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What's the best distribution?

Debian has a (deserved) reputation for being hardware-hostile and having an unfriendly installer, but it does do software installs easier than anything out there. 

There is a project for a "desktop" version of Debian, still in the idea stage. If it succeeds, I will happily switch back to Debian.

Xandros (based on CorelOS) is something else to consider as a "desktop". Unfortunately, you cannot download it. I remember trying Corel Linux, and was impressed as hell by how what they'd done. Unfortunately, much of their hard work was for nothing once the packages got old. I even managed to install a *lot* of Debian into the Corel install, before I destroyed my desktop. :-)


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Glenn Burkhardt [mailto:gbburkhardt at]
> Sent: Sunday, November 03, 2002 8:00 PM
> To: discuss at
> Subject: What's the best distribution?
> Ah, yes.  The perennial question.
> I stayed out the last time someone posted this question to 
> the list, but I 
> can't hold back anymore.
> I like Mandrake.
> But I didn't have any basis for comparison, which is why I 
> bowed out before.  
> And I just ran across several reviews...
> But before I quote them, there are two items I do have 
> personal experience 
> with.
> - Mandrake has supermount for removable media.  Correct me if 
> I'm wrong, but 
> the other distro's haven't adopted it.  It's a little thing, 
> but makes my 
> computer more friendly.
> - Red Hat has had a habit of releasing code before it's ready 
> for prime time. 
> I use Linux commerically, and just don't have time for it.  
> There was the 
> fiasco with the 2.96 gcc compiler.  And as soon as Gnome 
> could compile, it 
> was installed as the default desktop.  But the Gnome folks 
> had decided to 
> re-write anything that wasn't GPL'd, and they made mistakes 
> and omissions. I 
> found that they had re-written xdm, but forgot to install all 
> the standard 
> entrys in .Xauthority, so I couldn't run X applications 
> remotely.  That's 
> when I switched to Mandrake.
> - Mandrake has included more window managers, filesystems, 
> and applications 
> (e.g., xemacs) than other distro's.
> I found these notes on, who, in the end, 
> rate Mandrake a 
> 9 (10 is highest), RedHat an 8, and SUSE a 7.
> "Mandrake, Red Hat, and SuSE each have complete Control 
> Centers. I personally 
> find that Mandrake does the best job of simplifying and 
> streamlining the way 
> that their tools are used during installation. Mandrake's daily 
> administration tools are organized in categories, (such as networks, 
> printers, etc.). SuSE organizes their tools very well for day-to-day 
> administration, categorizing and organizing each set of 
> features together. 
> SuSE keeps the same organization and displays an almost 
> identical Control 
> Center to configure the system during installation. While 
> this is great for 
> consistency, I believe it puts too much burden on an 
> inexperienced software 
> installer."
> "SuSE also needs work with the overall GNOME setup. SuSE is 
> easy to install, 
> includes a great disk resizing wizard, is easy to set up, has 
> a lot of useful 
> software, and very good documentation. But it's just not as 
> good as the 
> others."
> I stand ready to be flamed.
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