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need suggestion choosing Linux

totsubo asked
Last Modified: 2013-12-06
Hi all. I've decided to finally get serious and buy a new machine and install Linux. I'd like to know if it really matters which one I install.

I'm tending towards Red Hat just because it seems to be the most popular and I hear installation is not so difficult. But I've also Heard that Debian is really easy to upgrade. And what about Corel's Linux which seems to be able to run a lot of apps? (which makes me ask, would corel's apps which run on it's version of Linux run on RH?)

Also since I will be buying new hardware and want to do the installation myself I have to look into hardware compatibility. How do I do this? (Do I print out a list of what my chosen Linux supports and go shopping for only those components?)

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Thanks mklp! Great answer. Here is what I seem to understand, if I'm wrong please let me know.

- Any Linux software should run on any Linux distribution
- For hardware it doesn't matter what distribution I choose, as long as I can find a Linux driver for the hardware.
- So before buing a new computer (or building it) I should make sure Linux drivers exist for each and every piece of hardware

This sounds a bit inconvenient actually, seems like the steps are

1- go to computer store, find some hardware I want
2- check to see if I can find a Linux driver
3- if there is then buy it, if not repeat 1
4- do this for every piece of hardware I want

(and if I am interested in a pre-built system, like a Compaq machine, try and find out what each piece of hardware in the machine is, not an easy task)


PS Would KDE run on any Linux distribution?

    Yep, you've got it. I realize I tend to be a bit wordy but only in the interest of clarification. When you say "each and every piece" you are mostly correct. However, it is simpler in some areas and more difficult in others. Starting at the base:

Case/Power Supply: AT or ATX no problem.

Mother Board: Linux will run on just about anything.

Processor: No problem.

RAM: No problem I'm aware of. I've read some stuff that might affect you if you're going to run a Gig or more :)

Drive Interface: IDE or SCSI no problem. Watch out for IDE UDMA66 (ATA-4 standard) support. If you are buying a machine today you would be crazy not to consider it, drives are cheap and a motherboard that supports it cost $5 more. Win98 boots in 45 seconds. The Linux support for the standard depends on the Kernel and/or patches available for it.

Floppy: No Problem

CD: If it supports a standard ATAPI interface (and it will) no problem. It supports both my generic 44x and my HP 9100i burner (for read only) just fine. I have not researched enough to find out how to burn with it (or even if it is possible) at this point I just know HP does not offer Linux support.

Video Card: Tricky. Use the WEB and info from the distribution vendor for this. A generic driver may make it work but a driver specific to take advantage of all of the capabilities (linear accel. etc) of an individual card needs research.

Sound, Printers, Network Cards, Mice, Keyboards, Joysticks, Modems (include DSL routers, ISDN and Cable in this class because as bandwidth gets cheaper you'll want it), are all mostly the same as Video.

     No Problem but BE CAREFUL. Linux requires very specific Horizontal and Vertical Refresh rate information to be supplied by you at install and you can allow all of the smoke to leak out of your monitor if you tell it the wrong numbers. Monitors work better when they are fully charged with smoke.

Other observations:
     You mention Compaq. I come from the old school and really don't like fully integrated systems yet. Many manufactures integrate the sound, video, and as much else on the motherboard as they see fit. This often leads to propritary drivers. Some even use system RAM for Video RAM. Slow as molasses in comparison to on chip, so when you consider a packaged system be aware that you could be locking yourself into that video, sound etc. forever. I'm not a gamer, but if I were, I'd sure like to know I could easily go to the newest neatest Voodoo (or whatever) I could buy. Not to mention potential problems finding Linux support.

     As far as KDE is concerned I don't see why not. My understanding is that it is simply the X-windows GUI (and there are many) that they provide and I don't see any reason why it shouldn't run on anyone elses distribution. Remember the word Kernel. It is Linux, not the "distribution". I'm as new to Linux as you are so please remember this in your decisions. I am an experienced Tech though so I kind of know what look for and ask.
Hope this helps some more,

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