Which Linix OS?

Hi Everyone,

I've just got a quick questions, a friend of mine is fed up with using XP as it is just too slow.
The computer he has is not cutting edge in terms of hardware (1.3 Ghz Pentium3 chip, 512 MB RAM) which does not help but the system usually becomes increasingly slow after a clean install due to spyware (i'm not one to judge his surfing habits but i think that may be to blame).

I've looked into this and it seems Linux may be the answer, i just need to install a linux distrubition which is as fast as possible on that hardware, will allow internet connection sharing with another xp computer in the house and allows general pc usage, ie. office applictions (i assume you can still run MS Office on Linux), watching movies and surfing the net.

Red Hat seems to be the best choice of Linux out there, does anyone have any thoughts on this?

Also i see Red Hat isnt free, perhaps someone can point me in the direction of something else that will meet his requirements?
Hardeep26Asked:
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thvonConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Hmmm,

Linux, while a great operating system, is not for the faint of heart.  Office type programs are not a real big problem, but video playing and the like can be challenging to set up if you are not experienced with the interfaces.  Linux generally doesn't install all the codecs that you need to play...  windows media, or real player files.  Is your friend opposed to paying for spyware blockers and antiviruses?  He could then probably keep xp.  The question is more about how familiar you are with linux and how much time you want to spend learning about it.  

Also,  I would think about Ubuntu linux for just a desktop type pc.  It has a good motto...  It should just work!...  Though, as I said, it still needs some configurating.

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David-HowardCommented:
Hello Hardeep!
This link will provide you with a great deal of easy to understand Linux information.
In short, there are various flavors of Linux and you or your friend may have to experiement to get the right distribution that looks and feels right for you.
http://www.linux.org/
This link also provides forums, news and downloads. Have fun! :-)
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SunBowCommented:
Title: Which Linix OS?

Pick a distro you like. Essentially all are free, but you get to pay for support which likely will include add-ons (which may also be free)

You might want to first check out interfaces as well, some people like one, some like another. If you dislike the GUI why bother? That is one way to pick and choose, consider what all is wrapped up in a single package for you.
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SunBowCommented:
> i assume you can still run MS Office on Linux

No. But there are several alternatives that each give you most anything you want anyway

David-Howard  >  get the right distribution that looks and feels right for you.

:-))     ditto
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bigjimbo813Commented:
I'll second ubuntu. Assuming his knowledge is entry level, ubuntu offers an installer (similar to add remove programs) as well as an automatic update service (similar to windows update). For the most part it'll "work outta the box".

There is also a ton of documentation out there to help you trouble shoot any issues that arise.
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bigjimbo813Commented:
if you like redhat, fedora is their open source (free) version.

http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/

and

http://www.ubuntu.com/
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CapTechCommented:
There are several good alternatives available when it comes to Linux.  Ubuntu, Fedora, SuSE, Mandriva, Slackware... all of them are capable of being run on older systems.  Personally, I'd suggest Slackware for an older system, because it doesn't come with the GUI bloat that other distributions do, so it runs a bit smoother and with a smaller memory footprint.

I'd check out the specs on as many distros as you can, and see if there are any that fit the bill.  Some distros are easier to configure than others (and some claim to have zero need for configuration).  Slackware isn't one of those that has a ton of self-configuration scripts, but it is very good with older hardware.  Ubuntu would probably also be a good fit for older systems, but I've not had much play time on it compared to the time I've spent with Slackware.

A good bet would be to download a Live CD version of the distro you are looking at.  Try it out that way, and see how it works for you.  If you like it, try the real thing.  And remember, you can always customize Linux (unlike Windows) to remove or add as much as you need to remove the stuff that is slowing you down, or that you'd never use.

With Linux, you can use OpenOffice natively (it will open any Microsoft Office document), or you can use MS Office with software such as Wine.  For video, there is Xine and MPlayer.  For music, XMMS is a WinAMP clone for Linux.  And best of all... it's all free if you download it.

Linux.org has already been suggested.  I'd also check out DistroWatch and read some reviews.  Do your homework, and remember that Google is your best friend.  I have provided some links below.

Links:

Slackware: http://www.slackware.com
Linux in General: http://www.linux.org
Distro Watch: http://www.distrowatch.com
Linux Help Forums: http://www.linuxquestions.org
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chhokra_expertCommented:
i've dabbled (not a whole lot though) with red hat, debian and ubuntu and have to say that i loved Ubuntu the most. i'll second (and third) Ubuntu if you are at teh beginner level... several things are made really easy
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mattcarverCommented:
Plain, Simply, and Blunty: UBUNTU.  http://www.ubuntu.com  100% free.  You can even order CD's for free.  I've used other distro's people mention here and I've noticed Ubuntu had the best out of the box support for devices and hardware.
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micromarchCommented:
tell your friend to stop surfing the porno sites!
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Hardeep26Author Commented:
thanks for all the input guys. I had to give this one to thvon just for the fact that he mentioned Ubuntu first.

I have installed the os, its runs fine, it picked up all the hardware and he is very happy with it. The problem with XP has been its always been getting infected with spyware, we have installed most of the anti-spyware/virus programs out there but despite this the system always comes to a grinding halt after 2 months or so.

Just a few questions, i havent tried to network this with the other xp machine in the house but could you point me in the direction of where this needs to be configured (the linux box will be hosting/xp machine client).

Another question, i have found Totem to be a bit of a pain (in the default installed state) it doesnt read any audio and movie files, i installed VLC, it plays audio files fine but i cant get it to pick up DVD/movie files. Also could you let me know how to make VLC my default player for all media files? If anyone has any opinions on the best media player out there please feel free to to join in.

thanks fellas.
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