Which Linux distro would you recommend to new (non-techie) Linux users?
The received wisdom used to be Ubuntu, then it became Mint because it came with non-free codecs/drivers and the Cinnamon desktop by default.
Nowadays (judging from podcasts) it seems to be Elementary, although I've not set aside time to try it yet for myself.
@bobstechsite Elementary is fine and beautiful if you stick to a certain core of applications but if you stray outside of that (even to Firefox) the cohesive illusion quickly shatters. Ubuntu Mate is usually my go to recommendation because they have a lot of nice features to help the new user get set up like the welcome screen and more importantly the software boutique
@bobstechsite I'd stick with Linux Mint for now. elementaryOS isn't quite full featured yet and there are some weird graphical issues with dual monitors and going full screen on the second one with a maximized window
@bobstechsite Mint for me. Easy-ish transition.
@bobstechsite I would consider myself very much a non-techie and Ubuntu Mate has been very fine for me. And the built in software centers I think would be a blessing for folks even less tech savvy than me.
@bobstechsite I always recommend ubuntu even though I don't love it because there's more help online for it than any orher distro
@starbreaker Indeed, you're living the OpenBSD dream. I've so far used it mostly to revive old hardware systems, but I'm genuinely intrigued by its use as a daily driver.
I've heard good things about Solus. That's another distro to try out in a VM in case it's worth recommending 🙂
@bobstechsite Been using it for a year, too. Never had a problem that wasn't due to me not reading the manual carefully enough.
Granted, I could probably manage OK with FreeBSD or GhostBSD, but OpenBSD works for me.
Also, I finally figured out how to make #Emacs #OrgMode publish an RSS feed, and started hacking on ox-html.el to further customize org-mode's output when publishing a directory as HTML. That means I can finally use Emacs as a static site generator. :)
@bobstechsite Just to be an outlier here; id mention Mageia. Ive been trying it out and its inherited by lineage a lot of Mandrake's attempts in prior decades to be desktop friendly. They have invested a lot of effort in wrapping up linux configuration in GUIs in a way I haven't seen in a while.
Asks at install time if you want all the non-free bells and whistles.
Also just seems like a competent distro to boot.
@bobstechsite I've not actually stuck a new user in front of it yet, but im considering it.
@trashHeap I have fond memories of Mandriva live CDs, and even bought a copy of PowerPack back in 2008.
I'm glad Mageia is still keeping that torch alive 😅
@trashHeap @bobstechsite I'll give a plus to Mageia. I think it's a great distro. I love the color coding of free and non-free software. They do make it easy to install non-free media codecs. But I had a touch of an issue setting up my source mirrors. The nice people in the forums helped me out, though. Most 'help for newbies' is for people using Ubuntu. I'd say it's good for people with a few months on a *buntu who want a real community run distro.
@bobstechsite Ubuntu id say since the drivers are easy to install there too and then you can just forget it, I don't see the great benefits of mint tbh
@bobstechsite what flavour is sort of irrelevant I feel, I would go with Plasma because that's my preference - others might not.
I would help you friend and accept to be help desk for a couple of weeks to make sure he/she stays away from weird blogs and "just copy paste this into your terminal" suggestions for now
@ohyran @bobstechsite ugly laughing because that's exactly where I started. It was a hand-me-down laptop, they didn't tell me the password, and I didn't want to bother them at 2 AM, so I was going into GRUB, resetting it using passwd, all that, based on random blog posts.
In my experience, it's way easier to fuck up your computer with Windows because there's so much malware floating around out there.
I would vote for Ubuntu, it has the most support online and it's the easiest to install. You don't even have to create an installation disc or stick, you can buy them pre-made online.
There's even a fair number of shops that sell Ubuntu preinstalled on new or used laptops, which is the easiest possible way to get an OS.
@bobstechsite just recently switched my spouse over from Mac to Linux. I started her on Xubuntu (which I like and it's easy for newbies.) But she liked the Dolphin file manager over Thunar. I've got her set up on Kubuntu now and gave her a nice dock on the bottom. She's not super techy but likes an OS that makes things easy, is pretty and thinks of everything.
@bobstechsite fwiw, mint passed the test of my completely non-techy father.
after bricking his laptop, i gave him a live boot medium so he can access/backup his data & use the computer until i get time to reinstall his windows. a few days later, he asks whether we could install this linux instead. i tell him yes, there should be an install icon. 2 days later, he installed it all by himself, despite never having even installed a program on his windows box.
@bobstechsite I use Elementary but don't think it's quite ready for prime time unless you do most everything in the browser. I started with Ubuntu and I think it's a good beginner distro because there's so much support for it, and once you've learned it, it's easy to use any of the other *buntu distros.
I guess it depends on the particular user and their needs.
@nev that view on Elementary seems to be the consensus so far!
It surprises me a bit because Matt Hartley (FreedomPenguin) & Bryan Lunduke have been speaking very highly of it on their podcasts as a "noob-friendly" distro.
Judging by the responses my question seems to be getting, this sounds like it's only really the case if your needs are very basic.
@bobstechsite I'd hesitate because it uses a slightly different UI...paradigm? philosophy? that may take getting used to, and because software-wise (in variety and stability) it could be more solid.
By default they don't include the ability to add PPAs, which does eliminate a lot of possible copy-and-paste sketchiness.
@bobstechsite Debian if you get the initial setup done for them and install a nice software store.
@benrob0329 in principle not a bad choice because it doesn't need to upgraded for years, is really low maintenance and has plenty of online support.
It does leave you on the hook as their personal tech support though! I guess it depends on how close you are to the person you're making the recommendation to 🙂
@bobstechsite @matt Generally I think a lot of people who want new stuff will run Debian testing, which isn't half bad. The only issue with it is that sometimes packages will get removed because they are broken, and will take absolutely forever to come back. (Usually its the programs that are nearly abandoned).
I use Impress for podcast notes, Calc for my finances & Writer for most things I store in digital form.
(I've also made a decent amount of money writing tutorials about it in Linux Format magazine!)
Basically I like having LibreOffice 6.x rather than the current LTS (which I believe is 5.4)
Developers always want the "new shiny". Even when that compromises security, performance and/or the stability of the wider system.
Dependencies (while annoying at times) are a feature, not a bug. Sharing resources & libraries is part of Linux's DNA and it makes me sad that this idea is probably going away now.
One reason to use snaps and flatpaks is that (most of them) don't have read/write privs to your base system. .deb and .rpm files do.
@matt @sullybiker @benrob0329 I suspect that's intended to address the "I don't trust this app running in a container" concern. But it has to read/write somewhere, otherwise you wouldn't be able to open or save files.
The base system is already protected by file permissions, memory protection and process isolation with systems like SELinux/AppArmor. Package maintainers also verify that an app behaves the way we'd expect it to.
If the app crashes it doesn't matter, because you just provision another container. You can also scale & load balance apps more easily too.
I think bringing this to the desktop is good for portability, but it comes at the expense of trust & resource usage.
@bobstechsite People say Elementary because it looks like MacOS. But if RAM and CPU usage are your thing, then go for it. Otherwise, see you at the MX Linux finish line in ten years or feel free to skip the bs and use it today. It's stability vs features ratio is perfect. It also only uses about 600MB of RAM on 64-bit and about 300MB of RAM on 32-bit after login. It's cousin AntiX (better than Puppy) uses about 70ish MB of RAM. Whatever you use, make sure it's Debian-based and XFCE. M$ <3 Ubuntu
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