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Thread: What's your favorite distro?

  1. #11
    Variable Bitrate intuitionsys's Avatar
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    After a complete waste of time getting my SuSE-based system upgraded to 2.6.13.2, patching it with swsusp2, etc., I'm becoming an even bigger fan of Gentoo (which I'm installing right now). I still think SuSE rules for the desktop, especially if you're doing it for someone else, but Gentoo rocks (so far) for a car pc "pseudo-embedded" environment.
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  2. #12
    Constant Bitrate reece146's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by intuitionsys
    but Gentoo rocks (so far) for a car pc "pseudo-embedded" environment.
    Agreed. With some intelligent selection of USE flags and portage you can get your fully functional footprint to around a few hundred MB. Perfect for the cheap CF cards that are out there now.

    There are people out there with really stripped down Gentoo installs in the 16-32MB range.

  3. #13
    Maximum Bitrate kbyrd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vinister
    What would you guys recommend for someone who's never used linux before and would like to try it?
    Ubuntu is trying to be "Linux for everyone". I hear it's pretty easy to use for a first-timer.
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    Status: VM GTI sold, got out of the CarPC tinkering hobby, but I still think about getting back in.

  4. #14
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    I'll second the recomendation for Ubuntu. I've been a Debian user since 1999, but the 2-year release cycles coupled with 4-month freeze-to-release delays just don't cut it. Ubuntu, being based on Debian (like Knoppix, Mepis, and many other distros) gives you the solid foundation of Debian, the joy that is APT, a current and validated package set, and some nice GUI admin tools that work without totally hosing the system for people who like to edit config files manually.

    There is a lot to be said for Gentoo, but unless you have a powerful machine with lots of disk, you'll be burning a lot of cycles compiling software. When GCC's code generation routines can actually generate decent code for modern CPUs there will be much more of a reason to go to this effort, but right now code compiled for the P4 or Athlon really isn't all that much faster than the code compiled for the original Pentium.

    -p.

  5. #15
    Constant Bitrate reece146's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gnomad
    There is a lot to be said for Gentoo, but unless you have a powerful machine with lots of disk, you'll be burning a lot of cycles compiling software. When GCC's code generation routines can actually generate decent code for modern CPUs there will be much more of a reason to go to this effort, but right now code compiled for the P4 or Athlon really isn't all that much faster than the code compiled for the original Pentium.
    Counterpoints...

    If you are running a system that is based upon semi-embedded hardware like the VIA EPIA boards or similar (i.e. slow) there is a night and day difference between running a distro like FC or Debian compared to Gentoo.

    Additionally, in my experience, there is a general snappyness on my server class hardware (4 way Xeons) that was not there when I was running an RPM (read: binary) distro on the same hardware. I have found optimizing for size (-Os) makes a perceptible difference given the large (relatively speaking) internal caches on Xeon processors. On EPIA it keeps the foot print small.

    The mainstream Gentoo kernel (non-vanilla) has optimization patches applied to it that helps in this regard as well. I'm not current on what the patches are but they make a noticable difference compared to the vanilla kernel, even on ~3GHz Xeon hardware when compared back to back.

    Lots of CPU cycles compiling is a good thing. What else is the computer doing in the wee hours anyway? Also, given UNIX is multi-user, compiling in the background during prime time has no bearing on what is happening in the foreground. Re-emerging the universe has not stopped me from continuing dev work on the EPIA boards I have (as an example).

    Install a stage3 image and set your USE flags. Over the next several weeks your system will be omptimized as you keep it current. Alternatively, install a stage 3 and do a "newuse". See multi-user above.

    As for lots of disk, NFS and/or SMB deals with that.

    All this fanboy-ism aside, if you don't understand Linux/UNIX in general then Gentoo is not the place to start unless you truly want a trial by fire. Occasionally portage breaks depending on what USE flags are enabled and if you aren't able to troubleshoot the problem because you are out of your element then there is no advantage to Gentoo.

    There are reasons for Gentoo to be offputting but compiling from source and slow hardware are not among them IMO.

  6. #16
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    yes, nice, good then. I dont have a clue what either of you just said

  7. #17
    Constant Bitrate reece146's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vinister
    yes, nice, good then. I dont have a clue what either of you just said
    LOL

    Download Fedora Core 4.


  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by reece146
    Counterpoints...

    If you are running a system that is based upon semi-embedded hardware like the VIA EPIA boards or similar (i.e. slow) there is a night and day difference between running a distro like FC or Debian compared to Gentoo.
    I should probably caveat my previous comment somewhat. I *always* custom-compile a kernel for each hardware platform and this can often result in performance increases. If you are running a dedicated server (database, web, etc.) it makes sense to optimise compile settings and benchmark them. But in terms of the whole slew of userland apps that make up a distribution, you're simply not going to see much improvement there.

    -p.

  9. #19
    Newbie Jagaer's Avatar
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    Honestly, I started with Mandrake 6.2 but quickly learned that rpms were a huge pain in the ***. From that I moved to Corel linux 1.0, 1.1, 1.2/2.0 and kept using it after the project stopped.

    When I got my shiny new amd64 box, I HAD to try gentoo to get the most out of my new hardware. It was hard learning at first, but if you really want to LEARN linux, but not all at once, gentoo is great. The documentation and forums are the best for any linux distro I have seen. After getting used to portage and linux in general, I could never switch away from a source based distro.

    So in conclusion, my vote for a carpc is gentoo. For a desktop if you want to learn linux is gentoo, otherwise Xandros. (Or MacOSX)

  10. #20
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    I started using linux about 9 months ago for uni work (fortran/latex), and started with suse.

    Although not building a car pc, i am building an internet radio machine which mirrors a lot of the attributes of the car pc's here. My plan was for damn small linux, but I feel tempted to give LFS a go. My main issue is no cd/dvd drive and hence installation becomes problematic!

    I like the feel of linux and if it wernt for winamp/outlook/a few others, windows would be gone!

    My favourite so far is probably damn small - just for ease of use!

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