Newbie Friendly Distro

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Newbie Friendly Distro

Postby ghostdawg » 2007-04-29 16:27

I'm always running across people not too technical that buy a used computer with no OS installed and ask me for help.

I used to install my copy of Windows on it but not anymore, plus it's a way to start spreading linux around. I just tell them, they need to buy windows, if not, I can install another OS for them.

Now I would like to hear some opinions on a very newbie friendly distro, sometimes people have internet access and sometimes not.

I've been leaning towards Mint and or Freespire Linux, since alot comes installed that users would want. (Codecs to play music/movies, Flash, Java)

What would you suggest and why or why not?

Thnx.
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Postby Noven » 2007-04-29 16:29

Etch =)
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Postby Pobega » 2007-04-29 18:29

PSLinuxOS because everything is as easy as point and click to set up.

Either that or Ubuntu Feisty, because it's the same deal over there.

But I think PCLinuxOS forces you to use the terminal less often, so it may be good for OS-dumb people (Those who just want everything to work, instead of worrying about how everything actually WORKS)
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Postby thamarok » 2007-04-29 20:12

I recommend:
- Xandros Open Circulation Edition (or whatever it's called)

Because:
- Easy installation (much easier than Debian's or Fedora's installation!)
- Everything is nearly automated, you will hardly need the terminal at all!
- Everything works fine and it runs smoothly.
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Postby GMouse » 2007-04-29 22:05

If you're installing it, Etch. You can get it up and running for them, then it should more or less work for them with little maintenance for a couple of years. The software may get out of date, but even the longest release cycle for Debian seems faster than what comes out of Redmond, so even a couple of years may seem to be quick to them.
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Postby DeanLinkous » 2007-04-29 22:08

Etch.
Because it is awesome.
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Postby ghostdawg » 2007-04-30 03:49

Thanks for the replies. If I choose etch or PCLinuxOS, and no internet access at the time of install, what about multimedia codecs, flash and java type of media?

I know the kids will want to play music, watch videos, play games etc. These are the type of issues that will need to be solved, since most are familar with a Windows system.

Alot of the people have an extra computer for teens & smaller kids to use and some may or may not have internet at the time. Some have two computers with the main one having internet access and don't want the kids to have access without supervision.

Thnx.
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Postby CocoAUS » 2007-04-30 06:24

I'd recommend Linux Mint. It's probably not the best distro for someone who already uses a Linux-based OS, but for newbies, it's great. It has all the codecs and plugins people want, plus a sexified menu to replace the default one. And, because it's essentially Ubuntu rebranded, there's a HUGE userbase to help newbies with support. I love Debian as much as the next guy, but after using a dozen different distros, Linux Mint is by far the most newbie friendly.
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Postby rickh » 2007-04-30 06:37

None of them are easy unless the newbie has someone to install and configure it for him. Then any are easy. Honestly, how many people could even install and configure Windows.

Once the system is set up satisfactorily, how hard can it be to use a Desktop environment?
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Postby e1even1 » 2007-04-30 10:02

rickh wrote:None of them are easy unless the newbie has someone to install and configure it for him. Then any are easy. Honestly, how many people could even install and configure Windows.


here here! 90% of desktop usage is windows for a few reasons. but mostly because its preinstalled. and when it grinds to a halt or they fubar it, then they call somebody. most people aren't self sufficient in this respect. 90% of users SHOULD be using windows.

i think we make a mistake when we try to encourage and recruit new users. i think we should just leave them be or even discourage them. when they're really ready, then we wont be able to stop them.
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Postby ghostdawg » 2007-04-30 15:20

The main objective for the moment is get a distro installed with everything working as if no internet access. I guess if there is internet access when I install, I could install Etch and add other stuff as needed.

I'll keep this in mind when time comes. But I know Thursday, I have to install an OS and it won't be any net access for this one.
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Postby jml » 2007-04-30 15:21

ghostdawg, if you are going to install Linux for them and are going to be their support person when things break, I would suggest installing Etch and also add the proprietary codecs and apps from third party repos for them. Once you hava a complete and stable system, then in my opinion, your work will actually be easier. And the system will be less confusing. Here is my reasons. I have had experience with Ubuntu, Mint, Sidux and Etch. Mint makes a better initial experience since it automatically adds all those proprietary codecs on a default install, but like Ubuntu, Mint has a serious drawback for new users. Both Ubuntu and Mint offer frequent updates to be installed via their update manager. Now when everything goes well, that is great, but its not uncommon for an official update to break something, sound, wireless etc. If that happens then a new user is sunk. And you get more work to do. The very fact that Etch does not use cutting edge apps, contributes to its stability. So the fewer updates you have to apply, the less likely you are to break things. Just my two cents worth.

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Postby GMouse » 2007-04-30 15:24

If the major contributor to usage is what comes preinstalled, then Windows and Linux should be equal, so long as they both come preinstalled. The reason for the disparity is that Windows always comes preinstalled by the OEMs. Because of that, more people gained experience with it, so more "gurus" are able to install a copy of Windows. They are not to be confused with the majority of computer users, who are largely computer illiterate. Most people can't install Windows and are terrified of doing so. So, they no more belong in the Windows environment than they do the Linux one. If they do switch, they'll know just about as much about Linux as they do about Windows. They'd still need the local family "expert" or tech support. They'd still bumble through.

Granted, a small portion of those users would be able and willing to learn and would join the ranks of experienced users here, much like a portion of Windows users are able and willing to learn about their OS. The only real benefit to the community by signing up the common person to Linux is increased clout among the various companies, such as hardware vendors and the software vendors who are able to compete on an application basis, such as game makers and companies supplying niches.

The benefits to the user will vary. No more malware. Simpler maintenance. Ubuntu makes this really easy by hooking up Synaptic, cron, and the system notification applet. But even the process of manually opening Synaptic or Adept and telling it to install all updates is easily explained and turned into a "recipe" for the nontechnical crowd. However, they'd be severed from much of the consumer market, as we're still a tiny minority and still carry little clout.
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Postby GMouse » 2007-04-30 15:28

ghostdawg wrote:The main objective for the moment is get a distro installed with everything working as if no internet access. I guess if there is internet access when I install, I could install Etch and add other stuff as needed.

I'll keep this in mind when time comes. But I know Thursday, I have to install an OS and it won't be any net access for this one.


Get the full CD set or the DVDs. It sounds as if you're going to be installing on multiple computers over time, so you'll be able to reuse these discs again and again. As for the third party repos, you should be able to download the packages and burn them to a disc as well, creating, in effect, a twenty-second Etch disc. Although, how you do that is beyond me. (Any help from somebody more experienced?)
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Re: Newbie Friendly Distro

Postby DeanLinkous » 2007-04-30 15:34

ghostdawg wrote: not too technical

People learned how to operate a car and drive. I am sure they can handle synaptic.

I usually do prepare them by telling them that everything may not *just work* as it does in windows - and that includes virii, malware, porn popups, and so forth. Most agree it is a worthy tradeoff, considering the price and everything else they DO get. Of course, they have often paid me a time or two in the past year to reinstall windows so they are primed and ready for something different. :D

I donot actively try to convert but the ones I have are satisfied, in fact some are thrilled about 20,000 apps that contain no spyware or other crap!
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