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Operating Systems Software Linux

Linux Desktop Distro Shootout 383

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the slow-news-day dept.
An anonymous reader writes "InfoWeek has posted an open-source OS comparison. Linux Shootout: 7 Desktop Distros Compared pits openSUSE, Ubuntu 8.4, PCLinuxOS, Mandriva Linux One, Fedora, SimplyMEPIS, and CentOS 5.1 against each other. And the winner is ... Ubuntu. Author Serdar Yegulalp writes: 'Ubuntu 8.4 remains one of the best desktop distributions for many good reasons: it works with almost any hardware you throw at it, and has tons of features for both existing Linux users and prospective converts from Windows.' He also gave openSUSE points for ease of use on the desktop, and Mandriva kudos for ease of administration."
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Linux Desktop Distro Shootout

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  • 8.4? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 05, 2008 @10:00AM (#23300798)
    8.04.
  • why CentOS? (Score:5, Informative)

    by trybywrench (584843) on Monday May 05, 2008 @10:01AM (#23300804)
    Isn't CentOS the free version of Redhat Enterprise Linux? Why is it in a desktop linux shootout?
    • Re:why CentOS? (Score:4, Informative)

      by lgarner (694957) on Monday May 05, 2008 @10:07AM (#23300890)
      It includes elements from all RHEL packages: RHES, RHAS and RHED.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by AndGodSed (968378)
        I'd Replace CentOS with Linux Mint. There are only two Deb based distros in this lineup (kick me if I am wrong...) and no Debian?

        If they include CentOS and RHEL, surely Debian could have made a bow... or is that too advanced for your average Linux Desktop?
    • So, basically, two versions of RedHat were included and no Slackware?

      I guess they were scared of Slackware's awesomeness!

  • Add free version. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 05, 2008 @10:04AM (#23300870)
    Here [informationweek.com]
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ajs (35943)
      Summary: Each of the distributions had their strengths and weaknesses when it came to hardware, but beyond that were essentially competing on common ground.

      That said, Fedora 8 was tested, and the beta for Fedora 9 is currently in full-swing and will be released in 8 days [fedoraproject.org], so the comparison is slightly weighted (as all Linux desktop distribution comparisons tend to be) to the most recent release: Ubuntu in this case.
      • by AndGodSed (968378)
        Well yes and no.

        Just the other day on /. everybody was complaining that an early adoption of an Ubuntu release was fraught with problems, my first week with Ubuntu confirmed that for me...

        So this comparitive test does not really lend Ubuntu an unfair advantage, if it were done with Hardy a bit matured one would be able to say that...
  • by Thanshin (1188877) on Monday May 05, 2008 @10:07AM (#23300888)
    1 - Make a live disk of each.
    2 - Build many identical robots.
    3 - The round starts upon insertion of the disk.

    Last standing robot wins.

    THUNDERDOME!!!
  • Hey!!! (Score:5, Funny)

    by morgan_greywolf (835522) * on Monday May 05, 2008 @10:11AM (#23300936) Homepage Journal
    No fair! Who gave OpenSUSE that AK47?!
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      What's really unfair is the fact that, being bred in Africa and all, Ubuntu uses guerilla tactics that border on terrorism.

      Nothing is off-limits to Ubuntu's crazed, fundamentalist frenzy.

      Ubuntu: Answer me this Mr. Suse, what good is that superior firepower of yours if you can't even boot. [cut away to a man masked with a smiley face mutilating an innocent young grub]
      OpenSUSE: St. Linus perserve me, I'll exact my revenge on you, all of you monsters!
    • Working with Microsoft has its, shall we say, advantages.
    • No mention of Yast (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cbhacking (979169)
      All jokes aside, I'd say the biggest screw-up in this article (from the personal perspective of a openSuse user) is no mention, whatsoever, of Suse's truly fantastic configuration tool Yast. There's a lot of good stuff in Suse, but I'd go so far as to say Yast is *the* reason I use it. Everything from server configuration to driver management to partition/mounting management to package management to X configuration all in one place, with excellent help tools and generally fully as much control as one could
  • Ubuntu 8.04 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SkankinMonkey (528381) on Monday May 05, 2008 @10:12AM (#23300944)
    I'm quickly finding that I prefer 7.10 to 8.04. The overall system seems a lot more bogged down, lots of freezes with programs that never occurred in earlier versions. I do like a lot of the new functionality but I hope that they iron out some of the outstanding issues (especially considering it's supposed to be a LTR).
    • Re:Ubuntu 8.04 (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 05, 2008 @10:15AM (#23300972)
      Feel free to file a bug: https://launchpad.net/ubuntu/+filebug [launchpad.net]
      • Re:Ubuntu 8.04 (Score:5, Insightful)

        by SkankinMonkey (528381) on Monday May 05, 2008 @10:19AM (#23301040)
        I've submitted almost all of my crash reports to them, and all the crashes I've experienced are known bugs (and had multiple page threads on their forums during alpha/beta testing). That being said, I think they should have held off a bit on a final release and squashed a few more bugs that were pretty proliferate and user inhibiting.
        • I'm a bit split on this, I guess. It seems like they shouldn't release an unfinished product, but on the other hand I like that they actually stick to a 6-month release schedule.

          I think I'd rather see them releasing every 6 months as best they can, and if during my testing I run across any showstopper bugs, I'll stick with an older version. After all, that older version will be (at most) 6 months old.

          • Re:Ubuntu 8.04 (Score:4, Insightful)

            by twistedsymphony (956982) on Monday May 05, 2008 @12:15PM (#23302420) Homepage
            Release Schedules are nice and all but what's the point of bundling up a "stable release" if it's not actually stable?

            If you want to download the latest SVN snapshot every 6 months that should be your prerogative but I've been burned too many times by "stable release"s that weren't actually as advertised simply because someone said "it's release day... SHIP IT!".

            I always do some form of testing but it's a lot of wasted effort if you're installing something that you assume is already as clean as it can be, and it's really not.
            • Re:Ubuntu 8.04 (Score:5, Insightful)

              by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Monday May 05, 2008 @12:50PM (#23302832) Homepage

              I guess I just figure that a lot of "stable" software won't really have all the kinks ironed out until after release. When something is released, it's probably going to put onto hardware that no one was testing on, and it's probably going to be used in ways that it wasn't used during testing.

              I agree that if there are known major bugs that will be extremely common, or bugs that are show-stoppers (e.g. cause significant data loss), then release should be pushed back. But if you want something extremely stable, then you might consider holding back your upgrade for a little while.

              But I'm not making an argument from principle. I'm just saying that, from experience, I've never seen anyone get something 100% bug-free. Even Debian stable can have some quirks. So I'd rather have a regular release schedule than have progress on Ubuntu held back until every little bug can be worked out.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Hatta (162192)
          That's what happens when you release on schedule, and not when it's ready. That's one of the reasons I like Debian Sid so much. Bugs crop up from time to time, but usually they're fixed within a day or two of me noticing them. If it's not, I can always apt-pin a working version until it is fixed.
        • The word you are looking for is 'profligate'. 'Proliferate' is a verb.
    • Ditto. Since it's an LTR, I figure I'll stick with 7.10 for another year.
      • by whoever57 (658626)

        Ditto. Since it's an LTR, I figure I'll stick with 7.10 for another year.
        No. 8.04 is the LTS version.
    • Re:Ubuntu 8.04 (Score:5, Informative)

      by TheLink (130905) on Monday May 05, 2008 @10:26AM (#23301144) Journal
      I heard the freezes are due to some scheduler thing they did - rather than all processes competing equally, you have some weird situation where programs that have root and user instances have problems with one starving out the other.
    • Re:Ubuntu 8.04 (Score:5, Informative)

      by Dystopian Rebel (714995) * on Monday May 05, 2008 @10:29AM (#23301174) Journal
      There was a decision to use the old scheduler on the Desktop version of Heron. It is causing problems. Try the Server version.

      I find that it's as wise to wait for stability in an Ubuntu release as it is with an MS Windows release. The difference is that stability comes to Ubuntu faster. (o:

      I will give Heron a month or two to settle down and then switch.

      Ubuntu does more right than any other Linux distribution ever has.
      • There was a decision to use the old scheduler on the Desktop version of Heron. It is causing problems. Try the Server version.

        Yes, the scheduler in the Server version may give better responsiveness, as well as fix some sound crackling and related issues. The relevant switch (CONFIG_FAIR_CGROUP_SCHED) will be coming to the Desktop kernel soon [launchpad.net] in 2.6.24-17, which is currently in the hardy-proposed repo (you can install it by enabling the 'proposed' repo, but note that in general stuff in proposed hasn't yet been 100% tested, so you might want to wait).

      • by hey! (33014)
        I've found Ubuntu kernel releases sometimes break hardware drivers that work fine under stock Debian kernels.

        Just make sure you keep your kernel and initramfs in your menu.lst when the update manager wants to do a kernel update. Personally, I keep a bootable external drive for recovery.

        This is a classic YMMV situation; I realize that many people have never had this experience. However, given my personal experience, I tend to think of Ubuntu as a "enthusiast" distro. I wouldn't put it on a Linux novice's
    • I had a serial-to-USB adapter that didn't have drivers in the kernel pre-.24, but they are in Hardy, so I upgraded during the beta. Also, the new kernel has b44 native drivers for my broadcom wireless..no more ndiswrapper for me!
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by hey! (33014)
      well, on the plus side, the intel sound card on my laptop works under hardy. on the minus side, i have had issues with the keyboard driver under gnome 9illustrated by this post0. this same bug with modifier keys also seems to lead to program crashes. running the keyboard prefs app fixes the problem when it crops up.

      overall, hardy feels very rough, and the upgrade process is even rougher. the upgrade removes the network manager applet, so i had to configure wi-fi from hand and sudo apt-get install ne
  • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Monday May 05, 2008 @10:13AM (#23300960) Journal


    No matter which distro takes the #1 spot, the real grand prize winner is ....

                                                                  THE USER !!!!

  • Fedora (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BountyX (1227176) on Monday May 05, 2008 @10:17AM (#23301004)
    Fedora 9 comes out 8 days 3
  • by loteck (533317) on Monday May 05, 2008 @10:21AM (#23301064) Homepage

    I sincerely enjoy the Linux experience and appreciate the community, but this statement is positively absurd. Ubuntu's own help files [ubuntu.com] contain extensive lists of wireless cards that have a big fat "No" listed under the "Works out of the box" column. And that's just wireless cards.

    One of the primary reasons that the average person abandons Linux is the frustration caused by these types of misleading claims. Somebody says, "Hey, virtually everything works out of the box!" and they think... wow, well, I buy my stuff at top retailers from top brands, surely then my stuff is supported.

    Unfortunately for them, their stuff may not work at all, or may work partially. Lots of gotchas for Video cards [ubuntu.com], scanners [ubuntu.com].. the list goes on and on. Nobody is well served by making statements that indicate anything except that hardware support is still a major obstacle for the adoption of Linux on the desktop.

    • by Waffle Iron (339739) on Monday May 05, 2008 @10:38AM (#23301280)
      In keeping with industry practices, maybe they should have rephrased the claim to say: Almost any random hardware is "Ubuntu Capable".
      • by jedidiah (1196)
        Wireless is just a red herring.

        It's a pain and a big can of worms even when it's "working" under Windows.

        It's hardly the best thing to hold up against Linux.
    • Yes, but on the other hand, I've found Ubuntu to generally provide better hardware support than Vista. Also, while Windows tends to make you install drivers, more things seem to be supported in Linux without any user intervention.

      So overall, I probably would say that Ubuntu offers very good hardware support.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by mark72005 (1233572)
      I tried many different Linux distros about 6 months ago, and could not find anything that worked out of the box. I couldn't get all my hardware working even on Ubuntu, the most hardware-friendly (for me) distro that I tried.

      The average user has enough trouble keeping his machine from being hijacked and free of viruses and malware. If Linux is ever going to be the OS of choice for a consumer desktop, it has to be something a consumer can get running just by popping in the CD.

      I was fed up with Windows and I c
      • by Hatta (162192) on Monday May 05, 2008 @11:09AM (#23301678) Journal
        What kind of weird ass hardware are you using? The reason most people say that most hardware is well supported on linux is because it's the truth. If you're that unlucky that you bought oddball hardware, that's too bad and it does need to be fixed. But it really does work with almost all hardware you throw at it. Emphasis on the almost.

        And I'll point out that OS X works with even less hardware than Ubuntu does. That didn't stop you from choosing it. Why should hardware support stop anyone from choosing Ubuntu?
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Salamander (33735)
          Oddball hardware? Like a millions-of-units Dell E1505, on which the Broadcom wireless doesn't work out of the box and one of the most popular video-card upgrades doesn't either? What percentage of the common hardware out there have you used? 0.01% maybe? Don't overgeneralize from your own experience, whether it's good or bad. Look at actual statistics about actual hardware used by actual people before you try to make the "oddball hardware" excuse. You've been fortunate. Leave it at that.
      • by jedidiah (1196)
        Compared to Windows, Linux IS ALREADY something that they can get running just by "popping in the CD".

        The only thing that can come even come remotely close to this with Windows is an OEM restore CD.

        Linux falls down in this respect sometimes because IT IS NOT THE MONOPOLY. Even so, it already does a number of things in an easier and more accessable way than Windows.

        Windows is the OS that makes USB vendors resort to little warning stickers: "don't plug this in before you install the driver".

        The real problem i
      • by Necreia (954727) on Monday May 05, 2008 @12:51PM (#23302840)
        The "Average User" doesn't install their OS. It comes preloaded and configured from Walmart / Dell / etc.
    • by strabes (1075839) on Monday May 05, 2008 @11:02AM (#23301594)
      I feel like everyone on slashdot should know this, but I'll repeat it once again. Not having support for various wireless/video/etc cards is not the fault of linux or the kernel developers. It is the fault of the vendors for not providing proper drivers and/or documentation. This will only improve with time as the popularity of linux grows and greater pressure is put on vendors to provide the aforementioned drivers & documentation.
      • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Monday May 05, 2008 @12:10PM (#23302374) Journal

        I feel like everyone on slashdot should know this, but I'll repeat it once again. Not having support for various wireless/video/etc cards is not the fault of linux or the kernel developers. It is the fault of the vendors for not providing proper drivers and/or documentation.
        I feel like everyone on Slashdot should know this, but I'll repeat it once again. Users, for the most part, don't care why something is not supported - if it isn't, they are simply not going to bother with that particular distro/OS. Blaming vendors (even when fair) does not achieve anything - they just shrug and say, "what do we care about your niche geek OS?", and users get even stronger impression that they should stay away from that weird Linux thingy.

        And, no, I don't know a solution to this short of waiting and hoping for the better. But we certainly shouldn't be telling people that "most hardware works in Linux" - because that is outright lie.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by pembo13 (770295)
          It's not a lie that most hardware works in Linux. I would guess (without evidence) that more currently existing hardware works on Linux than Windows. And the fact that people don't care about the why doesn't make the why irrelevant or untrue.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by init100 (915886)

          Users, for the most part, don't care why something is not supported - if it isn't, they are simply not going to bother with that particular distro/OS.

          Sure, and that is also why the reception of Windows Vista among ordinary users has been so lukewarm. They have a working system (Windows XP), so why switch to a system with widely reported incompatibility problems and driver issues?

          they just shrug and say, "what do we care about your niche geek OS?"

          Just like they'll say, "What do we care about your craptastic Windows downgrade? I'll stay with XP, thank you.". As you can see, this isn't only a problem with "geek OSes", but also a problem with OSes developed by multi-billion-dollar corporations.

    • by Itninja (937614)
      I installed Ubuntu on my Dell 1505 laptop thinking it would be a cakewalk. I mean, Dell sells these laptop with Ubuntu installed as an option. I had previously tried Fedora 8 (no sound) and SuSE (didn't recognize my video card). So when I installed Feisty Fawn, I was hoping for the best. All went well, except it didn't find my integrated 802.11 card. I had to go through an elaborate series of steps [ubuntuforums.org] to get it working. Not exactly 'out of the box' functionality - especially considering this was OEM hardware.
      • Have you ever done a clean install of XP on a Dell laptop?

        Resolution is 640x480, ethernet doesn't work, wireless doesn't work, I had to resort to burning CDs with another computer to get the basic drivers on there.

         
    • by Kaitnieks (823909) on Monday May 05, 2008 @11:31AM (#23301898)
      I recently installed Ubuntu on laptop (my 1st linux) and had problems with wireless as well. Thing is, the wireless card problem can be easily fixed, but for some strange all tutorials, manuals and forum posts offer long, non-working instruction lists, that involve "wget" and "make". It's like asking - please, go away. The real solution was to open synaptic package manager, configure it to use 3rd party repository and install ndiswrapper. That's it! Ndiswrapper found and downloaded the drivers automatically and everything was bright and sunny again. Why isn't ndiswrapper in standard installation I have no idea.
    • Did you actually LOOK at some of those things you linked? The video card section, for example, is more or less completely filled with "Yes" under the important columns.

      Ubuntu's own help files contain extensive lists of wireless cards that have a big fat "No" listed under the "Works out of the box" column. And that's just wireless cards.

      I'm sorry, but when was the last time you actually tried installing Windows? How much hardware works "out of the box" there? How much hardware requires you to go huntin

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by smellsofbikes (890263)
      I've had really mixed experiences with hardware on both sides. I'm using a mix of Win2K, XP, SimplyMepis6.5, and Ubuntu7.10.
      *Webcam: old Philips. 2K/XP doesn't work at all, no drivers exist. Mepis can be coerced to work without much trouble.
      *NI PCI GPIB controller card: 2K doesn't work at all, XP works great once I install the official drivers off the disc (although the downloaded ones don't work.) Mepis can be coerced to work with lots of trouble.
      *USB PIC microcontroller programmer: 2K doesn't work at
  • by pembo13 (770295) on Monday May 05, 2008 @10:24AM (#23301102) Homepage
    even claim to be a desktop distro? I use Fedora on my desktop, but I don't think they claim it to be a desktop distro.
    • by jank1887 (815982)
      I believe PCLinuxOS is trying to target the same windows-transition crowd that Ubuntu's been targeting. I started with them when I tried out the CAELinux distribution. (recommended for all engi-nerds by the way. www.CAELinux.com [caelinux.com] )
  • Why Mandriva One? (Score:5, Informative)

    by CastrTroy (595695) on Monday May 05, 2008 @10:24AM (#23301118) Homepage
    Why did they opt to use Mandriva One, over Mandriva Free? Mandriva Free is a bigger download, but comes with a lot more software on the disk. It also seems more suited to an actual install, whereas Mandriva One is more of a Live CD.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by coats (1068)
      Should have been Mandriva PowerPack. That's what's on my various desks -- all 4 of them.
  • by vossman77 (300689) on Monday May 05, 2008 @10:26AM (#23301136) Homepage
    Fedora 9 comes out in two weeks, but we are comparing the nw born Ubuntu to 6 month old distros. Ugh. Let's compare apples to apples people!
    • Yes, I was troubled by this as well.

      However, to be fair, there is never a perfect time when all distros have just recently come out. In fact, Fedora was supposed to be have been released by now, but was delayed by a few weeks, which led to an older version being tested here. Ubuntu released on time, and got it's latest version in the door for this review; sometimes making your deadlines is helpful. (This, btw, doesn't seem much of a coincidence - Ubuntu treats its deadlines very seriously, constantly sta
  • by goltzc (1284524) on Monday May 05, 2008 @10:27AM (#23301148)
    I need to start out by saying that I am a web developer and other than very basic work deploying code to HPUX boxes at work I have had 0 exposure and no formal training with *nix Operating systems. I started playing around with Ubuntu during the Feisty release on my windows desktop with Wubi. Once I saw that I could get all my work done reliably and how stable Ubuntu was I knew that It would be my main operating system... someday. When I purchased a laptop with Vista preloaded on it I realized that Ubuntu was going to have to come to the rescue sooner than I was planning. Right about the time gutsy came out I put in on my no frills middle of the road laptop and haven't looked back. I had my fair share of issues and there was a learning curve for the administrative stuff but the. For day to day uses Its a rock and couldn't be more intuitive. My girlfriend who is not tech savy thought it was the neatest thing and demanded that I put it on her aging 6 year old laptop that came with Windows ME but had been limping along on Windows XP with a slim 128 megs of ram. Xubuntu loaded even easier on the old lappy and everything worked out of the box including a pcmcia wifi card. It brought new life to a machine that had been used mostly as a coaster for the past couple years. Then came the big upgrade to Hungry Hippo I mean Hardy Heron there were some hiccups but I reminded myself that windows has a similar trouble shooting learning curve that I had 10+ years vested in. The fact that I was able to upgrade to a new version of the OS with such few issues and trouble shoot the ones I had in a couple hours is really a testament to how Robust and friendly Ubuntu and the Ubuntu community has already become. Not only is Ubuntu becoming easier to use but with another few years of experience under my belt I'm sure that fixing the rare problems will be a snap.
    • by initdeep (1073290) on Monday May 05, 2008 @10:33AM (#23301224)
      can you be a recent convert to formatting now? :D
    • by poptones (653660)
      This is a perfect example of why, I think, this new version of ubuntu seenms to be getting so many raves: because the "reviews" are aimed at WINDOWS users - people whose experience with "computers" has been utterly tainted to the point they regard it as normal for one to have regular desktop freezes, application crashes, and other sorts of general suckitude.

      So far as I can see they finally did one or two things right, but I know for a fact some of the fixes were began so late in the development cycle (check
  • Debian (Score:4, Interesting)

    by name*censored* (884880) on Monday May 05, 2008 @10:30AM (#23301192)
    I'd be interested to know why debian was left out - it's widely used, and it's different enough from Ubuntu (despite Ubuntu being a fork of debian).
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by adlucem (1158083)
      Simply because the guy doesn't know what he's talking about. MEPIS based on Mandriva? lol. Desktop-centric paper, what need is there to include CentOS (esp. if you already have Fedora)? etc.
  • Poor research (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spy der Mann (805235) <spydermann.slashdot@nOsPaM.gmail.com> on Monday May 05, 2008 @10:36AM (#23301258) Homepage Journal
    The guy simply didn't do his homework. For starters, he thinks MEPIS is based on Mandriva - but it's based on Debian. Then, uses the latest beta of Ubuntu to compete with older distros. Finally, there is NO COMPARISON CHART.

    What kind of research is that? He just shows a separate review of each distro, to finally announce "and the winner is...". I call this bull. Much more informative is the "girlfriend linux test" article.

    Mod article down.
  • Thanks to the huge success of the Eee PC, Xandros is gaining a lot of new users. And I, for one, am finding it very nice (once you switch to the "Advanced desktop" on the Eee). Things seem to work fine, and I can launch the apps I need - and that's pretty much all I ask of the OS.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by British (51765)
      I actually like the Xandros included on the EEE PC more than Ubuntu. There's a few things here and there that are more Windows-like and just simply easier to use. The only downside is that the software repositories. For the Xandros repos, there's only a handful available, but with Ubuntu, there's quite a bit more. Eh, maybe I'm nitpicking.
  • Ubuntu 8.4? (Score:5, Funny)

    by X.25 (255792) on Monday May 05, 2008 @10:48AM (#23301410)
    I'd like to order 1 copy of Ubuntu 8.4.

    Thank you.
  • by mpapet (761907) on Monday May 05, 2008 @10:53AM (#23301468) Homepage
    These kinds of articles harm practically everyone. They eliminate variety and here's how.

    1. Focusing on a couple of winners. In Ubuntu's case they've got PR hucksters doing the shouting for them
    2. Eliminating new features. These shootouts leave no room for testing new features, programs, etc. It's yay or nay and the nay's always win when something is -really- new.

    3. There are a number of "What about distro X, Y or Z?" comments and they are, for the most part legitimate questions. Most of those non-chosen distros simply haven't made a good enough impression in media circles. Those aforementioned "good impressions" usually cost some money.

    4. Eliminating new distros. There are -lots- of other linux distros who's first purpose is _not_ a desktop. The problem I'm pointing out is multifaceted and troubling. To boil it down: "Everyone knows that Linux is that other computer system they buy for less and put their stolen XP OS on."

    My 2 cents: Debian Testing -still- manages to be completely ignored when it's a good apples-to-apples comparison to whatever new version Ubuntu puts out.
    • by discogravy (455376) on Monday May 05, 2008 @01:01PM (#23302980) Homepage
      as other comments have mentioned w/r/t Debian Testing, it's not a good comparison to Ubuntu; it's central idea is different, which is really what the other replies have been about. Deb Testing is about getting Debian new software and making everything new work well enough that bugs can be squashed. Ubuntu's raison d'etre is about making debian usable for everyday use without making users spend a day looking up config details for their hardware or what chipset their cards are using and what drivers go with what. Testing's cool, but testing's not for desktop users. It can be /used/ for that, but then again, you can also drive cross country on a unicycle, if you're dedicated enough.
  • by MaulerOfEmotards (1284566) on Monday May 05, 2008 @11:10AM (#23301684)
    This review/comparison is posted May 4th or 5th, when the distros out there are Ubuntu 8.04 release (not beta, and featuring FF 3b5, not b4); Mandriva 2008.1; openSUSE 11.0 beta; and Fedora 9 preview. Thus, the selection of distros compared is outdated already at the time of review, and worse, unfair between distros (bias?). Compounding this, there are factual errors and lack of in-depth coverage.

    This review sais very little about the current state of affairs and is of minimal real benefit to anyone not already initad in the Linux world. It might even do a misfavour to newbies wanting to take the plunge.

    Admittably, it takes some time testing seven distros on five platforms, but that doesn't change the fact that it fails to represent the actual state of LinuxLand and the distros pitted against each other.
  • Steer them to a vendor that provides models with a distro of Linux pre-installed. Period, full stop.

    Otherwise, they need to have somebody to resolve the problems that come up because no Linux distro can test on every possible combination of hardware. It's not hard to do for US. It's an insurmountable frustration for the. So unless you are prepared to always be there for them, find a vendor that supports them.

    Dell, I know, has a narrow but adequate range of choices with Ubuntu preinstalled. Since they
  • I want to be a 'Linux Guy' - I downloaded the Ubuntu ISO yesterday and I'm ready to do it. Only problem is I can't get online.

    I'm going to go to BestBuy *TODAY*. Can anyone here tell me which wireless network adapter will work 100% out of the box. I'd like for it to support WPA and WEP and not require any WINDOWS DRIVERS or any of that crap.

    If someone could please provide a link to a wireless network adapter from the www.BestBuy.com website; I'll go and buy it and use Linux and tell everyone how great Li
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by businessnerd (1009815)
      I won't do all of your homework for you, but here's a start. It looks like, based on Best Buy's offerings, you are best going with a card that uses the Atheros chipset. I have a D-Link in my desktop computer that uses this chipset and Linux support is very good. However, every model (even by the same manufacturer) is different. There are only 11 desktop cards and 18 laptop cards carried by best buy. If one of those cards is on this list [madwifi.org] then that is the card for you. Install the card, install Ubuntu (b
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Dr. Manhattan (29720)
      I dunno about Best Buy, I check the circulars and look for deals when I need hardware. You don't say what kind of card you're looking for. If you're looking for a notebook adapter, I've had good results with two different Trendnet TEW-441PC Cardbus cards and Ubuntu - WPA & WEP, etc., works "out of the box". If you're looking for a desktop PCI card, well, Trendnet has a page telling which ones work with Linux [trendnet.com]. (I think the TEW-443PI has the same chipset as the Cardbus card I have; it's not listed as supp
  • by rAiNsT0rm (877553) on Monday May 05, 2008 @12:13PM (#23302394) Homepage
    I've been a Linux guy since 1995 and as much as I hate to say it, I have given up. There needs to be a singular distro at the heart of it all which is steered by either Linus or a committee that focuses on one vision and goal. Chaos is great for creating a million cool bits, but not for organizing them into one unified, cohesive unit.

    Let's finally get over the aversion to one main distro, or one of each tool and app. No one cares about choice when all it means is 40 buggy half-assed apps and no single solid one. It is a lot of wasted talent, time, and effort. With some direction and drive Linux could surpass anything out there.

    Until people begin to wake up, I'll keep it for servers only. Oh, and I'd personally like to thank the genius who decided to go with a beta version of Firefox for a long-term support version of an OS... now THAT is how to FAIL.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tuffy (10202)
      How do you propose removing the freedom of developers to work on things outside of the One True Distro?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by HalAtWork (926717)
      It's funny because above, someone was claiming that variety was being eliminated. People generally use the same software together across all distributions, the distros just tie the software all together into repositories with maybe some unique administrative tools, a unique theme, and their own configuration of kernel options and patches. But people use the same software to get work done, and work is focused on them to make them better. The apps on my linux desktop work great together because they don't
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by grumbel (592662)

      Oh, and I'd personally like to thank the genius who decided to go with a beta version of Firefox for a long-term support version of an OS... now THAT is how to FAIL.

      Having a beta in a stable LTS release might seems a bit stupid at first, but the reason the beta is in there is exactly because it is a LTS release. Would they have gone with Firefox2 they would have been stuck with that for many years to come, going with Firefox3-Beta allows them to upgrade to Firefox3 once it comes out (i.e. very soon), so they don't have to worry about supporting obsolete Firefox2 down the road.

      That aside, I agree. I would much prefer if all those distros out there would just die or mer

    • "I've been a Linux guy since 1995 and as much as I hate to say it, I have given up. There needs to be a singular distro at the heart of it all which is steered by either Linus or a committee that focuses on one vision and goal. Chaos is great for creating a million cool bits, but not for organizing them into one unified, cohesive unit."

      You don't sound like a Linux guy to me. You sound like a BSD guy.
  • by Brandybuck (704397) on Monday May 05, 2008 @01:08PM (#23303068) Homepage Journal
    And the winner is... the distro most like Windows!
  • Good on Fedora (Score:3, Interesting)

    by vga_init (589198) on Monday May 05, 2008 @08:35PM (#23307172) Journal
    This review is rather good on Fedora; I'm actually rather relieved to see that it doesn't mention very much about it. As a Fedora advocate, I like to think that Fedora makes an excellent, high quality general-purpose system, and part of fulfilling that role is not getting in the way of the user; the user shouldn't really have anything to complain about, and conversely doesn't necessarily need to find anything noteworthy about the system. Also I hate to see nit-picky analysts pit one distro against one another (eg Ubuntu vs Fedora) for silly reasons. Not that it's bad to compare systems, but if you spend enough time on the Linux desktop you realize that all distros are the same--same kernel, same libraries, same programs. The only difference really is the presentation (including administrative tools). Can't wait for Fedora 9, by the way... only a few days left to go. :-)

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