What is best free Operating System

vbimport

#1

Hi Members,

I am replacing an old Hard Drive and have decided to install a new operating system on new hard drive. M.S. Windows has always been the system on my computers - and I have a love - hate relationship with it.

New Hard Drive : 250 GB SATA Seagate.
The old guts : P4-3GHZ, ASUS P4P800, Chipset 1865, RAM 512 mb.
ATI Radion 9200, 128mb DDR

It appears net chat rates best free o/s systems -

  1. Ubuntu
  2. Linux.

Debian -GNU/Linux gets some good chat.

Have never installed / formatted a hard drive before.
I will be using it mainly for saving my photos, cds, downloading from iTunes. Like to use MS Media Player.
Internet and a small use for writing and spread sheet.

Please advise easiest and best system to install and use.

Many Thanks.


#2

Ubuntu IS a Linux operating system. The Linux kernel is the base of lots of operating systems, like Ubuntu, Slitaz, Slax, Suse, MythTV, etcetera. Most of them are easy to install, moderate to learn and difficult to master.

If you are a beginner get an easy linux operating system like Ubuntu. If you want to know what’s out there, check out Distrowatch. It also depends on what you WANT with your system. If you want to make it a webserver, you don’t need a fancy desktop for instance.

Some of my favorites:

OpenSUSE
Ubuntu
Slitaz
Damn Small Linux
Puppy Linux
Gentoo
FreeNAS


#3

I’ve used used PCLinuxOS over a period of about 3 years and currently use Ubuntu as my main Linux OS. I have just basic skills in Linux, just enough to get me around, install software and basic functionality in the terminal. Out of these two, I would say avoid PCLinuxOS.

[B]PCLinuxOS:[/B]

This OS appears to try to replicate the Windows GUI, mostly with the help of its KDE interface. When I first started using PCLinuxOS 2007, it did not take me long to find my way around, installing updates and so on and can honestly say I really enjoyed it at the start. It supported most of my hardware, especially on my EEE netbook, where I exclusively used Linux on. Installing packages at the time was as simple as picking something out of the package manager and clicking ‘Install’. After figuring out how to mount NTFS volumes, I had no issues with using external hard drives and USB sticks. I mainly use open source software anyway in Windows, so I had no issue getting the versions for Linux, such as GIMP, Audicity, Firefox, OpenOffice, AviDemux and Linux media players. :slight_smile:

All went will until they released PCLinuxOS 2009 and stopped updating the package manager for the 2007 version. Then I realised just how painful Linux can be when it comes to installing software not in the package manager. :doh: Once I figured out how to install RPMs, this was fine for a short period and then I started running into problems with dependencies. After about a few months, new software became very frustrating to install and after several hours unsuccessfully trying to install a newer version of GIMP (photo editing software), I backed up my data, wiped the main OS partition and installed PCLinuxOS 2009.

I ran into the same issue again with PCLinuxOS 2009 once PCLinuxOS 2010 was released, again being unable to get new software from the package manager and trying various package sources. After about a month of noticing no new updates and being unable to update Firefox, I made the switch to Ubuntu.

[B]Ubuntu:[/B]

The main distribution is based on the Gnome interface, so this took me quite a while to get use to. From my first experience, the GUI is not as friendly as KDE or the Windows GUI, but am getting more accustomed to it now. I started with Ubuntu 9.10 and found its package manager pretty straight forward to use. Its package manager certainly has a much better layout than in PCLinuxOS and installing updates is much like that in Windows. The one thing that really impressed me with Ubuntu is how updating to 10.04 was as simple as carrying out an update, unlike PCLinuxOS.

Hardware support seems to be as good (if not better) than I recall in PCLinuxOS and the package manager seems to get updated much more frequently when new software updates are released (e.g. newer versions of GIMP, Firefox, etc.) I also had no issue both reading and writing with NTFS drives, which means no more trying to mount NTFS partitions for write support.

Linux in general

Ideally, to get the most out of Linux, it’s well worth learning the terminal interface, even its basics.


#4

I’ve been experimenting/using several different linux versions for several years, from the very samll to the full blown. For a new user who wants/needs full functionality and access to Ubuntu’s software repositories I would suggest Mint, http://linuxmint.com/ (I don’t care for the green theme, but it’s easily changed). For a small/fun distro I like Puppy Linux. Just my two cents.


#5

http://xange.serdigital.com/ Xange has somewhat left its “Vixta” roots, as a “Vista-look” Linux.

If you like Ubuntu but prefer a KDE view
http://www.kubuntu.org/

Using the “Wine” emulation layer, Itunes is just about possible (but store does not work!) but Windows media player is not really usable.
Using a Linux Itunes alternative may be better

For media playing, VLC is a good option, while for Office, you can’t beat Openoffice.org - while also available on windows, Linux is really its “home” platform.

And yes, MOST of the free operating systems are Linux derivatives, having the standard linux as a core, with different tracks for installers, optional packages, desktop environment (main split - KDE or Gnome).

Linux is the root, then there are probably about 10 or so top level major derivitives, and then any number of minor and “based on” versions, with different applications pre-bundled, different desktop environments, lightweight versions for running on older hardware and so on.


#6

Hi !
Mr B and Whappo : you’ve both offered prompt advice in the past. Welcomed as always.
Sean and Matthe : your patience in submitting such detailed comments is appreciated. I forgot to add to my original enquiry -

I am a computer / tech dummy. Sadly much of the tech comment is way over my head. Never quite mastered the VCR and now struggle with a 100 page manual for digital recorder.

Always bought my computers pre- loaded with Windows.
I have a computer with Windows Office / 2 which is reliable and use it for important writing, spreadsheet etc. When it or the digital screen packs up I’ll dump it and get a new powerful laptop.

Decided to replace unreliable H.D in an other old computer with a new H.D. to store music / photos. I would like to install free O/S and programs for the uses listed in thread.

  • Simple to use and install.
  • Stable, reliable and compatible with common popular programs ie -.

Want to use Firefox, Windows Media Player, buy from Itunes, modify with Accoustica, store music, photos…

Based on all the above what are the most appropriate basic options ?

Regards


#7

[QUOTE=parpi;2526964]Hi ![/quote] Hi!

Mr B and Whappo : you’ve both offered prompt advice in the past. Welcomed as always.
You’re most welcome. Thanks for the thank you.

Sean and Matthe : your patience in submitting such detailed comments is appreciated. I forgot to add to my original enquiry -
You know… that is an awesome reply. I’d wish more people would do that.

Decided to replace unreliable H.D in an other old computer with a new H.D. to store music / photos. I would like to install free O/S and programs for the uses listed in thread.

  • Simple to use and install.
  • Stable, reliable and compatible with common popular programs ie -.

Want to use Firefox, Windows Media Player, buy from Itunes, modify with Accoustica, store music, photos…

Based on all the above what are the most appropriate basic options ?

Regards

The basics

Would you like a server system ( a computer on 24/7 that hosts your files for you so you can access it on any client) or a workstation system (a computer that can run any kind of applications).

Workstation

If you are looking for a workstation computer and need Windows Media player i suggest running Windows XP professional on it. Nothing is easier than Windows XP. If you do not want to pay for the license, i suggest Ubuntu. Ubuntu is by far the easiest Linux to understand.

Linux is not easy

Mind you, even with Ubuntu there “is a lot going on under the hood”. Basic linux installation takes about an hour. Advanced linux configuration takes about half a year to learn. Really setting linux to your will, can take over 5 years of training.

Just try it

If you “just want to run” linux, start up a Ubuntu live cd and play around, you cannot break anything and it’s nice to look around if it suits you.

Every linux distribution has its pro and its cons. I.E. : Puppy Linux is extremely small, but can do noting more than browse and office stuff. Ubuntu is quite big, easy to install and is updated constantly, but it is still harder to learn than any Windows client system.

Server / hosting

If you are looking for a server/long term storage system that you can access almost anywhere, i suggest running Freenas. It looks horrible (servers never look pretty, because they do not need to be pretty) and can be quite a pain to set up, but once it is running you can easily manage it from anywhere.

Go virtual for free

Extra: You can make your own free virtual system on which you can host a lot of servers on a single computer. See the link in my signature.


Bottom line advice: Download any Linux Live CD you want and start it in your computer. Look and see what happens. Try different things, even things you don’t understand. Try Ubuntu, OpenSUSE, Slax, whatever. They are all free and all serve a different purpose.


#8

Thanks Mr Belevedere.

Do not want to run the old computer as a server just want to use it as an independent computer.
No point buying a new set of MS Windows. It would cost 6 times the value of the old computer tower.
When both of my old computers or my screen packs up I’ll buy a laptop and get rid of the old space occupying gear.

I have an old copy of Windows 2003 but I don’t know if it would work and thought I’d try another system.

Have replaced old Seagate SATA with a new one. My screen says -

’ Reboot and select boot device or insert boot media in selected boot device and press any key.’

Does that mean insert Ubuntu or Linux cd ?

Parpi


#9

[QUOTE=parpi;2527711]Have replaced old Seagate SATA with a new one. My screen says -

’ Reboot and select boot device or insert boot media in selected boot device and press any key.’

Does that mean insert Ubuntu or Linux cd ?[/QUOTE]

Pretty much yeah. The new harddisk has no data at all (no formatting, no partition, no boot sector, no nothing), so your pc cannot find an operating system.

Just pop in a bootable cd of your favourite distro (Ubuntu for instance) and press a key. .Make sure you have configured the setup/bios of your system that you can use your cdrom as a boot device.

If you are curious about what kind of other free operating systems are out there click on this link. If your system is really really slow, i recommend Slitaz.


#10

Thanks Mr B.
Looks like your my mentor on this matter. Sorry bout that.

Initially, I asked about a free, simple to install / use O/S.
Didn’t know there were so many as detailed in your article on O/S.

It’s often stated that because Microsoft had a virtual monopoly ( and still dominates the market ) most other programs were designed to be compatible with it.

  • So I should have asked -
    [B]which system is easy to install / operate / reliable -
    AND most compatible with common applications / programs ?[/B]

New H.D. 250 GB Seagate Sata 7,200 is far bigger than I’ll ever need.
Size of new O/S n other programs I install is no problem. Reliable and fast is desirable ( but limited by old computer spec and net speed ).

Regards
Parpi


#11

AND most compatible with common applications / programs ?

Windows… :wink:


#12

[QUOTE=parpi;2527885]

  • So I should have asked -
    [B]which system is easy to install / operate / reliable -
    AND most compatible with common applications / programs ?[/B]
    [/QUOTE]

Well, if you want to play games or use MS Office, go for Windows XP or better.
If you don’t care about games and can use MS Office compatible software (like OpenOffice), then you can use Ubuntu.


#13

Many thanks to all those who offered advice.
My enquiry drew a fair number of hits so I suppose others were also interested in the topic… Your knowledge shared.

Special thanks to Mr Belvedere for persevering with me. You’re a stayer Mr B.
Regards
Parpi


#14

I agree that Linux mint is very easy to learn as I have just recently changed all of the computers from Windoze to Linux except one in my house.The only thing I don’t care for is the command line interface common with any Debian system but mint works flawlessly for me now that I have been on a few forums and got some booklets to help.The computer in my home that still runs muckroslush is an old XP that we use for backup and will probably be changed shortly .I would very highly recommend linux puppy live as a way to learn more about linux based systems before committing to change your OS.


#15

[QUOTE=grey1960envoy;2539791]I agree that Linux mint is very easy to learn as I have just recently changed all of the computers from Windoze to Linux except one in my house.[/QUOTE]

That’s good and all but you probably didn’t realize not everyone will like the change or will use it. Linux has a long way to go before it really becomes a real O/S against M$ marketshare and users. Unix still rules the core server side but everyday users will use Windows in one fashion or another. And also what you make on Linux you won’t be able to take to any computer with Win and use it. That is were the problem arises incompatibility and since M$ rules and runs that side Linux will always be side lined. As Mr. Belvedere in the past posting M$ is used more and installed more everywhere and does basically everything. And considering the majority of users are learning and using computers not hard core users and tweaker Windows is the better of the two alternative to use and learn first. I could make the same argument your saying to switch to Mac as well. But the downside of mac is limited software and the high price one pays to use the same software you can get for less for the Windows platform. Even if it is free that doesn’t mean that would be the one users go with. One has to look at how many software it can run and what hardware and upgrades one can do with a limited free O/S as compared to Win7 which is forecasted to overtake XP which was used even more then Vista being as old as it was. So that should in itself tell a majority of daily computing users that just cause it is free does it really mean you should switch just because of it.


#16

while I do realize that many people will stick with Mucroslush I am just stating the fact that in my opinion Bilk ya for all I can Gates and his merry band of thieves are way out of touch demanding $350 a pop for something I can get from other means i.e.Linux etc for free or a considerable amount less.I have also been able to do more with Linux and open source than I could by spending thousands of dollars for windows licensed applications.In short I am very happy with my decision to jump ship to a more stable system.Thanks for giving me a chance to state my views.


#17

[QUOTE=grey1960envoy;2539803]while I do realize that many people will stick with Mucroslush I am just stating the fact that in my opinion Bilk ya for all I can Gates and his merry band of thieves are way out of touch demanding $350 a pop for something I can get from other means i.e.Linux etc for free or a considerable amount less.I have also been able to do more with Linux and open source than I could by spending thousands of dollars for windows licensed applications.In short I am very happy with my decision to jump ship to a more stable system.Thanks for giving me a chance to state my views.[/QUOTE]

Stating Fact where are you trying to give false information on prices for?? More like 180 for the O/S which already comes on newer computers when you buy it and since they are inexpensive now days how you came to your figure makes no sense at all. And by your other means basically you Pirate and don’t even support software companies to innovate and create new products-Yeah that’s they way to go …keep dreaming in your bubble…You should be thankful for what Gates has done to revolutionize computing as it has become otherwise you be going with Apple O/S as Unix wasn’t made to become user friendly just cause they wanted to be. I myself have a love and hate with M$ but in then end guess what I am using Win7 O/S right now regardless of how I would like it to be. Also Win was for the masses unlike Unix was for the programmers and server it was never intended for the masses til M$ windows 3.1 came out then Unix had to rethink it’s O/S but it took until XP and Vista for them to even really formulate a plan to go against M$ by now was the default O/S here and around the world. Unix Is it user and accepted by the masses not by a long shot yet and it has a long way to go before it really becomes accepted. And less you forget there are open source for Windoze you so despise as well so your argument is mute and with holes there as well. So one can say free O/S is better but does that necessary mean they should use it??? If you want to talk open source Open Office and Mozilla are open source and made for Win already-there are far more open source and free programs from Win then Unix so going Unix totally means you will have to forgo alot of programs you won’t see on Unix. There is Wine but that program is far from being useful for the latest Win O/S software and programs.


#18

F**K Bilk ya for all I ca Gates or do you work for him? I don’t mean pirated systems but things like Open Office org. etc.Why do some people think it is always something underhanded ?as for my prices I am Quoting what Walmart wants for windoze ultimate !!!In Alberta Canaduh!!!


#19

[QUOTE=grey1960envoy;2539807]F**K Bilk ya for all I ca Gates or do you work for him? I don’t mean pirated systems but things like Open Office org. etc.Why do some people think it is always something underhanded ?as for my prices I am Quoting what Walmart wants for windoze ultimate !!!In Alberta Canaduh!!![/QUOTE]

Does this ‘Linux’ thing you seem to promote have any kind of spelling or grammar checker available? I believe Windows does…:bigsmile:


#20

???.You should be thankful for what Gates has done to revolutionize computing as it has become ???what planet are you from? If it weren’t for many good computer programmers that don’t work for Mstink we would not have any choices at all would you prefer that???