Linux: The Best New User Distribution is not Necessarily Ubuntu

Update October 2011: I have left Mandriva due to problems with its change in ownership and direction in late 2010. The Mageia Linux distribution, a Mandriva fork, has all the things I liked about Mandriva, but none of the management problems that are affecting Mandriva’s quality. The points I make in this article in regard to Mandriva also apply to Mageia. My company now promotes Mageia Linux as our primary desktop Linux solution. We have offered Linux pre-loaded computers for several years now with choice of any of the “Top 20” at DistroWatch. Mageia is added to those choices.

For some time now I have watched Canonical grab headlines touting its ‘buntu releases, such as Ubuntu and Kubuntu, as “newbie” friendly. Much of the IT press goes along with this marketing scheme. Quite frankly, I am happy to see Canonical get attention for Linux in general. Getting more positive exposure for Linux is always good. Even “unfriendly” or “negative” exposure is good for Linux if one looks at it as simply more exposure. The people spreading Fear and Uncertainty through Disinformation (FUD) about Linux are simply helping to spread awareness of Linux. Good for them! Let us all pray they keep doing that. Not everyone hearing or reading FUD is going to take it at face value. Those that do not take anti-Linux FUD at face value are more than likely to become Linux users in the long run. The fact that almost everyone in the IT press and in the IT industry is aware of Linux or talking about Linux is excellent. Much of this exposure is due to Canonical and Ubuntu.

But, all that said, is Ubuntu truly the “best” new user distribution? Well, no, not really. (Wait! Before you tar and feather me, read the rest of this article.)

What one can objectively say is that the ‘buntu lines are new user friendly. However, the word “best” is highly subjective when applied to any man made creation. I submit that there are several, equally good, new user Linux distributions. The other new user distributions I would personally recommend in my order of preference are:

  1. Mandriva Linux (RPM based Package Management, independent development not based on any other distribution.)
  2. PCLinuxOS (RPM based Package Management, derivative of Mandriva Linux.)
  3. Linux Mint (DEB based package management, derivative of ‘buntu and Debian GNU/Linux.)
  4. MEPIS Linux (DEB based package management, derivative of Debian GNU/Linux.)

I am sure many will have other new user distributions to recommend and may argue against my choices. Debate over distributions is one thing that is not in short supply in the Linux community. However, I am going out on a limb to state that Mandriva Linux is easily at the top of the list of new user distributions. I am confident that this assertion will hold up under scrutiny once I make my case.

The Mandriva team has put a great deal of effort into making Mandriva easy to install and easy to manage from a new user perspective. For a small walk-through of a Mandriva 2010 installation using VirtualBox see this article at ghacks.net. One may take my word for it that Mandriva 2010 is easy to install, or one may get a Mandriva Linux One 2010 Live CD ISO or a full Mandriva Linux Free 2010 DVD ISO and try it out for oneself.

Caveat: all Linux distributions are likely to have problems with some proprietary WiFi chips on some laptop and notebook PC systems. I strongly suggest you Do Your Research before trying to install on your own laptop or notebook PC.

One excellent feature of Mandriva Linux is the Mandriva Linux Control Center (a.k.a. MCC) which has an X GUI version for the true novice and a text mode command line version for the not so much a novice or the true novice that needs to fix a broken X. A novice Linux user may manage Mandriva fairly well just using the MCC GUI. Here are screen shots of the GUI version of MCC in Mandriva Linux 2010 (clickable for full size versions).

MCC Software Management Page

The software management page makes it extremely easy for the new Linux user to manage the software on his desktop PC. Yes, there is some learning involved in using this software management system. For one thing, the first thing I do and recommend on a new install of Mandriva is to remove the default package sources and add preferred sources from http://easyurpmi.zarb.org/old/ on the first reboot following installation. While this is not necessary in most cases, it does help when one learns which sources are updated faster than others and are more reliable.

The need to learn new things is true of any new operating system. I would include learning Microsoft Windows 7 in that list for those that are migrating from Microsoft Windows XP. If one is going to have to learn a new system anyway by a jump from XP to W7, maybe it is time to give Mandriva Linux a try.

MCC Hardware Management Page

The Hardware Management Page makes adding printers and scanners a snap for the new user.

MCC Network and Internet Management Page

Connecting to a LAN or to the internet is made fairly simple with the Network & Internet Management Page.

MCC System Management Page

I think the options on the System Management Page are self explanatory. If in doubt, install Mandriva Linux 2010 and look it over for yourself.

MCC Network Sharing Management Page

Need to share files in some of your directories? Need to connect to some shared directories elsewhere on your LAN? The Network Sharing Management Page is the easy choice for the new user.

MCC Local Disks Management Page

Disk management under Linux made easy. If you just installed a second hard drive that you want to use for data storage (Think of all those digital pictures you take.) then this page is where a new user can go to set up that new drive. The “Manage disk partitions” section is where the magic happens for that.

MCC Security Management Page

Want an easy way to manage the firewall on your Linux PC? Look no further than the “Setup your personal firewall” section of the MCC Security Management Page.

MCC Boot Management Page

While the MCC Boot Management Page is not likely to be needed often by new Linux users it makes managing the boot settings of a Mandriva Linux system extremely easy. Yes, one should know a bit more about boot setup before diving into this but this page still makes managing Grub or LILO a fairly easy task.

Here is a screen shot of the text mode version of MCC one can run from the command line:

MCC Text Mode Main Page

Mandriva requires that MCC be run as the root (administrator) user. Thus one must know the root password to access these controls. This means that the Mandriva distribution may also be easily deployed in a locked down state for business use where the end-user has no knowledge of the root password. A novice Linux user that installs on her own PC or purchases a PC with Mandriva pre-installed would need to learn to keep the roles of user and administrator separate with separate accounts, as the Unix gods intended.

Okay, I can already hear some of you Linux cognoscenti stuttering, “BUT… BUT … BUT this just teaches a new user how to use Linux the Mandriva way! They need to know The Linux Way!” I agree, to a point. Many a new Linux user needs a way to get started in Linux without needing to learn everything from the start. These graphical tools provided by Mandriva are one answer to this problem. Not all new Linux users are going to need to, or want to, learn the guts of Linux and how to do everything The Linux Way. These folks will learn the Mandriva tools and probably stick with Mandriva. The ‘buntu users will learn the ‘buntu tools and probably stick with ‘buntu. This is okay with me. It should be okay with you too. After all, we tout “choice” as one reason to use Linux. Therefore we should honor the choice of these users to do things as easily as possible, for them.

In any case, the Mandriva distribution provides an easy to use graphical interface for the novice Linux user to manage her Mandriva Linux PC. I know, I know, I know, other Linux distributions have similar systems. In my subjective opinion, the Mandriva Control Center is the most well done of those I have seen personally. This places Mandriva at the top of my list for new user Linux distributions. If you are a long time Linux user and disagree then please feel free to post a polite comment with your reasoning. After all, you deserve to be heard as much as I do on this matter. 🙂

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Gene A.

Gene is a "Unix Guy", network technologist, system trouble-shooter and IT generalist with over 20 years experience in the SOHO and SMB markets. He is familiar with and conversant in eComStation (a.k.a. OS/2), DOS (PC, MS and Free), Unix, Linux and those GUI based systems from Microsoft. Gene is also a follower of Jesus (forgiven, not perfect), and this does inform his world view.

37 thoughts on “Linux: The Best New User Distribution is not Necessarily Ubuntu”

  1. Once wanted to try out Mandriva.

    However, a look at their site with the many different types of download made me think twice, or rather made me confused.

    Also wondering if their repositories will have this paid and free differentiation.

  2. Cae (comment #1) thanks for reading.

    In the article I link to the two URLs that one will want to consider for installing Mandriva. Specifically Mandriva One Live CD and Mandriva Free DVD are the choices. As for paid versus “free of charge” if a user sticks with One or Free those both pull from the same “free of charge” repositories. One only pays if one needs the version of Mandriva that includes items that have proprietary licenses precluding them from inclusion in a “free” Linux distribution.

  3. PCLinuxOS is miles ahead in terms of user-friendliness as compared to Ubuntu (yes, including Lucid.)

    It is shade better than Madriva too, since its setup out-of-the-box to play multimedia etc and @Cae: there is no confusion. It has one download CD. The minor downside, if any, is that there is no 64-bit version. But then, i run 32-bit PCLOS on my 64-bit capable laptop and its performance is no worse than, say, Ubuntu 64-bit!

    Worth a try for newbiews.

  4. I have to agree greatly with this article as Mandriva is the OS I prefer to run since getting tired of the problems associated with using Microsoft’s OS’s. The Mandriva 2010 64 bit Powerpack version is now my primary OS of choice for exactly all the reasons you identified above instead of Ubuntu even though I do still play with Ubuntu/Kubuntu and many other versions or distros as they are called to learn more. Is Mandriva perfect out of the box, No, but then I know that applies equally to all the different linux versions and to the windows platforms too. Every linux distro or windows platform I use still requires you to to take the time to learn it, figure out what works and doesn’t work good, and then do a few downloads and adjustments to it so it will be how you want it to be. You will find Mandriva and similarly most other modern linux distros to be very well developed and that their support communities work hard to ensure they are all fast, stable, and secure.
    If your coming from a windows environment I think either Mandriva or PCLinuxOS will be a good vessel with which to migrate to linux with through their KDE desktop environment and their control centers. This will provide a good easy means to become accustomed to Linux processes and allow a user to develop those new skills and then step deeper into learning linux. The same I feel also applies to LinuxMint as its also nicely setup out of the box but find that some windows users or new converts I know of found it a bit strange in the beginning at least for the first couple of hours to use as it uses the Gnome desktop. Please don’t interpret that Gnome is bad in any way just that it has a different style of desktop and menu than from the traditional windows style.
    Both the KDE and Gnome desktops are equally good nowadays and are a serious rival to anything MS or Apple currently produce especially when the special effects are enabled, but like anything else they both have their merits and weaknesses which the linux community loves to debate/argue about. Even with that rivalry new users to Linux will find it very nice and refreshing to find that these desktops are at least always under steady development to remove programming flaws, make them lighter and faster, and that each desktop developer is willing to introduce new features or requests that users want. New linux users will find it nice that they are free to choose and use whatever they become most comfortable with and not just having to deal only with what they were given.
    The main thing to remember for new linux users is that any version of linux be it an out of the box distro with all the bells and whistles or a self built custom bare bones lightning fast distro will take time to learn, master, and configure to personal tastes. Once you do you will see why other Linux users rave about it as an OS and then see why it too can truly offer you something you can enjoy using.

  5. I’ve both Mandriva 2010 KDE, Ubuntu 9.10 and Linux Mint 8 on my desktop. Personally i like Mandriva though the KDE is surely little bit slugger comparing it to Ubuntu and Mint. It is has also little bit more bugs than Mint and Ubuntu. My children and wife seems to luv Mint more than Ubuntu and still i recommend Mint more than Ubuntu for newbies.

    So my choice for “New User”: Linux Mint.

  6. It sounds like you are selling Mandriva. For the Desktop, compared to the list of distros you provided above, Ubuntu is better. Real Linux folk know when and when not to use Ubuntu. Debian is still the best for server stability IMO, or even Centos. You didn’t even mention Arch Linux, Slackware, Gentoo…..Debian as a Desktop alternatives.

    You sound jaded towards Ubuntu.

  7. Ram Sambamurthy (comment #9) thanks for your pedantry. 😉

    I understand that was Gene Amdahl’s definition of FUD way back when he broke from IBM and founded Amdahl Corp. It is a good definition of a marketing strategy employed by IBM at the time to keep people from switching to a different product, namely Amdahl’s products. But I think FUD needs an upgrade to replace “doubt” with “disinformation”. After all, the word “uncertainty” already covers the “doubt” part.

    Regardless of this argument, which can only devolve from here, I think people still get the point. 🙂

  8. I still wonder if we get the point, or we’re just trying to make ourselves feel intelligent.

    We need XP (etc..) converts, desperately. We are NOT just trying to make a new place; that is like what they’re used to using. We are trying to make it work; like they are used to using AND they absolutely need, and expect, it to be 10 times better! That is the task ahead of us. Leave stupid little ways ALONE, and show them MANY things that don’t just match; but starkly benefit them, over their old XP.

    Leave the little visual UI stuff largely alone (where is does not matter), and overall, it MUST be OVERWHELMING and actively producing starkly larger real world benefits. Including ultra ease of use. None of this hinders the geek minority that can still make it cook breakfast, if so desired. The point is, the top level, is stupid easy. Default easy. Automatic everywhere. Non-frustrating. With a primary focus on becoming what the varied user needs to do. Keep the hood DOWN. Keep the engine purring. Never encourage the majority that is not technical, to test your “new release”. Keep the not-ready-for-prime-time flag waving; in their face and until the world at large has seen fit to return their input. Then only AFTER popular testing is finished, should anything be deemed a release; that is hot to download. This way, most people (non-tech) will start with a “stable” release. There are just too many things to balance; form the Kernel and compilers, to the help screens for Gimp (in the case of a photo buff; trying Raw format for just one example) that must be addressed.

  9. @ Gene: agree with “disinformation” – it really IS intentional!

    As a genuine newbie (less than a year using any distro), I can tell you that the real reason I started with Ubuntu was the existence of many well written, very thorough books in print that provided all the documentation a newbie needs in a form that explained fully but at an introductory level. The culture shock of the Windows-to-Linux path was eased by those books, to the point that I now find the learning curve from Ubuntu Gnome to Mandriva KDE almost as steep as the first. I do like Mandriva, but it will take me a while to convert from Gnome moves to KDE – it probably would be the other way around if I’d started with Mandriva. It surely is a slick and polished form!

  10. Emery (comment #12) thanks for your input.

    You can still use Gnome with Mandriva. Just choose “task-gnome” from the “Install & Remove Software” software management GUI. Here is a screen shot using a search for the word “task”: task-gnome.

    If that does not show up then choose All and All from the drop down lists and search again. If it still does not show then go to http://easyurpmi.zarb.org/ and add all the online sources. However, do not enable “backports” by default once you have those. Only enable backports when you need a specific backported package, then disable them following the install of that package. Otherwise the backports can cause problems with your updates making X not load or something equally dire.

  11. TheFu (comment #13) thanks for the correction.

    I know PCLinuxOS is based off of Mandriva. Mandriva uses RPM so I made an assumption. Honest, I do know better than to make assumptions. My mistake for not checking that myself.

  12. TheFu (comment #13) and Gene (comment #15):

    Even though PCLinuxOS uses APT to manage packages, it still uses the RPM standard for its package format. It just happens to use apt-rpm or whatever it is called today that was originally developed by Conectiva (today Mandriva) developers years ago and was a simple port of Debian’s APT to RPM systems. It used to be big deal because back at the time, YellowDog had not released its Yum package management system yet – which was later officially adopted and ported to non-PPC systems by RedHat – and neither Mandriva (formerly Mandrake) nor SUSE had anything up to the snuff.

    I guess that PCLinuxOS uses apt-rpm simply because Tex likes it better than rpmdrake or whatever it is that Mandriva uses these days…

  13. Okay, Gene, you can step aside while I draw fire from the *buntu folks.

    I’ve been using PCLOS, sidux, and Debian (for my server) for several years. No complaints. I’ve tried all the *buntus and had marginal success, at best (on a G3 iMac of all things). All the Intel and AMD tries were very disappointing (32 and 64 all with 1 to 2GB RAM and one 64 was a dual core). The performance was abysmal on all of them.

    I posted questions to the various *buntu forums without any responses or suggestions re why the performance was so bad or what I might do to correct it.

    Over time I began to connect with others having the same experience. Finally someone discovered that the *buntus have a problem with a certain chipset or chipsets. I’m sorry, I don’t remember right now which one since I did a memory purge and moved on with other things since then.

    And the fact of the matter is that all distros are apt to have some quirks re various hardware configs. Trying to create an OS that will reliably run on everything ever made is impossible.

    However, due to the lack of response from the *buntu community, I was left with the impression that they didn’t want to recognize their short-comings. That reminded me too much of a certain large software company. That is MY personal impression, but it is a fact. And it’s also why I did a memory purge and moved on.

    I’m always happy to see a GNU/Linux (once for Richard) distro be popular and attract new users. But let’s not lose perspective here. Just as cantormath stated above, the folks that understand Linux and what the various distros bring to the mix know when to use or recommend a certain distro.

    The *buntus have made a lot of people happy. That’s great. But let’s not forget that there are other really good distros available. And the ones that you’ve mentioned Gene are excellent examples.

    Just my 27cents (adjusted for inflation).

  14. I cannot dispute your claim that Mandriva is better than Ubuntu for new beginners, having never used Mandriva myself. However, the internet resources that one can use to get the distro are vastly different. I’ve just visited the Mandriva site, and it took me quite a while to get the download link. (I did do it eventually and will try it out and form an opinion.)

    With Ubuntu, however, it is super simple. Their site is well organised, and pretty much the first thing one sees is a giant download button, which leads one to the downloads page, and there one finds another giant download button, and you’re done. This increases the chances of the distro being discovered and tried by newbies, and may contribute to it’s popularity.

    Most other distrions should learn this trick.

  15. Horace (comment #18) thanks for the comment.

    Okay, I went and looked at the Mandriva pages again. Maybe I just do not understand the confusion.

    Here is a screen shot of: the main page which has a [Download] button right under the “Mandriva Linux 2010” text. Then the download page (URL to the actual page.) has a selection of downloads from which to choose. On that page I see third on the top “Free 2010, 100% pure Free Software”. Clicking that takes me to a page to download the ISO file(s) (URL to the actual page.).

    I guess I just understand how to navigate web sites better than some, or something like that. 😉

  16. I have tried both. Mandriva has newer stuff but is not as stable as Ubuntu. I don’t like the idea that I have to send money to have my update or access to special stuff… I have already been a Club Member and was very disapointed bye their bad service.

    Sorry, but best for newbie is really Ubuntu or Mint.

  17. PerfMonk (comment #20) thanks for your opinion.

    I use Mandriva Linux every day on an (ERACC built 🙂 ) AMD Phenom Quad-core based PC with 4 GB of RAM, 4 SATA hard drives, nVidia based graphics, multiple USB ports and a USB connected multi-card reader. I see no stability problems with my system.

    Then again I use the fluxbox window manager instead of KDE or Gnome. So, maybe the stability problems are with one of those? I would not be surprised as both of those, especially KDE, are rather “heavy” graphical systems with a lot of bells and whistles.

    Edit: I did disable Pulseaudio though. It is not ready for prime-time on any system as far as I can tell.

  18. I just did the same thing while reading Horace (comment #18). Went to their site and looked, it’s right there just like I thought it was. Hmmm.

    Anyway, I agree completely with your picks. I have been running Mandriva since Mandrake 6.0, still have the boxed set on my shelf. I have ran other distros in the past, and try ubuntu again every time a new version comes out, but still am always disappointed. No matter how much I try other distro’s I always come back to Mandriva. I run a linux side business, I have machines everywhere, I have linux systems in 60yo ladies houses, churches, auto repair shops, youth centers, off grid solar monitoring, sawmills, home users, business users ect ect. Mostly Mandriva, but a few fedora, ubuntu, slackware ect. The one I deploy the most of AND get the least amount of calls and questions about, Mandriva… I can give it to an old lady, show her where things are at, and she just uses it, same with young kids, teenagers. It just works. I haven’t had that kind of luck with the buntus.

    I use it for server, desktop workstations, trimmed down for remote monitoring, you name it. It’s solid, stable, and reliable in any application.

    The Mandriva control panel is absolutely a huge selling point for me, there is a configuration tool for everything. Set up a web server, samba, ect ect. its great.

    Their forms are full of actual knowledgeable people that are very willing to help, unlike ubuntu forms, mostly newbs with no real answers. Nothing like wasting 2 days on ubuntu forms just to realize to one has a clue.

    Mandriva also properly supports all the major desktops. KDE, GNOME, LXDE, XFCE, and more. Their tool kit and other add ons work in all of them, and all have that Mandriva polish. Unlike ubuntu, where it is all gnome, and other variants are treated more like separate distros or red headed step children. I think Kbuntu was the worst KDE experience I ever had.

    Thanks for the great article, it’s nice to see Mandriva get some of the attention and the respect it deserves. It’s sometimes easy for people to look at the new hyped up things all the time, and forget about the real linux distros that have, and still are, pioneering the way for a great Linux experience.

    Way to go Mandriva, keep up the great work.

  19. I’m not sure why some people are talking as if Mandriva is KDE-only. I’ve always used Gnome on Mandriva. Mandriva One comes in both KDE and Gnome flavours, and Mandriva Free has both in it–when I’m picking what to install, I always check both the KDE box and the Gnome box (and the “other window managers” box in case I want to experiment).
    Actually, aside from the MCC which I agree is a very newbie-friendly thing and which I miss badly when something goes funny with my Ubuntu laptop, one of the big reasons I like Mandriva is precisely that choice and integration between Gnome and KDE, because I like both and I like some of the applications from both, so I like to have both. I can have that much more easily with Mandriva, and both desktops get a good deal of attention and polish. Of course, that’s not so much a new user issue.

    To the person talking about Arch and Debian and who knows what all–I do believe what was under discussion was best “new user” distribution. Sorry, but Gentoo need not apply.

  20. The trouble with comparisons is that the whole list can turn around when new versions are released. Most distro’s are constantly adding or upgrading features. If you try to chase the latest and greatest distro that’s all you’ll have time for. There’s not really a dimes worth of difference between the major distro’s anyway. If you really USE linux you don’t have time to be constantly reloading your computer with a new os. I mean, what do you do with your application data and other files you’ve created? Do you move all that stuff over too? It ain’t worth it to me. I get the impression that the typical linux user constantly swaps distro’s every time a new version comes out. Good grief!

  21. david (comment #24) thanks for your thoughts.

    Actually, for desktop Linux I recommend placing “/home” on a separate partition. That way there is no need to “move all that stuff over too”. This means when one upgrades from Mandriva 2010.0 to Mandriva 2011.0 there is no need to move anything related to a user’s data. Even if one wipes out “/” completely for a fresh install all the data in “/home” is untouched. Basically if I were to switch from Mandriva to Linux Mint all my data on “/home” would still be there where I left it.

    Edit: For the record, I recommend finding a distribution that meets one’s needs and sticking with that distribution. Of course I advocate using Mandriva, but I also advocate choice. So, use what you like. 🙂

    Edit 2: While one is searching for the distribution that “fits just right” one may need to swap distributions for that while. Then again, one may find that the first distribution one tries is a fit. As always, it comes down to personal preference.

  22. This reads like a covert plug for Mandriva.

    I’ve tried most distributions and I stick with Ubuntu because of network effects. If you don’t know what network effects are it’s because you’re using the wrong distribution. Network effects matter more to beginners than anyone else. Don’t kid yourself about this.

    I just synced my iphone with Ubuntu One.

  23. I have never liked Ubuntu so I wanted to get that out there right away. Now I think Mandriva has potential but personally Ive installed it every year for the past 5 or 6 years and have to say it never stayed on my system more than a month. There was always major bugs and issues with it so as much as I liked their style it just didnt earn a place on my hard drive. Now PcLinux being a derivitive of Mandriva never gave me a major issue in 5 years of use. Personally Ive moved away from the noob friendly distros myself but still keep PcLinux on a partions of ever computer in my home.

  24. GregC (comment #28) thanks for your input.

    In contrast to your experience I have used Mandriva since before it was called Mandriva back in the Mandrake days. I think Mandrake 5 or Mandrake 6 was my first install. In any case, whichever release it was Mandriva had already solved the “RPM dependency endless loop” that appeared in some RPM based distributions. I was hooked as soon as I discovered that. Since then I have only noticed minor bugs with new releases. Bugs that are generally all fixed by the second or third round of security updates and bug fixes from Mandriva.

    One of my current gripes is the inclusion of Pulseaudio by default in Mandriva. While the concept is good, that thing does not work well in many cases and has to be disabled. I had to disable it when I upgraded my friend Chuck’s PC to Mandriva 2010 recently. He wanted to watch Flash videos but Pulseaudio made them have no sound and play as if they were in high speed. Disabling Pulseaudio “fixed” the problem. Luckily Mandriva has an easy way to disable it (screen-shot). This is what I mean when I say the MCC tool is one reason Mandriva is a new user friendly distribution.

  25. Anyone tried YlmfOS (http://www.ylmf.org/en/) – based on Ubuntu gnome 9.04, solid system, the best intermediate distro between XP and Linux I’ve used (and continue to use) – check the screenshots out yourself. Great to introduce new people to Linux with.

  26. I always prefer PCLos, simply because it is an improvement over the best user friendly linux out there – Mandriva. Also the best part of PCLos is that it is rolling release, no need to fresh install new releases. Currently using Mandriva 2010 and loving it, although I hoped it to boot faster.

  27. Spanky makes a very good point (too far back to count up [added by Gene – that would be comment #11 folks.]) about the need to differentiate between “average” users and power users. The need to ensure the main release is stable and fized as much as possible to avoid new users who are trying to find their feet with something completely different running into insurmountable problems and bugs. I see this a loty on (for example) the debian forums when it comes to sound with flash things. User has say a problem with flash on STABLE.. power user comes along and suggestw updating to upstream experimental versions of libs.. because they work fine on his 3 steps upstream unstable/experimental distro install.. no attempt to solve the problem for the user and no help at all for anybody else experiencing the same problems who does not have the time, skills or inclination to run a system which will break every 5 minutes and on every lump of software install.. let alone people like me who run debian in a production environment where stability and uptime are paramount. I think some “power users” have forgotten we were all “n00bs” once and just try to rub their “1337-ness” in everybodys faces at every opportunity.
    Now fore mandriva. I didn’t like it a couple of years ago. It didn’t work, the installer was broken leaving permission locked partitions before failing. Luckily I have the skills to get out of that situation, but how about a newbie?

    I spread puppy-linux live disks around like confetti. People try and like.. usually when their win7 or fista thing refuses to start up due to a broken or incomplete “forced update” nonsense. That’s my choice for newbie friendly.. something which is simple, clear, needs no install and above all works well without the need for a brain (we give windows users too much credit for having something which they don’t.. a mind capable of actually analyzing a problem and thinking it through.. that’s been trained out of them)
    Puppy is a bit of a no-brainer to run.. obvious questions during setup with a hardware detection which works properly, followed by a desktop with the same “plain language” ethos…and that makes it nice, even the flashplayer works. Well done.. 9 1/2 – 10 for having a clear vision of where linux should be headed.

  28. I have tried lots of distros with varying results. Some worked fine
    with my netbook and laptops some didn’t. I have PC OS on a laptop.
    Its fine. I also run Ubuntu and its my favorite. It didn’t require anything
    extra to get things rolling. In fact I have Lubuntu on a SSD Asus netbook

    Vector didn’t work well for me. Mandriva and Puppy didn’t either. In
    fact I couldn’t get the new Ubuntu based Puppy to work on my small
    netbook. I like the ease of adding programs with Ubuntu. Key here is
    ease of use. Ubuntu offers a Wubi installer. Free CD via the mail and
    its large community.

    Most new computer users just want their systems to work without
    much fuss. Telling to configure their wireless cards and or use Command
    Lines and they may look at you funny. Its not that its hard to
    figure out but that’s not what most users want. They want a easy
    to use machine. Unbuntu aside. Linux may never get there.

  29. Yes it is not Necessarily Ubuntu, because it is Netrunner. I will never come back to ubuntu again unless unity quit.
    Anyway It is not just about Unity, I just love Netrunner yo should try it to 🙂

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