to keep your WM small, there is no reason not to install one (or even both).

A lot of people like Ubuntu and derivatives.

Both Mint and Arch linux also get good reviews around here.

Hope this helps.
openSUSE (KDE) is a personal favorite of mine.

Generally, openSUSE feels well polished, the repository contains reasonably recent versions of software, and they provide the famous YaST configuration tool (it's much like the Control Panel in Windows). Other distributions are less automated when it comes to configuration.


They used to have a Factory site, where you would register then build your custom version of openSUSE, but that seems to have bit the dust.

My mistake, found it here:
Last edited on
I'm using Linux Mint Debian Edition right now. It's similar to the regular Linux Mint release, which is based on Ubuntu, but LMDE is based on Debian which is one of the oldest, and thus most tried-and-true distributions out there. It also gets very good performance. The difference between LMDE and regular Debian is that LMDE is easier to install and to use. The difference between LMDE and regular Linux Mint is that LMDE is a "rolling release" distribution which means you never have to reinstall or upgrade the system. All Linux systems have a package manager for updating the system, but most distributions also have periodical releases (different versions) while rolling release systems are installed only once and then updated continually with no need for reinstallations every six months or so. Another advantage is that rolling release systems tend to have more up-to-date software than periodical ones. A disadvantage is that this sometimes comes at the expense of stability: packages generally go through less vigorous testing on rolling-release systems so there are usually more bugs, but honestly, I've had about as many bugs using rolling release operating systems as I have with periodicals, the only difference is that the bugs on periodical release systems sometimes don't get fixed until the next release at the earliest -- often months or years down the line -- unless you download, compile and install the latest version of the software yourself, whereas on rolling release systems they usually get fixed by the next update, which means instead of months you might only wait days or weeks, and the option of compiling the latest version is still there if you can't wait that long.

I would recommend LMDE Cinnamon edition. Cinnamon is a fork of GNOME 3 which is intended to look more like a traditional desktop OS, whereas vanilla GNOME 3 is a bit like Windows 8 in the sense that it has a more smartphone-esque design. The other option is called MATE and it's a fork of GNOME 2 for people who don't want to upgrade to GNOME 3, because vanilla GNOME 2 is no longer under active development. Of course, you could go with either of those and then uninstall and replace it with the other one, or with something else entirely. I think Cinnamon is the better choice because it's based on newer technology.

You can get LMDE from here: http://www.linuxmint.com/download_lmde.php
Out of the "big four" -- Fedora, Mint, OpenSUSE, Ubuntu -- I chose to go with Ubuntu as I'd heard it has a big, supportive community; so there would be plenty of people to hold my hand when I get into difficulty, and plenty of (experienced) people to hit (and fix!) problems before I get near them. And its forums have already helped me quite a bit.

I also chose to install the latest long term support (LTS) release (rather than the latest, latest release) this time around, as it should be that bit more stable.

Ubuntu uses the Unity desktop by default (since 11.04 ?), but you can easily swap to one of the others (Kubuntu for KDE, Xubuntu for XFCE, Ubuntu GNOME, etc.). You can even leave all the desktops on your machine so you can boot between them until you make up your mind up about which one you prefer. For that reason I'm unlikely to drift away from Ubuntu because of its desktop(s). But I'm not enjoying Unity so plan to give KDE and XFCE a go.

Having succeeded with my laptop, I'm now thinking of installing Linux (prob. CrunchBang this time) on my netbook.

I have also bumped into some negativity about Ubuntu, but I've recently discovered (prob. not news to most of you!) that Google uses the latest Ubuntu LTS release (with a light skin over it) on their servers and desktops: so I'm more or less using "Goobuntu", for better or worse.

And finally, I can't help but notce that Linux Mint does seem to be getting a lot of good press these days.


Has Ubuntu lost it?

The truth about Goobuntu: Google's in-house desktop Ubuntu Linux

Linux Mint 15 -- The best Linux distro gets better
Last edited on
closed account (jwkNwA7f)
I like Fedora. I would choose Ubuntu, but I hate unity.
> Get yourself a "Live CD". Many distros provide one, and you can sort of preview the OS before you install it.
> (You'll need a number of CD-Rs to burn though.)
You may use an USB stick instead.
I would choose Ubuntu, but I hate unity.

You could use one of its alter egos: Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Ubuntu GNOME, ... ??

closed account (1yR4jE8b)
I would choose Ubuntu, but I hate unity.

I would use something else, but I hate them all more. Unity, KDE, GNOME, LXDE, XFCE, Cinnamon, XMonad, Fluxbox...all horrible. So I use Unity as it's the least horrible of them all.
closed account (Dy7SLyTq)
i would just like to throw this out there: http://sourceforge.net/projects/rebeccablackos/?source=directory
I wonder why darkestfright closed his account.
closed account (jwkNwA7f)
@naraku9333 Oh that was him? I saw that someone did, but I didn't know who.
I would like to mention Gentoo in this discussion, although if you are looking for a ready-to-use windows replacement, you should probably go with the options suggested earlier.

Gentoo has a very good support community, is very developer oriented and although installing it can seem a little daunting, the manual explains most things really well. It also has pretty good software support and portage, it's package manager, is quite straightforward. My Gentoo system is probably the most stable and fast running I've ever had, so I would recommend it.

I should add that I'm no Linux wizzard, I use it for daily usage and programming, but I don't consider myself an advanced user. If you really want to learn about Linux, LFS (Linux from Scratch) has a good reputation, but it's quite a lot of work.

All the best,
I was using Slackware since the days you could install it from tape or floppies, but switched to Gentoo for the slotted packages (having many different versions of gcc at once) and for the support community (because the most sensible answers to my google searches were consistently on gentoo forums).. But as NwN says, it is developer-oriented.. Which may or may not be a good thing for the OP: what is the reason for that 'familiarizing'?
When I was first getting into linux my friend's older brother suggested against Gentoo, he thought everything was compiled at run time.
I started with Ubuntu. Then switched to Fedora (we use all RHEL servers at work, figured a similar distro would be nice). Stuck with that for awhile. I now use just use Debian. I've used Mint once and wasn't fond of it, probably because I ran it in a VM.

Out of those, I think I've liked Fedora the best. People claim it's buggy considering it's nature, but I never had any real issues with it. Debian would be my second favorite, though.

If you have a flash drive and computer that allows booting from usb, then just go make a live USB (you don't need to do it via CD anymore Duoas :)) and try some distros out. The main thing that a normal user will notice differences between them all is package systems. But even there, you have .deb packages and the associated apt system on the debian/ubuntu/mint side, and you have .rpm packages with the rpm tool on the fedora/centos/opensuse/rhel side.

Any of these distros will support a wide range of desktop environments so you can customize how it all looks all you want.

Booting into live USB also allows you to test drivers. Not all distros come with built in support for all devices. The main thing that seems to be an issue is support for wireless cards. If the distro doesn't support it out of the box though, it's usually not too hard to get it working. It just has to deal with drivers and how the distro handles non-free drivers and non-cooperating manufacturers.
Last edited on
I installed Ubuntu as it seems to be the more popular of all.
At first I got Ubuntu 12.04 by dual booting but the internet just wouldn’t work (it worked when I used a live USB).

So I installed version 13.04 and it works fine. But at the site, they said version 13.04 is supported for 9 months. But v12.04 is going to be supported for years. Should I be worried?

I still got more space to spare. I have a 500gb HDD.
I initially planned to get Fedora, because we use it for a course at school and it seems to be suggested when it comes to networking (I study telecommunications).
But I already run it on virtualbox and I need to run network simulator on it. I think its was already configured on virtualbox so I might not get it.

Which is best for the TELECOMMUNICATIONS / IT. field? (Preferably from those experienced in this field)
Ubuntu has two release cycles. They have a LTS (long term support) release and then the standard(?) release. I wouldn't be concerned. I never used the LTS releases unless they were the most recent.

I do network and systems admin work (as a student mind you). It really doesn't matter much. Most of us just use Debian because it is known to be extremely and does the job well. The majority of utilities written for Linux will run just the same across all distros, so it's really just preference.
The main difference between the different distros is the software management systems. Debian-based distros (which includes Ubuntu & Mint) use .deb files. RedHat/Fedora, SuSE all use their own distribution methods.

Then there is the desktop enviornment (which is actually not the same as the window manager). Each distro has a main DE, but you can pretty much install any DE on any distro.

I use Mint with multiple DEs installed at the same time. I use:
- Cinnamon 1.6 for my main DE
- MATE for when I want to run with an extra (and older) graphics card
- Gnome 3 (with the xmonad window manager) when I am scripting or extensively working in the terminal
- Unity to try it out

I haven't tried KDE yet, but I hear it's a lot like a traditional windows desktop, and I believe it's created with Qt.

The "Window Manager" is not quite the same as the desktop enviornment. This is what creates the border and title bar of each window and allows you to drag it around the screen. Cinnamon and Gnome 3 employ Metacity by default. There are lots of other ones too. I've been experimenting with tiled window managers lately which take away the titlebar, dragging capabilities and instead automatically make everything full-screen. A second window will split the screen in two. A 3rd or 4th window will give you different ways to arrange your window, but they are all visible all the time, without any re-arranging.
Last edited on
Re: Telecomunications

The thing that differentiates linux distros is how you install packages, and also the packages that are provided by default. You can pretty much install your specific tools on any distro. I've heard that OpenSuSE comes with one of the best networking packages. I've seen it used for a few servers at our work, though I forget what it's called.

What are your interests here?
- Making servers?
- Virtual machines?
- App development?
- hardware emulation?
Topic archived. No new replies allowed.