I can only state my least favorite linux since I haven't tried them all.
That would be Mandrake 8.1
I had gotten used to the idea that I could make the system do pretty much whatever I wanted when Mandrake decided that the old text configuration tools were redundant (I guess) and left me with the two options of hand editing the configuration files or using the "automagic" tools that don't neccesarily work.
I'm going to have to try slackware and debian, since they are the only ones I consistently see listed as fully compatible with the majority of packages listed at source forge.
On a personal note I'd like to air a gripe about the attitude of the linux old timers toward the users.
I found myself in the position of needing a (fairly simple) specialized calculation program. I downloaded two programs (one in C the other in Perl) and found that I didn't have the competence to operate either program or to understand the (miniscule) instructions provided.
I sat down with a tutoria about python programming and with NO previous experience was able to create a program to do what I wanted that didn't require any instructions; and it only took a few hours. (less time than I'd spent trying and failing to figure out how to operate the other programs)
I then made a second program in C++ (with a C++ programming book on my knees) in another couple hours which again can be operated with NO instructions. As nearly as I could tell from the (sparse) documentation provided with those programs. Mine had every feature they had, plus some.
The point of this little rant is to say that linux will never become a serious contender for the desktop UNTILL the old guard unix geeks get over the idea that people should have to struggle to learn how to use an app.
Lets face it. If it's easyer for me as user to create my own app than to use the ones provided for free, then the ones provided for free suck rocks!
Let me restate that. I found it easyer to build a program from scratch with no programming experience than to use a ready built app!
As far as all the pretty configuration tools provided with many distros is concerned, great! Let's see what'cha got. But don't throw out the stuff that actually works! I didn't come in during the days of hand editing config files and don't want to go back to them.
I'll just stop here since I can tell I'll just ramble on all day if I dont.
I'd have to agree with you that half the battle is finding documentation on installing apps that don't assume you understand every piece of terminology in the *NIX world.
If anyone wants to see an example of what an Installation handbook for a program on a command line OS should look like, I suggest taking a look at "The qmail Handbook" by Dave Sill. He is also the author of the online guide "Life With qmail". The book is tops on my list for clarity, thoroughness, and scope.
"I'd have to agree with you that half the battle is finding documentation on installing apps that don't assume you understand every piece of terminology in the *NIX world."
The fun I've had with linux was in figureing out how to make it do what I wanted. The man pages are alright but not universal or exactly self explanatory.
I couldn't tell you how many times I typed in a bunch of different man querrys trying to access information that I knew was in the pages. (yeah yeah I never really learned to use the man pages)
What little I've played with the 2.4 kernel is interesting, (still haven't successfully built a 2.4 kernel yet) Of course I've never been able to build a kernel under any version of Mandrake.
Again. What documentation? The directions I was able to find were applicable to the 2.2x kernels which would have been really nice to have when I was building them!
Hate to sound so negative considering the vast distance linux has come in just the short while I've been messing with it. (I think my first distro was redhat 5.1) There I was with a bare computer and a cdrom with sam's teach yourself linux in 24 hours book. No I cant say I learned linux, but I got from nothing to installation problems in just a couple of minutes. Then when I finally let the thing do what it wanted I had a complete linux system up and running.
Which of course meant a guy who'd used windows for like two days was now stareing at a smirking command prompt which just dared me to make sense of term directory.
Now days it's entirely possible for someone with no clue whatsoever to install and use linux. As long as their system isnt too old or too new. The sad thing is it's not feasable for such clueless people to figure out how to get something running by editting a script when the documentation for the script is outdated and the "automagical" configurator fails.
There you will find a set of HOW TO documents written in reasonably plain English on most subjects that would concern someone installing Linux for the first time. The guy who wrote the Kernel Upgrade HOW TO actually had a pretty funny sense of humor. Using that one, I was able to upgrade to the 2.4.17 (and later 2.4.18) kernel without a problem the first time around.
Now to give you the really funiest part of the problems I have.
Y'see I don't have direct internet acsess. I comunicate through the library when they're open so when I'm having problems with linux I'm sorta stuck with the documentation that I have.
I have to agree though, I absolutely love the sense of humor that abounds in linux programs! Go read the disclaimer for X-Cdroast! Every once in a while I'll run accross something that leaves me laughing.
Anyone out there have any experience with Linux XP, I tried the 2006 version which a friend gave me and just went to the web site to see about a newer version. Apparently in 2008 a new version was released but none of the Linux XP website links work nor could I find this at any of the bigger Linux stores.
I never tried Lindows though as I recall they survived a Microsoft challenge to the use of the name here in the USA . But, worldwide, most courts ruled against the use of the name "Lindows" . So, the company renamed itself Linspire and continues today .
I have not tried them (yet). My interest in "Linux XP" was the claim their emulator would run anything meant for windows.
Well, last year I took some needed courses at a local community college and was able to sneak in a Linux course among the needed ones and my company also paid for that. We used Red Hat Fedora linux. I liked the KDE desktop though our instructor approached the course like it was DOS and all we got to do was command line stuff though on my own I used the desktop.
I was wondering about the general progress of Linux since the last time I tried it and could not find what I needed in programming. So when I saw this thread I did not bother with looking at the date but simply looked at who picked what and asked about Linux XP because of their praising their emulator.
But, I think, on this board that Linux must be a dead subject as on another thread where I asked a Linux question I got sarcasm. And most other opinions are negative about Linux in general.
I may try one of the free ones just to check it out as I now have enought hard drive space to do this as a dual boot. Further opinions welcome.
2.4 Ghz Core2duo CPU
Gigabye P35 S3G motherboard
4 Gb Patriot RAM
2 - 500 Gb Western Digital IDE hard drives
1 - 80 Gb Maxtor IDE hard drive
Maxtor ATA133 controller card (only 1 IDE plug on the mobo)
1 - 500 Gb Western digital SATA hard drive
2 - DVD-DL burners
1 - CD ROM burner
Coolermaster 801 Stacker case